With Al Gore On Hand, Clive Palmer Says PUP Will Vote To Abolish Carbon Tax But Supports An ETS

With former US Vice-President Al Gore standing next to him, Clive Palmer has announced that the Palmer United Party senators will vote with the government in the Senate to abolish the carbon tax.

Palmer

Palmer says PUP will move an amendment to require companies to pass on to consumers savings from the abolition of the carbon tax.

Palmer also announced that PUP favours an emissions trading scheme with a price set at zero, “which will only become effective once Australia’s main trading partners also take action to establish such a scheme”.

Palmer said PUP will oppose abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Climate Change Authority and the Renewable Energy Target.

Gore briefly addressed the press conference and said he would be disappointed if Australia’s carbon price was removed but appeared to give support to Palmer’s proposals.

Both men left the press conference without taking questions.

Palmer is due to hold a press conference without Gore later this evening.

At first glance, Palmer’s move appears to be classic populism. Whilst favouring abolition of the carbon price, Palmer has positioned himself as a supporter of other measures to tackle climate change but those measures have little prospect of being implemented.

The chief political effect appears to be to give the Abbott government the numbers to abolish the carbon tax. However, an amendment requiring an emissions trading scheme could also result in further deadlock between the House and the Senate. It isn’t yet clear whether Palmer’s support for abolition of the carbon tax is contingent upon retention of the ETS.

An extraordinary aspect of the 12-minute joint appearance with Gore is the doubt it casts upon the political judgment of the former vice-president. Gore has since released a statement that isn’t quite the same as what he said at the media appearance with Palmer.

  • Listen to Palmer and Gore (12m)
  • Watch Palmer and Gore (12m)

Text of media release from Clive Palmer.

Al Gore in discussions with Clive Palmer

Palmer

Former United States Vice President Al Gore has flown to Canberra tonight to meet with Clive Palmer at Parliament House.

The federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, said following talks with Vice-President Gore at federal parliament today, he had convinced him to consider a number of issues currently before the Australian parliament.

“Al Gore is a Nobel laureate and had some important points to make,” Mr Palmer said.

“Vice-President Gore is a great leader and he has certainly convinced me of the need for the whole world to work together.

“The world is constantly changing and our ability to adapt to change and to keep an open mind on issues which affect all of us is what really matters. United States President Barrack Obama has recently shown great leadership on this issue.”

Mr Palmer said the Palmer United Party, which will hold the balance of power from July 1, will move amendments to the carbon tax repeal bill to insert provisions to ensure the full savings power companies receive under a repeal are handed on to everyday Australians.

“True to our promises to the Australian people at the last election, Palmer United Party senators will vote in the Senate to abolish the carbon tax,” he said.

“In doing so, our senators will move an amendment to ensure the removal of the carbon tax requires all producers of energy in this country to be required by law to pass on to all consumers of energy the savings they will enjoy from the repeal of the carbon tax.

“This action by our senators will make Australian industries more competitive and the lives of our people more manageable.”

Mr Palmer said the Coalition government’s response to climate change is, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott has outlined, to tackle the problem with Direct Action.

“Direct Action is a waste of money at a time when families, pensioners, young Australians, stay at home mums, single parents and our indigenous communities are facing unfair measures in the Budget,” he said.

“In understanding climate change, we must remain ever vigilant and be aware of how Australia as part of the international community is doing and, more importantly, what the global community can do together to make the lives of all those who inhabit the world more secure.

“In voting against the abolition of the Climate Change authority, Palmer United Party senators will move an amendment to provide for the establishment, by Parliament, of an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which will only become effective once Australia’s main trading partners also take action to establish such a scheme.

“This is designed to establish and encourage a fair global scheme quickly.

“So this measure cannot be defined as a financial measure, this scheme will have a carbon price zero rated.

“The government and the parliament of the day have the ability to set the financial parameters of the scheme based on the action of our leading trading partners such as China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Korea.

“We need to ensure the jobs and enterprises of all Australians will not be disadvantaged. Australia will respond in like terms.”

Mr Palmer said Palmer United senators will also vote against the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

“When in opposition the Abbott-led coalition at the time promised the Australian people prior to the last election that Australia would retain its Renewable Energy Target (RET),” he said.

“Now he seeks to break this promise. We will therefore not support any change to the RET before 2016 – after the next election.

“There is more than $15 billion in the renewable energy investment pipeline, which will be at risk, along with the associated 18,400 jobs if the RET is dismantled.”

Statement from former US Vice-President Al Gore.

I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Mr. Palmer today to discuss solutions to the climate crisis. As a national leader, he clearly understands the critical importance of ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come. Mr. Palmer and I don’t agree on everything, but I’m very encouraged by his willingness, and that of his party, to preserve many of the climate policies in Australia.

While I will be disappointed if the immediate price on carbon is removed – because it is a policy which is ultimately critical to solving the climate crisis – I am hopeful that Australia will continue to play a global leadership role on this most pressing issue. An Emissions Trading Scheme, a strong Renewable Energy Target, and sound guidance from the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency are all highly effective tools in reducing carbon emissions.

I have enjoyed many visits to Australia, and this visit marks the fourth training program here with the Climate Reality Project to train Australians and visitors from Asia/Pacific region to discuss the realities of the climate crisis and the solutions we have at hand. More than 500 people will join this week’s training in Melbourne at an important moment for this issue and for the future of our planet.

We have more reasons than ever to believe we’re putting ourselves on a path to solve the climate crisis. In my country, President Obama has committed to cutting carbon emissions and encouraging global action to tackle global warming. China has established emissions trading schemes, along with the European Union and parts of the United States like California.

In Australia, people are taking action as well. Two million Australian households now have rooftop solar PV systems, just one example of the rapid growth of clean renewable energy worldwide. Australia and its citizens have long been leaders on this issue. It is my hope that its climate policies will continue to reflect that and serve as an example to the rest of the world.

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