The Australian Greens have today written to the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and all relevant Senators proposing a deadlock-breaking interim solution to get Australia moving ahead with real action on the climate crisis.
The Greens propose that Professor Garnaut's suggestion of a two year carbon price fixed at $20 a tonne be implemented. This interim measure in the transition to a functional and effective emissions trading scheme would provide a $5 billion dividend for households and further revenue to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency and other emissions reducing options.
"We Greens are putting forward another positive proposal to break the political deadlock and get Australia moving ahead to a clean future," Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown said.
"The interim scheme is a building block for future action that's got real teeth. It will give certainty to increasingly impatient investors and will direct billions of dollars to Australia's householders instead of paying polluters to keep polluting.
"If we can get broad, cross-party support for this proposal it will show both investors and global negotiators that Australia is serious about tackling the climate crisis."
The proposal (details available on request) would:
• use the existing CPRS structure with a carbon price fixed at $20 a tonne (2005 dollars);
• recycle revenue to support household, commercial, industrial and transport emissions reductions;
• prevent the use of international offsets in the CPRS, as international trading is not possible in the interim fixed-price period;
• be in surplus rather than deficit in the first two years; and
• get moving immediately, bringing the start date back to July 1 2010.
"The beauty of this interim proposal is that it sends investors the beginnings of the signal they need without locking in climate failure, as the CPRS would do in its current state," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.
"This scheme is designed to be strengthened later whereas, if the CPRS is passed as it stands, it will be almost impossible to lift its ambition. Unlike the CPRS, there is no way this proposal can hold back action.
"With no prospect of Mr Abbott supporting the CPRS, bringing the bill back in February is looking like a political exercise that will get the government nowhere.
"We propose to move immediately with an interim low carbon price. We can then discuss the longer term solutions Australia will need over the coming two years, secure in the knowledge that a carbon price is already in place, helping to unleash innovative and job creating climate solutions."