11 November 2011


With the passage of its Clean Energy Act Australia has joined the growing list of countries that have imposed a tax on carbon emissions intended to halt the growth of the country's growing greenhouse gas emissions and spur investment in cleaner energy sources including natural gas and renewable power stations.

The laws will see Australia join the European Union and New Zealand with national emissions trading schemes. California's starts in 2013, while China and South Korea are working on carbon trading programmes. India has a coal tax, while South Africa plans to place carbon caps on its top polluters.

Whilst Australia accounts for just 1.5 percent of global emissions, it is the developed world's highest emitter per capita due to a reliance on coal to generate electricity.

Meanwhile the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Wednesday that the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change and will lose the chance to limit warming if it doesn't take bold action in the next five years.

In its annual World Energy Outlook, the agency spelled out the consequences if those steps aren't taken and what needs to be done to cap global temperature increases at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. That's the threshold beyond which some scientists have said catastrophic changes could be triggered.

The IEA is the intergovernmental organisation which acts as a policy adviser to the twenty eight member states of the OECD group of countries - the group of the world's most developed countries.

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