Scott Morrison is being asked by business leaders to lead climate policy

The Australian Economic Council said a “credible” climate policy was needed. “Climate science tells us that extreme weather events and natural disasters will occur more frequently and intensely. We therefore need a credible climate change and energy policy that will put us on a transition path to zero emissions by 2050,” the influential industry association said.

Paul Bassat, partner of Square Peg Capital, has described the Bushfire crisis as a “Port Arthur” moment. Photo credit: Wayne Taylor

The Australian industry group’s Innes Willox said climate policy must be environmentally sound, have the least cost of mitigation, do not affect competitiveness and reduce uncertainty for investors.

In a longer interview on Sunday, Morrison said there was “no doubt” that climate change was causing “longer, hotter, drier summer seasons.”

“In the coming years, we will continue to develop our policies in this area to further reduce emissions,” he said.

Energy Australia managing director Catherine Tanna said there are opportunities to improve existing energy policies as the private sector builds new, on-demand generation and cleaner energy.

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“The ultimate goal should be to provide customers with reliable, affordable and cleaner energy no matter where they live or what they deserve. As long as there is willingness to advise, debate and compromise, we can save energy,” she said.

The CEO of the insurer IAG Peter Harmer said that everyone must take responsibility for climate change. It was crucial for all levels of government to work with communities, non-governmental organizations and businesses to minimize the immediate impact and mitigate the long-term impact.

“The IAG (and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research) recently released a report that shows that our climate is changing faster than many predicted,” he said.

“We know that rising temperatures in Australia will dramatically change the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. In this context, we believe that we need a coordinated national approach to build more resilient communities and reduce the impact of disasters.”

Didier Elzinger, founder of the billionaire start-up Culture Amp, said Australia would see the effects if climate change was not taken seriously, but it seemed the government was opening up to policy change.

“Politics should help support the leadership agenda and the leadership agenda should be about real change,” he said.

“If you look at it from a leadership perspective last year, I think there are more people in private areas who are committed to leadership than in the (public) industry.”

Dominic Powell writes about retail for Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Real estate editor at The Age and BusinessDay, journalist for Fairfax’s theage.com.au, smh.com.au, watoday.com.au and brisbanetimes.com.au.

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