Pollution from burning coal, oil and gas is driving a climate crisis, making our world more dangerous, increasing prices of food and water and jeopardising our way of life.
But if we cut pollution and invest properly in the clean alternatives, we can build a healthier, cleaner, more secure economy and community for all of us.
The best way to do that is to put a price on carbon pollution and use the revenue to help householders and invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transport and forest protection.
That is what the Greens are doing, working with the government and the independent MPs through the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee we established after the 2010 election. We are working hard to get the best outcome for the climate, the community and the economy, and we need your support.
- What is a pollution price and why do we need it?
- What will it mean to me?
- Investing in clean, renewable energy
- What can I do to help?
For too long, polluting activities which make climate change worse - making our world more dangerous, increasing prices of food and water and jeopardising our way of life - have been cheaper than the clean alternatives because they haven't had to pay for the damage they do.
Putting a price on pollution is about making polluters take responsibility. It is about using revenue to help householders and to invest in making the clean alternatives cheaper, creating jobs in new industries.
Putting a price on pollution sends a signal to investors that the costs of dirty choices are going up while the costs of clean alternatives are going down. With more investment in clean, renewable energy, costs will go down even faster thanks to economies of scale and technological breakthroughs. The price of coal, oil and gas is only going to keep going up. But the sun and wind are free, so the price of renewable energy is only going to keep going down as technology gets better and better.
With a pollution price, polluters will pay the costs of change. Without a pollution price, we will all pay as climate change bites.
Around the world, pollution prices are in place in Europe, parts of the USA, India and New Zealand and China is moving towards one while investing heavily in clean technologies.
Australia is in danger of being left behind.
When we go to the supermarket, most of us would like to buy the healthier or cleaner alternatives on offer, but we think twice about our choices if they cost more.
Putting a price on pollution and using revenue to help householders means cleaner products will be more competitive with dirtier ones – and each of us will have more money in our pockets to make an informed choice: do I pay more for the polluting product or do I instead choose the clean alternative, which is becoming cheaper thanks to the pollution price?
Over time, we will all reap the benefits of cheaper clean energy, cleaner air, a safer climate and a thriving, jobs-rich economy.
If we fail to address it, climate change will make food more expensive, it'll drive up the cost of water and energy, it'll push insurance premiums sky high. Climate change is a very high price to pay.
But putting a price on pollution means we can drive investment towards the new, clean energy economy while making sure governments have the funds to help people struggling to make ends meet.
The fact is, we can and will compensate people for the impacts of a price on carbon pollution. But we can't compensate people for the impacts of climate change.
Remember, the pollution price the Greens are working towards will charge Australia's biggest polluters for every tonne of pollution.
It is not a tax you will have to pay.
Putting a price on pollution is an important first step – but, to really tackle climate change and transform our economy for the future, we will need every tool in the tool-box.
Experts, from the International Energy Agency to Professor Garnaut, agree that teaming a price on pollution with well-designed policies to bring on renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transport, etc, is the most effective way to deliver strong action over time.
The Greens want to see a feed-in tariff or loan guarantees to drive the construction of industrial-scale, baseload solar power plants which are already operating in the US and Europe. We want to see a major investment in our energy grid. We want a plan developed to transform our economy to 100% renewable energy as fast as possible.
We are also working to implement an energy efficiency target scheme to run parallel with the renewable energy target to make sure we find the best opportunities to save energy, cut pollution and save money in our homes, offices and industry.
The best thing you can do to help is to get the word out that you support the Greens working to get not only the strongest possible price on pollution but also measures to bring on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Write letters to the editor to support our work and demonstrate the public demand for action.
Sign up to our action email list to get updates on what is needed when.
Follow our Climate Change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, on Facebook to get the latest on what is happening in negotiations.
Still have questions?
Read our frequently asked questions.
The Greens and the CPRS - info hub.