Australia sets carbon price to fight climate change

Jul 10, 2011 by Madeleine Coorey
File photo shows a coal-fired power station in the Hunter Valley, near Sydney. Australia has said carbon pollution would be taxed at Aus$23 (US$24.74) per tonne to help battle climate change, in one of the nation's biggest economic reforms in years.

Australia Sunday announced plans to tax carbon pollution at Aus$23 (US$24.74) per tonne to help battle climate change, as it moves towards an emissions trading scheme similar to that of Europe.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said there would be a fixed price on , blamed for global warming, from next year before a full was introduced in 2015.

"As a nation, we need to put a price on and create a clean energy future," she told a news conference in Canberra.

Under the scheme to begin on July 1, 2012, about 500 of Australia's top polluters will pay a fixed price, starting at Aus$23 per tonne, for their for the first three years.

The mechanism would then shift into an scheme, with a floating price set by the market. The government will set a floor price and an upper limit for at least the first three years to avoid price shocks.

Tony Wood, of the independent economics-focused think-tank the Grattan Institute at Melbourne University, said Australia's plans were an "emissions trading scheme (ETS) on training wheels".

"I think it is fundamentally an ETS and it's therefore very similar to the European scheme, the New Zealand scheme," he said, adding that if it was introduced, Australia's scheme would be the biggest outside Europe.

"This would be the only other really significant one," he said.

Gillard, whose leadership is hovering at record lows in opinion polls, said the reform would create for the biggest polluters to reduce their emissions of .

At the same time, the government will establish a $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund innovative projects in renewable energy.

Much of the revenue raised from the in the first three years will provide for higher family payments, pension boosts and income tax cuts to offset the increased cost of living as businesses factor the carbon price into the cost of their goods and services.

The package includes some $9.2 billion over three years for trade-exposed industries such as aluminium, zinc and steel manufacturing.

The odds for the price on carbon tax is displayed on the board of a betting agency in Melbourne, on July 8. Major mining companies such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata are expected to be hit by the Australian government's carbon tax, liable for a combined Aus$380 million under a conservative price of Aus$20 a tonne, according to modelling by the Australian Financial Review.

The issue of a carbon tax has been hotly debated in Australia, among the world's worst per capita polluters due to its reliance on coal-fired power and mining exports.

But Gillard said there had been an "avalanche" of science on global warming, and the tax would reduce Australia's carbon emissions by about 160 million tonnes by 2020 -- the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road.

"This has been a difficult debate that has brought us to this moment," she said. "But we are here now and now is the time to get this done."

The prime minister has the numbers in parliament to pass the legislation but her popularity has been sinking in opinion polls since she announced plans for the tax earlier this year.

The conservative opposition has led the attack, saying the tax, which does not include agriculture, will hurt industry and send jobs offshore as well as increase the cost of living.

Minister Greg Combet said the coal industry, would be helped to reduce pollution and maintain jobs.

Professor of taxation law at the Law School at the University of Sydney Michael Dirkis said the reform was the biggest for Australia since the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax more than a decade ago.

"The potential impact across all the whole of the Australian business... and the community at large is potentially quite large," he said.

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Vendicar_Decarian
0.9 / 5 (47) Jul 10, 2011
Well done Australia.

We of the scientific community support you.

dogbert
2.1 / 5 (15) Jul 10, 2011
I had hoped Australia would continue to stand above the Chicken Littles of the world.

Despite having been voted into office on the promise that she would not do this, Prime Minister Julia Gillard is going to do it anyway.

Seems America is not the only place in the world where leaders say one thing then do the opposite.
Deesky
4 / 5 (4) Jul 10, 2011
Seems America is not the only place in the world where leaders say one thing then do the opposite.

She probably would not have done it had she won the last election outright, rather then being forced into a minority coalition government with The Greens and some Independents. Her government stands on a knife-edge where a single by-election can cause an early general election, which means that she has to play ball.
Pkunk_
3.7 / 5 (9) Jul 10, 2011
That should be wonderful news for the nuclear energy industry. The massively polluting coal plants Aussieland relies on will become very expensive for Australians to run.

Unfortunately for the Australians they've voted to power a bunch of hypocritical idiots with a "green" agenda who's raison d'etre springs from their virulently anti-nuclear stance. So they'll just pony up more for the same polluting coal powered electricity with money going to the govt.s and thier "environ-mental" cronies pockets.

Ain't that great ! It's like highway robbery with the person being robbed willingly parting with his easily earned cash.
dogbert
2.3 / 5 (16) Jul 10, 2011
It's like highway robbery ...


It is robbery. Carbon credits are just a way to rob from one group and redistribute the spoils to other groups (after taking a hefty handling charge, of course!).

What is so sad is that the people lack the tools to charge their representatives with fraud when they are defrauded.
omatumr
2.1 / 5 (15) Jul 10, 2011
Well done Australia.

We of the scientific community support you.



Please speak for yourself.

Climate change has been recorded over Earth's entire geologic history.

That compels continuous evolution of life.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo

Caliban
3.3 / 5 (10) Jul 10, 2011
And Australia has extensive deserts, bereft of any development, for all intents and purposes unused. Given their engineering abilities and pioneering spirit, I expect to see considerable deployment of Solar.

We may even see real breakthroughs in power storage there, since there will be a real, operational incentive to find a way to avoid this tax, and the necessity for carbon credit trading, which as a huge boondoggle of fraud, corruption, and very, very weak regulation and certification.

The Aussies deserve our applause and support for forging ahead on this -they may be the ones that sove the problem- because it's for damn sure that the solution is unlikely to come by way of the efforts of American industry.

dogbert
2.4 / 5 (14) Jul 10, 2011
Caliban,

You presume there is a problem ...
Caliban
3 / 5 (8) Jul 10, 2011
Caliban,

You presume there is a problem ...


@dogbert,

I'm not "presuming" a goddam thing. Whilst you would persist in your denialist delusion, the rest of the world is faced with a VERY REAL problem, and chooses to act accordingly. If you have a financial interest in the Australian energy industry, then that's a VERY REAL problem for you, if you choose to view it as such. Or you could choose to view it as an opportunity.

Sadly, I'm sure that you will continue to coddle your delusion, since it justifies your preferred short-term economic policy, i.e. "rape and pillage".

dogbert
2.4 / 5 (14) Jul 10, 2011
Sadly, I'm sure that you will continue to coddle your delusion, since it justifies your preferred short-term economic policy, i.e. "rape and pillage".


No, the only problem is the use of pseudo-science to justify social redistribution of resources.

The pillaging is being done by the Australian government. And you are supporting that pillaging.
Caliban
2.5 / 5 (6) Jul 10, 2011
@dogbert,

No, the only problem is the use of pseudo-science to justify social redistribution of resources.

The pillaging is being done by the Australian government. And you are supporting that pillaging.


No, I'm supporting a more fair distribution of the cost of fossil fuel use, in the hopes that that cost-sharing will prove burdensome enough that industry will find a better, cleaner, more efficient way to produce and distribute power.

You know- "spurring innovation"

Zed123
3.7 / 5 (9) Jul 10, 2011
I live in Queensland, Australia and I for one welcome the Carbon Tax. With all of the household tax cuts the average consumer will be roughly 0.7% worse off. This is hardly cause for alarm from consumers.

What this will allow is billions of dollars of investment in RENEWABLE energy sources. Whteher or not you believe in man made Climate Change (I personally do) the fact remains that fossil fuels are a FINITE resource. Renewables like Solar are (for all intents and purposes) infinite. At some stage we will run out of coal but we will have plenty of solar energy available for several billion years.

If its going to cost me 0.7% to assist in the switch to renewables then I say lets do it! Hopefully the rest of the world can follow the example being set by Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
ziphead
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 11, 2011
Well done Australia.

We of the scientific community support you.



Thank you, Vendicarian.

We of the Terra Australis desperately seek approval from superior thinkers like yourself. Now we can sleep soundly again.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.7 / 5 (43) Jul 11, 2011
"Thank you, Vendicarian." - Ziphead

No need to thank me for stating the obvious.

The Scientific community stands behind the Australian Government on this decision.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.6 / 5 (43) Jul 11, 2011
"No, the only problem is the use of pseudo-science to justify social redistribution of resources. " - Dogbert

Poor dogbert. No Thinking person seems to believe you.

You do have OmaTard on your side, but is that a good thing when he perpetually argues that the sun is a neutron star?

Ahahahahahah..... Denialist Quack Tards.

Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (40) Jul 11, 2011
Indeed.. People have been dying since there have been people, so by your, the sun is a neutron star logic, murder can't be happening.

You are mentally Ill Omatard. Get yourself to a shrink.

"Climate change has been recorded over Earth's entire geologic history." - Omatard
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (39) Jul 11, 2011
Wrong again my little Libertarian Dog.

It is a way that conservative economists have proposed to internalize the negative externalities associated with pumping gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year.

"Carbon credits are just a way to rob from one group and redistribute the spoils to other groups." - DogBert

Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (40) Jul 11, 2011
How sad for the Libertarian Dog that his Conservative brethren are about to vote America into the dustbin of history.

Aug 2 draws near.

"Seems America is not the only place in the world where leaders say one thing then do the opposite." - Dogbert
Yellowdart
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 11, 2011
And Australia has extensive deserts, bereft of any development, for all intents and purposes unused. Given their engineering abilities and pioneering spirit, I expect to see considerable deployment of Solar.


And what will the maintenance upkeep be on sand covered solar panels?

By the way, a carbon tax won't be enough to discourage such power sources. Why? Because no politician is going to kill their power needs premature much less their campaign funding.
ted208
2.8 / 5 (9) Jul 11, 2011
A betrayal of the first magnitude!

The Australian Government and Labor party is now on a deathwatch, due to self-inflicted wounds!

Watch peoples standard of living nosedive. Watch industry and manufacturing flee this poor broken country thanks to the lunatics running the country.

PM JULIAR (THERE WON'T BE A CARBON TAX) Gillard may ram is hateful CO2 ETS/tax through but is spells the end of the Labor government, the slimy backstabbing independents and the greens in the next election. Maybe they can join the threatened CO2 climate destroying Camels in the lonely outback. Because they won't see anymore political power or deserve trust for the following 20 years after that, if their lucky.
2YEARS AND COUNTING JULIAR!
Davecoolman
2.9 / 5 (9) Jul 11, 2011
As an Australian, I can firmly say with no fear of contradiction that Ms. Gillard is the political equivalent of a zombie, a walking putrescence who is so disconnected with reality that she firmly believes that driving a stake into the heart of her own countrys economy will win her support from those who are left bloodied, disenfranchised and unemployed by her Quasi-Stalinist policies. He address to the nation was almost painful to watch for most Australians, with one subsequent opinion poll with News Limited suggesting that only 8% of the population would vote Labor at the next election! Like Custer at Little Big Horn, her arrogance and overconfidence knows no bounds and the upcoming massacre will lead to the decimation of her party for a generation. She remains immune to logic, reason or scientific discourse.
Davecoolman
2.7 / 5 (10) Jul 11, 2011
Cont...
Ms. Gillard is without doubt the worst Prime Minister in our history, against extraordinarily stiff opposition from such totally inept predecessors as Whitlam, Fraser and Rudd, who are god like figures in the pantheon of political failure. After only 12 months in the job, she has managed to alienate huge segments of the community with every deceit, platitude, knee jerk reaction, policy catastrophe and half-baked crackpot ideology she espouses. Let her fate, and the fate of her party at the next election give pause to other world leaders who seek to perpetrate the AGW fraud. The apathy of the general public is slowly being awakened by word of mouth which is far more powerful than any propaganda methodology the spin doctors of government can dream up. This carbon tax is the ultimate pyrrhic victory for Gillard, and will be indelibly inscribed on her political headstone. So be it. Bring it on!
ted208
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 11, 2011
Right on Davecool
Australias largest export is coal; coal provides most of its base-load power. No nuclear. The stated aim is to prevent any more coal-fired power stations being built in a country, which has hundreds of years of coal, to cover current exports and home use.
Secondly, we shall go to a carbon trading scheme, yet there will not be enough carbon credits to cover their quota and will have to pay billions of dollars to overseas traders to reduce nominal emissions. Official economic assumptions even then are based on the rest of the world having a carbon-trading regime also. Did I mention that assumptions also presume that geothermal, solar and wind will be economically viable by then?
In summary, they throw away cheap power, risk sending all mining investments iron ore is a huge money-spinner also to other countries (Africa is just one location) which have no carbon trading or taxes and then use taxpayers money to buy their carbon credits from out of the country.
ted208
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 11, 2011
More...
It looks like a death wish for the Australian economy. Country's like Canada will happily ship all the coal China will need and more, talk about cutting your nose off to spit your face, Juliar Gillard you are a classic example, After this is all over for you, the Labor/Greens, you will be the most despised politician in Australian history.

We will happily ship you back to Wales, free of charge.
Same offer goes for troll-man Vendicar_Decarian!

Vendicar_Decarian we don't need or want your congratulations!

Last point: for all that, Australian emissions will still INCREASE from 578 megatons of CO2 in 2009-10 to 621 megatons of CO2 in 2020!!
OceanNerd4
5 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2011
Save the Great Barrier Reef from climate change and ocean acidification, good job Australia, smart economic move! The GBR is far more important than Australia's coal exports for your long-term economic stability. The Oxford Economics reports the reef is worth $51.4 billion, they also found up to 50 per cent of tourists who would normally visit the reef would stay away from Queensland if coral bleaching was permanent. Hopefully the U.S. follows your leadership and sense of responsibility soon!

Zed123
3.5 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2011
Last point: for all that, Australian emissions will still INCREASE from 578 megatons of CO2 in 2009-10 to 621 megatons of CO2 in 2020!!


Ted, you clearly don't understand what the Carbon Tax is designed for. Its not designed to reduce our overall emissions straight away. Its designed to SLOW the increase of our overall emissions.

As a society so dependant on fossil fuels you don't just flick a switch and start reducing emissions straight away. First you focus on slowing the increase, eventually halting it and then reducing overall emissions in the long run.

This policy was thought up by people with a lot more knowledge of the issues than you Ted. If you've got constructive criticisms to make then by all means contribute; healthy debate is the heart of Democracy after all. But maybe read up a bit first. :)
omatumr
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 14, 2011
A betrayal of the first magnitude!


She is not at fault !

She played her own small role in a plan (1972-2011) by world leaders* (conservative/liberal, left/right, Republican/Democratic) to use science for a noble cause.

Claim AGW (Industrial CO2-Induced Global Warming) is a common enemy to unite nations, end the nuclear arms race, and avoid destruction by mutual nuclear annihilation.

The rest of the story is here:

http://anhonestcl...s-julia/

*Ronald Reagan/Al Gore, Bill Clinton/George Bush and Barack Obama too.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
draa
not rated yet Jul 16, 2011
My god. You people sound like you'll be affected personally. Too bad. If you're not affected now the rest of us will be due to your stupidity. Some of us refuse to let the rest of you kill us. If we're wrong, big deal we have LESS pollution, if you're wrong some of us die. I refuse to take chances because of your ignorance.

My town is seeing record sea level rise and spots where I once made a living are now gone. Sooner or later your total ignorance will threaten me and mine, and then we have a problem that nobody wants.
astro_optics
1 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2011
So what are they going to do when the Earth finally slips into ice age again, ...burn off all of the carbon. and steam up the oceans (water vapour is 10x more efficient as a greenhouse gas???
How will they tax that one?

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