Saturday, 5 July 2008

France to Build 2nd New-Generation Reactor


LE CREUSOT, France -- France will build a second of its new-generation nuclear reactors, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday, pledging a "new industrial revolution" in an era in which fossil fuels have grown too expensive.
France, the European country most reliant on nuclear power, has been constructing its first European Pressurized Reactor, or EPR, on the Normandy coast, with the unit expected to go into service in 2012. EPR reactors are meant to eventually replace aging reactors around the world.
The Normandy site is one of only two EPRs in the world currently under construction; the other is in Finland.
A decision about where to build a second French EPR will be made in 2009, Mr. Sarkozy said, adding that construction will start in 2011.
"The era of inexpensive oil is over," Mr. Sarkozy said. "Nuclear power is more than ever an industry of the future and an essential form of energy."
He spoke while visiting metal workers at the Industeel plant in Le Creusot in the Burgundy region, which he said would produce most of the components needed for the reactor. Industeel is a subsidiary of steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA.
During Mr. Sarkozy's visit, Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of French nuclear company Areva SA, and Aditya Mittal, chief financial officer for ArcelorMittal, signed a memorandum of understanding to increase production at Industeel for the nuclear market.
France's Green Party and environmental groups oppose the building of EPRs.
Copyright © 2008 Associated Press

Cooking oil waste gives new twist to takeaway

Robin Pagnamenta - The Times

Never has it been more profitable to grease the wheels of business by illicit means. Rocketing prices have prompted a rash of grease thefts from outside fast food joints.
The price of restaurant grease has risen more than tenfold over the past five years, driven by soaring demand for homemade biodiesel and high petrol prices.
The price of waste cooking oil reached £550 per tonne this month, according to Keith Coldrick, the managing director of Pelican Food Services, one of Britain's most established waste oil collection companies. That compares with about £50 per tonne in 2003.
Mr Coldrick said that high crude oil prices, which reached $146 per barrel this week, have led to an “absolute explosion” in demand for biodiesel, which can be easily processed from waste cooking oil for use in conventional diesel engines.

The rapid growth of the industry and the growing sums of money involved have led to a spate of thefts of waste oil drums from storage areas outside pubs and restaurants.
Pelican, based in Worcestershire, collects about 2,000 tonnes of waste oil annually from restaurants around the Midlands, including KFC.
“Barely a week goes by without a break-in at one of the stores in the area we collect from,” Mr Coldrick said. “The waste oil is usually kept outside in a fenced off area and often the door is just broken down in the middle of the night. It's happening all over the country.”
Small-scale kits for making biodiesel from waste cooking oil can be bought via the Internet for less than £1,000. “The people who sell this equipment lead their customers to believe that waste oil is easily obtainable, but it's not,” Mr Coldrick said. “The demand exceeds the supply.”
James Hygate, the managing director of Green Fuels - a retailer of home biodiesel kits based in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, acknowledged that the theft of waste oil was a growing problem.
“The bigger waste oil collectors are feeling the cost of cooking oil thefts,” he said. “People are stealing drums of cooking oil that are being left outside and would normally be picked up by the big collectors.”
An estimated 200,000 tonnes of waste cooking oil are collected annually in the UK by about 80 established operators and “several hundred” smaller operators.
The figure has increased significantly as more and more restaurant operators realise its commercial value. Unscrupulous operators are being drawn to the business because of the growing sums of money involved and the ease with which they set themselves up in business.
A Waste Carriers Licence can be obtained from the Environment Agency for about £100. “They seem to hand them out to anyone,” Mr Coldrick said.
The price of waste cooking oil collapsed in Britain after new regulations banning its use in animal feed followed the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain in 2001.
Since 2003, prices have rallied sharply as consumers have discovered its potential use as a vehicle fuel.

Ethanol Tax Credits Becoming a Burden

By BILL TOMSONJuly 5, 2008;

WASHINGTON -- The logic of paying gasoline companies billions of dollars a year through tax credits to encourage them to blend corn-based ethanol into gasoline is facing tougher scrutiny now that the once-fledgling ethanol industry is maturing.
Ethanol producers, whom the tax credits are supposed to indirectly benefit, are cutting back on capacity or in some cases mothballing expansion plans because of razor-thin profit margins brought on by high corn prices.
Years ago, when it was an expensive burden for the gasoline companies to conform with the ethanol-blending mandate, a tax credit helped boost demand above the government requirements.
For over a year now, the price spread between gasoline and ethanol has meant that blending in the cheaper, corn-based fuel produces more profits for gasoline producers, said Joel Karlin, an analyst for Western Milling. And that isn't including the 51-cent-per-gallon tax credit gasoline companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. get from the government.
The ethanol tax credit, expected to cost taxpayers roughly $4 billion this year, was originally designed by Congress to spur on a wobbly corn-based fuel industry. The industry has grown, and where the primary concern was once generating demand, it is now dealing with rising corn and other production costs.
Ethanol prices are buoyed by strong oil prices, but the cost of producing the biofuel has also become increasingly more expensive because corn prices have risen to historic highs and the cost of other inputs, like natural gas used in the production process, have soared as well.
Sixty percent of the cost of producing ethanol is corn, said John Urbanchuk, an economist speaking on behalf of the Renewable Fuels Association: "Ethanol plants are right close to the break-even point with corn prices where they are."
Agriculture Department Under Secretary Thomas Dorr agreed that market forces are now playing a much stronger role in generating demand for ethanol from gasoline companies.
"The demand for [ethanol] is big enough that...the full 51 cents [per gallon] is not being effectively utilized," Mr. Dorr said.
In other commodity markets:
GOLD: Futures sold off Thursday, ahead of Friday's holiday, in reaction to dollar gains that occurred despite a European Central Bank rate hike when President Jean-Claude Trichet was not as hawkish on inflation as expected. Nearby July gold lost $12.90 to $931.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while most-active August fell $12.90 to $933.60.
CRUDE OIL: Futures ended above $145 a barrel for the first time, taking little heed of a strong dollar in order to test new highs. Oil settled $1.72, or 1.2%, higher at $145.29 a barrel.
Write to Bill Tomson at

It's time for a New Green Deal

A translation of Roosevelt's 1930s policy aims to tackle climate change, unemployment and the credit crunch
Andrew Simms,
Friday July 4, 2008

Can you hear the rustle of green handcuffs fastening around your patio heater, the wheels on your urban 4x4, or your hope for a long weekend in Los Angeles?
Calls to save civilisation from runaway climate change finally seem to be changing attitudes. But a vocal cabal of anti-environmentalists, exploiting current concern about the state of the economy and rising fuel and food prices, are trying to paint the green movement as a threat to freedom.
Wailing can be heard, from the bewildered outrage of Jeremy Clarkson, like a child caught and told "no, you cannot keep torturing the cat", to the calculated contrarianism of both far left and far right thinktanks. Odder is the free market Czech president, Václav Klaus. His book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, published by the ferociously conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, suggests, in effect, that combating climate change is a threat to liberty on the scale of Soviet communism. Somehow, though, opposing measures to reduce pollution lacks the moral oomph of campaigning for the freedom of religion or association, democracy or universal suffrage.
But the backlash is only likely to grow. Without a dramatic intervention, the orthodox expectation that "goodwill" spending suffers when the economy stutters is likely to come true. The triple crunch of the credit crisis, surging oil prices and the economic impact of climate change could be enough to leave environmental ambitions speechless. In promoting his recent book The Enemies of Progress, Austin Williams revelled in extracting some small notoriety from a review that condemned his call for "the right to leave lights on in empty rooms, wallow in deep baths, drive cars, get fat and unfit, and fly further".
Behind the lamentations is a teenage fantasy of blithe, consequence-free, self-pleasuring that denies the needs of millions in poorer parts of the world who lack electricity, potable water or transport. Our grotesque over-consumption spits in the face of real global poverty, and drives potentially irreversible environmental degradation that hits the poorest first and worst.
In an age of global warming, talk of "green shackles" is like talking about "anti-child labour shackles", or the shackles of laws that prevent us burning down each other's houses. We need parameters to be set around sufficient levels of consumption to prevent the footprint of our lifestyles outgrowing the shoe of the planet, and trampling others in the process.
Fortunately, the contrarians seem to be losing the public debate. The recent Guardian/ICM poll revealed a majority urging the government to prioritise the environment over the economy, and skewered a resilient myth about green issues being the preserve of the wealthy middle classes. Support for putting the environment first was, in fact, stronger outside the most well-off social groups.
As far as the anti-green ideologues go, they're also brazenly ignorant of the positive potential in responses to the financial, energy and climate crises, and in their understanding of freedom.
Seeing that one person's freedom to unlimited luxury might deny another's freedom to survive is hardly new, nor anyone's exclusive intellectual property. Conservative philosopher, Karl Popper, pointed out that "proponents of complete freedom" such as Williams, "are in actuality, whatever their intentions, enemies of freedom". In The Open Society and its Enemies, Popper reasoned that unrestrained individual behaviour, "is not only self-destructive but bound to produce its opposite, for if all restraints were removed there would be nothing whatever to stop the strong enslaving the weak".
Commentary on the credit crisis obsesses over whether people will stop buying in the shops. Our behaviour as atavistic consumers is treated as the weather vane for the whole economy and society. It's underpinned by the mantra of consumer choice. But we are pursuing the endlessly retreating shadows of our own wellbeing down blind alleys of conspicuous consumption.
It is consumerism, not environmentalism, that has enslaved us and become a threat to our collective freedom. In its cause we have become chained to the workplace, turning our backs on friends, family, the environmental foundations of our livelihoods and the sources of real contentment. We work longer hours to earn, to buy the junk that promises happiness, but delivers only listlessness and dissatisfaction. Why?
Studies of consumer behaviour reveal that too much choice is actually inefficient and counter-productive. It carries high psychological and economic costs. And, it's not just about choice, but amount. In his book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz describes a study of lottery winners whose levels of happiness were no different from the general population. Schwartz explains that "first, people just get used to good or bad fortune. Second, the new standard of what's a good experience (winning the lottery) may make many of the ordinary pleasures of daily life (the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the new blooms and refreshing breezes of a lovely spring day) rather tame by comparison."
For all their bluster, the architects of environmental backlash seem utterly bereft of their own ideas about what to do differently. The green movement, on the other hand, overflows with proposals. One initiative, soon to be launched, is the call for a "Green New Deal". Organised by a group of environmentalists and experts in finance, it proposes joined-up policies to tackle the triple crunch. At its heart is an acknowledgement of the profoundly distorting role of footloose and feckless finance.
The Green New Deal will call for the re-regulation of finance and taxation, linked to a transformational economic programme to substantially reduce fossil fuel use. In the process, it will create countless green-collar jobs to tackle the unemployment and decline in demand caused by the credit crunch. The Green New Deal is a modern translation of the politics of hope and pragmatism employed by Roosevelt in the 1930s. Then, as now, someone needed to pick up the pieces of a system failed by short-termism and unenlightened self-interest.
By contrast, the eco-contrarians are behaving like one of those gangs who, for kicks, attack ambulance crews at the scene of an accident. A Green New Deal will have plenty more voices complaining. Action to rescue civilisation from an increasingly hostile environment, it will be said, represents an unacceptable and oppressive barrier to owning TV screens the size of football pitches.
Yet, as Keynes wrote while drawing up plans for how to save and conserve resources for Britain's war effort in 1940: "I have been charged with attempting to apply totalitarian methods to a free community. No criticism could be more misdirected. In a totalitarian state the problem of the distribution of sacrifice does not exist ... It is only in a free community that the task of government is complicated by the claims of social justice."
If we do, now, manage to balance human need, wellbeing and social justice with the available resources of our parent planet, we will not be left cursing green shackles, but breaking our carbon chains and praising liberation ecology.
Andrew Simms is co-editor of Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth?, policy director of the New Economics Foundation and a founder member of the recently formed Green New Deal Group.

Eastern EU states unite for overhaul of CO2 curbs

Reuters , Friday July 4 2008
By Pete Harrison

PARIS, July 4 (Reuters) - The European Union geared up on Friday for deep cuts in greenhouse gases as eight ex-communist states sought help in overhauling their infrastructure for a low-carbon future.
France, which took over the EU's rotating presidency this week, has made climate change its top priority and hosted a meeting on the outskirts of Paris to identify the main areas of disagreement.
Environment ministers said the main concerns were how to protect industry from rivals in other countries with less strict environmental standards, as well as a growing rift between east and western Europe over the mechanism for curbing emissions.
The EU plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a fifth by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
The goal would be raised to 30 percent in the event of an international climate accord, which many of the ministers now see as probable with both U.S. presidential candidates focused on climate change.
"We will now prepare ourselves for the 30 percent in the EU," Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren told reporters.
His French counterpart Jean-Louis Borloo agreed, saying: "All the countries want more, faster and stronger."
But eastern European states said curbs on carbon dioxide would push up power prices and stunt economic growth, with Poland and seven eastern states led by Hungary joining forces in a call for help.
Warsaw says EU plans to make power generators buy all their permits to produce carbon dioxide at auction from 2013 would increase electricity prices by up to 70 percent, which would be politically unsustainable.
Poland's environment minister, Maciej Nowicki, told Reuters Warsaw wanted auctioning of permits for the power sector to emit carbon dioxide phased in from a starting level of 20 percent in 2013, increasing by 10 percent a year.
He said he had presented a joint position with Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to take account of the specific problems of fast-growing former communist economies with carbon-intensive energy sectors.
But European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said Poland had overstated the costs.
"We do not agree with their calculations," he told Reuters. "There could be a 10-15 percent increase, and this is over a period of time."
Nowicki said increased costs of heating Polish homes might force people into burning cheap, highly polluting coal.
"Then we would have smog, problems with air pollution and even more CO2," he said.
Hungarian environment official Tibor Farago called on richer EU states to show solidarity and help eastern countries deal with the high initial costs of reducing their dependence on coal ahead of global climate talks in Poznan, Poland in December.
"Neither Hungary nor any other new member state wishes to slow down the process, with full agreement that this package should be agreed as early as possible, even before December," he told Reuters.
Dimas was optimistic the rift would not slow an accord.
"Prospects are very good for an agreement by the end of the year," he said. (Editing by Dale Hudson)

Gordon Brown: West must not give up on aid and climate change

Larry Elliott, economics editor
The Guardian,
Saturday July 5, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivering his speech at the Unison conference. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA
Gordon Brown today warned Britain's G8 partners against a retreat into isolationism, and insisted that the looming threat to the global economy instead required a speeding up of the fight to tackle climate change and poverty.
Amid fears the credit crunch will cause the G8 to backpedal on pledges to cut carbon emissions and increase aid to poor countries by $50bn a year, the prime minister used an interview with the Guardian ahead of the G8 summit to stress the need for united action in the west to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and boost food production in developing countries.
"The world is suffering a triple challenge: of higher fuel prices, higher food prices and a credit crunch. My message to the G8 will be that instead of sidelining climate change and the development agenda, the present economic crisis means that instead of relaxing our efforts we have got to accelerate them.
"This agenda is not just the key to the environment and reducing poverty, but the key to our economic future as well," Brown said.
After a year that has seen growth slow sharply in many G8 countries, including Britain, and oil prices double to $145 a barrel, he said the summit would be judged on whether it rolled back protectionism, supported projects for cleaner energy, and came up with blueprints for reducing global oil and food prices.
On the eve of his first G8 summit as prime minister, he said he would consider it to be a success if the G8 showed unity, gave strong backing to a new global free-trade deal, and pushed ahead on climate change and development.
The prime minister said that the state of the global economy meant the summit would have echoes of those in the 1970s. "But in the 70s, many of the problems we faced were national, not global. The problems we have today are global and they require global solutions."
On climate change, the prime minister said he was hoping the G8 would make progress towards a new climate change deal in Copenhagen next year, agree to "turn the World Bank into an energy bank as well as a development bank", and show a "clear understanding of the importance of renewables to our energy and environmental future".
Britain believes that a stalling of progress on Africa in 2008 will make it impossible for the UN to hit its millennium development goals, set for 2015, but Brown said that fighting poverty was also in the best interests of the west. "Unless we help poor countries to become more prosperous through education, health and economic development, we will be piling up the problems of global inequality."
The UK is pressing the G8 to boost the number of health workers in poor countries, bankroll the expansion of education, and invest in higher farm production. "I'll be telling people that the worst possible thing would be to drop the development agenda because it holds the key to the economic challenge. If we don't produce enough agriculture, we are going to have food shortages, and Africa needs help to develop its agriculture. We can't solve the problems of food and fuel shortages unless developing countries are involved."
Christian Aid supported Brown's call for higher food production in developing countries, but said free trade had proved disastrous for many struggling nations.
Oliver Pearce, author of a report released today by the development charity, said: "Food security will be high on the agenda when the G8 meets. Rich countries must accept that nothing less than a new, pro-poor agricultural revolution is needed if future shortages are to be avoided.
"Agricultural polices imposed on poor countries in the past few decades have had a ruinous effect. In return for trade and aid, they have been forced to remove protective tariffs from agricultural produce, reduce subsidies, and lift price controls."
Development charities blame the increase in land given over to biofuels for the food crisis, but the prime minister was noncommittal on the issue. "I feel there are good and bad biofuels," he said, in advance of the imminent publication of the government's Gallagher report into their impact.
But he said Britain had the potential to become the world leader in wind energy, with the UK able to export the technology that will be required to hit the government's target of 15% of energy coming from renewables by 2020.

Australia's quality of life at risk without urgent action on climate change: report

Barbara McMahon Sydney,
Friday July 4, 2008

Australia's environmental jewels such as the Great Barrier Reef are at risk from climate change. Photographer: Queensland Tourism/AP
Australia was urged today to "think big" on climate change and to adopt without delay a broad-based greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme in as many industries as possible, including the energy and transport sectors.
Professor Ross Garnaut, the Australian government's chief climate change adviser, said that climate change was already having a huge impact in one of the hottest and driest countries in the world.
The veteran economist acknowledged that any proposal to put tough limits on greenhouse gas emissions would have a major impact on Australia's economy. He suggested tax cuts and welfare payments should be offered to help compensate families and businesses.
At the launch in Canberra of his long-awaited report, ordered by the Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to help shape policy, he warned Australia could not afford to avoid taking hard decisions.
Without strong and early action, he commented, Australia's "prosperity and enjoyment of life" would be affected. He said that if no action were taken, climate change would cut 4.8% of gross domestic product, more than AS$400bn (£194bn), by the end of the century. He also warned that some of Australia's most celebrated tourist destinations, environmental jewels such as the Great Barrier Reef and the wetlands of Kakadu in the Northern Territory, might be lost.
"We will delude ourselves should we choose to take small actions that create an appearance of action, but which do not solve the problem," he said. "Such an approach would risk the integrity of our market economy and political processes to no good effect."
The 600-page report recommends the full auctioning of emissions permits and the return of all revenue to households and businesses. Garnaut stressed that the emissions scheme should not raise revenues for government. The report proposes that half of the proceeds from the sale of all permits is returned to households, around 30% to hard-hit businesses and the remaining 20% allocated to renewable energy projects.The report also said it would be in Australia's interest to find out as soon as possible whether there can be a low-emissions future for coal, and to support rapid deployment of commercially promising "carbon capture and storage" technologies. This follows from Australia's role as the world's largest exporter of coal and the central role of coal in the growth of emissions from its regional neighbours in developing countries in Asia.
Rudd won a decisive election victory in November 2007 on a green agenda, promising an emissions trading scheme that would be up and running by 2010, but the prospect of putting emissions limits on transport and electricity is already unnerving the Australian public which is struggling with the rising cost of living.
Australia's opposition Liberal party, which had initially supported the plan, has also said the 2010 timetable is unworkable and wants to delay the scheme for a further two years.
The energy, coal and agricultural industries have been lobbying hard to protect their interests and were accused this week of running "scare campaigns" warning that electricity prices would rise sharply, and businesses will become less competitive against foreign rivals, and that some companies will go to the wall.
The report concedes that the emissions trading system could cause price fluctuations in its early stages and concedes a compromise may be required in the shape of fixed price permits for the first two years of the scheme. It said "emissions intensive" industries should be compensated if their off-shore rivals were free to pollute, with compensations to be determined by a carbon-bank regulator.
The prime minister has already indicated the government will not be bound by all the recommendations in the report. "There is no dispute about the science - that it is happening," he said. "The practical question becomes one of, first of all, what are the economic costs of not acting as opposed to the economic costs of acting." He said acting was the "right and responsible way to go".
Garnaut said his recommendations on specific emissions targets and carbon prices would be contained in a supplementary report that he was working on with the federal treasury department which would be released at the end of next month. "When we have that, we can talk in more detail about the structural impact on the Australian economy," he said.
Australia's influential Green party said Garnaut's report did not go far enough. "Garnaut's warning that delay is not an option is completely disingenuous in the context of his recommendation of a slow start to the scheme, capping the price of carbon before 2012 and not seeking to go beyond Australia's pitiful commitment to Kyoto's first phase," Senator Christine Milne said.
"If we are to have a real chance of avoiding catastrophic, runaway climate change, we will need rapid, transformative policies to build a new post-carbon economy, not ad hoc, incremental change that prioritises increasing our wealth over protecting our future."

Canberra unveils carbon trading scheme

CANBERRA, July 4 –

Australia’s leading climate guru on Friday laid out a draft carbon trading scheme to rein in rising emissions in the world’s top per-capita greenhouse gas polluter.
Economist Ross Garnaut, appointed by the government to design what will be the world’s most extensive emissions regime from 2010, said Australia was critically at risk from climate change and urged deep cuts in emissions from the world’s top coal exporter.

But Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who won a huge election victory last November on a green agenda, is under pressure to soften the impact of inevitable energy and fuel price rises from an emissions cap-and-trade scheme.
“We cannot drop the ball,” Mr Garnaut said in a speech. “Our location makes us already a hot and dry country. Increases in temperature and lower rainfall have a much bigger impact here than on other wealthy countries.”
Mr Garnaut, dubbed “Australia’s Nicholas Stern”, referring to the British author of a widely read report on fighting climate change, urged Mr Rudd to go further than his current goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.
Mr Garnaut urged the inclusion of energy and transport in the scheme, but said big corporates whose foreign rivals are free to pollute should be mollified with compensation.
Voters, though, are already fretting over higher petrol prices, along with rising food and mortgage costs, piling pressure on Mr Rudd to get the scheme right and limit the impact on ordinary Australians.
Polls show rising living costs are already eating into government popularity.
Some rival green and conservative analysts have even begun thinking what on election night last year seemed impossible; that emissions and climate policy could bring so much economic upheaval that Mr Rudd’s dominant Labor lasts only one three-year term. Mr Garnaut gave no hard numbers on what his preferred regime could cost, promising those by August. But a “middle-of-the-road” climate policy could gouge 4.8 per cent from gross domestic product, or US$384bn, by end of the century, he said.
“An effective market-based system will be as broadly based as possible, with any exclusions driven by practical necessity and not by short-term political considerations,” the report said. Power generators say they will have to raise prices, while farmers and coal-miners warn of lost overseas competitiveness.
Under Mr Garnaut’s proposals, businesses that pump out less greenhouse gas than their allowable limit would receive credits and be able to sell permits bought at competitive auction to pollute to firms exceeding their carbon emissions quota.
The government is already working on a number of options for the 2010 trading scheme.
“Professor Garnaut’s views will be taken into account,” Penny Wong, climate change minister, said.
“The Australian government believes that every nation must do its fair share to tackle climate change and we are working to help shape a long-term global solution,” she said.
Mr Garnaut’s scheme would cover more sectors of the economy compared with the European Union’s emissions trading system, currently the largest of its type and worth $50bn last year.
The EU scheme, which covers about half of EU emissions, was criticised for overallocating emission permits, which experts said should have been auctioned.
To overcome what Brussels sees as that design flaw, the Commission earlier this year said it will set EU-wide emissions limits for all sectors covered by the trading scheme, and most permits will be auctioned off instead of handed out for free.
The report conceded a competitive emissions-trade system could cause big price gyrations in the early stages and accepted there was a good argument for relying initially on some fixed-price permits and a two-year trial period.
Compensation directed to disadvantaged exporters, to keep them in Australia, should be limited to as much as 30 per cent of the cost of purchasing emission permits, the report said, prompting a testy response from Green groups.
“There is a danger that if we move to a corporate welfare scheme, it’s just going to prolong the use of coal. Coal is not the solution, coal is the problem,” Steve Shallhorn, Greenpeace CEO, told Reuters.
Australia relies on coal to generate about 77 per cent of the country’s electricity.
Mr Garnaut stressed the emission scheme should not become a government revenue-raiser, suggesting 50 per cent of the likely A$15-20bn ($14-19bn) raised from permit auctions should be returned to households and 30 per cent to hard-hit businesses. The other 20 per cent would go to renewable energy.
© Reuters Limited