Australia's Carbon Tax Repeal Looms Despite Report Showing Decline in Gas Emissions

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By Reissa Su | February 6, 2014 6:41 PM EST

The Australian government has previously said it will repeal carbon tax in July following a statement based on new data on greenhouse gas emissions. The Coalition claimed that Labour's carbon tax was only causing "plenty of pain, with no environmental gain." Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed to scrap carbon tax and revisit renewable energy targets, according to an ABC report. 

REUTERS
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.

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Environment Minister Greg Hunt remarked on Feb 5 that the carbon tax "doesn't work" since it costs the economy $7 billion a year.

The Department of Environment released a report revealing a decline in Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 0.3 per cent in the year ending in September. The report prompted environmental advocates to accuse Mr Hunt of intentionally misreading figures. They claimed that based on the report, the carbon tax policy is working.

According to reports, Australia has the highest pollution per capita among developed nations with greenhouse gas emissions gradually rising to 30 per cent since 1990. The increase has been attributed to its booming economy.

During the elections in September 2013, Tony Abbott has promised to repeal carbon tax if he becomes Prime Minister to boost the economy.

Will Direct Action work?

In a poll in late 2013, majority of Australians want the carbon tax repealed but don't want Tony Abbott's direct action plan as an alternative policy. In a new poll, 57 per cent of Australians rejected Labour's carbon tax law and only 12 per cent believed in Mr Abbott's policy.

The direct action policy will use taxpayer's money in buying emissions reductions from polluters and planting more trees. While Australians are in favour of repealing the carbon tax, the recent poll indicates a no-confidence vote in the direct action plan.

In a press conference on Nov 12, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia accepts that climate change is happening and humans are contributing to it. He said Australia is ready to take a strong and effective action against climate change.

Contrary to his statements, the Coalition government has launched a legislation to repeal Labour's carbon tax, including its measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Abbott has abolished the Climate Change Authority, Climate Commission and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

However, most economists and environment groups believe the Direct Action plan will not work. The prime minister might have suggested a strong and effective action, but critics say abolishing the current climate change policy might not be the right solution.

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(Photo: REUTERS / )
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.
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