Mining industry groups have reacted favourably to the alternative emissions trading scheme modelled by Frontier Economics and commissioned by the Coalition and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement the proposed alternative scheme would allocate permits to electricity generators using a baseline approach, rather than forcing them to purchase permits for all emissions.
“With appropriate amendments the ETS can deliver an unconditional 10% reduction in Australia’s 2000 greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to the Rudd Government’s 5% unconditional target,” he said.
“The results make it clear the Rudd Government should immediately withdraw its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation and begin negotiations to design a more effective scheme.
“Frontier’s work shows the scheme can actually be made twice as green at a much lower cost to consumers and the broader economy.”
The Australian Coal Association (ACA) agrees with the research, saying it shows that climate change reduction does not need to undermine the competitiveness of Australian industry.
In a statement, ACA executive director Ralph Hillman welcomed the coal industry’s inclusion as an emissions-intensive trade-exposed sector.
“This modelling again confirms that fair treatment of the coal industry will save jobs and is perfectly achievable in a well-designed emissions trading scheme,” he said.
According to Hillman, the Government’s current scheme fails to address the negative impacts on Australian coal competing in the export market.
“There is no doubt that mines will close and future investment will diminish as a result of the CPRS,” he said.
“These dangers have been clearly set out in four previous independent economic studies, including work done for the Queensland and New South Wales State Governments.”
The Minerals Council of Australia said the proposed changes would reduce the disadvantage that the CPRS would impose on Australia’s export sector.
“In so doing, these reforms would better align Australia’s scheme with those in place or being developed by other nations, including the European Union and the United States and remove many of the negative employment impacts of the CPRS.”