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“Australia’s new carbon tax aims to make polluters pay”
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“Australia’s new carbon tax aims to make polluters pay”

There has been a mixed reaction to a recently passed carbon tax in Australia. Many say it will boost growth and promote a more sustainable country. Others however say the cost of living will inevitably rise, reports Sharlene Sturk, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Victoria, Australia.

The issue of climate change has divided many people in my country. Some believe it is caused by global warming; according to the website CarbonTax.net, Australia has seen an increase in temperature of nine degrees since 1950.

This increased warming has led to the continual rise of sea levels, the retreat of ice sheets and accelerated coral bleaching, as well as changes in weather patterns, such as above average rainfall.

There is evidence that suggests humans are the main contributors to global warming over at least the past three decades. It will only continue if we do not adopt more environmentally friendly practices within our everyday lives.

Others of course disagree. According to The Long View, global warming is said to be just a part of the weather cycle. The changes in the water pattern are not caused by global warming but rather by the lunar/cosmic cycles as well as recent diminished sunspot activity. When the sunspot and lunar cycles coincide there are distinct rainfall peaks, it is argued. The 2010-11 floods in Northern Australia for instance reflected a peak lunar rain-enhancement cycle.

The Australian federal government has a plan to move to a clean energy future which includes introducing a price for carbon emissions. Its ‘carbon tax’ legislation was recently passed by the Senate, the upper house of parliament, and is set to commerce on 1 July 2012.

According to Clean Energy Future, the first three years of the carbon tax will represent a fixed tax before moving to an emissions trading scheme in 2015. There has been a strong emphasis placed on the fact that the tax is not a levy on households, but rather a tax that will require around 500 of Australia’s top carbon polluters to pay for the carbon that they emit into the atmosphere. It will be calculated according to a carbon pricing mechanism.

This may in turn encourage those businesses to adopt more environmentally sustainable practises. During the fixed stage of the tax, which will run until 30 June 2015, the carbon price will start at $23.00 per tonne and rise by 2.5% a year. From 1 July 2015 the carbon price will be set by the market and the number of permits issued by the government will be capped. For more information click here.

There has been a mixed reaction to the carbon tax with many saying it will have a positive impact in terms of economic growth as well as helping to promote a more sustainable Australia. But with the cost of living rising many individuals are concerned that if big businesses are to pay for the costs of a carbon tax the consumer may be indirectly affected as these businesses may pass on the cost to customers.

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About me:

“I am passionate  about human rights and helping individuals seek justice. When I finish  completing my final year of high school I hope to have a career  in law or perhaps politics.

“I would  also like to write my own autobiography about my life experiences. Most importantly I would like to provide a voice  to  those who need it. Making a difference in the world we live in is what matters most to me.”

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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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