Voters demand government action on climate change

By Staff Writer

Australian voters do not want to delay government action on climate change even though the economy is in a downturn, according to a new survey by Auspoll.

The poll, commissioned by the Climate Institute revealed that 78 per cent of Australian voters were concerned about climate change.

Of the 1411 people surveyed, 35 per cent wanted the Federal Government to delay action on climate change because of the state of the economy and 28 per cent supported delaying action until the US and China set targets.

Climate Institute chief executive officer, John Connor, said there was a strong demand for climate change action.

“Jobs and the economy are front of mind for people but climate change concern and hunger for climate action is still strong,” Connor said.

“Critically, people don’t see economic climate change action as disconnected, or mutually exclusive. Progress to a low-carbon, low emissions economy, is seen to be logically linked to stimulating jobs, growth and addressing climate change.”

A majority 75 per cent of survey respondents said government action to address climate change would create new job opportunities and investment in renewable energy.

Connor said the renewable energy sector already employed 2.3 million people globally and provided “multi-billion dollar markets” in critical growth areas.

“Australia will miss many of these economic opportunities unless Government fixes flaws in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), increases our emissions reduction targets and provides extra incentives and conditions for investment in economic and jobs growth in clean energy and energy efficiency,” he said.

The poll, conducted between 30 January and 4 February, also revealed that 56 per cent of voters saw little difference between major political parties on the issue of climate change leadership.

Release of exposure draft legislation

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, has released exposure draft legislation for the CPRS and is calling on stakeholders to deliver their feedback.

“Australians have made it clear that they understand the challenge of climate change and they want a government that will act,” Senator Wong said.

“This is all about creating the jobs of the future. The CPRS is a whole of economy reform that will, for the first time, put a price on carbon and encourage investment in new, low pollution technologies.”

The exposure draft legislation sets out the mechanics of the scheme and what is required of participants.

The Government is now seeking feedback from stakeholders on the terms of the draft legislation and its effectiveness in ensure Australia meets its emission reduction targets. Submissions close Tuesday 14 April 2009.

To download the draft legislation or for more information on making a submission visit the Department of Climate Change website.

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