Business Calls for Rethink on Climate Change Policy

Article excerpt

Could the Gold Coast and its fastgrowing population weather a major cyclone and storm surge ripping through its beachside high-rise and canal developments? Not in the near future, was the consensus of a panel of experts--from government, CSIRO, and the insurance and development sectors--at the recent 11th National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development (NBLF).

During the lively 'hypothetical', ABC Senior Journalist, Fran Kelly, probed the expert panel on the tangle of issues--such as new building regulation and retrofits, land development, infrastructure protection, insurance and liability, and community preparedness--that need addressing if communities along the Gold Coast are to survive the impacts of more southerly, intense cyclone events predicted for south-east Queensland under climate change.

Guest speakers at the two-day forum--held at Parliament House in May included federal ministers Penny Wong, Peter Garrett and Tony Burke, as well as Tim Flannery, Tim Costello and American environmentalists Amory Lovins and Peter Brown.

At the end of the conference, the forum organisers--with input from workshop and feedback sessions--issued a

'We believe that the Australian Government's decision to shelve putting a price on carbon ... will mean that significant business and economic opportunities will be lost as this policy vacuum creates significant investment uncertainty,' the statement read.

'We are concerned that both the Australian Government and Opposition appear to be unaware of the fact that global low-carbon investment and climate policy reform has accelerated since Copenhagen ... more than 100 advanced, emerging and developing countries have also submitted national pledges to tackle climate pollution, with China and Brazil leading the way.

'Australian business cannot afford to miss the fastest growing market in the world--the commercial market for the broader low-carbon and environmental goods and services sector--now worth $6 trillion.

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'Australia is the only country, postCopenhagen, that is taking significant backward steps from the much-needed policy and economic reform on climate change. …