The Edmund Rice Centre today congratulated the Federal Government on the decision to introduce a carbon price from July next year, with Green and Independent support.
The decision proposes an initial carbon tax rising at an agreed annual rate before moving to an emissions trading scheme with a market-determined price sometime between 2015 and 2017.
ERC Director Phil Glendenning said: “The Government’s decision is a step in the right direction to stimulate sufficient investment to help Australia achieve 30 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.”
For the past five years the Edmund Rice Centre has been deeply engaged in the campaign to give voice to the people of those Pacific Island communities which are most affected by climate change. These include Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, and Palau. A number of Torres Strait Islander communities at the northern tip of Queensland are also threatened.
“It is important that Australia provides a leadership role on climate change within our region,” Mr Glendenning said.
“We have seen the human face of disasters in the Queensland and Victorian floods. Australia and our neighbours in Pacific Island communities face ever larger king tides, bigger storm surges and longer droughts,” he said.
“But the Pacific islands have fewer material resources to handle the challenge of climate change. We need to see the human face of a slowly evolving disaster that threatens our Pacific Island neighbours”
A United Nations climate change panel predicts that sea level rises caused by climate change will make many islands of Kiribati uninhabitable because of salination by 2100.
“Pacific Island countries, which themselves have contributed next to nothing to the human causes of climate change, have most to gain from the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that will result from measures such as Australia’s carbon tax,” Mr Glendenning affirmed.
“The tax will help investors to realise that coal is yesterday’s fuel,” he concluded.