The Facts on Carbon Pricing Laid Out

The City's timely forum on the facts surrounding the price on carbon was a huge success on Wednesday night. The forum was a sell out event, with 900 people registering to attend.

I was proud to commend the passing of the legislation that will see a price on carbon introduced from the middle of next year. Other speakers included:

  • Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet;
  • Minister for Human Services and Social Inclusion, Tanya Plibersek;
  • Telstra board member and author, Geoff Cousins;
  • CEO of Sustainable Business Australia Andrew Petersen; and
  • Economics Editor for the SMH, Ross Gittins.

The package and its impacts on the economy, environment, households and business - was clearly and compellingly explained, dispelling the misinformation that has surrounded the issue.

Despite reports to the contrary, we are not the first country to place a price on carbon. China has announced plans for an emissions trading scheme to be rolled out in six provinces by 2013 and for a national scheme by 2015. Many other countries have also introduced a price on carbon.

Renowned economics writer Ross Gittins made it very clear that the impact of pricing carbon on households would be minimal - much less frightening than some have been telling us. He explained that our fluctuating dollar has a much more substantial impact and that a carbon price will be nothing like the impact of the GST.

Businessman Geoff Cousins made the clear point that business must and will adjust, and that in the adjustment there would be significant opportunity for innovation.

Geoff said that the carbon price was a relief for investors and industry because it provided business certainty. He said three Prime Ministers had tried to get similar legislation through and that this one should be congratulated for getting it done.

Andrew Peterson of Sustainable Business Australia spoke about the work small business was already doing to reduce their energy bills, and how they have time to plan now to mitigate any impacts the carbon price might have on their business models.

The City's work with business shows that business operators are ready and willing to invest in making their business sustainable and are achieving significant savings on their energy and water bills.

Cities are responsible for 75 to 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, so we know that it is action in cities that provides greatest opportunity for deep cuts in emissions.

Our efforts to cut emissions by 70 per cent will be easier once the carbon-pricing scheme comes into effect. With the carbon price set and increases capped over three years, we have greater certainty and can assess our strategies and projects accordingly.

Our operations have been Carbon Neutral since 2007 and I was delighted that this was officially recognised on the night. (See Photo)

We are in the critical decade and the decisions we make from now until 2020 will determine the severity of climate change that our children and grandchildren will experience.

the 'Chicken Littles' rush around claiming the sky will fall down, the facts were confirmed by our speakers - revenue from the carbon price will flow into emission reduction projects, clean energy, job reallocation and to compensation for industry and households.

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