CFMEU and ACF unite for action on climate change

In a rare convergence of interests, the mining union and environmentalists have collaborated to call for urgent Government action on climate change.

With climate change set to be a critical federal election campaign issue, the CFMEU Mining and Energy division and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said strong, urgent action on climate change would be good for jobs, the economy and the environment.

ACF Executive Director Don Henry and General President of the CFMEU mining and energy division, Tony Maher, today called for Government and Opposition to commit to:

1 Set science-based, legislated targets to cut greenhouse emissions
2 Substantially increase the existing mandatory renewable energy target
3 Join the international effort by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol before the end of 2007

“It’s taken an issue as pressing and potentially devastating as climate change to get ACF and the CFMEU to stand together on the same platform,” said ACF’s Don Henry.

“Strong binding targets, guided by the best available science, are vital if we are going to protect future generations from dangerous climate change. Australia can show leadership by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol before the end of this year – and encouraging the USA to do the same. Australia is missing out on billions of dollars because it hasn’t ratified.”

“Emissions trading will not be enough on its own to drive the scale of investment that is necessary to clean up our energy economy and address the threat of dangerous climate change,” said the CFMEU’s Tony Maher.

“A regulatory mechanism is essential to secure sufficient investment. Substantially increasing the mandatory renewable energy target will lower average emissions – it’s critical and it’s supported by mineworkers.

“The Government’s decade of denial and inaction is the real threat to coal miners job security. The coal industry is going to have to clean up its act if it is going to have a future in a low carbon economy. That means billions of dollars of investment by mining companies in new technologies. We’re ten years behind where we should be.”