Foes unite to form Climate Roundtable

July 3, 2015
Business welfare, environmental groups and unions form an alliance to produce climate policy.

An alliance of business, welfare and environmental groups and trade unions has formed to produce a joint set of goals and principles on climate policy.

The Australian Climate Roundtable announced its formation on June 29. The group formed to try to reset the highly politicised and entrenched debate in Australia on climate change. It aims to demonstrate to politicians and the broader community that there is more that unites the business, environment, union and social groups than divides when it comes to wanting action on climate change.

With no climate leadership coming from the Coalition or Labor in parliament, the group has taken matters into its own hands and after a year of secret meetings has reached a historic agreement on the goals and principles that should guide Australia’s climate policy.

The Australian Climate Roundtable released this statement of its aims on June 29.

* * *

The Australian Climate Roundtable, an unprecedented alliance of major Australian business, union, research, environment, investor and social groups, has come together to put the climate policy debate on common ground and offer a way forward.

The Australian Climate Roundtable discussions have involved the Australian Aluminium Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, The Climate Institute, the Energy Supply Association of Australia, the Investor Group on Climate Change and WWF Australia.

Australia’s major political parties support the global community’s goal of limiting climate change to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Australia should play its fair part in these efforts while maintaining and increasing its prosperity.

That important but challenging objective will require deep global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with most countries including Australia eventually reducing net emissions to zero or below. Net emissions are inclusive of trade in emissions entitlements and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere.

Emissions reductions on the necessary scale will require substantial change and present significant challenges in Australia as well as other countries. Well-designed policy will be important to manage the challenges along the way.

Our broad coalition has come together because climate change and climate policy both impact our missions and members. We believe Australia should play its fair part in global efforts to avoid 2°C and the serious economic, social and environmental impacts that unconstrained climate change would have on Australia. Avoiding unconstrained climate change will provide important benefits and opportunities to Australia.

Delayed, unpredictable and piecemeal action will increase the costs and challenges of achieving the goals and maximising the opportunities. We also know that policies won’t work if they don’t last and stay on investors’ radars. The foundations of climate policy need broad and durable support, and we all have a role in building it.

We found that groups with very different constituencies and missions have much in common and this is captured in our joint principles for climate policy, which we have released today.

This has been a tumultuous area of policy development on a major challenge for Australia that isn’t going away. We thought it important to reset the objectives, principles and key priorities to make the next phase of policy development as civil and constructive as possible.

Our principles address the goals of climate policy and the characteristics of policies to meet the goals. They don’t end debate or prescribe a single solution. The principles set out common ground on which more detailed policy can be built. We have discussed them with both major parties and look forward to further constructive dialogue. We encourage the Australian community to consider and support these principles.

The Australian Climate Roundtable will continue to work together to ensure that climate policy meets our nation’s economic, environmental and social needs.

A full list of the principles is at

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