The United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement underlines the importance of ensuring our own climate policies offer Australian businesses access to clean, affordable energy, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:
“The Paris agreement, signed by 195 parties, offered business the greatest certainty to date on the direction of global action to address climate change. The framework provides Australian business the necessary confidence that Australian policy would be aligned globally. We are pleased that Australian Government has reconfirmed its commitment to the agreement.
“While we are disappointed to see the United States withdraw from the Paris agreement, it simply underlines the importance of ensuring our own energy policies provide certainty, both in terms of policy and supply.
“Energy security, reliability and affordability are fundamental to all businesses and consumers. Businesses rely on energy to operate factories, deliver services and extract minerals, so when energy cannot be guaranteed jobs and investment are at risk.
“Australia’s ratification of the Paris agreement was a signal to other nations that we are willing to work cooperatively to address this global issue. It would be a breath of fresh air to see our domestic politics take a similar cooperative approach.
“The Paris agreement allows each country to develop its own policies to achieve climate targets. What Australian business critically needs is a bipartisan approach that ensures domestic policy measures are stable, predictable and provide long-term certainty and affordability for business.
“For businesses to invest, either in energy production or manufacturing, they need to have confidence about future prices and policies. This means a bipartisan approach and an end to point-scoring on both sides of the climate debate. When each alternative government threatens to undo the policies of its predecessor, investment decisions are delayed or deferred, which hurts productivity and jobs.
“The challenge for business is not just from policies at a federal level. Conflicting state priorities on renewable energy confuse the market, drive up costs and compromise energy security. We need a national approach.
“Businesses employ more than four out of every five Australians in the workforce. Those jobs are threatened when energy security, reliability and affordability is threatened.
“If Australian politicians can provide this leadership, it will reduce the uncertainty created by the US withdrawal and could even help Australia gain a competitive edge – for business in general and in the development of emissions reduction and abatement technology in particular.”