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Government welcomes Garnaut interim report.

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PW 16/08 21 February 2008


Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, today welcomed the release of the interim report by the Garnaut Climate Change Review, led by Professor Ross Garnaut.

When he was still Leader of the Opposition, Kevin Rudd, along with State and Territory Governments, commissioned Professor Garnaut to examine the impacts of climate change on the Australian economy.

“We are fortunate to have Professor Garnaut conducting this review. He is one of Australia’s most esteemed economists, and his work will be an important input into the Government’s policy development on a range of climate change issues,” Senator Wong said.

“Today’s report provides valuable early thinking by Professor Garnaut on the policy response to climate change.

“The Rudd Government has made clear that we will be informed by the science. We also recognise that climate change is as much an economic issue as it is an environmental one.

“The cost for business and Australian working families will be far greater if we fail to act than if we take responsible action now.

“That’s why the Rudd Government is committed to reducing domestic emissions at the least cost, and adapting to the effects of climate change we can’t avoid.

“In putting emissions trading at the heart of our efforts to reduce our greenhouse output, we will use a market mechanism to lower emissions at the lowest cost to the economy and to households.

“Design of the emissions trading system will only be completed after the final Garnaut Review and careful modelling by Treasury are completed.

“I have indicated that measures will be developed to assist households - particularly low income households - to adjust to the impact of carbon prices. We will also address the competitive challenges facing emission-intensive trade-exposed industries in Australia, and the impact on strongly affected industries.

“We also understand that climate change is a global issue that requires a global solution. That’s why first act of the Rudd Government was to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

“In working toward a longer term global agreement, we understand that the developed world has to lead. Our policy to make substantial cuts to domestic emissions - 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050 - reinforces that constructive leadership.”

Senator Wong said the Government will deliberate on this interim report, and looks forward to the final report later this year.

Media Contact: John Olenich (02) 6277 7920