Australian Clean Energy Future Plan Essay

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Yesterday the Government finally released their plan to price carbon through their Clean Energy Future package. This package will see the Government tackle climate change by:

  • pricing carbon
  • encouraging renewable energy
  • encouraging energy efficiency and;
  • increasing the amount of carbon stored in the land (through the Carbon Farming Initiative)

Perhaps the most talked about and anticipated announcement was the detail supporting the price on carbon. From July 1, 2012 this new package will see about 500 of Australia’s top polluters pay a fixed price of $23 per tonne of CO2e emitted. This price will rise by 2.5% per annum for three years before becoming a market-driven Emissions Trading Scheme, with linkages to international markets.

For now, the Carbon Price will apply to stationary energy, industrial processes, fugitive emissions and non-legacy waste. Significant compensation has been announced for both households (approximately $4 billion per annum) and industry (approximately $3 billion per annum).

In addition to the carbon price, there is a strong focus on delivering cleaner energy through investment in new technologies and the closure of highly emissions intensive energy generation as well as further investment in renewable energy technologies.

It is expected that this package will deliver on Australia’s commitment to reduce pollution by 5% on 2000 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

This new, long-term, trajectory is one of the most significant aspects of the package, representing a 2% decrease in emissions from today’s levels, while supporting a projected increase in the Australian population of over 13 million.

So what to make of the package?

There are a number of pros and cons of this package, which we will continue to see debated in the public domain in the coming months before it goes to Parliament in November. Whilst no-one would argue this current package is perfect, given the unsuccessful history we have of trying to address climate change (whether it be through an emissions trading scheme, a carbon tax, energy efficiencies or direct action) I think this package represents a compromise that will not only show the world that Australia is willing to do their bit to address climate change, but hopefully will also provide the momentum needed to shift Australia to a low emissions future.

For businesses, the package will mean something different for everyone. To understand its impact and prepare for a July 1 2012 start, businesses who believe they will be impacted should give careful consideration to the package with regards to their own operating environment. Unless you are directly liable, your main focus should be on energy use in your business.

With a planned start less than 12 months away it won’t be too soon to start such a review immediately. If needed, Greensense is able to assist with such a review and to develop any strategies to address any anticipated risks or cost increases.

 

 

 

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