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The Australian Conservation Foundation has cautiously welcomed changes to Australia’s carbon pricing scheme announced today by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet.
Mr Combet announced that Australia’s scheme will link with the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, international permit purchases will be limited and there will be no minimum carbon price from 2015.
ACF said it was encouraged by the moves to build a global network to cut pollution. The loss of the floor price emphasised the need for complementary measures, such as building renewables and retiring coal-fired power.
“The bottom line of the changes outlined by Minister Combet today is that Australian companies will pay a similar price on pollution as companies in the EU have for more than a decade,” said ACF’s climate change program manager Tony Mohr.
“If the carbon price is lower than expected, we should see that as an opportunity for us to strengthen our national pollution targets, meaning Australia will make more of a difference on climate change,” said ACF’s climate change program manager Tony Mohr.
“It’s disappointing the floor price has been dropped, but limiting international permit purchases will encourage companies to pollute less in Australia.
"With this detail now settled, it’s time for the government to address the question of the closure of 2000 megawatts of old dirty coal fired power. Electricity generators need to redo their sums and reach agreement on contracts for closure.
"Details aside, it's the level of real emission reductions globally that counts. In Australia and in the EU the level of real emission reductions will be determined by the targets set by the governments in the second Kyoto Protocol at the end of this year.
“The Federal Government needs to support Kyoto 2 in order for Australian companies to have access to Kyoto carbon markets.”