Monday, February 2, 2009

Labor loses backing on emissions

THE Australian Conservation Foundation has abandoned its support for the Federal Government's emissions trading scheme and vowed to campaign against it being passed through the Senate.

The foundation told a Senate committee yesterday that the Government's proposed emissions scheme would "lock in failure" on climate change if introduced in its current form.

The stance is backed by 150 community-based climate groups planning to converge on Parliament House today to protest against the Government's "weak" climate change policies.

Under its scheme, announced last year, the Government proposes to cut greenhouse emissions by between 5 and 15 per cent by 2020 and give coal-fired power generators almost $4 billion in free permits over the first five years.

The Australian Conservation Foundation initially vowed to mobilise public opinion to force the Government to toughen up the scheme.

But its climate change campaigner, Owen Pascoe, said yesterday its position had now toughened to rejecting the Government's scheme outright unless it was improved.

"It actually has to get the job done and contribute to an international agreement," Mr Pascoe said. "We cannot support the flaws that have been built into the model."

Today's protest follows a three-day national meeting of community climate groups, including about 20 from Victoria.

Meanwhile, a Coalition-dominated Senate committee yesterday released a report attacking Treasury modelling of the economic impact of emissions trading.

The report criticised the Treasury for failing to consider the global financial downturn.

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