Australian businesses want strong emissions reduction targets

Australian businesses expect national post-2020 emissions reduction targets to be aligned with our key trading partners, a comprehensive national survey of business conducted by the Carbon Market Institute (CMI) in association with the Australian National University (ANU) has found.

“Survey respondents overwhelmingly expect Australia to have ambitious emissions reduction targets aligned with our key trading partners and that economic growth will increasingly depend on how well we adapt to a low carbon world,” said CMI chief executive officer Peter Castellas.

Releasing the full report following the significant announcements by China and the US to set strong post-2020 targets, the survey found around 80 per cent of survey respondents said that Australia should look to the targets and actions of China, the United States and Europe in setting our domestic policy goals.

“The number and quality of responses to the survey indicate Australian business expects to be engaged in the debate and deliberations around climate policy and setting emissions reduction targets,” Castellas said.

“According to the survey, business expects a range of climate policy instruments to be in place to achieve our targets and many are continuing to factor in a carbon price in future investments,” said Castellas.

Around three quarters of respondents said that there will be risks of adverse trade and investment decisions if Australia does not harmonise its emissions reduction targets with key trading partners.

The overwhelming majority (90 per cent) of respondents agreed the private sector has a key role to play in funding emissions reduction initiatives.

“Business wants to be involved in developing Australia’s emissions reductions targets and funding emissions abatement,” Castellas said.

“As we enter a period in the lead up to the Paris Climate Change Conference in December 2015, the private sector, government, independent authorities and the research community all need to come together to have a mature debate about what Australia’s emissions reduction targets for 2020 and the post-2020 period should be. These targets will in turn need to drive comprehensive domestic climate policy responses,” said Castellas.

The survey was conducted before the passage of the legislation to support the establishment of the Emissions Reduction Fund. When asked about the ERF, few respondents believed that it would provide opportunities to fund their emissions abatement projects, with many supporting either the implementation of the fund with additional funding or not at all. Only 21 per cent of respondents identified that the ERF was likely to create opportunities to fund abatement projects for their business.

“Now that the ERF legislation has passed the Senate and there will be $2.5 billion available to fund emissions reductions, I would expect a significant increase in interest in understanding the features of the ERF and the opportunity to participate,” said Castellas.

Consultations will soon begin on the design and rules for the Safeguard Mechanism component of the ERF. The survey results showed that the majority of respondents supported a penalty to be applied to those covered under the mechanism who exceed allocated baselines and for that penalty to be in the form of purchasing either domestic or international offsets or a combination of both.

The survey revealed business expects Australia to have a range of policy instruments in place by 2020 and these will be essential for facilitating private sector involvement in the transition to a low carbon economy. Over half of the respondents called for performance standards, a renewable energy target, a domestic offset mechanism and a cap-and-trade scheme.

CMI will convene business and government to explore these issues. This will be a key focus for the Institute’s May 2015 Australian Emissions Reduction Summit.

The 2014 Australian Emissions Reduction Survey is an initiative by CMI in collaboration with the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

There were 245 respondents to the survey representing a cross section of experts and senior executives from major greenhouse gas emitting industries, investors and professional service providers. It is the most comprehensive business survey on emissions reductions taken in Australia this year.

For more information, please contact:

Carbon Market Institute General Manager Communications Gabrielle Callahan
Phone: 03 9245 0960 or 0408 997 486
Twitter: @CarbonMarketIns

The Carbon Market Institute is an independent membership-based not-for-profit organisation. Our aim is to assist Australian businesses in meeting the challenges and opportunities associated with market-based approaches to emissions reduction and the transition to a low carbon economy.

As the peak body for carbon market participants, CMI has established an important role in the evolution of the carbon market in Australia. The Institute facilitates the networks, knowledge exchange and commercial interaction amongst key government policy makers and regulators, industry, financiers and investors, professional services companies and technology solution providers.

CMI membership represents a broad range of professionals, organisations and industry. Our members include leading professional service providers, NGERs reporting entities, secondary market participants, offset providers, academia and international organisations. Individuals within the CMI membership base are some of Australia’s most respected carbon market innovators and leaders.


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