Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard last month unveiled a major climate change package attempting to reduce carbon emissions and spurring clean energy development. The centerpiece of the package is an AU$23 ($25 USD) per ton carbon price on the country’s 500 largest polluters. The price will rise by 2.5% each year until 2015, after which it will be replaced by a carbon trading scheme. Most of the revenues will be dedicated for consumer and industry assistance to offset higher energy costs and investment in efficiency, though the Gillard government also plans to invest heavily in domestic innovation and clean energy financing. Australia seems to be taking the right steps on the first point, but challenges related to the second point might make this effort more difficult than it needs to be, and could leave the entire effort at risk.
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June 12, 2014