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."