Proposed changes to the CPRS

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Joint Letter by 66 Climate Action Groups

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Date: 5th May 2009


Dear Prime Minister

The 66 Climate Action Groups signing this letter are completely shocked by your decision yesterday to further weaken Australia’s position on climate change. We believe that you have abandoned your duty of care to protect the Australian people as well as our species and habitats from dangerous climate change. Groups strongly oppose your new 2020 emissions reduction target band of 5-25%below 2000 levels:

  • We have consistently called for targets based on the best available climate science,

which calls for reductions of at least 40 – 50% by developed countries by 2020.

  • The 5% unconditional target would, according to the world’s top scientists, commit us

to catastrophic climate change and the IPCC’s worst-case scenarios.

  • The 25% upper target, if applied globally, would lead to at least 2° C of warming and the

loss of the Great Barrier Reef. This is an untenable position and we cannot accept it.

  • These targets also remain out of step with the unconditional targets agreed to by other

developed nations (the UK, US and EU have agreed to cut emissions by 34-46%, 20% and 20-30% from 1990 levels respectively).

Groups also assert that a global agreement based on 450ppm CO2e will not protect the Great Barrier Reef, as you suggested yesterday. International scientists estimate that atmospheric CO2 needs to be no more than 350ppm, but preferably closer to 300ppm, to avoid dangerous climate change.

Your decision to further weaken the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) by increasing the number of free permits, delaying the Scheme by a year and introducing a $10 price cap in the first year, completely flies in the face of the thousands of submissions that were lodged by concerned communities, scientists and individuals.

Groups, once again, recommend you urgently fix the fundamental flaws in the CPRS by:

  • Urgently exclude international permits from the CPRS so that actual emissions in Australia will begin to fall from 2010 onwards, rather than reductions only taking place from 2035 onwards (as forecast by the Federal Treasury).
  • Remove the emission floor in the CPRS (which prevents emissions from falling below the

5% target), to ensure that individual action can contribute to additional emissions abatement over and above the 5-25% emissions reduction target band.

The proposed ‘Australian Carbon Trust’ does not address our concerns on the need for individual action to be additional to the 5% target. The Trust simply formalises what individuals were always able to do anyway. No matter what individuals do to reduce emissions we can never go beyond the 5% target.

  • Exclude both reforestation and deforestation from the Scheme – Groups note the current

treatment creates a market distortion in favour of increasing native forest logging. This requires urgent rectification.

  • Replace ALL free-permits in the CPRS with a system of Border Adjustments, to

ensure that these sectors transition to a lower emissions intensity without being unduly disadvantaged in the international market.

  • Change the requirements for the $3.9 billion of assistance to coal-fired generators

under the CPRS to be conditional upon a phase-out plan for these generators.

Yesterday’s announcement has confirmed to us that you have not been able to stand up to the immense pressure exerted upon you by industry.

Your election promises to the Australian people on climate change were clear and unequivocal. Despite all of this, you have chosen to put industry interests above the national interest.

We stand by our comments to the Senate last month – we believe that your climate change ‘spin’ is deceptive and misleading to both the Australian public and the international community.

The 66 Climate Action Groups signing this letter urge you to treat climate change as the emergency it is, and broker an ambitious new climate deal for Australia that truly addresses the needs of future generations, builds new jobs in ecologically sustainable industries and protects our precious species and habitats.

Contact for this letter: Tracey Tipping, Climate Action Pittwater, ph: 0411 861 269.

Yours sincerely

  1. Aldinga Climate Action Group, SA
  2. Alpine Riverkeepers, NSW
  3. Ararat Greenhouse Action Group Inc, VIC
  4. Australian Forest and Climate Alliance, National
  5. Bathurst Community Climate Action Network (BCCAN), NSW
  6. Bayside Climate Change Action Group (BCCAG), VIC
  7. Bendigo Sustainability Group (BSG), VIC
  8. Beyond Zero Emissions, VIC
  9. Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions (BREAZE), VIC
  10. Boroondara Sustainability Network, VIC
  11. Canberra and South East Region Environment Centre Inc, ACT
  12. Carbon Equity, VIC
  13. Citizens Climate Campaign, NSW
  14. Clean Energy For Eternity - Jindabyne, NSW
  15. Clean Energy For Eternity - Palerang, NSW
  16. Climate Action Brisbane, QLD
  17. Clean Energy For Eternity - Bega, NSW
  18. Climate Action Canberra, ACT
  19. Climate Action Hobart, TAS
  20. Climate Action Newtown, NSW
  21. Climate Action Pittwater, NSW
  22. Climate Action Tomaree (WG of EcoNetwork Port Stephens), NSW
  23. Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle, NSW
  24. Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), SA
  25. Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) West, SA
  26. Climate Emergency Network, VIC
  27. Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association Inc, VIC
  28. Darebin Climate Action Now, VIC
  29. Drummoyne/Canada Bay/Lowe Climate Action Group, NSW
  30. Emerald for Sustainability, VIC
  31. Environment House, WA
  32. Families Facing Climate Change, VIC
  33. 450ppm, NSW
  34. Green Coast Catalysts, NSW
  35. Greenleap Strategic Institute, VIC
  36. Greenlivingpedia – For A Sustainable Future (
  37. Jamberoo FutureCare, NSW
  38. Katoomba Area Climate Action Now, NSW
  39. Kyogle Climate Action Network, NSW
  40. Lismore Climate Action Group, NSW
  41. Locals into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE), VIC
  42. Lighter Footprints, VIC
  43. Moonee Valley Climate Action, VIC
  44. Moreland Climate Group, VIC
  45. Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG), VIC
  46. Mums, Kids and Climate, SA
  47. National Toxics Network, NSW
  48. Otway Ranges Climate Action (ORCA), VIC
  49. Our Future is the Natural World, NSW
  50. ParraCAN, NSW
  51. People for a Safe Climate (Inner City Sydney CAG), NSW
  52. Plug-In Australia, NSW
  53. Quest 2025, QLD
  54. SEE-Change Inc, ACT
  55. SEE-Change Inner South, ACT
  56. South-East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA), NSW
  57. Southern Otway Landcare Network (SOLN), VIC
  58. Surf Coast Energy Group, VIC
  59. Sustainability in Stonnington, VIC
  60. Sustainable Environment Education Development Inc (SEED), VIC
  61. Sustainable Living Foundation, VIC
  62. Sutherland Climate Action Network, NSW
  63. UQ Climate for Change (Students and Staff at UQ), QLD
  64. Victorian Climate Action Centre, VIC
  65. Yarra Climate Action Now!, VIC
  66. Zero Carbon Network, SA
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