Friday, June 24, 2011

Credits Trader: No Carbon Apology Needed, says PM

JULIA Gillard has declined to apologise for her pre-election declaration that "there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead" and has warned that it may take "months and months and months" to convince voters on the merits of the policy.

Asked yesterday why she didn't just apologise, the Prime Minister said: "I've explained, of course, to the Australian people that I never meant to mislead anybody during the last election campaign about carbon pricing".

She told the ABC that carbon would be priced "through a path I didn't expect during the election campaign".


Credits Trader: No Carbon Apology Needed, says PM

Carbon tax relief to end at $150,000

JULIA Gillard has indicated that most families on incomes above $150,000 will miss out on compensation under the proposed carbon tax plan to be unveiled next month.

This comes as Tony Abbott today will promise tax cuts from a Coalition government when it scraps the carbon tax and accompanying compensation measures.

Ms Gillard has strongly defended the $150,000 figure, saying people earning that amount are not rich but ''they're a lot better off than the vast majority of Australian families''. She pointed out that the average household income was $68,000 and only one in 10 households earned more than $150,000.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has indicated carbon tax compensation will be cut-off at $150,000. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The Prime Minister, in comments to The Saturday Age, confirmed the compensation package would include income tax cuts and family payment increases, as well as increases in pensions and allowances.

''By providing tax cuts and increases in payments this way, we can take account of people's different family circumstances - whether they're on high or low incomes, whether they're bringing up kids or not,'' Ms Gillard said.

Mr Abbott's pledge of tax cuts is to counter the government's potentially damaging refrain that he will ''rip away'' people's compensation when he scraps the carbon tax.

By getting the promise out before the package is released, he aims to limit the government's ability to run a fear campaign on what people would lose under the Coalition. The opposition has said people won't need compensation if the carbon tax is gone.

In a speech to the Liberal federal council today, the Opposition Leader will say: ''At the next election, the Coalition will deliver tax cuts that are not just compensation. It will be a tax cut without a carbon tax. Our tax cuts will recognise the cost of living pressures that are hitting families and small business hard.

''Our tax cuts will be designed to restore people's hope, to reward harder work with higher pay.''

Mr Abbott will say voters will understand that a tax reduction to compensate for a tax increase, as planned by the government, ''is not a cut but a con''. He will say his tax cuts will be funded from ''prudent economies in government spending'' and ''policy-driven improvements in the productivity of our economy''.

Under the government's compensation package, the income threshold of $150,000 is not a precise cut-off point, but families earning more than that should not expect help for higher power bills and other costs flowing from a carbon tax.

The opposition criticised the budget for freezing the $150,000 income threshold on primary earners for eligibility for family tax benefit B, but this week allowed the legislation through Parliament.

Ms Gillard said that ''there are people in our community doing it much tougher'' than those on $150,000 and ''most of my attention is on looking after people who really need that extra bit of help''.

Pre-empting criticism about not providing compensation for those further up the income scale, Ms Gillard said: ''I want to make sure that ordinary working families can make a difference and help tackle climate change without having to make financial sacrifices along the way.

''It's people on lower incomes who spend the highest proportion of their income on energy. They are the people who most need financial help … That's why our assistance will be focused on pensioners, low-income earners and middle-income earners.''

Mr Abbott will say that his Coalition government would ''build on the Howard legacy of reducing personal income taxes for everyone and especially delivering a fair go for middle-income earners with children''.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Australia Releases Rules for CO2 Credits from Culling Camels

Killing camels to earn carbon credits might seem an extreme way to fight climate change, but the Australian government on Thursday issued detailed rules that will help investors do just that.

Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon, a carbon project developer, has developed the rules, or methodology, governing a strict camel culling programme that would also cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Like cows and sheep, camel digestive tracts produce large amounts of methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with adults producing about a tonne of methane a year.

With no natural predators, camels now number more than one million in Australia's desert centre and the population is growing quickly.

The methodology is one of many being developed under the government's Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), the country's first nationally regulated carbon offset programme that aims to reward farmers and investors for steps that cut greenhouse gas emissions on the land.

The government, which supports Northwest Carbon's 63-page methodology, released the rules for public consultation on Thursday.

Legislation for the Carbon Farming Initiative is being debated before parliament, and it is likely to be approved. The scheme is far less controversial than a separate carbon pricing programme the government is struggling to win support for.

Camels, introduced in the 19th century, have become a major pest in Australia. They trample large areas of vegetation, damage water holes and compete with native species for food.

Camel culling under the methodology could generate up to 18 million carbon credits, with more than 650,000 created per year during the initial three to five years, Northwest Carbon said in a statement on Thursday.

Cutting methane from landfills, better management of grassland burning and tree plantations are also approved methods under the CFI, in addition to feral animal management.

Once the CFI is running, polluters will be able to buy offsets from approved projects or they can be sold overseas. But the scheme is expected to start off slowly until parliament also passes the separate laws that put a national price on carbon emissions.
Agriculture can comprise a large portion of a country's greenhouse gas emissions. In Australia, it is about 15 percent, while in New Zealand dairy farming, sheep grazing and other activities generate about half the country's total, mostly methane from livestock. One cow can emit 1.5 tonnes of methane a year.

Credits Trader

Credits Trader

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