. Energy News .

Australia slashes businesses subject to carbon tax
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) July 7, 2011

Australia has halved the number of companies needing to pay a contentious pollution tax from 1,000 to about 500, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Thursday, stressing only big business will be hit.

Gillard's confirmation of the move followed reports that companies excluded will include fuel suppliers and distributors and also firms emitting synthetic greenhouse gases.

The 500 largest polluting companies are expected to include coal-fired electricity generators, miners, and steel and aluminium manufacturers.

"I think this figure of 500 strongly reinforces the point that this is a price being paid by big businesses, a limited number of big businesses, it is not being paid by Australian families," Gillard told ABC television.

"Theres been some confusion as to who actually pays the direct price for carbon pollution, who needs to pay the price per tonne, and this figure of 500 makes it very clear the people paying the price per tonne are big polluters and a very limited number of companies."

The planned tax is one of the most significant economic reforms in Australia for decades and Gillard is staking her ailing leadership on its passage.

She would not confirm reports that the charge would be Aus$23 (US$24.5) a tonne for carbon emissions, level with the European Union but lower than that recommended by the country's Productivity Commission.

Australia is among the world's worst per capita polluters due to its reliance on coal-fired power and resources exports and it plans to charge big business a fixed price per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted from mid-2012.

The levy will give way to an emissions trading scheme (ETS) within five years, linked to global carbon markets.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the Aus$23 was a compromise between Gillard's Labor Party, which was seeking Aus$20, and the Australian Greens, who have the deciding vote in parliament and wanted a much higher price.

Government modelling based on a Aus$20 price showed that a carbon tax would cost the average family about Aus$7.80 a week -- Aus$406 a year.

Full details of the long-awaited pricing structure are due to be revealed on Sunday with a cabinet meeting expected on Saturday to approve the plan.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has said nine out of 10 households would get tax cuts or pension boosts to help meet rising living costs associated with the levy and promised industry assistance, particularly for high-polluting exporters.

The plan though has met fierce resistance from groups including the Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Coal Association.

Labor's conservative Liberal/National opponents also reject the tax, and the government needs the support of the eco-minded Greens minority party and a handful of rural independent lawmakers to get it through parliament.

Related Links

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Outrage at drilling permit for Australia reef
Sydney (AFP) July 8, 2011 - Australian green activists expressed outrage Friday at a government decision to allow energy giant Shell to drill for gas at a pristine reef that was listed as a World Heritage site just two weeks ago.

Ningaloo Reef is considered a natural wonder, sprawling some 260 kilometres (155 miles) along Australia's west coast and teeming with hundreds of tropical fish and coral species.

The UN's cultural body UNESCO listed the remote Ningaloo coast as a World Heritage site late last month due to its reef, sea turtles and white whales.

But environmentalists say it could be under threat after the Australian government green-lighted a proposal from Shell to explore for gas nearby.

"We are very concerned that the Australian government is even allowing the oil and gas sector to operate so close to the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef," WWF's Paul Gamblin told ABC Radio

"It really beggars belief that they aren't requiring a full environmental estimate of Shell's latest drilling proposal."

Gamblin said the Shell operations would run along the side of the reef itself, a "new frontier" for drilling, which has previously been confined to its northern corner.

Shell issued a statement saying it was "mindful of the significant biodiversity and heritage values of the Ningaloo region and we continue to plan our operations accordingly," noting its long safety record in the region.

"The proposed exploration well is targeting gas and would be around 70km from the Ningaloo Reef and 50km from the boundary of the Ningaloo Marine Park and World Heritage Area," the energy firm said.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said Australia had beefed up its regulatory processes since the Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea two years ago, which saw thousands of barrels of crude spew into west coast waters over 10 weeks.

"Since the Montara incident, the department has adopted a more rigorous process for the assessment of offshore petroleum activities and the approval conditions," Burke told AFP in a statement.

"Shells proposal to undertake exploration drilling west of Ningaloo Reef was considered on its merits in accordance with national environment law," he added.

Burke said Australia was "committed to protecting Australias unique environment including our oceans" and the Shell approval was consistent with similar projects.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Euro Bank launches $385M efficiency fund
Brussels (UPI) Jul 6, 2011
The European Investment Bank says it has launched a $385 million fund targeting energy efficiency project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new European Energy Efficiency Fund has pooled contributions from the European bank, the European Commission, the Italian bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Deutsche Bank to invest in small-scale energy efficiency projects, EIB officia ... read more

Poor frameworks block African energy plans

Australia slashes businesses subject to carbon tax

Euro Bank launches $385M efficiency fund

Developing world need $1 trillion a year for green tech: UN

Pollution risk of CFL bulbs studied

Shell told to withdraw drilling claims in S.African ad

Anger mounts in China over oil spill

Optics in LEDs for lighting

Wind power numbers down in Britain

Wind farm inquiry balanced and reasonable

Power-One Inverters Chosen to Power WindTronics

Sheringham Shoal signs up For WindManager wind farm management system

Japan's Mitsui in quake-zone solar plan: report

Solis Partners Completes Rooftop Commercial Solar Installation in Bridgewater

High-Efficiency IDS Solar Inverter Technology Unveiled in North America

Race is on to site largest U.S. solar farm

Checks seen further delaying Japan atomic restarts

Japan to 'stress test' all nuclear reactors

Japan mayor opts to restart reactors

Niger president says Areva uranium mines safe

Virgin eyes eucalyptus for jet fuel

Termites digestive system could act as biofuel refinery

Biofuels from the sea

Salt-loving microbe provides new enzymes for the production of next-gen biofuels

China to launch an experimental satellite in coming days

China to launch new communication satellite

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 goes to outer space

Building harmonious outer space to achieve inclusive development

Australia to unveil pollution tax

China coal surge held back warming: study

Record low Danube levels cut down bird populations: WWF

Europe drought leading to more property damage: study

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement