Carbon Price

An article in The Australian details some of the costs for our biggest electricity producers should a price on carbon be instigated.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/full-cost-of-carbon-would-cripple-companies/story-e6frg6xf-1226012257813

“just 30 companies are responsible for half Australia’s carbon emissions” (300 Mt).

The article also states that our 2 biggest electricity generators face bills of $613M and $538M at a price of $26 per tonne, well beyond their profits.

However, it is known that once a price is established, it is cheaper for emitters than economists at first expect. These numbers would be minimised by the emitters through efficiency drives that could easily wipe off large amounts of emissions. This is in fact the whole aim of the game – reduction in emissions.

Climate Future supports the introduction of a price on carbon (and the other main GHGs) and commends Julia Gillard for having the courage to introduce such a measure. Clearly further measures will be needed besides the carbon price. Also, it is a long way from promising a price to getting actual legislation through. The question of what price to start on and how quickly to increase the price has yet to be settled.

It is up to the community to push for a strong price signal and an increasing one if we are to achieve the emissions reductions we need. From what Minister Combet stated, it is clear that without a price, emissions will be INCREASING to the tune of another 25% or so by 2020. This would be a terrible embarasement for Australia internationally when other industrialised nations are raising programs to reduce their emissions radically.

If Australia, as a leading democracy, cannot agree to cut emissions in the face of the overwhelming proof that our climate is already changing, then how can we expect China, India and many others to help by caping their emissions.

We are yet to see if free permits will be handed out to electricity producers or to companies like Alcoa who export their products (Aluminium) into a world market.

It has been said that agriculture will be exempt and that the system will be a permit system just as with Rudd’s cap and trade proposal but that the permits wont be tradable for the first 3 to 5 years and overseas permits cannot be purchased as substitutes.

We enter now a period where even the simplest hand written letter can have an influence on the outcome. Please, if you want a strong and increasing price on carbon, tell the Government, write a letter. This is truely a major opportunity to save our climate.

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