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Ward off Climate Change

About the author


Gary Warden was raised in the Perth Hills. After graduating from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Geology, Gary joined BHP Billiton where he spent 18 years working in a variety of roles in a number of locations around the world. Prior to leaving BHP Billiton in December 2006, Gary was Global Manager for the company's US$1Billion business improvement program.

While he was originally sceptical about the claims relating to climate change, he became convinced of the urgency of the issue in early 2006. He left BHP Billiton primarily to spend more time with his young family, but also to dedicate himself to creating a more sustainable life for himself and his family and to support others in making that change.

In September 2007 he was trained by Al Gore and has delivered the "Inconvenient Truth" lectures to thousands of west australians since then. In November 2007 Gary ran for the senate in the Federal Election representing the Climate Change Coalition.

In addition to his climate change lectures, he has facilitated Living Smart workshops across Perth. Between 2008 and 2009 he was on the Executive Committee of the Conservation Council of Western Australia including one year as Vice President.

Gary co-founded and is Executive Director of the very exciting Days of Change program, one of the largest sustainability programs in Australia and is now General Manager WA for Eco-Kinetics, one of the largest Solar PV companies in Australia and subsidiary of ASX-listed CBD Energy.

Trading Scheme Undermines Our Efforts

by Gary 12/20/2008 9:34:00 PM

It is worth reflecting on how far we have come in 12 months before launching a scathing attack on the federal government’s emissions trading scheme.

The fact that we have a scheme on the table that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 is a remarkable achievement considering where we were just over 12 months ago.

However I think that many Australians will be dismayed by the pitifully small target, and by the significant flaw in the system which will see consumers like you and I and small business picking up the bulk of the burden for reducing emissions whilst the biggest polluters get “Get Out of Jail Free” cards.

Toni and I have made huge efforts to reduce our greenhouse footprint over the past three years.

To be truthful, we had a much larger footprint than average.

However we have reduced our emissions by 87% by limiting ourselves to one red-meat meal per week, ditching the 4WD in favour of a smaller, petrol-electric hybrid car, growing an increasing share of our fruit, vegetable and fish needs, slashing our electricity usage and purchasing 100% natural power.

We didn’t think that an 87% reduction was enough, so we’ve also offset  our remaining emissions, which means that our footprint is effectively zero.

I know many other people who have achieved similar reductions in their emissions.

Sadly, a serious flaw in the design of the emissions trading system means that all similar efforts by households in the future when the ETS is introduced will simply be lining the pockets of some of our biggest companies.

Analysis undertaken by the Climate Institute of the White Paper package, using Treasury’s CPRS-5 scenario, shows that emissions from industries receiving free permits under the ETS are projected to rise to 20% above 2000 levels by 2020. In order to achieve the 5% overall reduction, the rest of the economy, including small businesses and housholds would have to cut emissions to 18% below 2000 levels.

But it gets even worse. The White Paper is also explicit that if these polluters grow faster than expected the Government would have to bear the risk. By "Government" read you and I - the taxpayers of Australia. This is perverse in the extreme.

Even the Federal government’s own climate change advisor, Professor Ross Garnaut has been highly critical of a number of elements of the plan, including the $3.9b in compensation being given to electricity generators.

We now have some work to do to convince the government to correct these serious flaws before the legislation is introduced to parliament next year. Stay tuned for how you can help convince the government that it is making a serious mistake with the ETS design.

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