The new Climate Change Authority will include Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout. Photo: Andrew Meares
The Gillard government has named its ''Reserve Bank for climate change'' - a high-powered panel, including hard-headed industry representatives, that will help set Australia's greenhouse gas and renewable energy targets.
The Climate Change Authority will include industry heavyweight John Marlay, widely seen as a more conservative voice on the panel, and Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout, who in her previous job as head of the Australian Industry Group was critical of elements of the carbon tax.
The panel, announced today, will also include respected climate scientist David Karoly, former economics bureaucrat Lynne Williams, left-leaning economist Clive Hamilton, AustralianSuper chairwoman Elana Rubin and leading economist John Quiggin.
The authority will be chaired by former Treasury secretary and Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser.
Together, the authority members will constitute the most powerful independent advisers on the carbon pricing scheme, recommending greenhouse gas emissions targets to the government.
The carbon price, when it becomes an emissions trading scheme in 2015, will aim to cut emissions below 2000 levels by 5 per cent by 2020. But under the carbon tax legislation, the authority could recommend making the target more ambitious if the rest of the world moves forward on climate action and if the scheme does not have a damaging effect on Australia's economy.
The authority will also advise on the renewable energy target.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the panel would bring ''a diverse set of skills, experience and qualifications''.
Greens leader Christine Milne said the panel would ''depoliticise the fraught process of setting emission reduction targets and is critical to the transition to a low carbon future''.
Tony Mohr, of the Australian Conservation Foundation, described the authority as ''the Reserve Bank of climate change for Australia'' and said the government should be congratulated on ''a really credible, respected, experienced'' set of appointments.
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