Australian business calls for immediate move to flexible carbon price

Businesses for a Clean Economy (B4CE) welcomes recent statements made by Mr Clive Palmer in relation to the urgent need for action on global warming and his party’s intentions to support the retention of the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and also the Climate Change Authority (CCA).

The B4CE believe that the Palmer United Party’s (PUP) proposal to move to a zero-cost carbon price system until there are “equivalent” markets operated by major trading partners needs to be reconsidered in light of the fact that there are already markets operating within most of our major trading partners, and momentum for widespread national and global carbon pricing is building.

As well, the building blocks to move to a flexible carbon price are already in the hands of our nation’s policymakers by converting the current fixed price mechanism to a floating one.

The issue the PUP’s announcement does not overcome is the need of forward-thinking business leaders for long-term certainty. Businesses require this certainty to invest with confidence in clean technologies and transition their operations to lower emissions over time in the most cost effective and efficient way.

The Australian business sector must make this transition to remain competitive in an emerging global economy that is decarbonising its energy use.

B4CE is calling on the Palmer United Party and other members of parliament to reconsider their proposed position on the carbon price repeal and support a move to an immediate floating price.

Jennifer Lauber Patterson, spokesperson for B4CE, said “To see Mr Palmer and the Honourable Al Gore together on the podium in Canberra on Wednesday evening was remarkable, and it was encouraging to see the practical understanding Mr Palmer now has of the critical need for action on climate change and global leadership, underpinned by consensus science. His support for the retention of the Renewable Energy Target without any amendments, retention of the CEFC which invests in clean-tech projects at a profit, and support for the CCA and its important independent oversight should be applauded. However, it is important for the PUP to seek a transition to a floating price rather than supporting the removal of the existing carbon price architecture.”

A move to an immediate floating price on carbon would ensure Australia’s competitive position with the 40 other countries with emissions trading schemes around the world, including key trading and investment partners such as the EU, California, and seven provinces in China, with South Korea’s ETS starting in 2015 and China most likely moving to a national scheme in the same year.

A move to flexible carbon pricing has broad-based business support as reflected in a survey commissioned by B4CE, and conducted by international consultants AECOM, last year. (See: Understanding the Impact of a Carbon Price on Australian Business: A Survey of Business Perspectives)

“The AECOM survey showed that businesses support strong policy action that will effectively and efficiently reduce emissions. The business community also signalled their desire to be part of the solution, but one that provides long-term certainty and investment confidence. B4CE is calling on Australia’s lawmakers to recognise the significant voice of the forward-thinking business community, provide certainty, and immediately support a price and limit on carbon, like a flexible emissions trading scheme,” Ms Lauber Patterson said.

Signatories to the Businesses for a Clean Economy initiative comprise over 400 businesses and associations supporting stable, long-term policies - like a carbon price - that support a clean economy for all Australians. Further information can be found at or by contacting Jennifer Lauber Patterson: +61 431 263 000

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