Unlikely alliance pushes for federal climate action

Australia’s federal climate policies aren’t cutting it, according to an unlikely alliance of Australian green groups and conservative industry, business and investor bodies launched to push the government into action on climate change.

The Australian Climate Roundtable comprises the Australian Aluminium Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, The Climate Institute, the Energy Supply Association of Australia, the Investor Group on Climate Change and WWF Australia.

“Our broad coalition has come together because climate change and climate policy both impact our missions and members,” a joint press release said. “We believe Australia should play its fair part in global efforts to avoid 2°C and the serious economic, social and environmental impacts that unconstrained climate change would have on Australia. Avoiding unconstrained climate change will provide important benefits and opportunities to Australia.”

The statement said “delayed, unpredictable and piecemeal action” would increase costs of reaching Australia’s goals, and that policies wouldn’t work if they were not on investors’ radars long-term.

“The foundations of climate policy need broad and durable support, and we all have a role in building it,” the statement said.

The roundtable has released a list of joint policy principles for climate change action covering cost control, trade competitiveness, innovation, equity, stability, the energy sector, adaptation, use of revenue, administration and review.

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said it was an unlikely alliance, but the groups had come together because the challenge of tackling global warming was bigger than any differences.

“We have never come together before, and while we will not solve every problem or agree on everything, we want to show our politicians there is more that unites us than divides us,” she said.

“Among the things we have in common is a shared goal for Australia to cut its net greenhouse pollution to zero or below.”

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the principles would help end “frustration and disruption” that had been faced by business through constantly changing climate policy.

“The shared recognition that we need to maintain competitiveness while reducing emissions over time is a major advance and a solid platform for future policy stability,” he said.

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