News / Asia

Australia to Catch Up With Europe as Carbon Tax Details Emerge

Protesters show their anger during a demonstration against the Australian Labor Governments proposed carbon tax outside Parliament House, Canberra, Australia (File Photo - March 23, 2011)
Protesters show their anger during a demonstration against the Australian Labor Governments proposed carbon tax outside Parliament House, Canberra, Australia (File Photo - March 23, 2011)
Phil Mercer

Australian businesses are reacting to the details of a new carbon tax which has been lauded by environmentalists as historic but condemned as economic madness by critics. Despite the criticism, analysts say Australia lags behind parts of the developed world when it comes to efforts to reduce the country’s soaring carbon emissions.  

Critics of Australia’s proposed pollution tax have argued that the government in Canberra should wait until other countries move to price carbon. The conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott said that a “unilateral carbon tax” would be an act of “economic self-harm.”

The proposed measure, which would take effect next July, forces the country’s 500 worst polluters to pay $25 for each metric ton of carbon dioxide that they emit.

However, environmental researchers insist that Australia needs to act now because its coal-dependent economy is more carbon intensive than many others.

Ben McNeil, a senior fellow at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales, says that Australia is, in fact, well behind other Western countries.

“In the U.K. for example they've had about three different price signals, they have had a climate change levy 10 years ago," said McNeil. "They are also part of the EU trading scheme and they've also had a number of other carbon levies along the way in particular sectors. In Europe, they are really well ahead. In the U.S. they are still trying to formulate and trying to get through a carbon price in Congress.”

In the United States, there is a non-binding Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which covers the electricity in 10 states in the country’s northeast. California is expected to experiment with an emissions trading scheme in the next few years.

New Zealand also has set a price on carbon. Australia plans to introduce a similar mechanism in a year’s time before moving on to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.

Canberra’s experience dealing with such a complex and contentious system will be carefully watched, especially across Asia. Japan and South Korea have plans to bring in emissions trading schemes and China is considering a pilot system in some of its provinces.

Australia is one of the world’s worst per capita emitters of greenhouse gases that many scientists blame for warming temperatures.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the carbon tax will cut Australia’s emissions by 160 million tons within a decade - or the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road. The government says it has just enough votes in parliament to pass the legislation.

The levy is Australia’s biggest economic reform in a generation. Gillard says the country’s 500 worst polluters will innovate and change as they strive to reduce their emissions and cut their tax bills.

Steelmakers, coal mines and electricity generators will receive compensation to ensure they stay in business, while other tax cuts will sweeten the deal for millions of Australians. Critics, though, believe the carbon scheme will damage the nation’s economy that is dependent on cheap supplies of coal.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid