CPRS debate must act on energy efficiency opportunity

15 November 2009

As parliamentary debate resumes on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) bill on 16 November, the Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) has urged Australia’s Senators to put aside their beliefs on climate change and focus on an undisputed action that is good for the economy and reduces emissions - energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency has the biggest potential to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse emissions in the short-term, and is available now with existing technologies.  A 2007 ABARE study estimated energy efficiency would directly account for 55% of Australia’s abatement by 2050, much of it at an economic benefit.

In relation to the CPRS, the Council of Australian Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Energy Efficiency states “a carbon price alone... will not realise all the potential cost‐effective opportunities to improve energy efficiency across the Australian economy.”  The CPRS will NOT deliver lowest cost abatement, and additional policies will be needed to unlock energy efficiency’s potential.

A2SE’s Executive Director, Mark Lister, said while a carbon price was important, there are many other non-price factors to be addressed in energy efficiency. 

“This fact must not be lost in the upcoming negotiations. Given the scale of the energy efficiency opportunity, we can’t afford to overlook this invisible giant.

“Investing in energy efficiency means delivering lower transition costs economy-wide, improving the competitiveness of Australian business and keeping clean energy investment in Australia,” said Mr Lister.

Australia is a signatory to the recent International Energy Agency Communiqué that binds the Government to close policy gaps by “maximising implementation of the IEA’s 25 energy efficiency recommendations.

In a recent IEA report, Australia’s OECD ranking on implementing its 25 recommended energy efficiency policies was only average, with opportunities to do much better in all sectors, particularly transport and buildings. 

A2SE is modelled on the United States-based Alliance to Save Energy (www.ase.org), which has played a critical role in US energy efficiency advocacy and policy making for over 30 years.  The Alliance has helped design, implement, and evaluate a range of energy efficiency, demand management and distributed energy programs. A2SE is drawing upon this expertise to bring together business, public sector, environmental and consumer leaders to advance a non-partisan and collaborative body of knowledge that supports the case for saving energy and using it more wisely. 

A²SE’s work addresses research, awareness and policy issues relating to the reduction of wasteful and non-productive uses of energy across all sectors. 

A2SE is holding events in Sydney and Melbourne in December to outline its collaborative model and its links to the global agenda, as well as to seek participation in its work.  These seminars mark the beginning of A2SE ‘s efforts to create a stronger voice and sustained momentum behind energy efficiency in Australia. 

For more information about energy efficiency and A2SE visit www.a2se.org.au


For more information or to arrange an interview contact:
Mark Lister
Executive Director, Australian Alliance to Save Energy
Mobile:  0402 320 906    
Email: mark.lister@a2se.org.au

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