There has been a lot of policy hot air from the major parties, but on environmental and climate change policies the major parties really stink. Only the Greens rise above the murky effluent according to three election scorecard ratings by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Climate Institute, and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. These scorecards will not surprise most readers of a climate for change, but they do provide an attempt to objectively assess the parties on environmental policy.
The Australian Conservation Foundation has rated Labor, Liberal and National, and Greens parties on four environmental criteria: Reduce Pollution, Clean Energy, Sustainable Cities, and Healthy Environment. The Greens have scored very well on all fours issues while the Labor party only achieves greater than 50% ranking on one, and the Liberals and Nationals scored dismally on all four.
"Australians want our leaders to make clean energy cheaper and help us save energy." said ACF Executive Director, Don Henry in a media statement.
"ACF welcomes the commitments by the Greens for increased investment in urban light rail systems and to investigate the feasibility of high speed rail to connect our largest cities. We urge the major parties to follow this lead by committing to re-balance the national transport budget - with two thirds being invested in cleaner, faster and affordable public transport systems - by the end of the next term of government.
According to the ACF's election scorecard the Greens achieved 81 points out of 100 while Labor and the Coalition were lagging behind on 33 and 15 respectively.
"Australians want our leaders to reduce pollution and protect our environment and at the moment, the Greens are leading on ACF's scorecard with Labor doing poorly, and the Coalition very poorly." said Don Henry.
Ranking the parties just on climate policy, then try the Climate Institute Pollute O Meter which rates the three major political groups. This ranking shows the Greens streets ahead on Climate Policy than both Labor and Liberal National Parties, although still not going far enough.
"By not committing to, or directly opposing, limits and price-tags on pollution both major parties lack credibility and locks Australia's economy onto a balloon ride to ever polluting skies." said John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute in a media statement.
"There's plenty of room for improvement from both major parties in the remaining weeks. We need a limit and a price tag on pollution and credible commitments for pollution reduction, but there are still opportunities in land use, energy saving and cleaner energy policies," concluded Mr Connor.
While Climate Change has largely been downgraded as a priority for the major parties, with lacklustre policies that don't reflect the action that scientists say is needed, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition are campaigning hard for greater action. In a series of weekend POWER SHIFT summits in Adelaide, Geelong and Canberra in the lead up to the federal election, the AYCC is motivating young voters to be heard on this issue. The AYCC have also produced a scorecard on climate change which strongly favours the Greens ahead of the Labor Party and the Coalition a poor third.
Listen to Anna Gillam from The Wire from Community radio speaking to Adelaide organisers Joel Dignam and Heather Bruer: Election 2010: Young People demand action on climate change (MP3).
The AYCC have powershift events coming up in Canberra 7-8 August and in Geelong 14-15 August.