Climate Change Authority urges Australia to keep emissions trading option on table

Published 07:51 on November 30, 2015  /  Last updated at 07:51 on November 30, 2015  /  Asia Pacific, Australia  /  No Comments

Australia should keep a form of carbon pricing on the table as part of new policies needed to step up emission reduction efforts, the government's independent advisers Climate Change Authority said Monday.

Australia should keep a form of carbon pricing on the table as part of new policies needed to step up emission reduction efforts, the government’s independent advisers Climate Change Authority said Monday.

The Authority, set up by the former Labor government but mostly shunned by the current administration, released the second of three reports planned on future climate policy options.

The report series was scheduled as part of the government’s compromise with some independent senators last year that led to the carbon tax being replaced with the current Direct Action Plan.

“The Authority is of the view that it is time for a fresh look at the range of policy options, including the various forms of emissions trading schemes, with a view to ‘resettling’ Australia’s public discussion,” acting chairman Stuart Allinson said in a comment to the report.

“The fact is that Australia will need new policies to achieve its targets to 2020 and beyond.”

The carbon pricing mechanism introduced by former PM Juilia Gillard became the centerpiece of a hyperbolic climate policy debate over several years in Australia.

But the Climate Change Authority urged comments on various forms of mechanisms that could fit Australia, be it a regular cap-and-trade system, a baseline-and-credit ETS, a CO2 intensity-based market or something different.

“Good policies reduce emissions at low cost and can be readily scaled up to achieve greater emissions reductions if and when needed. Policies with these characteristics are more likely to attract broad support and provide a stable and predictable basis for new, long-lived investments,” Allinson said.

The Authority’s report is out for public consultation until Feb. 19 and a final report will be released next June, probably ahead of the general election.

The opposition Labor party supports an internationally-linked ETS in Australia, while the Coalition has said it will review its climate policy portfolio in 2017 if it remains in power.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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