Australia's carbon tax, after having been debated for the past ten years, has been approved.
This makes Australia only the second industrialized nation outside the EU to enact national carbon pricing.
Under the plan, set to begin on July 1, 2012, 500 of Australia's biggest polluters will have to pay A$23 per ton of carbon emitted, with exceptions made for agriculture and forestry. From July 2015, the initial carbon tax scheme transitions into an emissions trading scheme, with companies mandated to participate required to have permits for every ton of carbon emitted.The goal of the program is to reduce emissions by 159 million tons of carbon by 2020.
On a per capita basis, due to heavy reliance on coal, Australia is one of the world's highest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions.
As for the effect on taxpayers, the system will replace part of Australia's income tax, meaning that one million Australians will no longer have to pay any income tax.