TUESDAY 10 MARCH, 2009 |
Australia Unveils Draft Emissions Trading Scheme Legislation
There was a flurry of media activity yesterday and today ahead of the
release of the Australian Government's Emissions Trading Scheme draft
legislation, which was unveiled a short time ago. (Skip
to legislation outline
Last night the Greens and Coalition formed
in regards to a senate inquiry into the Government's Carbon Pollution
. Yesterday, Professor Ross Garnaut, who is the government's
climate change advisor, told Four
that he is disappointed with the scheme. Professor Garnaut
said industries that are the highest emitters of greenhouse gas have had
too much influence over the scheme and that the Government's emissions reduction
targets are too low.
The Australian coal industry took the opposite stance, crying
, saying it had been unfairly excluded from receiving free emissions
permits - even though it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in
compensation from the Federal Government. Former treasurer Peter Costello has
said the Government should reconsider
in the light of the economic crisis. Malcolm Turnbull would prefer
to see a start date of 2012 and Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said he
could not see how the legislation would pass.
The ETS is rapidly shaping up to be the issue that defines the Rudd Government's
time in power due to its far reaching implications for Australia and for that
matter, the world.
However, with all the debate over the ETS, something that not many politicians
appear to be keeping in mind according to some green groups is every minute of
every day, greenhouse gases are being spewed into the atmosphere at an ever
increasing rate; pushing humanity ever closer towards a point of no return from
catastrophic climate change. Some say that we've already arrived at that point
and that the time for debate is over and radical action from government is
Draft Emissions Trading Scheme Legislation Summary
After months of criticism and heated debated from all corners, the draft
legislation for the Emissions Trading Scheme has finally been released and as
was expected, the Government has adhered closely to its recent Carbon Pollution
Reduction Scheme white paper. The following is a brief, simplified outline of the
392 page Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 document:
- The Act will set up a scheme to reduce pollution caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
- The scheme will begin on 1 July 2010, and operate on a financial year basis.
- The scheme is administered by the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority.
- A person who is responsible for greenhouse gas emitted from 4 the operation of a facility must surrender one eligible emissions unit for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalence of the gas.
- A person who imports, manufactures or supplies synthetic greenhouse gas must surrender one eligible emissions unit for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalence of the gas.
- A person who imports, produces or supplies eligible upstream fuel must surrender one eligible emissions unit for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalence of the potential greenhouse gas emissions embodied in the fuel.
- Each of the following units are eligible emissions units:
(a) Australian emissions units issued under this Act;
(b) certain Kyoto units;
(c) certain non-Kyoto international emissions units.
- Most Australian emissions units will be issued as the result of an auction.
- A national scheme cap limits the total number of auctioned Australian emissions units.
- Some Australian emissions units may be issued free of charge or for a fixed charge.
- Australian emissions units are transferable.
The full Emissions Trading Scheme draft legislation can be viewed
The Emissions Trading Scheme timetable from this point according to the
Department of Climate Change's web site at the time of publishing:
March to April 2009: Phase 3 consultation of exposure draft legislation
May 2009: Bill introduced into Parliament
June 2009: Government aims to achieve passage of bill by Parliament at this time
3rd quarter 2009: Act enters into force; scheme regulator established
2010: Emissions trading scheme will commence
While high polluting industries have continually raised the spectre of
massive job losses as a result of the implementation of the Emissions Trading
Scheme and in spite of the global economic crisis, Australians still appear to
be worried about the issue of global warming impacts. According to a survey of
1,400 people commissioned by The
, 78 percent indicate concern over climate change.
Supporters of renewable
have said that the economic and climate crisis actually provides a
great opportunity for Australia to restructure, a "green new deal", turning jobs with high polluters
into careers in clean energy.
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