The announcement that the Australian and European carbon markets are linked from today has been welcomed by Environment Victoria as a sign that the carbon price is here to stay. The deal struck to remove the floor price, but also to limit the number of cheap international permits Australian companies can purchase, removes the final barrier to concluding ‘Contracts for Closure’ negotiations promised as part of the Clean Energy Future package.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:
“While we would have liked a floor price to remain in place the reality is that Australian businesses will be taking advantage of cheaper European carbon prices from today, and purchasing permits to reduce their carbon liability beyond 2015.
“This makes the carbon price that much harder for the Coalition to unwind and undermines Tony Abbott’s argument that Australia is going it alone.”
“While it may potentially lower the price on carbon from 2015- depending on what happens with the European price- the changes announced today also limit the use of cheap Clean Development Mechanism credits.
“The net effect of these changes on Australian polluters’ carbon liability will not be known until 2015, but what it does signal is that the carbon price is here to stay unless Tony Abbott is prepared to risk billion dollar lawsuits from businesses that lawfully purchase carbon credits from today.”
Mr Wakeham said that resolution of the floor price issue was the final barrier to the government delivering on its contract for closure commitment to retire around 2000 MW of our most polluting power stations.
“Owners of outdated and polluting power stations like Hazelwood should realise that the carbon price is here to stay and contracts for closure is a one-off opportunity to be compensated for certainty around their closure.”
“The Government now needs to finalise negotiations and deliver on the only significant outstanding plank of the clean energy future platform.”
Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria campaigns director, 0439 700 501 .