Climate Polluters Pay, NOT Taxpayers

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To the honourable Speaker and members of the House of Representatives

Most people recognise that the horrific bushfires devastating large sections of Australia are aggravated by climate change. Denial and misinformation have caused an impasse in climate policy over the past decade and cannot be allowed to continue. We welcome the acknowledgement by government and others that urgent action is required.

Sound solutions are immediately available. What has been lacking is the political will to implement them. We are hopefully learning from the disaster currently unfolding, and likely to continue for several more months.

One powerful solution, carbon fee and dividend(1), would provide a firm foundation for many other solutions.  It puts a fee on carbon emissions and returns all the net revenue to taxpayers as a dividend. Richard Holden and Rosalind Dixon at UNSW have modelled a carbon fee and dividend policy in the Australian economy and presented it as the Australian Carbon Dividend Plan(2).  A recent community survey(3) found 73% support for such a policy which lowers emissions and encourages investment in natural and technological solutions while stimulating the economy.

British Columbia implemented a revenue-neutral carbon price over a decade ago that reduced emissions, stimulated the economy and is increasingly embraced by the community. Due to this success, other provinces are now pricing carbon and the Canadian Federal government has implemented a fee and dividend policy for the remaining four provinces. Citizens will get their second annual dividend shortly.

We therefore call on the Australian Parliament to urgently work with civil society to:

1.  Develop and implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 in line with the IPCC Report on 1.5°C(4);

2.  Implement the Australian Carbon Dividend Plan or a similar carbon price in order to reduce our emissions and reduce climate disruption.