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Community expects real action from COAG on climate change

ACF today called on COAG to show leadership on climate change by taking real steps to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Charles Berger, ACF’s acting Director of Sustainability Strategies, said: “COAG has a real opportunity to lock in the reductions in pollution we need to save the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Alpine country from the worst effects of climate change.

“Early action on climate change is affordable and effective, but the longer we wait the more we risk losing.”

Especially important will be COAG’s decision on how to implement mandatory disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions by major polluters.

In April 2006, COAG suspended work on incorporating greenhouse emissions into the existing National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) in favour of an unspecified alternative process. However, a study by KMPG found that using the NPI would be less expensive and could start immediately, whereas the development of an alternative could delay progress for years.

Victoria has successfully completed a pilot project involving disclosure of emissions through the existing National Pollutant Inventory. Many of Victoria’s largest polluters, including the power generators in the Latrobe Valley, participated in the pilot, which could be rolled out nationally as soon as 1 July 2007.

“The Commonwealth and the states have been dithering over this issue for years and their indecision is now putting a national emissions trading system at risk. Unless we have a nationally consistent public disclosure system up and running from 1 July, we will not have the data to design a fair and effective emissions trading scheme by 2010, as the states have committed to do.

“Australians have a right to know who is polluting our climate. If the states are fair dinkum about an emissions trading scheme, they need to lay the foundation now by requiring full disclosure by the big polluters.”