Garnaut’s carbon price will not prevent the worst impacts of climate change

Media Releases article written on the 17 Mar 2011

International aid agency Oxfam Australia today said Professor Ross Garnaut’s proposed carbon price of around $20 – $30 per tonne would not prevent the most severe impacts of climate change.

Oxfam Australia Climate Change Policy Advisor Kelly Dent said while it was good that Garnaut’s report highlighted the price per tonne of carbon needed to reduce emissions, the proposed prices fall far short of the minimum benchmark Australia should consider.

In his report Professor Garnaut conceded that a starting price of $52 per tonne would be needed for Australia to reduce its emissions by its stated reduction target of 25 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.

“Pricing carbon at $52 a tonne is far from an ambitious leap – it is simply what is needed to deliver on an emissions reduction target that was inadequate in the first place,” Ms Dent said.

“Developed countries like Australia need to cut emissions by 40 per cent below 1990 levels for the world to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.

“Currently Australia is on course to actually increase its emissions by around 24 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.

“We need to price carbon in a way that reverses this trend and drastically reduces carbon pollution.

“In its work around the world Oxfam is witnessing the impact of climate change on poor people in developing countries now.

Ms Dent said that while a price on carbon and an emissions trading scheme were important, Australia needs to work with the international community to explore other ways the private sector can generate finance to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

“Currently international shipping releases more greenhouse gas emissions than Canada into the atmosphere each year.

“Australia should explore levies on shipping fuel that would serve to reduce emissions while also raising money for climate change adaptation programs,”

“A tiny tax of 0.05 per cent on all financial transactions would have the potential to raise $16 billion in Australia for domestic public services, overseas development and to assist poor people in adapting to the devastating impacts of climate change,” Ms Dent said.

Kelly Dent is available for interview. For interviews or more information, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.