The open letter below was sent to the members of the Multi Party Climate Change Committee and others:
firstname.lastname@example.org; Julia.Gillard.MP@aph.gov.au; Wayne.Swan.MP@aph.gov.au; Martin.Ferguson.MP@aph.gov.au; Greg.Combet.MP@aph.gov.au; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Robert.Oakeshott.MP@aph.gov.au; Tony.Windsor.MP@aph.gov.au.
The Multi-Party Climate Change Committee Secretariat
GPO Box 854
Canberra ACT 2601
Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC)
There has been a lot of media attention recently on the setting of a price on carbon announced by the MPCCC. We are a grass roots group concerned at the lack of serious response to the climate emergency. Therefore we would like to support the committee in its move to price carbon and we ask for the following:
Australia must have a carbon price. It is frankly embarrassing on the international stage that Australia has such a high emissions per capita and is doing much less than many other countries to reduce emissions.
- The price should be at least $25 and must rise within the next 3 years to at least $40.
- Petrol must be included. The wider the net the more equitable the cost burden will be on all sectors of the economy.
- There must be a genuine cap on emissions so that if the cap is not projected to be achieved then the price can be increased accordingly to achieve the targets.
- The $12 Billion of subsidies for fossil fuels must be slashed to zero within 3 years to avoid the situation where one government policy is causing an increase in fossil fuel use while another is trying to reduce such use.
- A price on carbon is not enough to stop increasing construction of fossil fuel power plants (e.g, gas fired power plants). Therefore, additional measures are needed such as a ban on new fossil fuel power stations and measures to drive increasing efficiency in energy use (e.g. vehicle fuel economy requirements).
- In particular money should not be invested in large scale new gas fired power. Such stations will become a liability within ten years as they will have to be shut down when they have not reached the end of their useable life.
- Money is to be put into direct plans to replace our fossil fuel energy systems such as the Zero Carbon Australia Plan (www.beyondzeroemissions.org). This includes the upgrading and extension of our transmission network to the tune of 10’s of billions of dollars in the next 3 years to provide for the construction of concentrating solar and wind power stations across the broad expanse of Australia.
- Re-training of coal workers and fossil fuel power station workers is required to assist them to move into the new renewable power industry where they will be needed to construct and maintain the huge new renewable power stations.
The latest science is clear that we must aim for a reduction of atmospheric CO2 concentrations to around 350 ppm and possibly lower. This means we must leave the remaining untapped resources of fossil fuels in the ground. We must aim for reductions in emissions of the order of 40% within the next 10 to 15 years to achieve this. If we don’t we will drive the climate into an unstable state.
A recent paper by Schaefer et al studies the release of methane from melting permafrost (Amount and timing of permafrost carbon release in response to climate warming, K. SCHAEFER, T. ZHANG, L. BRUHWILER, A. P. BARRETT, published in Tellus). It shows that we will already have the equivalent of 10% of current world carbon emissions occurring by 2030 [Ed: correction, mid 2030’s] from methane released by melting tundra (1 billion tonnes per year by 2030 and a total of 100 billion tonnes of carbon by 2100). The study does not take into account release of methane from other sources such as methane clathrates under the arctic seas and takes no account of the increased warming caused by the releases. Even more worrying, it does not take into account the fact that the carbon will be released as methane which is a much more powerful green house gas than CO2.
What this means is that we are already facing the start of runaway climate change, out of human control, within a couple of decades. There is now no excuse to delay any further the serious cutting of our emissions. The target of 40% by 2020 may not be strong enough. The target of 50% looks more likely as more research is released.
We urge the Committee to take the strongest action possible and not to lock Australia into emissions into the future that might have to be further cut in the future but to keep all options open for more stringent action in the coming years.
For Climate Future
(a committee of CEN, https://cultureswervecc.wordpress.com)
PO Box 149
OURIMBAH NSW 2258
02) 4349 4756