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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs