Securing a clean energy future: The Australian Government’s Climate Change Plan

Securing a clean energy future: The Australian Government’s Climate Change Plan Project Resources

Report to Meat & Livestock Australia Limited by Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre

  • Author(s): Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency,
  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Abstract: Scientists advise that the world is warming and high levels of carbon pollution risk environmental and economic damage. No responsible government can ignore this advice. The Australian Government has developed a comprehensive plan to move to a clean energy future. A price on carbon pollution will create incentives to reduce pollution and invest in clean energy. A carbon price will ensure that pollution is reduced at the lowest cost to the economy. Under the carbon price, around 500 of the biggest polluters in Australia will need to buy and surrender to the Government a permit for every tonne of carbon pollution they produce. For the first three years, the carbon price will be fixed like a tax, before moving to an emissions trading scheme in 2015. In the fixed price stage, starting on 1 July 2012, the carbon price will start at $23 a tonne, rising at 2.5 per cent a year in real terms. From 1 July 2015, the carbon price will be set by the market. The carbon price will be accompanied by assistance supporting households, jobs, businesses and communities, to help them adjust, lower their carbon pollution and to protect our international competitiveness. To assist households with price impacts, there will be two rounds of tax cuts and increases in pensions, allowances and benefits. Significant tax reform will mean that more than 1 million people will no longer need to file a tax return. Increasing the tax-free threshold and cutting taxes also boosts incentives to work. Over 50 per cent of carbon price revenue will be spent on households. Household transport fuel consumption will not be subject to a carbon price. Substantial industry assistance will be provided to support jobs and competitiveness as we move to a clean energy future for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries, manufacturing, food processing, metal forgers and foundries, electricity generators and small business, as agreed by the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee. The Government is also separately investing in protecting jobs in the steel and coal industries. A $10 billion new commercially oriented Clean Energy Finance Corporation will invest in renewable energy, low pollution and energy efficiency technologies — a major increase in support. The Government will seek to negotiate the closure of around 2000 megawatts of highly polluting electricity generation capacity by 2020 to reduce pollution and facilitate a smooth energy market transition. Farmers and land managers will receive significant support to pursue climate change action on the land and enhance biodiversity through a suite of measures including the Carbon Farming Initiative, the Carbon Farming Futures program and a new Biodiversity Fund. Emissions from agriculture will not be subject to a carbon price. The Government is providing additional support to promote energy efficiency. Low Carbon Communities will help local councils and communities improve energy efficiency in community facilities, including a new Low Income Energy Efficiency Program. The Government will expedite the development of a national energy savings initiative.

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