Australia's emissions trading scheme starting in 2010 should make energy more affordable in the long term, but short-term price hikes could see the government facing an A$1.8 billion (US$1.7 billion) annual compensation bill.
The Climate Institute report on energy affordability and emissions trading released yesterday found energy price rises could easily be offset through the auction of carbon permits, estimated to exceed 1 percent of GDP, or about A$10 billion.
The report studied three carbon price outlooks of low (A$15-A$100), moderate (A$30-A$163) and high (A$45-A$225) by 2050.
“For most Australians, the affordability of energy is likely to improve substantially over coming years, notwithstanding the introduction of emissions trading and the associated increase in energy prices,” the report said.
But it said that under a high carbon price scenario, and if world oil prices continued to rise, there would be a deterioration in energy affordability in the short to medium term, especially among low income families.
Australia’s center-left Labor government won power last November, immediately ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and promising a carbon trading scheme by 2010 to give business a financial incentive to cut pollution.
The government is expected to release an options paper on the emissions trading scheme next month, with legislation expected by the end of the year.
Australia is responsible for about 1.2 percent of global carbon emissions, but remains one of the highest polluters per capita because of the nation’s reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter and relies on coal to generate about 80 percent of its electricity.
The average Australian family spends around 9 percent of its budget on energy, low income singles spend about 15 percent and high income families spend 5 percent.
The report found average families could face price rises of up to A$10 a week for electricity, gas and gasoline in the short term, but over time energy affordability would rise as energy prices plateau, incomes rise and energy efficiency improves.
Under a high carbon price by 2050, the average family would spend less than 6 percent of its budget on energy, low income singles around 10 percent and high income families less than 4 percent.
In other news from Australia, the energy company Apache said yesterday it expected Western Australian gas production to be partly restored by the middle of August, but that it could take six months for full production to resume after a blast at its Varanus Island plant on June 3.
The blast forced the plant’s closure, slashing Western Australia’s gas supply by 30 percent and causing an energy crisis in the state.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly