Those Aussies have a carbon tax?

Simon Costanzo ·
13 December 2011

I read in the Washington Post that the Australian Government passed the Clean Energy Bill through the Senate on 8.11.2011. It was widely covered in U.S. media, with even a theme of anticipation in the lead-up to the vote. Some of the responses to articles were quite funny including “…those Aussies are going to have to heat their food up in the sun” and “I guess they will be eating their baked beans cold from now on”.

What did come to the fore in all the articles was something I already knew, but hoped others didn’t, that Australia is “one of, if not the largest, per-capita carbon polluters on the planet”. This surprises a lot of people here, especially with the common notion that Australia is one big wilderness.

The next U.S. election is due in November 2012. For a national ‘cap and trade’ system on carbon dioxide (a different yet equivalent approach to Australia’s carbon tax) to be introduced in the next 4-year term, one would expect that this would be part of the election campaign of at least one party now, which it isn’t. But the U.S. is not new to  ‘cap and trade’ schemes with trading schemes in place for nitrogen oxides to reduce ground-level ozone (smog), and sulfur dioxide to reduce acid rains. However, with the economy in the state that it is here, the issue of climate change is a bit of a hot potato.

About the author

Simon Costanzo

Dr. Simon Costanzo is a Science Integrator at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Cambridge MD. Simon’s career in environmental science over the past 20 years has been focused on developing and improving methods for the assessment, monitoring and management of aquatic, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Simon has extensive experience in scientific data collection, synthesis, interpretation and communication. Simon’s career has provided a unique insight to a wide range of disciplines and stakeholder groups including government, academia and private industry. Dr. Costanzo obtained his academic training from University of Queensland in Australia (PhD).

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