Electricity emissions down since carbon tax introduced

23rd Jan 2013

When the carbon tax was introduced earlier this year, it wasn't exactly popular with everyone.

Speaking to ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine today (January 23), prime minister Julia Gillard reflected on initial feedback to the scheme.

"People were told no one would ever work again in this country. Apparently the economy was going to have a wrecking ball through it. No one would ever be able to eat roast lamb again," the PM recalled.

Well Ms Gillard was able to point to hard data today and call the claims of the doubter's "untrue".

The Australian reported that the electricity sector's emissions in the first six months under the carbon pricing scheme were lower than the same period in 2011.

Just how much lower were carbon emissions? Well, by about 7.5 million tonnes.

A spokesman for climate change minister Greg Combet told The Australian that many factors influenced the dive.

These included the carbon tax of course, but also the renewable energy target and a broader mix of energy sources.

"Our policies are stimulating more investment in renewable energy and clean technologies which is reducing pollution, helping to tackle climate change for future generations," said the spokesman.

Graham Anderson of consulting firm Pitt & Sherry said that the spread of installed roof-top solar panels and energy-efficient appliances was working to reduce growth in Australian household consumption.

Meanwhile, prime minister Gillard reacted to the news today in a radio interview with ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine.

The host asked the prime minister if her government would be following president Obama's lead – indicated in his inaugural address this week – and putting more emphasis on tackling climate change.

Ms Gillard responded by saying her government had already done "the single biggest thing we can do to tackle climate change", referring to the carbon pricing scheme.

Asked if she expected it to be a hot topic in the election campaign, the PM was direct in her response.

"I anticipate that we'll see a continuation of the sort of negative fear nonsense campaign against carbon pricing," said Ms Gillard.

The PM didn't mince her words either when it came to her opposition and their plans for the scheme.

She said that "if the current opposition was ever to end up as government", they wouldn't abolish the carbon tax at all.

Rather, she predicts "they'd have a little fiddle and a little name change and that'd be the end of it".

Posted by Bob Dawson

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