Yesterday’s Senate defeat of the latest emissions trading scheme has been welcomed by key mining industry bodies, who have said the new time frame is an opportunity to get the scheme right.
“The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has been at the forefront of opposition to the design of the emissions trading scheme for a simple reason: it was not environmentally effective or economically efficient,” MCA chief executive Mitch Hooke told MINING DAILY.
“The scheme planned to raise about $120 billion but did not direct a single cent to low emissions technology development and would not have reduced global emissions.
“The failure of the emissions trading legislation to pass the Senate provides the parliament with an opportunity to design a carbon pricing scheme that reduces emissions, supports new technologies and protects the competitiveness of Australia’s export sectors.”
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche said that the delay gives policy makers the opportunity to establish a clearer emissions trading scheme.
“Our politicians need to explain what they are seeking to achieve, how they are going to go about it and what the consequences are for ordinary Australians,” he said.
Both Hooke and Roche agree that a key stumbling block to any emissions scheme is the financial burden that will be placed on Australian industries that they say will not be faced by other countries.
“Under the proposals rejected by the Senate, emissions and jobs from Queensland’s coal industry, the State’s leading export earner, were going to be exported to other coal-exporting nations whose governments were not proposing similar new carbon taxes,” Roche said.
“All the coal industry sought in amendments to the emissions trading scheme was equal treatment with comparable export industries.”
Hooke has advocated a phased approach to auctioning carbon permits similar to models in the United States and the European Union.
Despite an opposition to the rejected ETS, Roche was keen to point out that the QRC was not questioning climate change, just of the best way to fight it.
“We accept the science of climate change and we support an emissions trading scheme, but it must be one that actually cuts emissions, not jobs,” he said.
Hooke also acknowledges the realities of climate change.
“The mining industry wants to be part of the solution to climate change, but policies to tackle this challenge must be founded on a measured transition to a low emissions economy and protect jobs and investment,” he said.