The clock is ticking

Climate change will have overarching impacts on Australian businesses, and fully grasping the imminent challenges will be the key to success in a “brave new carbon-constrained world”, a report has said.

Professional services firm Deloitte has released a report, Helping you to understand the climate change Green Paper, which identifies the key issues, interprets the impacts, and articulates how to develop an appropriate response to the carbon economy.

“The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will fundamentally change the economic environment,” said Deloitte Australia’s chairman Wayne Goss.

“However many Australian businesses are still at the early stages of understanding exactly how these changes will affect them.”

Mr Goss said climate change is no longer just an issue for the environmental or sustainability team, but it applies to every level of management whether it is tax, supply chain, corporate governance or reporting.

“Climate change is about to become an everyday business challenge with far reaching implications across the organisation and it will therefore be elevated to the agendas of every board,” he said.

Jon Stanford from Deloitte Economics, who led the firm’s review, said: “Businesses now recognise that the scheme will introduce significant structural change in the economy. It will change relative prices and costs, demand new structures and supply chains, and present opportunities to some sectors and limit others.

“It is now recognised that some organisations will prosper, while others will linger for a while and then disappear. Adaptation and action will be the key to survival in this ‘new world’.”

The report is available at www.deloitte.com.au

Carbon trading sparks war between modes

Conflict between rail and road groups continues over the government’s emissions trading handouts.

Thirty representatives from Australia’s transport groups have met with Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong at a forum to discuss how best to curb climate change.

While rail groups argued rail is an environmentally friendly transport mode that deserves a bigger boost, the trucking sector called for more protection for their businesses and consumers under the emissions trading scheme.  

Chief executive of the Australasian Railway Association Bryan Nye said the impending scheme favoured road transport by recommending an immediate cost offset for road use, but completely disregarded rail and its environmental benefits.

“It’s giving concessions to the trucking industry,” Mr Nye told AAP. “That defeats the whole reason for having a greenhouse program. Why not give a climate change credit to encourage people to use cleaner and greener forms of transport such as coastal shipping and rail?”

The green paper has recommended fuel for heavy vehicles to be exempt from price rises under the scheme until 2011, with petrol to be exempt until 2013.

While trucking groups wanted the fuel exemption to be extended, Mr Nye said he opposed to the move.

He has previously been quoted as saying: “It is bizarre that someone catching a train to work will have to pay more under the scheme, while car users causing pollution, congestion and health impacts will be compensated.”

The shipping and aviation sectors were also worried that the scheme could give their international rivals a competitive edge as it would force up domestic fuel and ticket prices whilst international players remain unaffected.

Senator Wong said Australia had no option but to cut its emissions, and there was no easy answer.

“We’ve said in terms of the carbon pollution reduction scheme, we’re willing to talk to business about the best way to design it,” she said.

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