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Polluters rejoice as CPRS returns: Science, economics and community sidelined

The Rudd Government's reintroduction of an unchanged Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme into parliament today will be celebrated by polluters and mourned by those who want urgent action on the climate crisis, the Australian Greens said today.

"The CPRS as it stands is a recipe for failure on the climate crisis, a delaying tactic dressed up as action," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

"The Greens have 22 fully drafted amendments on the table that would create an environmentally effective and economically sensible scheme.

"The Greens' amendments implement the advice of eminent climate scientists and senior economists such as Professor Garnaut."

In the last two days, Parliament has hosted both eminent climate scientists and Professor Garnaut. Both the scientists and the economist have been celebrated, but their evidence-based views have been sidelined in favour of woefully inadequate targets and billions of dollars in corporate welfare for polluters.

"Minister Combet's assertion today that the 5% emissions reduction target supported by both the government and opposition is 'ambitious' is a nonsense. According to the scientists who briefed parliamentarians yesterday, such a target gives us almost no chance of avoiding catastrophic climate consequences.

"As the scientists told us yesterday, the Rudd Government's approach will blow Australia's entire carbon for this half century in the first decade, guaranteeing severe dislocation after 2020.

"Mr Rudd and Ministers Wong and Combet should drop their ridiculous call for the Opposition's amendments to be environmentally and economically credible as it only shows up that their scheme is anything but.

"The Opposition's proposed amendments would clearly make a bad scheme even worse, but the Government has publicly welcomed them while completely ignoring the Greens' proposals that would actually make the scheme effective.

"The CPRS as it stands will do nothing to reduce emissions from Australia's coal fired power stations, our petrol-driven transport or our agriculture. It is a massive wealth transfer from the community to the polluters and a complex way of buying potentially untrustworthy emissions permits from overseas.

"Unless the Government works with the Greens to deliver a scheme that is environmentally and economically credible, it will be go down in history as guilty of delaying action in the face of the climate crisis."

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