Carbon Tax Media Release Wrap-up - Who's Saying What

The Carbon Tax legislation passed through the Australian senate yesterday. It was interesting to see the onslaught of media releases coming out around this time.

Here, I have summarised the few that I saw.

Oxfam says this is just the beginning

Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said the world’s poorest people, who had contributed least to climate change, were already suffering its effects, from prolonged droughts and food shortages to more severe storms.

“As the worst per capita carbon polluter in the OECD, Australia has until now failed to contribute its fair share to global efforts to fight climate change,” Mr Hewett said. “Passing this legislation is a crucial first step in playing climate catch-up.”

There's still more to do says Greenpeace

We urge the Government to take two immediate logical next steps.

Firstly, withdraw the $100 million grant awarded by the Howard Government to a new dirty coal-fired power station, HRL, in Victoria.

And second, eliminate approximately $12 billion worth of subsidies that are provided to the fossil fuel industry every year.

I couldn't agree more with that final point. Why are we already taxing carbon when we haven't yet removed the subsidies that promote the burning of fossil fuels!?

Australian Solar Energy Society says bring it on

The Clean Energy Future package – the carbon price, the $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation - will supercharge solar.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has projected that the Clean Energy Future package could deliver 5 gigawatts of large-scale solar photovoltaics and 2 gigawatts of large-scale solar thermal by 2020, on top of many gigawatts of residential and commercial solar.

It's all doom and gloom from the Australian Coal Association

Today the Australian Parliament has voted to handicap one of Australia’s largest exports at a time when uncertainty in the global economy once again threatens to reach our shores.

Thankfully in this release they weren't as misleading as usual. They cut straight to the salient point, from their perspective:

No other coal exporting country imposes a tax on fugitive emissions from coal mining. In doing so, the carbon tax will make Australia’s coal industry less competitive internationally, without delivering any environmental benefit by way of global emissions reduction.

Association of Building Sustainability Assessors says it's time to get smart

The introduction of the Bills provides a fantastic opportunity to lift standards of comfort and energy efficiency in our existing, and new homes, particularly if carbon price compensation is directed towards hardwiring change.

If carbon price compensation generates permanent energy and water efficiency improvements in homes, it becomes the gift that keeps on giving - year after year.

and finally:

City of Sydney smugly chimes in that they are already carbon neutral

The City’s carbon neutral status was officially confirmed under the new National Carbon Offset Standard, introduced by the Australian Government in July last year.

The City has reduced and offset its carbon pollution by 210,000 tonnes since unofficially achieving carbon neutrality in 2008.

They avoid saying directly how much this cost them. I would be really keen to known what their average cost of abatement was, and how that compares to the soon to be implemented $23 a tonne tax.

- Ryan McCarthy

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