The Clean Energy Package went through the Federal Senate yesterday ensuring Australia will have a price on carbon from 1st July next year. It went through on party lines with support from independent MP Tony Windsor, Barnaby Joyce wasted no time in making personal attacks on Mr Winsor, whose independence gives him great power and puts him under even greater pressure. The starting price will be fixes at $23 per tonne. This starts Australia on the path of shouldering our international commitments on carbon reduction, we are one of the highest per capita emitters on the planet and the Clean Energy Package will demonstrate to the world we intend to address this. For more information on why a carbon price is good for Australia check out EarthCare published in the Fremantle Herald on 5th March 2011.
Opposition claims it will remove the price on carbon are bluff and bluster, I recall Labor making the same claims related to the GST and when elected found it would be almost impossible to do, the same will be the case with a price on carbon.
The associated Carbon Farming legislation is only days away. This legislation is designed to support the growth of abatement initiatives in the rural sector. These are central to Australia’s commitment on carbon reduction since the ‘Greenhouse Friendly’ scheme was replaced with the National Carbon Offsets Scheme (NCOS). Under the old Greenhouse Friendly scheme any business that changed their practices to reduce carbon emissions could sell those reductions on the open market. An example of this is the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) which chose to divert putrescible waste from landfill to digesters which convert the waste into soil conditioner, consequently reducing methane emissions. When NCOS came in it limited creditable emissions reductions to areas not covered by Australia’s Kyoto commitments. You may recall Australia had its rural emissions exempted from our Kyoto commitments. This is a complex issue I will not go into here other than to say it crippled the fledgling offset industry. The problem with rural carbon sequestration is that it is difficult to measure, currently anyone attempting to offer offsets through soil sequestration pays more money to verify the amount of carbon sequestered than they could expect to get selling the offsets. The Carbon Farming legislation contains a large sum of money for research into rural sequestration and publicity related to it.