Thanks to Blair Palese of 350 Australia for this helpful update about the tentatively exciting news about Australia's steps towards putting a price on carbon.

It’s a first step and it’s certainly not going to get us to 350ppm quickly BUT, Australia’s Prime Minister took a brave step on Sunday night and announced her plans for a national price on pollution.
Why so important if it is, as many have analyzed in the torrid of media coverage since, a pretty middle-of-the-road proposal? Two key reasons:
Firstly, it might actually get passed and, secondly, in the country’s current political climate – more Tea Party than our usual “she’ll be right mate” tone – to get anything passed that might change our coarse on climate change would be something of a miracle.
Keep a few things in mind. Australia is not only the biggest user of coal for energy – about 87% by last account – but we are also THE biggest exporter of coal. In fact, coal is propping up our whole economy! And by all accounts our stockpiles of coal look to go on forever – which brings to mind the old analogy “the stone age didn’t end because we ran out of rocks”. Here’s hoping!
On top of that, for reasons still a mystery, we seem unwilling or unable to see the opportunities we have in renewable energy – solar, wind, geothermal and wave – despite being the envy of the world. Thus the need for an urgent price on pollution to get us going!
It’s been a long and ugly fight. Truth is, we had an opportunity to pass such legislation five years ago and missed the political boat. So you have to give it to our PM Julia Gillard for sticking to her guns and coming up with a compromise approach that could get across the line despite many calling it political suicide.
Let’s not forget the role of a conservative and visionless opposition leader – Tony Abbott – who has used every dirty trick in the book, put forward unhelpful taunts and challenges over the last few months that make a thinking person want to cry and a man who says he is staking his political career on defeating this effort to shift Australia’s course from polluting to solution. It defies all reason when you but glance at the climate change science!
So, what’s in this proposed price on pollution? It includes:
1. A new emissions reduction target of 80% by 2050 from 2000 levels.
2. An initial $23 a tonne price on carbon, which will begin to change corporate and consumer behaviour away from polluting activities and in toward cleaner and less polluting ones. A reasonable price.
3. While the price is not high, it also won’t kill off our economy and it will continue to rise as future governments place more stringent caps on Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
4. After a few years to get used to the idea, the “carbon tax” will become a market driven “carbon price”.
5. The measure includes important complementary measures that have made the policy much more likely to succeed, such as a $10 billion investment fund for clean energy, and a government buy-out of up to 2 gigawatts of dirty coal-fired electricity generation – already having an impact.
6. Fair compensation for those who will be hardest hit by price increases – lower income families and a much higher income threshold than the current tax levels so many will come out on top.
It’s an historic time for Australian democracy, even more so if we can get it passed! It’s a good sign too that our Pacific neighbors, and even our own Torres Strait Islanders are writing to the PM to say “Yes please!” as those facing climate change impacts right now. 
That’s why Australia and the many NGOs we work for climate change action are saying YES to this price on pollution. It’s worth standing up for as a big first step to make the kind of change we need here and around the world.
Come September 24, when people around the world joining for our global Moving Planet day, we in Australia will be Moving to YES to price pollution. Watch this space and we’ll let you know how we go.
For more information:
Say Yes campaign:
Analysis of the plan:
Mayor of the Torres Strait Islands petition for action on climate change:
What it all means – Source: ABC on line


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