Scrap the CPRS
A Call for Green Senators to Vote NO

Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the government’s main mechanism for reducing Australia’s carbon emissions, fails every test. 

It is based on pitifully low reduction targets of 5 to 15 per cent, when we need a transition to 100 per cent emissions cuts as fast as possible. It includes free permits and compensation for the same big polluters that created the problem in the first place.

It allows corporations to purchase an unlimited number of “offsets” from other countries—meaning the CPRS could actually allow Australia’s emissions increase. It relies on a carbon trading mechanism that has failed to reduce emissions elsewhere. In Europe, the carbon trading scheme has collapsed twice already as the carbon price plummeted. (Higher targets in Europe made no difference).

The climate movement has loudly rejected the CPRS, voting to make stopping it a key campaign objective at the January Climate Summit in Canberra. Rejecting the CPRS will be part of World Environment Day rallies in June.

The CPRS would lock in a useless scheme until 2015—delaying for five crucial years any serious action to reduce emissions.

The Greens Senators have rightly labelled the scheme as “worse than useless”. But so far the Senators have only promised to block the legislation “in its current form”. There are worrying signs that Greens Senators are focusing on negotiating with the government and may be willing to support the legislation with minor amendments. For instance a recent Australian Greens National Council motion “Calls on the Rudd Government to rethink its plans to allocate compensation on the basis of lobbying power rather than sound economic theory and environmental policy.” This amounts to tinkering with the scheme rather than outright rejection. The climate movement needs the Greens to vote NO.

Minor concessions will not improve this scheme. Relying on market mechanisms to deliver major emissions reductions will not work. Serious action to bring down carbon emissions requires direct government investment in renewable energy, public transport, and energy efficiency.

The Rudd government has found $42 billion for an economic stimulus package and has just announced that it will invest billions in building a broadband network. Public investment in climate clearly is possible. Even a portion of such government spending would allow the phasing-out of coal-fired power stations to begin immediately.

We need to send the strongest possible message to the Rudd government. If the CPRS legislation is passed, with Green support, it will be a setback to the climate movement. A useless scheme will be locked in and the Rudd government will claim that it has taken a major step to reduce emissions when we know that is not true.

The climate movement needs The Green Senators to vote NO.

We call on The Greens Senators to force the government to get serious on climate change; to vote for the environment, by voting down the CPRS legislation.

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