Citywide News

Carbon: Taxing Times

by Citywide | 10.06.2011
As a Carbon Tax looms on the horizon, Australian businesses are going to face some dramatic challenges over the next few years.

As our politicians work to convince us on the merits of this new policy, it seems Australia’s carbon tax will be used as a tool to promote environmentally friendly energy sources in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions.

Like the carbon tax, global warming is not exactly new concept either. Carbon based emissions (as we now know) have from the commencement of the industrial revolution, lead to a rise in global temperatures resulting in environmental degradation.

Aware of these impending developments for some time now, Citywide has already commenced partnering with customers to help reduce C02 emissions and subsequent carbon footprint. At the forefront of developing and adopting innovative technology to drive improvement in environmental performance, Citywide was first to market with an environmentally friendly asphalt (Greenpave), which achieves 30% reduction in fume emissions, 30% reduction in greenhouse gases, 55% reduction in fine dust and energy savings of up to 30%

The concept of a tax on carbon is not new. In fact, some nations have been administering such taxes since the start of the 1990s. A price on carbon is widely regarded as an essential element of an efficient and responsible response to climate change. While some view it as a tax on everything, there is no doubt that putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions will inevitably lead to an increase in the price of energy and have a flow on effect to other goods and services.

Additionally, Citywide has investigated and trialled the economic and environmental viability of alternate fuel technology on its fleet of waste collection vehicles. The first to use compressed natural gas (CNG) in waste vehicles, Citywide also undertook a recent trial of a new dual fuel LPG system fitted to waste compactors in the City of Manningham. This dual fuel trial has resulted in reduced emissions, lower exhaust temperatures and improved fuel consumption.

Creating legislation to impose compliance is one way to discourage the usage of carbon based fossil fuels. Another way to enforce a steady transition towards eco-friendly methods of power generation is to impose a carbon tax.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed that the Australian Government will impose a price on carbon commencing July 1, 2012. The amount of the tax, (which is yet to be decided but indications are that it may be in the vicinity of $25 a ton), will be fixed for three to five years before a carbon trading scheme begins which will then be determined by the global market.

By committing to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions by 2020, Australia, the biggest exporter of coal, will have to source one-fifth of its energy from renewable energy projects such as wind and solar by 2020.

According to the Gillard Government, a tax on carbon is the cheapest and fairest way to cut pollution and build a clean energy economy. Essentially, the strategy to stop businesses polluting and encourage them to invest in clean energy is to charge them every time they pollute, and redistribute the funds to the community.

Currently, developed nations are already spending countless billions of dollars to reduce emissions and promote renewable energy technologies. According to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, investment into low-carbon energy grew to $242 billion in 2010.

The challenge now is for business and government to work together and ensure the needs of industry, our economy, our environment and our nation’s competitiveness are taken into account as we carefully map out our carbon free future.

Innovation will be our salvation. Failure to embrace new technologies and new business practices will inevitably prove to be catastrophic.

Kerry Osborne

Managing Director

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