AUSTRALIA has an important role to play in reducing global carbon emissions, but future emissions must be set in a way that is both environmentally and economically responsible, according to the Business Council of Australia (BCA).
Chief executive Jennifer Westacott says Australia will need to strike a balance in setting a target that is neither disproportionately too high, nor too low.
"It is critical in setting a post-2020 target that there is an understanding of the level of structural adjustment that will be required, and its impact on competitiveness and economy growth," Westacott says.
"The community must also have confidence that the costs and implications of change are manageable, and understand how Australia will make the transition, if we are to have a durable emissions reduction policy.
"In setting a post-2020 target the government should also weigh-up Australia's appropriate share of emissions reduction. The competitiveness of Australian industries must be assured, particularly if competitor nations do not take equivalent actions.
"It should also take into account what other countries are actually doing in this space and technical feasibility, as well as environmental credibility and economic cost to Australia of taking bold steps to cut emissions.
"Australia's policy response to the risks associated with climate change should be workable and achieved at lowest possible cost. This should include the use of credible international emissions reduction permits.
"Our response also needs to set the foundations for a long-term policy framework that is responsive to international negotiations.
"Emissions reduction policies to achieve a post-2020 target will need to provide a predictable and stable investment environment and acknowledge the long-term nature of investments. These policies should be developed following consultation with both those who are affected, and those who will provide the solution."
The BCA has released a submission in response to the Emissions Reduction Fund Safeguard Mechanism consultation paper.
It addresses elements of the government's planned approach to the safeguard mechanism that require further consideration.
This includes ensuring those covered by the safeguard mechanism are not penalised for greenhouse gas emissions growth in other sectors of the economy, providing greater flexibility in the review and resetting of baselines, and expanding the legislated exceptional circumstances.
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