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Carbon trading scheme 'inevitable'

18 October, 2013

Australia will need to have a carbon trading scheme, regardless of the current federal government's position, if it is to reduce carbon emissions to the levels it has stated, according to Professor Kevin Parton, Charles Sturt University's (CSU) expert in the economics of climate change policy.

"Whatever Mr Abbott does now is almost irrelevant to Australia's target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, if it does not include the pricing of carbon emissions," said Professor Parton, a senior researcher with the university's Institute for Land, Water and Society.

"Almost every piece of economic analysis that has been produced points to market pricing as the most efficient, least-cost policy to reduce carbon emissions.

Professor Parton believes a mix of policies is the best and most practical way to encourage the required shift in technology towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

"However, you would expect a conservative prime minister to have put more emphasis on a market-based, pricing policy than on the direct action he advocates," he said.

"Moreover, as this decade proceeds, Australia will need stricter restrictions on its emissions if it is to reach the stated targets.

"At that point, the government will necessarily be forced towards a cap-and-trade, emissions trading scheme, because it will provide the necessary regulatory cap to contain Australia's carbon emissions." 

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Ken Geitz | Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 1:01 PM
The longer we take to act on putting a price on carbon, the harder it will be in the future. As a small business owner, I would rather we address this sooner rather than later. It's not going to go away.
Graeme | Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 3:16 PM
Typical of the alarmists. It's a "least cost" policy alright. For the government that is. More taxes that are crippling the country and reducing our competitiveness! Renewables are still by far too expensive as well. At least the PM is looking at ways to reduce the cost by technology etc. I agree that we need to reduce pollution, but for our health, not a mythical global warming.
Goldie | Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 5:07 PM
Why all the claptrap about which system has the least costs, all manner of trading schemes that are a money spinner for who knows who and for what achievement, and carbon taxes that are hidden from the consumer and also do nothing but line the coffers of the govt. Start building nuclear power plants now and please, none of the 1960's anti nuclear nonsense. Coal fired power stations are part of what is killing us the converted keep telling us so build nuclear, we have all the uranium and plenty of space to site them and store the waste.
Bert Stahr | Thursday, October 24, 2013, 3:43 AM
If taxing carbon dioxide will control the earths temperature lets put a real high tax on cancer. That ought to solve that problem real quick. We could eliminate crime and ignorance by imposing a tax. We could tax fat people and old age. The mind boggles at what we could achieve by taxation.
Ken | Thursday, October 24, 2013, 8:46 AM
Can we use you back yard for the nuclear waste, Goldie?
Goldie | Friday, October 25, 2013, 12:13 AM
No need to Ken, we have a huge country and much of it uninhabitable so why not use it. Nothing in life is without risk and that includes nuclear power but if what we are doing is so bad then this is one way to have a big impact. Building nuclear is a proven and practical 'bricks and mortar' solution instead of some shifty trading scheme or tax that none of the great unwashed will ever see or be told where it all goes.
Gordon | Friday, October 25, 2013, 7:15 PM
You get your 1.5 million grants when your politics has this slant , the best economics Kevin is to use money our wisely Not jump on the gravy train Climate economics huh what next .
Jon Wexler | Monday, November 18, 2013, 11:32 AM
The way to cut emissions is not through a carbon tax or trading. Why not just legislate to ban all new coal-fired power, and for all power generators to reduce their CO2 emissions by x% p.a. starting now. That will force them into lower carbon alternatives, achieve a specified result, and likely cost less to administer than taxing or trading. Incidentally, I have never seen any cost estimates for administration of a carbon tax or trading scheme. Has this been done, and what is the comparison with statutory percentage reduction methods?
Goldie | Monday, November 18, 2013, 6:05 PM
Jon. What do you think the fallout will be if a govt was to pass laws requiring generators to cut emissions starting forthwith? Any changeover to gas would cost a fortune and require most plants to be rebuilt taking them offline for a considerable period or the most likely scenario is they will go out of business. The place would grind to a halt. The Greens would be the only ones happy about that, till they felt its consequences that is. The massive costs of upgrades will be paid for in super sized power bills by the mug punters like you and me, that's how it works. Nothing about the carbon tax is transparent and that is exactly how Gillard intended it. Whatever went up in price up as a result of it will NEVER come down despite what Abbott says, it's a freebie in the back pocket for the energy industry. Anybody out there who knows, how much we are paying and on what, how much is collected, where it has gone and what fair dinkum effect has it had on global emissions please enlighten me.
Graeme | Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 9:48 AM
Regarding changing to "lower carbon alternatives" The energy suppliers do not have access to enough gas. Several years ago during winter large users of gas were asked to shut down parts of their operations so that households would have gas. The majority of the gas that we have available right now is going overseas! There are currently concerns about gas prices going up again due to that fact. We all know that wind and solar are not really good alternatives due to their inconsistency and massive price. Personally, as a technical person, I am all for wind and solar. BUT only when they can be used economically. That will come one day as more work is done to make them more efficient. But until then, if we want to attempt to be competitive and have enough money left over to eat after paying our energy bills then its coal fired power stations.