CPRS opponents “dinosaurs” says ACTU

November 4, 2009 at 2:06 am Leave a comment

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sharan Burrow has emailed tens of thousands of union activists with a plea to back the federal Labor government’s flawed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

An October 23 email to the Your Rights at Work campaign elist (reproduced below) called on unionists to pressure MPs and Senators to pass the controversial climate bill when it is presented to parliament for the second time in November. Coalition, Greens and Independent Senators rejected the CPRS bill in August.

A union campaign to support the CPRS is needed because a “small group of dinosaurs in parliament are planning to vote against climate change laws”, the email said.

However, Burrow’s “dinosaurs” include Greens parliamentarians who will vote against the CPRS because it would set pitifully weak emission cuts targets, ignore the climate science, hand-out billions of dollars to the big polluters and allow Australia’s emissions to rise.

Greens Senator Christine Milne told the National Press club in June: “Supporting the CPRS would mean Australia would have the same greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 as today … Rejecting the CPRS gives us hope that real solutions could be implemented … bringing down emissions far faster and cheaper.”

Most of Australia’s environmental NGO’s also oppose the CPRS laws. The more than 150 climate action groups present at January’s national Climate Summit said they would campaign “to prevent the CPRS from becoming law”.

Burrow said her email was on behalf of the Union Climate Connector Team. Union Climate Connectors is a joint initiative of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), the ACTU and nine unions.

It was launched in August to provide training and resources for union activists who want to take action on climate change.

The Union Climate Connector website does not specify support for the proposed CPRS.

On October 12, ACF campaigns director Denise Boyd said the Greens’ proposed amendments to the CPRS bill “were exactly kind of improvements we need if we want Australia’s emissions trading scheme to be environmentally effective”. However, Boyd also said the ACF’s support for the CPRS would continue unless the bill was further weakened.

In her email, Burrow said the CPRS would “help Australia cut greenhouse gasses and create up to million jobs.”

Yet the Australian Institute’s Richard Denniss said government claims about the CPRS were “spin” in an October 6 Crikey article.

“The Treasury modelling of the CPRS tells you all you really need to know about the CPRS”, said Denniss. “First, Australia’s domestic emissions will be no lower in 2019 than they were in 2008. Second, the carbon price will be so low that no coal fired power stations will be forced to close down. Third, all of the ‘reduction’ in emissions will come from importing permits from other counties.”

aust action emissions

Table shows the projections for Australia's emissions under the CRPS. Emissions will remain relatively stable before declining slowly, while the import of carbon offset permits from overseas will rise.


Sharan Burrow’s email to the Your Rights at work elist

“From: The “Your Rights at Work” Team
Sent: Friday, 23 October 2009 3:33 PM Subject: Union Climate Action


As we all know, a majority of Australians want action on climate change. But some politicians and business groups are acting like dinosaurs by continuing to block important climate change laws.

These laws will help Australia cut greenhouse gasses and create up to a million jobs in our new clean energy and existing traditional industries. In short, they are laws to create a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.

In November, this small group of dinosaurs in parliament are planning to vote against climate change laws for a second time.

I want to take this opportunity to talk to you about what else we can do and how we need your help for strong action on climate change

We have talked with many people across Australia about ramping up our activities by joining together with other community activists. It is clear we need to take our message to the suburbs, towns and regions to ensure all MPs and particularly Senators understand that Australians want these climate laws passed.

Between now and the end of November, we will be holding activities in conjunction with unions and local Trades and Labour Councils, taking our message to the streets in the same way we did in the Your Rights at Work campaign.

It will be simple and fun and designed to be educative.

If you would like to get involved, give us your contact details and we will link you up with activities in your area. Visit http://www.rightsatwork.com.au/campaigns/cleanenergyjobs/connectorssignup

This will make sure we get a strong message to those MPs and Senators who need our help to evolve.

In unity
Sharan Burrow and the Union Climate Connector Team


Entry filed under: ACF, ACTU, Australia's climate summit, Australian Greens, Carbon trading scheme, Christine Milne, Sharan Burrow, unions.

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