Climate Change Forum
With the carbon tax now implemented, it is timely to consider the impact of climate change abatement mechanisms on the economy.
- How can we adapt to the changes that will affect all of society in the coming years?
- What is needed to move from a fossil fuel-based energy economy to a renewable energy economy?
- How can we ensure that the poor and disadvantaged can be equitably treated through this change?
This forum will draw on the work of politicians, academics and activists to shine a light on these complex issues, through brief presentations and a Q&A style panel discussion.
NTEU Climate Change Forum
Friday August 10, 12:30 – 2:30
ECL3 (Economics, Commerce & Law Lecture Theatre 3)
Speakers include: Senator Scott Ludlam, Senator Louise Pratt, Associate Professor Linda Selvey, Associate Professor Alex Gardner and Adam McHugh.
If you have any questions please contact Beth Cole firstname.lastname@example.org
Tea, coffee and a light lunch will be provided.
Senator Scott Ludlam, Greens
Setting the country on a renewable energy pathway
The introduction of a carbon price in Australia has turned into one of the most divisive and poorly understood policy initiatives in modern history. In an arc of just five years, unanimous political support for adding a price signal to carbon pollution has fragmented, and the role of science in setting climate policy has been sidelined and abused.
Against this debased political backdrop and increasingly violent global weather patterns, what are the chances the ‘Clean Energy Future’ package will actually be given time to work? Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam will outline possibilities for reclaiming the debate and using the policy – and the funds it is raising – to set the country on a renewable energy pathway.
Senator Ludlam was elected in November 2007 as an Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia and is the Australian Greens' spokesperson for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy; Housing; Nuclear Issues; Heritage; Sustainable Cities; and assisting on Defence Material and Resources and Energy.
Initiating the nations' first federal inquiry into public transport, Scott has been a leading proponent of urban light rail and is passionate about cities and urban policy and the benefits of rapid, highly networked anywhere-to-anywhere transit. His campaign for a light rail network in Perth is coming to fruition after four years of work. The ‘bike blackspot’ iPhone app he developed has been a huge hit with cyclists Australia wide.
Scott has been a leading voice against internet censorship and online freedom and has championed public ownership of the National Broadband Network. Scott is a co-Chair of the Australian Parliamentarians for Democracy in Burma and a founding member of the Parliamentary Friends of SBS.
Senator Louise Pratt, Labor
A clean energy future: right for the climate and the economy
Economic revolutions come in waves: from the carbon-intensive Industrial Revolution to the telecommunications transformation of the late 20th Century. Now, governments across the world, including Australia, are driving a Clean Energy Revolution: from pricing carbon to leveraging investment in renewable energy. With the world on the verge of a new economic era, the Gillard Government is positioning Australia to be a leader of the Clean Energy Revolution. Labor Senator Louise Pratt will explain how the economic imperatives built into the Clean Energy Future package will ensure that Australia takes up the benefits of a low-carbon economy despite fierce and misguided political opposition.
Louise has been a member of the Australian Senate since July 2008.
Her key policy interests include combating climate change and economic inequality, increasing women's workforce participation, improving maternity services and early childhood education, ending all discrimination against LGBTI Australians, population and development issues and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Louise has been a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics, which undertook no less than 70 inquiries from 2008-2010, including inquiries into a range of matters pertaining to consumer rights, banking competition and carbon pricing. Louise also served on the Senate Climate Policy Selection Committee and the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts.
Associate Professor Alex Gardner
Faculty of Law, The University of Western Australia
Legal aspects of climate change in WA
One of the greatest impacts of climate change on Western Australia is the drying of the south-west of the State. If we add this climate pattern to the growing pattern of overuse of some of our scarce water resources, we can see a major adaptation challenge that should begin with water resources law reform. We need a much better defined framework to share the growing water scarcity with the natural environment. This ties in with a better understanding of the Commonwealth Government’s reforms to price carbon. The Clean Energy Act price on carbon is not legally, with the exception of some taxes on airline fuels, a tax – it is a fee for a permit to pollute by the emission of greenhouse gases. Further, there are general notions that may be distinct for taxes and pollution fees. Commercially, agreements often provide for taxes to be passed on to customers. Pollution fees, on the other hand, should be borne by the polluter and incentivise pollution reduction - customers should not have to pay them. Another role for the carbon pricing revenue should be to compensate those sections of the community that suffer climate change harm – especially through the drying climate.
Alex Gardner is Associate Professor of Law at The University of Western Australia where he teaches Administrative Law, Environmental Law and Water Resources Law to undergraduate and postgraduate students. He is also Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and a visiting lecturer at the University of Queensland Law School where he teaches Water Resources Law to postgraduate students. In 2010 he began teaching in the interdisciplinary postgraduate program of the International Water Centre: http://www.watercentre.org/.
Alex researches in Natural Resources and Environmental Law, with a special focus on Water Resources Law. He is the lead author with Richard Bartlett and Janice Gray of Water Resources Law, July 2009. He is also one of three legal academics participating in the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, established in 2009 with funding from the Australian Research Council and the National Water Commission: http://www.groundwater.com.au/.
Alex maintains an environmental law practice, assisting the Environmental Defenders Office (WA) for many years as well as private firms. In recent years, he has advised the Western Australian and Commonwealth Governments.
School of Engineering & Energy, Murdoch University
Will prices rise with the Carbon Price?
If producers are forced to pay $23/t for their greenhouse gas emissions, the price of products delivered to final demand will be expected to rise. The question is: by how much? In my presentation I will report on the results of an input-output based analysis that I have conducted on two ‘typical’ products, a birthday cake and GDP. The method used data from Australia’s National Accounts and National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Results indicated that final consumers will be unlikely to feel the impact of carbon pricing on low energy intensive products. The price impact will be essentially a one-off phenomenon felt in the first year of the scheme with minimal impact in subsequent years.
Associate Professor Linda Selvey
School of Public Health, Curtin University
Human health implications of climate change mitigation
The growth in reliance on fossil fuels has been accompanied by a growth in chronic diseases relating to obesity, poor diet and insufficient physical activity. In addition, the burning of fossil fuels causes air pollution that is damaging to human health. Therefore, many of the measures that we can take to reduce our carbon dioxide will result in improved health. This includes the food we eat, the way we travel, and the way in which we generate electricity. In my presentation I will discuss the health benefits of reducing carbon emissions.
Associate Professor Linda Selvey is Deputy Head of School of Public Health at Curtin University. She was previously CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific and prior to that Executive Director Population Health Queensland. She is a public health physician with strong interests in the link between environment and health. She was trained by Al Gore as a climate change presenter and has given many presentations about the links between climate change and health.