BUSINESS leaders have claimed that Australia and New Zealand could both cut emissions by at least 15 per cent and save money at the same time.
A communique released from the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference lists measures that can be taken in the power, transport, building, forestry and agriculture sectors to lower emissions and improve profitability.
The communique says that less government bureaucracy, improving supply contracts so industry can generate electricity to feed into the power grid, accelerated green depreciation for buildings, and broader energy efficiency measures agreed to by business and government would make substantial cuts to the greenhouse gas emissions of both countries.
Jon Jutsen, executive director of consultants Energetics, said energy efficiency measures across the economy would save business money.
''The Australian economy is only about 10 per cent efficient. This means that 90 per cent of the energy in the fuel we dig up is lost in the supply chain and end uses,'' he said.
Gary Taylor, chairman of the not-for-profit Climate Change and Business Centre, said businesses had opportunities to improve profitably through acting on energy productivity.
A carbon price was essential, coupled with sector-specific measures to combat climate change, he said. ''Australia can learn from New Zealand's experience implementing a price on carbon, and New Zealand can benefit from Australia's experience with complementary measures.''
Mr Taylor said the urgent need for strong leadership by business and government and closer collaboration between them had been a strong theme of the conference. ''While a price on carbon will increase the justification for action, government policy changes are required to maximise carbon mitigation.''
A poll of delegates found the most popular emissions reducing measure was energy efficiency (29 per cent). Almost twice as many preferred a cap-and-trade carbon pricing scheme to a carbon tax, but either would need more regulation and funding assistance.