Australian Government Negotiates on Climate Change Bill

by | Aug 17, 2009

austriliaThe Australian government has split its climate change bill into two parts so the renewable energy target will not be dependent on the carbon emissions scheme in an effort to break a deadlock in the Senate, which voted against the legislation last week, reports Taiwan News.

Opposition parties generally support the bill’s plan for 20 percent of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020; however, lawmakers are divided on cutting and taxing carbon emissions, reports Taiwan News.

As a result, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said in the article that the renewable energy portion of the bill would now be voted on separately from the emissions trading scheme. The government hopes to pass the renewable sources legislation next week, according to the article.

Under the draft law for carbon reductions, Australia, the biggest coal exporter, wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5 to 15 percent from 2000 levels in the next decade, reports Bloomberg News. Wong told the news agency that the government plans to reintroduce the carbon emissions legislation for a Senate vote before the end of the year.

Exxon Mobil Corp. told Bloomberg News a tax on carbon in Australia would be a better method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The oil company and its partners are spending about A$3 billion ($2.5 billion) developing the Kipper-Tuna and Turrum fields in the Gippsland Basin off Victoria state, according to the news agency. Fossil fuels such as oil and gas are said to be one of the biggest contributors to the greenhouse effect.

A new study released by Danish professor Bjoern Lomborg supports Exxon Mobil’s theory. The study finds that a global carbon tax would be cheaper than emissions trading, reports Bloomberg News.

The study indicates that a $0.50 tax for each ton of emissions may generate $1.51 in avoided climate damage, compared with costs as high as $68 per ton, resulting in 2 cents of avoided damage, under some emissions-mitigations models, reports Bloomberg.

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