Business wants more climate action: survey

Rebecca Gredley
(Australian Associated Press)


Australia’s business sector thinks the federal government should beef up its climate change policies, a survey has found.

The Carbon Market Institute has on Thursday released the findings of its annual business survey, with 94 per cent of respondents saying Australia’s policies are not enough to reduce emissions in line with the 2030 Paris target.

The survey of 220 business and industry leaders includes people from the mining, oil, gas and manufacturing sectors.

More than a third work for companies with such high greenhouse gas emissions they have to report the levels to government.

Nearly all respondents – 96 per cent – think the longer Australia puts off decarbonising, the more abrupt, forceful and disruptive the policy response will be.

A similar number don’t think Australia’s policies in the area provide high emitting companies a stable environment for long-term investments.

The institute’s chief executive John Connor says the survey shows many Australian businesses are planning to transition towards net-zero emissions.

“Business is looking for more ambitious climate policies to set a defined pathway and assist them in managing this,” he said on Thursday.

“We are seeing a gap between business expectations and government policy, and it is concerning business.”

More than 80 per cent of respondents think Australia should have a net-zero emissions by 2050 goal.

Slightly less – 76 per cent – don’t think the nation should be allowed to use so-called “carryover credits” to achieve emissions reduction targets.

Seven per cent think Australia should be able to, while 17 per cent were on the fence.

United Nations climate talks recently held in Spain were poised to deal with the issue of whether or not Australia can use the credits, but the rules have not been settled.

The carryover credits let the government use past achievements towards the Paris target.

Without carryover credits Australia is not on track to meet its 2030 emissions reduction goal, which is a 26 to 28 per cent reduction on 2005 levels.

The centrepiece of the Morrison government’s plan to reduce emissions is the Emissions Reduction Fund, where companies are paid by taxpayers to reduce their pollution using certain methods.

About 70 per cent of survey respondents don’t believe the list of approved methods is enough to cover the most viable ways of emissions avoidance and carbon abatement

Slightly more think the government should put more money towards research and development in the emissions reduction and carbon farming space.

In the past year, 42 per cent of respondents said their organisations faced increased shareholder action regarding climate change.


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