The Senate has voted 33 to 29 to reject the Abbott government’s repeal of the carbon tax. Some on the side of renewable energy may call this a victory, since the carbon tax punishes polluters, improving the relative position of renewables in the market. However, it appears that the Prime Minister is fixated on preventing further climate action, and repealing those actions that have already been completed.
The Labor and Greens came together to block the repeal, agreeing that some consistent action must be taken to address pollution from energy sources and the overall risk of climate change. The repeal of the carbon tax, among other anti-climate initiatives put forth by the Abbott government would erase the country’s last decade of action on climate issues in one sweeping motion.
Aside from the environmental issues at stake, there are also significant economic implications of removing the carbon tax. Without a carbon tax, the government is acknowledging that there is no net social benefit from renewable energy sources. That means they receive no recognition for eliminating pollution, reducing long-term energy costs, increasing energy security, or improving resiliency. Not only that, but removing the carbon tax also reduces the price of high carbon polluters such as coal plants, leading to increased coal output, and drastically higher pollution, particulate emissions, and mercury levels.
Changing the relative price of renewables back to a pro-fossil fuel agenda goes against all of the recent progress made in Australia. Over the past few years, Australia has been one of the fastest growing markets for solar power. Now, over one million homes have installed solar power on their property. Removing the carbon tax in favor of high polluting energy sources will cut deep into the new and burgeoning solar market, and eliminating the opportunity for many consumers to take advantage of the long-term security to be found in low-cost renewable energy systems.
Fortunately, the repeal was unsuccessful, however it seems that the government is willing to stand against renewables and climate science in the future as well. Renewable energy supporters must be ready at that time to stand up for the future of Australian Energy and reject any movements against renewable energy and climate policy.
- 1 Apr, 2014
- Kit Man Chan
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