Apparently re-introduction of carbon pricing is a possibility being considered by the Australian government, following pressure from energy industry groups to reduce policy uncertainty and start planning for a de-carbonised future - Conservatives furious over climate review. A dummy spit from the usual suspects happened shortly after the prospect was aired.
Australian Energy Council chief Matthew Warren, representing the bulk of generators, said the most important thing for the industry was a policy that would withstand changes in government. "We'd go for almost anything that has a substantial chance of succeeding and garners bipartisan support, because we can build on it," he said. Mr Warren said a decade of uncertainty on climate and energy policy had driven away investment, leaving a system "now materially degrading before our eyes". He said the energy industry wanted some form of carbon price linked to a clear emissions target that extended beyond 2030 - something the review will consider - to trigger investments in new power stations that would last decades.
Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox said the country could only play its part in tackling climate change at lowest cost if investors believed policies would survive. "Bipartisanship on climate and energy is the only way forward. The alternative is costly failure," he said.
The Climate Institute said the country had a clear choice: between a review that set Australia on a pathway to zero emissions, or continued the policy chaos of the past 10 years. Deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson said the goal must be a policy framework that was capable of decarbonising the electricity system well before 2050. It must include some form of carbon price, but that alone would not be enough as experience had taught that any scheme would be a political compromise.