Monday April 21, 2008 10:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"Kevin Rudd should ban, completely and without the shadow of a doubt, all lobbyists connected to companies and consequently having vested interests, not in terms of building a just and fair country, but an agenda determined by their shareholders," WA Human rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
The remarks came as 2020 Summit participants in the Climate Change section have reported an overly strong representation of the coal producers, and a serious under-representation of NGO's in the environment sector.
"There is no way that representatives of the coal mining companies can be trusted to put the interests of Australia and the interests of democratic participation BEFORE their interests in making profits and furthering the interests of their shareholders, and one gets the impression that representatives of this industry have pushed themselves on the stage, using the usual pushy methods companies employ to "insert themselves" as an industry," Project SafeCom spokesperson Jack H Smit said.
"Clearly, this has seriously distorted the equal representation in the Climate section of the 2020 Summit."
Ms Anna Rose, Founder of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, who participated in the 2020 Summit, reported the concerns to the Sydney Morning Herald's Environment Reporter, and this morning she wrote:
"I found myself in the climate stream with representatives of coal mining companies including Xstrata and Shell, yet not a single person from an environment Non-Government Organisation. No-one from Friends of the Earth, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, Climate Action Network Australia or any of the State Conservation Councils." (more below)
"Regrettably, also the former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, who has expressed on previous occasions that the production of coal "has lost its social licence" also did not attend, even while he was one of the nominees for the weekend, and one cannot help but wonder why he - only last Friday - was reported to have declared he would not attend," Mr Smit said"We wouldn't want ten Brian Burkes coming to Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit, but it seems that Brian Burke has now been replaced by a large number of others with the same agenda, using the same tactics."
"Kevin Rudd wants to bring better government to our country, but he should start right here, so that NGO's, who represent a clear interest agenda, and who work not for profit, are represented in Summits, rather than that interests are stacked by companies that push their own agenda," Mr Smit said.
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Youth Slam Coal Industry Hijacking of 2020 Climate Agenda
21 April 2008
"The day before the Summit, twenty 20-year-olds representing all major Australian youth organisations presented a Statement calling for urgent and immediate action on climate change to Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, in Canberra. The Statement urges the government to give young Australians a real chance of a safe future by urgently adopting much deeper greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The organisations call on the government to make Australia a world leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy, which would create thousands of jobs for young Australians."
"After the youth statement, youth delegates re-grouped and voiced our frustration and disappointed at the way the coal industry had hijacked the climate agenda. They did not act in good faith, but rather pushed their business agenda, meaning a small minority silenced the majority of people in the room who pushed for a statement calling for no new coal-fired power stations in Australia (unless or until carbon capture and storage was proven to work, proven safe, efficient and commercially viable - which it is not at this stage, and the majority of the climate movement believe it will never be). We believe that the sense of urgency - our future is at stake - was lost."
"Youth certainly don't blame Penny Wong or Kevin Rudd for the weak outcomes on climate change from 2020. I was excited to be involved and thought the idea of an ideas-generating summit was an excellent one. The coal industry, however, were able to use it to push their agenda through an organised attempt - in the lead-up to the federal budget - to position so-called 'clean coal' as the solution to climate change. We do not need new coal in Australia. We can deploy energy efficiency and renewable energy, and fundamentally change our society and economy - for example through distributed energy systems rather than the centralised grid."
"One of the coal industry members stated that he wanted a level playing field for so-called 'clean coal' and that the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target is unfair. This is laughable considering that the fossil fuel industry in Australia already receives $9 billion in federal subsidies each year - 28 times more than what is spent on renewable energy."