Ninteen major Australian companies have called for a price on carbon to be introduced as soon as possible.

The Clean Energy Council has released an open letter to major political parties backed by many of the nation’s top energy companies – major employers in regional Australia.

The letter calls for the introduction of a price on carbon as it is crucial to Australia meeting its emissions reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

The Clean Energy Council’s Chief Executive Matthew Warren said Australians wanted action on climate change and cheaper clean energy and business wanted certainty to invest in more clean energy projects and jobs.

“An emissions trading scheme is widely recognised as being the most efficient way of reducing emissions across the economy,” Mr Warren said.

“It is a policy that has been supported by Professor Ross Garnaut, former Prime Minister John Howard, former coalition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, the Greens and the Labor Party.”

Carbon price schemes that have already been implemented in Europe and New Zealand, are now before the US Senate and are being planned for countries like Japan and China.

“We welcome and congratulate the role the independents are taking in ensuring climate change policy remains on the radar of the major political parties,” Mr Warren said. “Renewable energy is also great for rural and regional Australia – it will create growth, greater economic diversity and help drought-proof farms and regions.”

“Australia has the opportunity now to re-set the political agenda on climate change and return to the implementation of a carbon price in the next political term. We should seize that opportunity.”

Source: Clean Energy Council.