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Build a coalition of the willing to make the CPRS work, says leading climate economist

The Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, which will be reconsidered by Parliament next week, won’t achieve its aims of reducing emissions quickly and efficiently, new research from Victoria University has found.

“The scheme needs to be revised before being implemented,” the Director of VU’s Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Professor Peter Sheehan, said tonight.

Delivering the third of six briefings on climate change policy, Professor Sheehan said the flaws in the scheme were too great to deliver the targeted reduction in Australian emissions of 25 per cent by 2020. This is especially so now that Australia is entering a major new resources boom.

“The problems with the scheme can be summarised as too many exemptions and concessions to polluting industries, and too little emphasis on direct measures to reduce emissions in transport and other sectors,” he said.

“In trying to negotiate a political settlement with business and the Coalition the Government has been forced to progressively weaken the scheme. A majority of Australians want strong action on climate change. There needs to be a meeting of minds of those who want effective action.

 “If we continue the current version of the CPRS the burden of reducing emissions will fall on sectors producing only about 40 per cent of overall emissions. Clearly this is unworkable.”

Professor Sheehan said the CPRS must be refashioned in the following ways:

  • Tighter limits on emissions growth in energy intensive export industries, such as aluminium and natural gas-based
  • Tighter regulations to control emissions in transport and buildings, and new investment programs to shift passengers and freight from road to rail
  • More  direct measures to rapidly shift electricity generation from coal to renewables


This analysis is supported by modelling work on the world economy, which shows that global emissions will rise rapidly as the world recovers from the global financial crisis. Advanced countries need to reduce emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 if the world is to have any chance of holding global warming to less than 2°C.

Victoria University is co-hosting the Melbourne Climate Policy Forum briefings each Thursday evening until 3 December. For further details:

Media contact: Jim Buckell, A/Senior Media Officer

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: [email protected]

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