If climate change continues unmitigated over the coming years, it will cause serious and damaging economic dislocation across the world, with Australia set to suffer the worst consequences. For Australia, unmitigated climate change will come at a huge economic cost, not least of which will include severe and damaging impacts to the nation’s infrastructure and the death of ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef.
Australia needs to reduce pollution and take serious action against dangerous climate change.
That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will:
- Introduce a domestic emissions trading scheme that will have two distinct phases. The first phase is designed to get Australia’s pollution levels back under control and to establish the architecture for an enduring ETS. The second phase will then drive the long-term transition in our economy;
- Phase one of the ETS will operate for two years, from 1 July 2018 until 30 June 2020 to align with the second (and final) commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol;
- Phase two of the ETS will operate from 1 July 2020. Pollution levels will be capped and reduced over the course of the decade in line with Australia’s international commitments under the Paris agreement;
- The broader ETS does not apply to the electricity sector (see separate fact sheet on Cleaner Power Generation); and
- The scheme will allow business to work out the cheapest and most effective way to operate and will not involve taxpayers handing over billions of dollars to Australia’s large polluters.
Climate change does not just pose a threat to the ecosystems and infrastructure at risk, the costs will be more real and wide ranging. Unabated climate change will cause huge upheaval in financial markets across the world, markets which underpin the wealth of Australians and the retirement incomes of Australia’s ageing population. Recent studies have put the cost of unmitigated climate change to investors around the world at US$2.4-US$24 trillion.
Ambitious global mitigation action is necessary to avert this pending environmental and economic crisis. Recent global agreements have been positive. At the Paris climate change meetings, governments around the world, including Australia agreed to limit temperature rises well below 2 degrees Celsius whilst also acknowledging the need to for global emissions to peak as soon as possible.