Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme a lost opportunity: Make Poverty History

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 16 Jul 2008

The Government has missed a key opportunity to assist our developing country neighbours to cope with the impacts of climate change, Make Poverty History said today.
Revenues from the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme should be used not only to reduce Australia’s own greenhouse emissions but also to fund Australia’s fair share of assisting developing countries which are struggling to cope with the ongoing negative effects of climate change.
“Senator Wong announced what she called a ‘responsibility agenda – taking responsibility for what we are doing to our planet … and protecting our economic prosperity’,” Make Poverty History acting co-chair James Ensor said.
“However, the Green Paper fails to see the bigger picture and take responsibility for the pollution that Australia has caused as one of the world’s highest per capita emitters, and the devastation this is causing right now for working families just outside our borders.”
Mr Ensor said that within our region, people living in low-lying islands and river deltas were already experiencing the negative results of climate change, including rising seas and salt water inundation. This contributed to crop losses, destruction of fresh water sources and flooding.
“The nation of Tuvalu faces the prospect of disappearing completely, as do other low-lying islands in the Pacific, including those in Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands,” he said.
Mr Ensor said the Green Paper placed too much emphasis on actions that developing countries need to take to reduce emissions and not enough on what developed countries should be doing to support them.
“The Government’s Green Paper should have tackled the injustice at the heart of climate change – that poor people in developing countries, who are the most affected, are least responsible for causing climate change,” Mr Ensor said.
“Giving away free permits to high polluters, with no end date to the handouts, undermines the strength of the scheme and sends the wrong message to business and the Australian community.”
Australia needs to show leadership by encouraging investment in renewable energies and using revenues from the proposed scheme to assist developing countries cope with climate change.
However, Mr Ensor welcomed the Government’s decision to compensate low-income households in Australia for any rising costs the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme might bring.
Make Poverty History in Australia is a coalition of more than 60 aid and community organisations working together to tackle global poverty. Go to
To interview James Ensor please contact Laurelle Keough, on 03 9289 9336, 0409 960 100,