Yesterday Australia’s minority government passed its contentious carbon tax legislation by the narrow margin of 74-72 votes.  The legislation now goes to the Australian senate which will likely give its approval next month.

The legislation will allow the government to price emissions of carbon dioxide at a rate of 23 Australian dollars a metric ton to the nation’s 500 biggest emitters to curb greenhouse gas emissions and cut pollution. It also aims to encourage investment in clean and renewable energy, provide assistance to some affected industries including steel, and to provide compensation by way of tax cuts and increase government pension payments.

While called a “carbon tax”, the program is essentially an emissions trading scheme.  It will start out with a fixed carbon price of $23 a tonne as  of  July 1 next year. In 2015, it will convert to an emissions trading scheme with a floating price starting at a floor of $15.

Australia obtains 80% of its electricity from coal and is the highest C02 emitter per capita in the world.  (See chart below)


See also Which nations are most responsible for climate change?

The Conversation provides some expert reactions to the passage of this legislation yesterday and what it means for Australia economy and energy industries going forward. See also The carbon pricing package passes – what now for business?

Climate Spectator also lets us know what the academics are saying about this.


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1 Comment on Australia’s Legislature Passes Carbon Tax: the Experts Respond

  1. Elroy Jetson says:

    Think of how environmentally friendly the Aussies could be if they would only shift to nuclear power and leave coal to the Chinese and others. It is perplexing that a country as endowed with uranium resources as the land of Oz should be so steadfast against nuclear power generation. Pity.