CARBON POLLUTION REDUCTION SCHEME COMMENTS.
This submission has been prepared on behalf of Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group, who are one of
several organisations representing residents in the Macedon Ranges Shire with an interest in reducing
We support accept urgent action is required on climate change and developed countries must lead in
putting a price on carbon pollution worldwide. This is essential as it helps address one of the largest
market failures of our time, that is, the failure of the market to price and hence avoid the damage
greenhouse gas emissions cause.
We believe other complementary initiatives are required, and on the basis of experience as a
community group, we offer a number of proposed policy approaches focussed on community based
The Macedon Ranges is already seeing significant reductions in rainfall and rising temperatures. We
live in an area of material wild-fire risk which could threaten the future of our communities if strong
action on climate change does not occur.
Our community is showing an exponential increase in interest and concern for a more sustainable future
As an illustration, a recent local community meeting focussed on renewable "clean" energy options was
standing room only.
Our judgement is that people in our community are increasingly basing their votes at local, state and
federal elections on the promised actions by politicians regarding climate change.
We consider targets suggested by Government are currently inadequate.
The rate of climate change is such that critical tipping points may be reached much sooner than
predicted. We support Australia’s leadership to implement a CPRS ahead of an international agreement.
Our ref mrsg green paper 9-09-08 1
However, to propose targets that are insufficient to avoid potential catastrophic climate change is not
consistent with helping lead the world to an effective international agreement
A reduction of about 90% is likely to be required by 2050 and 25% to 40% by 2020.
Not enough attention has been given to the allocation of permit revenue to support
complementary community group driven initiatives.
Both the Green Paper and the Garnaut Report highlighted that a carbon price alone can be insufficient
to overcome some of the barriers to changing behaviours. We propose a number of initiatives focussed
at the grass-roots community level which are complementary to the Green Paper. They aim to assist
our communities in overcoming these hurdles, and to make them more resilient to the impact that a
carbon price will have. To the extent that any carbon reduction scheme increases public revenue, this
should be returned to the community, industry and environment and be revenue neutral. We believe that
community based initiatives would rank very highly in any benefit to cost analysis, and hence should
get a material allocation of permit revenues
Community Group Driven Initiatives such as the following should be explicitly addressed:
• Improve funding of Community Groups focussed on emissions reduction. Provide funds that
facilitate education and demonstration initiatives.
• Fund the development of organisational ‘toolkits' to assist community group administration.
• Facilitate community funding mechanisms, such as group purchase activities, community
investment bond concepts.
• Fund the preparation of community resilience plans focussing on low carbon, low water, high
oil price future.
• Fund improved school sustainability approaches focussed on taking the next step in education
• Fund programs to facilitate community group driven car-pooling initiatives, and allow sharing
• Consider establishing and funding a body whose sole aim is to help community groups
• Provide funding that supports community groups to facilitate new technology demonstration
• Consider funding of training for community group members to undertake household energy
Our ref mrsg green paper 9-09-08 2
It is decision time. Like earlier civilisations that got into environmental trouble, we can decide to stay
with business as usual and watch our economy decline and eventually collapse, or we can consciously
adopt a new path that will sustain us. In the current situation, a lack of decisive action is a de facto
decision to move onto a path of decline and collapse.
1. The Science.
We agree that urgent action is required but consider targets suggested by Government are now
insufficient as rate of change is such that critical tipping points may be reached much sooner than
predicted. For Australia a reduction of about 90% is likely to be required by 2050 and if strong local
and international action is not taken soon catastrophic climate change may be unavoidable (Hansen and
2. Greenhouse targets.
The current targets nominated by the Australian Government and Garnaut are too modest for a country
which is a very large emitter per capita.
The suggestion for conditional targets with an upper and lower range is acceptable prior to the
Copenhagen conference settling on the next international greenhouse targets.
Australia needs to set a high upper target to be reached in a short time frame with the major gains being
from initial efficiency gains, no new coal fired stations (unless close to zero net emissions). Lost time
for action is likely to be disproportionately costly.
3. The Community.
Opinion polls have shown strong support for action on climate change. In our community there is
rapidly increasing support for renewable energy solutions which is exceeding the ability of the market
to supply solutions.
Support for community organisations that are driving low carbon projects warrants funding to increase
the rate of change through removing barriers to change and deepen community involvement and
ownership of the solutions.
4. Emission intensive exports.
The need to allow industries to remain competitive when exporting to other countries without carbon
reductions schemes is accepted.
However, this approach requires Government to make decisions which are complex and open to
pressure which may increase the complexity of management for Government. The alternative of a
widely based carbon tax with a border adjustment tax approach would avoid these judgement calls and
operate in a similar manner to a GST. As the level of the tax would be tied into overall emissions
targets, the level could be set independently, with the income from the tax being used to offset impacts
Our ref mrsg green paper 9-09-08 3
at individual and industry levels, provide incentives for near zero emissions technologies and support
5. The population and emissions link.
There is an inevitable connection between population growth and emissions growth. Failure to
recognise this link will make meeting emissions targets more difficult, both locally and internationally.
The development of a policy dealing with per capita emissions targets is essential, as ultimately
individual consumption is the driver of emissions.
The built infrastructure required to support additional population can be responsible for in the vicinity
of 30-40% of total emissions. While population growth supports much economic growth, it is not
essential as a driver of wellbeing and is unsustainable in the medium to long term.
6. Emissions, scare campaigns and the economy.
For much of the economy, an increased cost of emissions will be a key driver supporting improved
efficiency and adjustment to lower emission energy resources. There will be a reluctance on the part of
some emissions generators to change from business as usual.
While some assistance is warranted to achieve adaptation, we believe organisations with vested
interests are over-stating the impact on their businesses. The level of assistance being sought is
excessive and risks undermining the quick transition which is required to a low carbon economy.
A lack of policy support in the last decade in Australia resulted in a loss of renewable industry
innovators over the last decade. Other countries such as Germany have under less favourable climatic
conditions moved faster and achieved economic growth in the new technologies.
On balance, we do not support continued assistance to the fossil fuel industry that does not relate to
emission reduction, and consider that much more assistance should be directed to supporting activities
that provide more immediate reductions in emissions.
The level of assistance to existing power generators should be once-off and limited to the extent that it
prevents near term supply interruption. Any ongoing assistance will deter investment in improved
technologies which may make those generators viable such as super critical pressure pulse combustion
and carbon capture technologies.
7. Emissions trading - is it the best approach?
We would support continued exploration of all the alternatives that provide clear efficient price signals
that are complemented with grass roots measured aimed to change individual behaviour. The grass root
measures are critical as understanding the problem will support action and hasten adaptation and
change. A preferred alternative to emissions trading is a carbon tax complementing a suite of
regulatory, educational and supportive incentives.
Our ref mrsg green paper 9-09-08 4
8. The climate change three pillars.
We support the following climate change three pillars concept :
Pillar No 1 - reduction of greenhouse emissions by 60% by 2050. As noted before, the 60% target, on
the basis of most recent evidence will be insufficient and needs to be raised to about 90%.
Pillar No 2 - adaptation. Public funding ought to support appropriate research and development of new
low emission technologies. A carbon price alone is not enough to effectively drive research and
development in the time-frame required. The scope for public funding of adaptation by the corporate
sector should be time limited, as the key emitters have known the introduction of a carbon price was
Pillar No 3 - shaping a global solution. It is essential that policy move to give the issue a "wartime"
priority, but in a way that does not use ‘fear’ as a motivator.
9. The carbon pollution reduction scheme alternatives.
We would be supportive of considering a carbon tax in lieu of an ETS. It is simple, extends coverage
of the scheme, and may be more easily adapted into a global agreement.
10. Scheme coverage.
Transport. All sectors of transport are proposed to be included - we strongly endorse this action.
We do not endorse the short term fuel excise reduction - a general equivalent tax cut in lieu would have
been more capable of targeting those most in need while maintaining pressure for adjustment. Without
an early start to adjustment the eventual costs are inevitably higher for all.
Forests. We endorse the general thrust, in recognition that further research is required to obtain the best
informed outcomes on emissions and mitigation measures for these sectors. However, we consider that
deforestation must be included and should be included at the same time as agriculture is covered. In the
interim, regulatory controls should be introduced to provide for an Australia wide approach to
deforestation. Trees removed in the Northern Territory or Tasmania all have an impact in increasing
Urban development. We recognise this has not been specifically included as there are various State
programs aimed at reducing emissions by regulation and incentives. However, one measure which
would provide a significant improvement would be to mandate that new and replacement hot water
systems must be based on solar , unless heritage regulations preclude this option. All regulatory arms
need to be working in a consistent manner with the objectives of emissions reduction.
Support by the Federal Government through other policy areas for improved urban public transport and
rail freight upgrades would provide material policy assistance.
Australia should be moving on a downwards emission trajectory as soon as is possible - preferably
demonstrable by 2012. The carbon price should eventually be adjusted annually to ensure this outcome
with the adjustments being set by an independent body with powers similar to the Reserve Bank and
Our ref mrsg green paper 9-09-08 5
possibly incorporated in a body which would include the current powers of the reserve bank in addition
to carbon pricing.
Community support and understanding is essential for any change to succeed. In this regard the role of
all levels of Government and supportive community organisations is critical.
Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group.
PO Box 849
Our ref mrsg green paper 9-09-08 6