The Federal Government’s draft legislation of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme has been slammed by critics who are concerned it will harm the economy without improving the environment.
NSW minerals council chief executive Dr Nikki Williams said the 500-page draft legislation does not provide certainty for coal industry jobs or cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
“While the coal industry qualifies for Emissions Intensive Trade Exposed (EITE) assistance under the criteria set out in the draft legislation, the industry was unilaterally excluded from EITE assistance in the white paper,” Williams said.
“Since the draft legislation does not specify who’s in and who’s out of the EITE, the Federal Government has left 30,000 coal mining jobs in limbo.
“The Federal Government’s failure to address the inequity in the allocation of permits to EITE industries has left the NSW coal sector isolated and vulnerable against trade competitors which would not be subject to emissions targets for the foreseeable future.”
Under the draft legislation, Australia has pledged to cut emissions by at least 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, or 15% if there is a global agreement to make a similar reduction during U.N. climate talks at the end of the year.
“Sadly, without a global agreement on climate change, it won’t result in any meaningful reduction of emissions,” Williams said.
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitchell Hooke echoed Williams concerns, saying the imperative was to get the design of the scheme right because there would be no prizes for going it alone.
“We need to make sure the scheme is aligned with a global emissions reductions protocol, the deployment of low emissions and other trading schemes around the world,” Hooke said.
“As it is currently designed, this scheme will cost jobs, reduce our international competitiveness and impact of economic growth while delivering little if any environmental benefit.
“It will impact investment and employment at a time when more than 10,500 jobs have been lost in the minerals sector as a result of the global recession.”
Hooke said that while scheme was out of step with market-base schemes, one simple change would significantly improve it — a phased approach to the full auctioning of permits.
“The scheme needs to be reviewed and redesigned before the legislation is finalised,” he said.