Survey says businesses back climate action

Monday, 01 July, 2013

A national survey report, released today, reveals that a large majority of businesses support a national reduction in carbon emissions, preferably through an emissions trading scheme. The survey was commissioned by Businesses for a Clean Economy (B4CE) - an initiative supporting long-term policies for a clean economy - and carried out by international consultants AECOM over a two-week period.

The survey was answered by over 150 businesses across 15 industry sectors, around 15% of which were liable to pay the carbon price. Yet almost 99% either strongly agreed (87.7%) or agreed (11%) that Australia should aim to reduce its carbon emissions. According to the report, this is a large increase on previous surveys in which “around 73% to 82% of Australians support actions to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change impacts”.

The preferred methods of carbon regulation did differ; when asked whether they supported a price-based mechanism to reduce carbon emissions, 64.7% of respondents indicated support for an emissions trading scheme with a floating price, while a carbon tax with a fixed price was supported by 28.8% of respondents. 3.3% of businesses did not support any form of price-based carbon policy, while another 3.3% were unsure.

B4CE spokesperson Jennifer Lauber Patterson explained the advantages of a market-based price for carbon reduction. “A market-based price, especially with international linkages, allows companies to choose how best to reduce their emissions and at the best price. International market linking also is likely to deliver comparable market prices to reduce exposure to trade exposed businesses in Australia.”

She said the survey’s results are consistent with the Australian Industry Group’s (Ai Group’s) support for a market-based trading scheme as the most effective way of achieving outcomes. The report says Ai Group has “urged an early move towards an emissions trading system, prompted, in part, by the fall in the European carbon price”.

Lauber Patterson noted the presence of emissions trading schemes “in 34 countries and 12 states including the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand and in California, with schemes being established in China and South Korea”.

“With five new schemes introduced so far this year, there is a growing momentum for the introduction of market-based schemes as an effective way to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Lauber Patterson concluded, “The message from a good cross-section of businesses in the survey seems to be clear: carbon pricing is working, let’s keep it and minimise any further disruption.”

The survey can be viewed here. A more detailed version will be available later this month.

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