BORDER residents accept they have to wear a price on pollution even if it means budget pain, an environment group says.
Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Heath said its investigations showed most residents supported carbon pricing that starts tomorrow.
“Most Australians understand we cannot continue to use coal for power generation because it is highly polluting and, as long as we keep burning it, what is left becomes more and more expensive,” WATCH spokesman Lauriston Muirhead said.
“To avoid the pollution and ever-increasing electricity prices, we must shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”
A WATCH survey of 400 Albury and Wodonga residents last year revealed 79 per cent backed some sort of price on pollution.
“Although there is some public backlash about the impact of the carbon price on hip pockets, most people — in their heart of hearts — know we need to reduce emissions,” Mr Muirhead said.
WATCH wanted to make it clear it did not support any one political party.
Instead, its members want to see clean, renewable energy developed and the use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas reduced.
“The talking has to stop and the government has to have a go,” Mr Muirhead said.
“A misunderstanding about the carbon price is that Australia will be doing it alone.
“That is patently untrue, with about fifty countries and states having already implemented programs.”
WATCH believes the expected 5 to 10 per cent rise in electricity bills because of the carbon price was relatively small compared with the rises caused by power companies replacing electricity network infrastructure.
“Plus, we must keep in mind that two-thirds of all Australian households will be financially
compensated for this
price rise,” Mr Muirhead said.
Given the nation had among the lowest electricity prices in the world a few years ago, Australians were not especially interested in conserving power, he said.
“Now that things are changing, businesses and householders will be more motivated to improve their energy efficiency.”
WATCH hopes the carbon pricing mechanism will motivate everyone to be smarter energy users.
“If you wander around Albury-Wodonga it’s not uncommon to see lights and appliances switched on unnecessarily and buildings overheated in winter and ridiculously cooled in summer,” Mr Muirhead said.
It could to 10 years before the value of the tax became clear, Mr Muirhead said.
“With the luxury of hindsight we will be able to say ‘that was a good start’ or ‘that didn’t reduce our emissions enough’.”