Major coal producers such as Anglo American Australia and Xstrata Holdings appear among the 1000 companies that will be subject to the Gillard Government’s carbon tax / File
NO major coal-producing country currently imposes a direct charge on greenhouse gas emissions from coalmines, according to research released last night as industry prepared to intensify its opposition to Julia Gillard’s carbon tax scheme.
After Wayne Swan yesterday announced that a much-anticipated Productivity Commission report into international climate regimes would show that seven of Australia’s top-10 trading partners had adopted major policies to reduce pollution, the Australian Coal Association launched a pre-emptive strike against the report’s findings, The Australian reports.
The association released research by the Centre for International Economics that showed none of the major coal-exporting countries “either currently, or has concrete plans to impose, a direct or indirect constraint on fugitive emissions from coalmining”. (The Australian)
Mind the gap on climate
SOMETIMES the most quotidian matters tell a story. Here’s one about the deep disconnect between the political class – the politicians, the activists, the Hollywood stars and the feel-gooders who are imploring us to “SAY YES” to a carbon tax – and the rest of us.
You go online to buy an airline ticket. Say it’s Jetstar. You choose your flights, fill in the passenger and contact details, answer some more questions, then you are given this option: “Help reduce your climate change impact by offsetting the carbon emissions (CO2) from your flight for just $1.96.” The airline tells you all its carbon offsets are independently accredited, its program is certified under the government’s National Carbon Offset Standard Carbon Neutral initiative, that the airline passes on all funds and does not profit from this purchase. Sounds like a small, low-cost way to help reduce emissions?
As at January this year, 88 per cent of people said no thanks to paying less than $2 to offset carbon from their Jetstar flight. When buying a ticket on a Qantas plane, only 8 per cent of online flyers consciously ticked the “yes, offset flights” button to pay $1.82. By May this year, that figure had dropped to 7 per cent.
To make things clear for the political class, most people are saying no to spending less than $2 to apparently help the environment when they fly. Unless you’re travelling through the rich hippie town of Byron Bay, where you’ll find the highest uptake of those saying yes to buying carbon offsets. By contrast, those travelling through Hamilton Island, your more middle Australia holiday destination, account for the highest number of people saying a polite “no thanks” to paying for a feel-good shot of carbon offsets.
That divide tells a story that the Gillard government may want to listen to. No doubt, a large swath of those saying yes to buying carbon offsets are on flights taken by our politicians as they jet back and forth across Australia, trying to keep in touch with the voters. Apparently, the get-in-touch-with-voters exercise is not working. Let’s get real here. Whether it’s the politicians or their staff who tick the carbon offset options, it’s easy being green with other people’s money. (The Australian)