The Australian government has finally succeeded in passing its controversial carbon tax legislation by a narrow margin of 74 votes to 72 in the House of Parliament last week.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard fought hard for the legislation, which will introduce a carbon price of AUD$23 per tonne from July next year and pave the way for a full carbon trading system three years later.
The legislation is central to the Australian government’s commitment to cut its emissions by 5% on 2000 levels by 2020. The country is currently one of the world’s highest greenhouse gas emitter per capita because of its reliance on coal for electricity generation.
“Today is a significant day for Australians and the Australians of the future who want to see a better environment,” she said ahead of the vote.
But the legislation has been vociferously opposed by the mining industry, which claims that it will close down coal mines, put thousands of jobs at risk, raise bills and make Australia less competitive.
The move has not garnered public support either, with opposition leader Tony Abbott promising to repeal the carbon tax if he comes to power.
But many Australian companies and those with a major interest in the country, including GE, Fujitsu, IKEA, Alstom and Pacific Hydro, have expresses support for the carbon tax.
For further information:
Australian Prime Minister unveils tax on country’s polluters (11-Jul)
Australia and EU discuss linking carbon trading schemes (6-Sept)
Canadian Government announces CAN$78 million investment in energy efficiency (9-Sept)
China to invest in low-carbon economy (26-Sept)
18 October 2011