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Australia Leads In Climate Fight, Passes Carbon Tax


Australia’s Senate passed a comprehensive carbon pricing scheme yesterday, to the applause of members of the public who were present. Australia is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita because of its heavy reliance on abundant reserves of coal to generate electricity. The country is also on the front lines of climate change. Who can forget the horribly destructive Queensland floods in January of this year, or the wildfires in 2009 that killed hundreds and destroyed thousands of homes?

Like Citizens Climate Lobby, I believe that the easiest way to put a price on carbon pollution is a carbon fee and dividend bill, but I am definitely not going to slam this historic legislation, which is a huge step in the right direction. To read more about how carbon fee and dividend works, go to Building a Green Economy: The Economics of Carbon Pricing and The Transition To Clean, Renewable Fuels.

From The Guardian:

Australia’s parliament has passed landmark laws to impose a price on carbon emissions in one of the biggest economic reforms in a decade, giving fresh impetus to December’s global climate talks in South Africa.

The scheme’s impact will be felt right across the economy, from miners to LNG producers, airlines and steel-makers and is aimed at making firms more energy-efficient and push power generation towards gas and renewables.

Australia accounts for just 1.5% of global emissions, but is the developed world’s highest emitter per capita due to a reliance on coal to generate electricity.

Australia’s finance minister, Penny Wong, told the upper house Senate as she wrapped up the marathon debate:

Today marks the beginning of Australia’s clean energy future. This is an historic moment, this is an historic reform, a reform that is long overdue.”

Deutsche Bank carbon analyst Tim Jordan stated:

This is a very positive step for the global effort on climate change. It shows that the world’s most emissions-intensive advanced economy is prepared to use a market mechanism to cut carbon emissions in a low-cost way.”

More links:

Australian Senate Passes Carbon Tax

Building A Green Economy: The Economics of Carbon Pricing and The Transition To Clean, Renewable Fuels.

Australia Passes Carbon Tax On Big Polluters

6 Comments leave one →
  1. jay permalink
    2011/11/08 6:44 pm

    Good news but there’s a lot to be done in Australia. Their carbon footprint is over the double per capita of Germany or UK and triple of France.

    • Christine permalink*
      2011/11/09 11:36 am

      Agreed, Jay, there’s a lot to be done everywhere. Canada emits more greenhouse gases than Australia. I sure wish we were getting our house in order, too.

  2. 2011/11/09 1:56 pm

    It must be quite a challenge for Australia to keep its emissions in check, considering they’re the only island continent. A lot of CO2 associated with importing and exporting.

  3. Christine permalink*
    2011/11/10 9:52 am

    Once a price on carbon is imposed, Scott, then it allows the market forces to take over. It’s been a very uneven playing field, with the oil, coal and gas industries getting billions of dollars of subsidies for decades globally (I don’t know what the Australian numbers are), and renewable energy getting peanuts. A carbon fee sends a signal that the time for dirty industries getting favourable treatment is over, and human ingenuity can blossom.

  4. BillK permalink
    2011/12/26 1:31 am

    Australia leads the world with a Carbon Tax – the only problem is that there is no-one following………..

  5. hiram whodunit permalink
    2012/01/22 7:38 am

    It does not matter what the australian numbers are. it does not matter if it doesnt work in australia, what matters, is that they did it, and eventually every ne will do it, it will be the first definite step to saVE the world with an undertaking by a country with less people that greater New York City in History! Viva LaS Ausratliens!

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