Aus­tralia con­sid­ers charg­ing its power gen­er­a­tors for pol­lu­tion

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Aus­tralia will con­sider mak­ing elec­tri­cal power com­pa­nies pay for green­house gas pol­lu­tion they cre­ate, three years af­ter the govern­ment scrapped the na­tional car­bon tax, a Cabi­net min­is­ter said yes­ter­day. The con­ser­va­tive govern­ment re­jected all pol­luter-pays op­tions in 2014 when it re­pealed Aus­tralia’s 3-year-old car­bon tax levied against the na­tion’s big­gest in­dus­trial pol­luters.

But En­vi­ron­ment and En­ergy Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg said that charg­ing power gen­er­a­tors fu­eled by coal and natural gas for their pol­lu­tion was un­der con­sid­er­a­tion as the govern­ment looks for ways to achieve its car­bon gas re­duc­tion tar­gets.

He said while his govern­ment re­jected the pre­vi­ous cen­ter-left La­bor Party govern­ment’s pol­icy of charg­ing all ma­jor in­dus­trial pol­luters, the elec­tric­ity in­dus­try pro­duced a third of Aus­tralia’s green­house gases and could face its own charges. The new scheme could in­clude in­ter­na­tional trade in car­bon cred­its, he said.

“How we do we meet our emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­gets while at the same time keep­ing elec­tric­ity af­ford­able and the lights ef­fec­tively on? That’s our tar­get,” Fry­den­berg told Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Corp. The govern­ment on Mon­day re­leased de­tails of its cli­mate change pol­icy re­view which will be­gin in Fe­bru­ary. Aus­tralia has pledged to reduce its car­bon emis­sions by at least 26 per­cent be­low 2005 levels by 2030.

The govern­ment re­placed the car­bon tax with a 2.55 bil­lion Aus­tralian dol­lar ($1.9 bil­lion) fund paid by tax­pay­ers to give in­cen­tives to pol­luters to reduce their emis­sions. Only AU$400 mil­lion is left, Fry­den­berg said. En­vi­ron­men­tal­ist John Con­nor, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Aus­tralian Cli­mate In­sti­tute, said the fund could not achieve Aus­tralia’s re­duc­tion tar­get. Aus­tralia is among the world’s worst green­house gas pol­luters on a per capita ba­sis be­cause of its heavy re­liance on abun­dant re­serves of cheap coal for elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion. — AP

WASH­ING­TON: In this Fri­day, Dec 2, 2016, photo, vis­i­tors look on as a Pa­cific fisher takes off run­ning af­ter be­ing re­leased into a for­est at Mount Rainier Na­tional Park. — AP

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