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via Jon Sumby

• Christine Milne, Greens Leader: Price on pollution is working – time to work harder

With reports this morning that the carbon price has triggered an 8.6% drop in pollution, led by reduced energy demand and increased renewable energy use, the Greens are calling on the Government to lift its sights to stronger targets and start to confront the need to rein in coal exports.

A Greenpeace International report today projects that Australia is set to become the world’s second largest contributor of new carbon emissions ( China, Australia top ‘carbon bomb’ ranking ) unless the planned expansion of coal mining and export is slowed and halted.

“The price on pollution is working, so now it’s time for us to work harder to tackle global warming,” said Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne.

“The carbon price is successfully cutting the pollution that’s driving global warming and bringing on more clean, renewable energy. And it’s doing so without leading to Tony Abbott’s scary $100 lamb roasts or wiping Whyalla off the map, but rather helping people make ends meet through lower taxes and higher support payments.

“With this success, as well as the clear picture of global warming that this summer of extreme weather has shown us, we should be lifting our sights to much stronger action.

“Coal exports are the elephant in the room, as the Greenpeace report today shows. The Galilee Basin alone could be the world’s 7th largest polluter if it were its own country. If we don’t rein in the planned coal expansion, we have no chance of tackling global warming and preventing ever worse extreme weather.

“The Labor Party and its factional powerbrokers still seem to think they can talk the talk about climate change, pretend that the price on pollution is enough, and meanwhile back the polluting coal sector to the hilt. Well it doesn’t work that way.

“The lesson that Tony Abbott should learn from this summer’s extreme weather is that climate change is not only real but is already having an impact on the climate. With the obvious success of the price on pollution, Mr Abbott is looking increasingly embarrassed.

“If the old parties really understood global warming, they would stand up to the big business lobby and shift their support from exporting more polluting coal to building solar power stations.”

• Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage: Coalition will repeal carbon tax and welcomes carbon farming progress as example of direct action

The pressure on higher electricity prices through the Carbon Tax will be removed, if the Coalition is elected.

We will honour our commitment to scrap the Carbon Tax.

We will keep that promise with the Australian people and make it the first order of business, if elected at the next election.

The Prime Minister’s claim today that the Coalition will only ‘fiddle’ with the Carbon Tax, only reconfirms that she can’t be trusted on this issue.

It was the Prime Minister who misled the community before the last election by saying, ‘There will be no Carbon Tax under the Government I lead.”

Unlike the Prime Minister who then abandoned that promise, we will hold true to our word.

We will remove the Carbon Tax and address climate change through a range of measures which will reduce Australia’s emissions and provide a wider environmental benefit.

For this reason, I today congratulate the Government for approving a project for planting trees on marginal farming land in Western Victoria under the Carbon Farming Initiative.

We encourage the government to approve further projects as the farming industry is very keen to be involved and have been frustrated by delays.

The sequestration of carbon, particularly on marginal land, is part of the Coalition’s policy to both reduce the country’s emissions but also improve the local environment and the land.

It is a positive approach, instead of a Carbon Tax which drives up electricity and gas prices, making it tougher for Australian businesses to compete and driving jobs overseas at the expense of Australian workers.

• Christine Milne: Global warming gap in PM’s National Security speech, here