Data access a new carbon challenge Fired up by pricing
THE difficulty of estimating effective carbon prices in other countries could weaken the federal government’s ability to compensate big polluters accurately.
The Productivity Commission has been asked to estimate the effective price faced by electricity, manufacturing and transport industries in countries including the United Kingdom, the USA, China and Japan.
The data will be used to work out how much compensation Australian companies should receive under an emissions trading scheme.
But in a working paper released yesterday, the com- mission notes that ‘‘ accessing data is proving particularly challenging’’ for some trading partners.
Quizzed about this issue, government climate change adviser Ross Garnaut acknowledged there were ‘‘ conceptual and data issues’’ to be sorted out.
But he said the commission was doing a good job and the comparative prices should be ready to roll by 2015.
That’ s when he wants generousass istancefo r emissions-intensive, tradeexposed industries to be wound back and comparative compensation to begin.
Determining a competitor’s effective carbon price would require lots of resources, but the task was worth it to avoid ‘‘ potential serious distortion of the Australian economy and the integrity of our political system’’, Prof Garnaut told reporters.
The economist released the seventh update of his landmark 2008 climate change review earlier yesterday.
Prof Garnaut wants Australia to double its expected expenditure on new lowemissions technologies to $ 2.5 billion annually by 2017.
Funding would then plateau until 2022 before gradually declining.
The update states that pricing carbon will drive innovation, but ‘‘ on its own it will not increase it by enough’’.
That’s because the market doesn’t always support research and development adequately – hence the need for government support. ProfGarnaut’sstrong views weren’t appreciated at an anti-carbon tax rally outside parliament house in Canberra.
When his name was mentioned, the placard-waving crowd booed long and loud.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had previously told the rally, dominated by retirees who’d travelled from Sydney, that there needed to be an intelligent response to climate change ‘‘ not just a great big new tax’’.
He s ai d t he r allyrepresented a snapshot of middle Australia which was rightly concerned that pricing carbon would send jobs offshore.
Regular chants of ‘‘ liar, l i ar, l i ar’’ were directed t o wards Pri me Minist e r Julia Gillard, along with the nastier ‘‘ ditch the bitch’’.
Greens spokes woman Christine Milne said it was disappointing to see sexist placards as well.
‘‘ It’s about time we had a mature discussion in Australian politics that didn’t stoop to the denigration of female parliamentarians,’’ the Tasmania senator said in a statement.