On Tuesday, the Australian government, led by the Labour Party with support from the Green Party and independents, passed Australia’s first-ever carbon pricing legislation. After 2010 elections, the Green Party agreed to form a coalition with Labour in exchange for action on issues including the carbon tax. From Reuters:
Australia accounts for just 1.5 percent of global emissions, but is the developed world’s highest emitter per capita due to a reliance on coal to generate electricity. ..
It sets a fixed carbon tax of A$23 ($23.78) a tonne on the top 500 polluters from July 2012, then moves to an emissions trading scheme from July 2015. Companies involved will need a permit for every tonne of carbon they emit. …
The passing of the bill drew applause from public galleries in parliament and Greens leader Bob Brown — a major proponent of the scheme — shook hands with Labor government senators. Others at a carbon expo conference in Melbourne were ecstatic.
The government expects the scheme to spur a multi-billion dollar investment rush in new, cleaner energy sources, including natural gas and renewable power stations, to replace Australia’s aging coal-fired plants.