Govt announces Climate
Change Authority board
THE federal Government has announced the make-up of the independent authority that will recommend how fast Australia cuts greenhouse gas emissions under its controversial pollution price regime.
The Climate Change Authority will act much like the central bank and advise on key aspects of Labor’s emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Former Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Bernie Fraser was appointed chair of the authority in mid-2011 and seven other board members have been named.
They include serving RBA board member Heather Ridout, well-known academics Clive Hamilton and John Quiggin, public sector economist Lynne Williams, businessman John Marlay, AustralianSuper chair Elana Rubin and climate scientist David Karoly.
The country’s chief scientist, Ian Chubb, is an ex-officio member of the authority.
“This is a very strong board,” says Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet.
The authority will recommend intermediate targets to ensure Australia meets its pledge to cut emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 from 2000 levels. The long-term target is an 80 per cent reduction by 2050.
But the authority won’t have the final say on pollution caps, which remain the responsibility of the government and the parliament.
Labor’s carbon tax starts in 10 days with a fixed pollution rice of $23 a tonne, before moving to an ETS from mid-2015.
Big emitters will have to buy permits under the ETS, with pollution levels determined by the number of permits issued.
The authority will recommend caps for the first five years of the flexible-price period by early 2014.
It will also advise the federal Government on the reporting system, carbon farming initiative and renewable energy target, or RET.
An overall review of the carbon price regime is due by late 2016.
The Australian Greens hope the authority will “depoliticise” the fraught process of setting emission reduction targets.
The Australian Conservation Foundation says the appointments today (June 22) will ensure the government receives respected advice on climate change policy.
“The Climate Change Authority is well placed to become the Reserve Bank of climate change,” spokesman Tony Mohr has told Sydney media.