South Australian businesses want to see a carbon emissions reduction policy & still support the NEG

An overwhelming number of South Australian businesses want to see policies to reduce carbon emissions created, they still support a National Energy Guarantee and sticking with the Paris Agreement despite concerns about costs.

They also believe climate change is human-led and are starting to respond to customer expectations that businesses react and adapt their operations to reduce climate change.
Business SA surveyed owners and operators on their climate change opinions as part of the quarterly Survey of Business Expectations, where participants are also asked supplementary questions.

Business SA Executive Director Industry and Government Engagement, Anthony Penney, said the survey showed businesses were responsive to climate change and they believed policies needed to be created to reduce emissions.

“A clear majority of businesses, at 84 per cent, thought it was important for all sides of politics to agree on a sensible policy to reduce carbon emissions at minimal cost,” Mr Penney said. “However, while there was overwhelming support from businesses for all sides of politics to agree on a sensible policy, there was a very strong sense this was not possible in the current political climate.”

The survey found more than two thirds of business owners and operators believed human activity had led to climate change, with fewer than 20 per cent disagreeing.

Respondents were asked whether the Federal Government should continue to adhere to its commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030, with 61 per cent in support.

Asked whether businesses supported the now-defunct National Energy Guarantee policy, which aimed to ensure reliable low emissions power at least cost, before the policy was dropped by the Federal Government, 58 per cent were in favour of the NEG.

“The results show the Federal Government may have been too hasty in dropping its support for a NEG given the widespread business support,” Mr Penney said. “Business support is critical when it comes to tackling climate change, and it should not have been underestimated.”

Mr Penney said businesses also found their customers expected them to do their part to reduce carbon emissions, with 61 per cent finding their climate change views were secondary to what their customer needs and wants were. However, there were concerns about the cost of compliance.

“There was a sense that businesses were expected to do more in the absence of government action, because customers wanted to see outcomes,” he said. “For export-related businesses, they recognised they needed to think beyond what local customers wanted and carbon emissions discussions were more advanced and coming into contracting requirements in Europe and some parts of Asia.”

To view Business SA’s Climate Change, an SME View position paper, click here

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact Business SA Director of Media and Communications, Verity Edwards on 0412 678 942.

28 November 2018

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