A UNION representing coal and power industry workers is demanding proceeds from the Government's emissions trading be invested in renewable energy to create new jobs to replace those that will be lost.
At the same time, the Opposition has hardened its stance against the Government's proposed scheme, Brendan Nelson calling for it to have "near meaningless" carbon reduction targets until big polluters also acted.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union will today back its case by releasing a poll of 400 of its members from coal and electricity regions in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
Taken last week, the poll finds 86 per cent of electricity and coal industry workers want global warming tackled but 90 per cent want money invested to create new jobs that do not exacerbate it.
The union's national secretary, Dave Oliver, said the communities most affected should receive "significant investment".
Next week at its national conference, the union will release a paper supporting Ross Garnaut's call for 20 per cent of the revenue raised by emissions trading to be spent on renewable energy.
Last week's green paper recommended no separate spending on renewable energy.
Of the 50 per cent Professor Garnaut recommends should be used to help householders cope with increased bills, the union says a proportion should be in the form of grants to make houses more energy efficient.
After saying Australia should do nothing until other big polluters acted, Dr Nelson said yesterday Australia should have a domestic scheme under way by 2012 but its carbon reduction settings should be "near meaningless" if the rest of the world had done nothing.
The shadow treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull, used a speech in Perth last night to urge similar caution and stress the Government's starting date of 2010 was too soon and "we [the Opposition] will certainly not collaborate in a rushed job".