Friday, July 11, 2008

Garnaut rules out emissions trading petrol price link

ABC News Online, Posted Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:17pm AEST 

Updated Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:41pm AEST

The Federal Government's climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, has ruled out a link between an emissions trading scheme and rising petrol prices.

A new CSIRO report predicts the cost of petrol could blow out to $8 per litre by 2018.

The Fuel for Thought report also suggests an emissions trading program will have only a moderate impact on petrol prices.

Professor Garnaut has told a forum in Brisbane that oil is a separate issue.

"That has nothing to do with the emissions trading scheme," he said.

"That's what happens, they think as a result of increases in global oil prices and if that happens it's got nothing to do with the emissions trading scheme."

Professor Garnaut also says the trucking industry should not be compensated if an emissions trading scheme is introduced.

But he says the scheme will have a minimal impact on fuel prices compared to rising oil prices.

"The people who pay the high prices should be compensated not the trucking industry," he said.

"I think there's a lot of exaggeration going on and the important thing is that when some goods and services rise there's adequate compensation in other ways for low income Australian households."

But Queensland's Transport Workers Union president Hughie Williams says the emissions trading scheme will increase fuel prices significantly.

He says some trucking companies will go out of business without compensation.

"If fuel goes up cartage must go up and if cartage goes up to any of the major retail stores then up goes the price of the prices and the cost of living," Mr Williams said.

"So irrespective of what they do truck drivers have got to be reimbursed because if they don't get reimbursed they can't afford to have their truck on the road."

Professor Garnaut told the forum Queensland could be one of the nation's biggest losers if no action is taken to mitigate against climate change.

He said that Queensland shares a big interest in getting it right.

"There are serious risks to the Great Barrier Reef, the drying and warming of southern Australia will have its effects through the Darling Downs and the rest of the Queensland... end of the Murray Darling system," he said.

"The warming of the state, that's already a warm state, will have significant health impacts."

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