02.You can help
You can help by lobbying the government for change before it’s too late, both to ensure that voluntary actions by individuals are additional to what Australia has to achieve under mandatory targets, and join the call for stronger emission reduction targets in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific advice. Go to GreenPower: Keep it real.
The CPRS hasn’t been through parliament and won’t come into force until 2010, so there’s still hope that the problems around voluntary actions can be fixed. The Total Environment Centre (TEC) says that for now, consumers who want to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions should continue as before, but also lobby for change. It accepts that as things stand, buying GreenPower won’t reduce Australia’s emissions, but notes your money would still support the renewable energy industry and can reduce the emissions for which you’re personally responsible.
“We think that consumers should still do everything they can to reduce their own emissions, including taking energy efficiency measures, buying GreenPower and buying credible carbon offsets,” says Jane Castle, Senior Campaigner with the TEC. “But they should also be calling on Prime Minister Rudd, and ministers Wong and Garrett, to ensure these efforts are additional to the weak emissions reduction target. Importantly, there is still a window of opportunity to achieve this change. TEC and the green industry sectors are campaigning on it at least up to when the Emissions Trading Scheme (CPRS) starts in 2010.”
The Energy Retailers Association of Australia (ERAA), which represents companies selling energy (including renewable), is also lobbying the federal government to make GreenPower additional. It says the door isn’t closed to ensuring extra environmental efforts by consumers and businesses will count. The ERAA’s Executive Director Cameron O’Reilly says that “878,000 households have signed up to GreenPower in good faith and to make a difference. GreenPower was developed with government support and now it’s at risk of becoming obsolete.”
Similarly, the Clean Energy Council, an industry group, also wants to see consumers’ efforts recognised – particularly those who have spent thousands on solar panel systems. “These people wanted to make a difference and made a significant personal and financial commitment to reducing emissions,” says Matthew Warren, the council’s chief executive. “That commitment should be honoured.” CHOICE thinks urgent changes are needed.