Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Australian business leaders call for credits trading

The CEOs of 6 leading corporations are defying the Federal Government and calling for a carbon credits trading scheme for Australia. They have formed the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change, described by the Sydney Morning Herald as "a powerful new voice which wants business and government to respond more rapidly to inexorably rising world temperatures."
Founding members of the Roundtable are Westpac, Swiss Re, Insurance Australia Group (which includes NRMA Insurance),BP Australasia, Origin Energy, and Visy Industries. The Australian Conservation Foundation is also a member.

The position taken by the US and Australian Governments in refusing to ratify the international Kyoto Agreement - which forced heavy emitters of greenhouse gases to buy carbon credits - is rapidly becoming uncomfortable for the two leaders who took the decision to stay out. In the US, business and political circles are merely biding the time for George Bush's term to end. The Congress is known to have legislation drafted and ready. Major corporations such as General Electric are counting on the change.

Westpac CEO David Morgan said GE's CEO Jeff Immelt told him "he was virtually certain that the first action of the next President of the United States, be it Republican or Democrat, would be to initiate urgent action on climate change." Mr Morgan said GE "is allocating billions of dollars worth of investment in the confidence of that development."

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