Australia becomes first country to ban price on carbon

by Cassady Craighill

July 17, 2014

A Greenpeace activist holds a banner reading "Coal is powering climate change" after having shut down a coal digger at Hazelwood, the developed world's most polluting coal power station. Greenpeace is demanding that Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd take real action on climate change by transitioning away from coal and choosing renewables as energy security.

© Greenpeace

Australia became the first country to ban a price on carbon with the government’s repeal of the tax on the country’s biggest polluters.

Australia is one of the world’s worst carbon emitters per capita with a heavy reliance on cheap coal for electricity.

Following the repeal of theCarbonPrice, Greenpeace reminded Prime Minister Tony Abbott that his government is still committed to reducing Australias emissions by five per cent by 2020 and even meeting this measly target will require retaining key clean energy policies such as the Renewable Energy Target.

The test for all action or inaction on climate change is: will it see Australia contribute to the global effort to keep warming under two degrees above pre-industrial levels, said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Nic Clyde.

The repeal of theCarbonPriceat a time when climate change is already affecting Australia is an act of blind irrationality. The fact that we are seeing such sensible measures as the Renewable Energy Target, ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation also come under attack is simply extraordinary. It calls into serious question the Governments willingness to meet their own 2020 reduction target.

Protecting the Renewable Energy Target should be a no-brainer. Its an effective mechanism to cut pollution that also reduces consumers electricityprices, said Clyde. The target means billions of dollars in investment for Australia and thousands of new jobs.

As the rest of the world moves to tackle climate change, Australia remains wedded to fossil fuels, particularly coal. As the worlds largest exporter of metallurgical coal and the worlds second largest thermal coal exporter by volume, we risk being left behind as the rest of the world moves to embrace clean energy.

Already, Australian coal mines are closing as the global coal market deteriorates. Australia must begin preparing for a future, and economy, after coal.

ACarbonPriceand clean energy policies such as the Renewable Energy Target will help drive the transition to a clean energy economy in Australia, said Clyde.

Cassady Craighill

By Cassady Craighill

Cassady is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based on the East Coast. She covers climate change and energy, particularly how both issues relate to the Trump administration.

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