Climate crisis: business leaders say cost to taxpayers will spiral unless new policies introduced

(The Guardian, 30 Oct 2019) Organisations such as Australian Industry Group and National Farmers’ Federation letter says greater private-sector action needed.

Industry, farming and investor groups say the federal government signed up to a goal of global net zero emissions under the Paris agreement and have warned unless new policies are introduced taxpayer spending on climate programs will need to be dramatically increased.

A joint letter by 10 business organisations, including the Australian Industry Group and the National Farmers’ Federation, says the government will either need to back new climate policies that drive private-sector action or boost taxpayer funding now and into the future.

The letter was sent to a panel of business leaders and policy experts appointed by Angus Taylor, the emissions reduction minister, to find new ways to “enhance” the emissions reduction fund, the government’s main climate policy. The panel’s appointment, which was not made public, is seen as an admission the fund is not reducing national pollution.

Only select groups were asked to give feedback to a discussion paper circulated by the panel. The Clean Energy Council confirmed it wasn’t approached “directly” to participate in the rapid-fire review, which began in mid-October and is expected to offer initial feedback early next month, but said it welcomed the government’s putative shift on one of its signature policies.

The business group letter says the 10 organisations have different views on policy but agreed on broad principles that should underpin what the government does.

It says Australia’s medium-term climate target set for 2030 is just a staging post on the way to meeting the Paris deal goals of keeping global heating well below 2C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5C.

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The Guardian, 30 Oct 2019: Climate crisis: business leaders say cost to taxpayers will spiral unless new policies introduced