Thursday, July 17, 2014

Going backwards: Australia Becomes First Developed Nation to Repeal Carbon Tax

Tony Abbott Pledged to Get Rid of the Tax Last Year

By Rob Taylor And Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ
Updated July 17, 2014 5:51 a.m. ET

Australia has repealed pro-environment carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the first time a developed nation has made such a U-turn. The WSJ's Ramy Inocencio speaks with Canberra reporter Rob Taylor to gauge the reaction.

CANBERRA, Australia—After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politically divisive carbon emissions price that contributed to the fall from power of three Australian leaders since it was first suggested in 2007.

Australia, the world's 12th largest economy, is one of the world's largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters due to its reliance on coal-burning power stations to power homes and industry. In 2011, daily emissions per head amounted to 49.3 kilograms (108 pounds), almost four times higher than the global average of 12.8 kilograms, and slightly ahead of the U.S. figure of 48.2 kilograms.

The former Labor government, while introducing a price on carbon, said the move would help slash emissions by 160 million metric tons by 2020. It offered voters billions of dollars in compensation through tax breaks and welfare payments for increased costs stemming from one of the most dramatic reforms ever attempted in the energy-reliant economy.

(More here.)

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