Tuesday November 8 2011 will go down in history as a significant milestone in the international climate change debate, for this was the day the Australian Federal Parliament passed its Clean Energy Future Package and put a price on carbon pollution.
With the passing of this legislation, Australia has also ushered in a new era of economic reform with this package signifying the most important change in the country’s economy since the floating of the dollar in 1983.
Key elements of the package include;
• A cut to carbon pollution of at least 160 million tons a year in 2020;
• A price on carbon set at $23 a ton;
• Revenue raised from the carbon price going directly into clean energy initiatives; and
• Tax cuts and increases to household payments and pensions for millions of Australians
Australian Treasury modeling shows the new carbon price will reduce emissions and create 1.6 million jobs by 2020 which provides plenty of food for thought for our own legislators. Especially when it is understood that 160 tons equates to taking a total of 45 million cars off the road.
While it is true that the U.S. has been introducing regulations covering greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial facilities under the Clean Air Act, it is important to note that we are still a long way from creating our own emissions trading mechanisms.
There is no doubt that a price on carbon pollution will create a future where companies will be more environmentally friendly and new industries are created with high-paying, skilled jobs for the future.
Hopefully Climate Change supporters on the ‘Hill’ and Congress as a whole will be watching closely the future impact this legislation has on Australia across a variety of different key variables, and then move forward and begin laying the foundations of its own version of a clean energy future.