The Australian carbon tax proposal, revealed earlier this week, was meant to make the country one of the world’s climate change leaders. Unfortunately it fails to provide a meaningful strategy for mitigating Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions as it specifically precludes additional funding for CCS. In a country where coal delivers over 75% of electricity, this is a major omission and proof that Australia is out of step with climate leaders.
The EU set aside 300 million emission allowances under its Emissions Trading Scheme to fund CCS and innovative renewable technologies projects. The fund, also called NER300, is currently worth around €4.5 billion and 13 CCS demonstration projects from around Europe have already applied for funding. No such mechanism was proposed as part of the Australian carbon tax, regardless of the fact that it will cost the tax payers much more than the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
When I met with the EU’s Director General for Climate Action this week, he was astonished to hear that the Australia’s carbon tax proposal specifically precludes any additional funding for CCS from the revenues it will allow to raise.
The fact that revenues from the Australian carbon tax will not be re-invested in CCS weakens the environmental credentials of the proposal and puts Australia’s rhetoric about global leadership on climate change under a question mark.