Australia yesterday brought in a price on carbon emissions, with the country’s largest emitters initially liable for AUS$23 (€19) per ton of CO2 emitted.
The controversial legislation, which has been widely resisted, sets the carbon price at around twice the European price of €8 per ton, according to Reuters.
The carbon trading scheme will initially cover fewer than 300 companies and city councils, which account for around 60% of Australia’s 550 million tons of CO2 emissions.
However, the costs to these businesses are being softened by a raft of sweeteners and free permits to reduce the initial impact.
From July 2015, the scheme will also allow the trading of emissions permits, with emitters able to buy overseas carbon offsets and ultimately able to trade with similar schemes in Europe and New Zealand and those planned in South Korea and China.
But the main conservative opposition party in Australia has vowed to repeal the legislation if it comes to power in the next election.
Some 300-plus companies and associations, however, including Arup, Alstom, Fujitsu, Garrard Hassan, GE, IKEA and Unilever have come out in support of the legislation, signing a statement of support.
Australia is one of the world’s largest emitters per capita and is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, particularly coal.
For further information:
US EPA’s right to limit emissions from power plants upheld (28-Jun)
Australia’s carbon tax clears the last hurdle to become law (9-Nov 2011)
Australian parliament passes controversial carbon tax (18-Oct 2011)
02 July 2012