Australia's Cap and Trade Plans Crash and Burn

Photo via the Guardian

Bad news from down under: the nation with the highest per capita emissions in the developed world won't see legislation to reign in greenhouse gases anytime soon. Australia's cap and trade plan has just been rejected by its parliament by a vote of 42-30, due to the opposition of prominent senators who feared, you guessed it, that the scheme would hurt the coal industry. Sounds sorta familiar, doesn't it--coal interests getting in the way of major legislation to fight climate change? Coal is huge in Australia--the country is the 4th largest producer of the stuff in the world, and is the source of 85% of its electricity. So it doesn't come as much of a surprise that coal interests succeeded in obstructing the passage of a carbon trading scheme.

The BBC reports:

The measure was the centrepiece of the government's environment plans, and would have cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5% over the next 10 years.

But opposition senators who control the upper house feared the legislation would harm the country's mining sector.

And while the legislation can be reintroduced after three months--which Australia's Climate Change Minister, Peggy Wong, insists will happen--if the :measure is defeated again it could trigger a general election," according to the BBC. Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was one of the chief proponents of the cap and trade plan. But business groups argued that adopting such a plan would prevent economic recovery and lead to job loss--again, sound familiar?

So, for now, Australia is cap and trade-less, and coal and certain business groups can chalk themselves up an unfortunate victory.

More on Australia Cap and Trade:
Cap and Trade Explained in Under Four Minutes (Video)
Cap and Trade Won't Break the Bank

Tags: Australia | Carbon Emissions | Coal


treehugger slideshows