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Emissions trading and reducing carbon pollution
Senate committee
Friday, 1 May 2009
Emissions trading and reducing carbon pollution

CHAIR (Senator Colbeck) —I declare open the ninth and final hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy. On 11 March 2009, the Senate established this committee to inquire into policies relating to climate change. The terms of reference for this inquiry direct the committee to examine:

(a) the choice of emissions trading as the central policy to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution, taking into account the need to:

(i) reduce carbon pollution at the lowest economic cost,

(ii) put in place long-term incentives for investment in clean energy and low-emission technology, and

(iii) contribute to a global solution to climate change;

(b) the relative contributions to overall emission reduction targets from complementary measures such as renewable energy feed-in laws, energy efficiency and the protection or development of terrestrial carbon stores such as native forests and soils;

(c) whether the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is environmentally effective, in particular with regard to the adequacy or otherwise of the government’s 2020 and 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in avoiding dangerous climate change;

(d) an appropriate mechanism for determining what a fair and equitable contribution to the global emission reduction effort would be;

(e) whether the design of the proposed scheme will send appropriate investment signals for green collar jobs, research and development, and the manufacturing and service industries, taking into account permit allocation, leakage, compensation mechanisms and additionality issues.

These are public hearings, although the committee may agree to a request to have evidence heard in camera or may determine that evidence should be heard in camera. I remind all witnesses that, in giving evidence to the committee, they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee.

If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may, of course, also be made at any other time.

[8.08 am]