Australia Unveils Plans to Tax Carbon Emissions by Next Summer

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The Australian government has unveiled a proposal to tax its heaviest carbon dioxide emitters as of July 2012, a plan that would make Australia the first nation to put a price on carbon.

The plan, which is expected to pass both houses of parliament before the end of the year, would require the nation’s 500 biggest CO2 emitters to pay $24.60 (AU$23) per ton of carbon dioxide, with that price increasing by 2.5 percent annually until July, 2015.

At that point, an emissions trading scheme will be introduced. By 2020, government officials say, the carbon tax would reduce Australia’s carbon emissions 5 percent below 2000 levels; by 2050, the plan will reduce emissions by 80 percent, officials said.

About AU$10 billion of the anticipated revenue will be funneled into energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

“Failing to do so means that we would be passing on lower living standards to our children and grandchildren,” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

With a population of about 22.6 million, Australia produces about 1.3 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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