Australian PM Rudd Joins International Business Leaders for CEO Roundtable

25 September 2008

On September 24 2008, The °Climate Group hosted Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a CEO roundtable with key international business leaders that are leading on climate change.

Prime Minister Rudd was elected to office in November of 2007, supported by his progressive stance on climate change and pledges to take decisive action if elected. One of his first acts as prime minister was to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

During the briefing in New York, Prime Minister Rudd outlined his bold vision for domestic greenhouse gas reductions in Australia; plans to introduce a cap and trade program starting in 2010; and his vision for a global institute to support implementation of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology.

"We think it is time to have a one-stop shop for CCS, an integrated approach on where to go for information, research, technology and knowledge," said Mr. Rudd. "We see this as a global initiative, an open-source approach and are inviting direct participation from the international business community and government."

Mr. Rudd outlined that the world relies on coal for much of its energy, and that this was unlikely to change in the near future. Therefore, quickly implementing CCS technology is an important component of addressing global warming.

"The complexity can be mind-numbing, but we need leadership from government to explain it. It's time that we had an integrated plan with global resources behind it, and some serious funding behind it. This is not just to exhort action, but to actually do it."

Prime Minister Rudd has already moved quickly domestically, creating the position of Minister for Climate Change and Water and unveiling the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Speaking about the plan, Australian Minister for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, stated, "Climate change threatens our food production, agriculture, and water supplies. The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is a response to climate change that is economically responsible, supports families and prepares Australia for our future challenges."

At the heart of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is emissions trading, which creates an incentive to look for cleaner energy options, enables the market to find the most efficient ways to reduce emissions, and provides a revenue source to fund solutions.

The Australian government will use funding from permit sales to help households and business transition to clean energy. For example, to offset the initial price impact on fuel, the government will cut fuel taxes on a cent-for-cent basis.

To help business, the government will establish a fund to support a range of activities such as capital investment in innovative new low emissions processes, industrial energy efficiency projects with long payback periods and dissemination of best and innovative practice among small to medium sized enterprises.

"I would like to thank The Climate Group for their role in helping this happen," added Prime Minister Rudd. "None of this would work without serious corporate engagement, to secure the technology support and the financing to make it happen."

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