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“Australia’s carbon price package will aid our environment”
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“Australia’s carbon price package will aid our environment”

In Australia, a government tax on carbon emissions has aroused controversy from those who say it will hurt industry and choke the economy. But for others, including Commonwealth Correspondent Sean O’Rourke, 26, the measure does not go nearly far enough.

The recent announcement of the carbon tax package ought to be celebrated rather than maligned.

The package represents an important environmental and social reform, ensuring Australia can meet international obligations by cutting carbon pollution by 5-25% by 2020, with an overall 80% emissions reduction target set for 2050, based upon 2000 levels.

Further, taxing Australia’s 500 largest polluters will only cost approximately 0.5%of average annual income. Some of the income raised from the carbon package will compensate 9 out of 10 households, with approximately 4 million households being over compensated. This includes increased benefits for low income families, pensioners, those in aged care and the disabled.

If there is fault to be found with the Australian carbon tax package, it is that the unconditional 5% cut in carbon emissions on 2000 levels by 2020 is far below the targets set by other developed countries who on average are aiming for a 16-18% reduction target. If Australia were to match the ambitious targets set by China, carbon pollution would have to be cut by 25% 2020.

As a developed nation that is so vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, it is important that Australia sets an ambitious carbon pollution target, as a signal to other nations that we are serious about the threat of climate change.   However, as it stands the carbon price package will aid our environment, and support some of our most disadvantaged during the transition to a cleaner future. This is an important reform.

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About me:

“I am a 27-year-old living and working in Melbourne, Australia. I am working at VicHealth full time at the moment, on a project that looks at the impact of bottle shops on alcohol-related harm more generally.

“I am studying part time, completing my Masters in Policy and Human Service at RMIT. I also recently completed training by the Climate Project in Indonesia, with training provided by former US vice president Al Gore.”

Read another of my articles here:

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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