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Tariffs and emission taxes as Australia misses target by 200 years

  • February 13 2020
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Invest

Tariffs and emission taxes as Australia misses target by 200 years

By Cameron Micallef
February 13 2020

Climate activist and former prime minister Kevin Rudd has warned that Australia could face climate tariffs with major trading partners as the country is set to miss net zero emission targets by 200 years.

Kevin Rudd

Tariffs and emission taxes as Australia misses target by 200 years

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  • February 13 2020
  • Share

Climate activist and former prime minister Kevin Rudd has warned that Australia could face climate tariffs with major trading partners as the country is set to miss net zero emission targets by 200 years.

Kevin Rudd

During a speech at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch, Mr Rudd highlighted the vulnerability of the Australian economy to climate change, highlighting the 10 years until 2016 has already cost $19 billion, or 1.2 per cent of GDP in disaster relief.

Mr Rudd said unnamed sources in European Commission are planning “carbon tariffs against non-compliant countries”, which would have an economic impact on Australia.

The former prime minister said, in many respects Australia has become the complacent country, relying heavily on the mining sector as the rest of the world has diversified away.

“In many respects, Australia has become the complacent country in diversifying our economy over time, taking it beyond the resources sector, taking it into the new high-wealth-generating sector of information technology, biotechnology and the industries of the future,” Mr Rudd said.

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Citing wealth fund Blackrock’s decision to remove securities of companies with 25 per cent of their revenues from thermal coal, Mr Rudd said it will be far more disruptive to communities if “New York denies finance to a project, killing these things stone dead.”

Mr Rudd said the 30,000 mining jobs that are currently supported by coal could have transitioned away, saying markets will have to solve it otherwise. 

Arguing that it is similar to the horse before and after the combustible engine was invented, Mr Rudd noted “the economic adjustment for people who looked after [horses] was huge, but the combustion engine created opportunities”.

Mr Rudd said the transition from mining to renewables would require government action and “would not throw people under the bus”. The former PM said “having a flexible fund available to build the adjustable mechanisms” would help people transition into a carbonless world.

However, without an emissions trading scheme, Mr Rudd believes the price of everyday appliances would increase as governments would need to tighten regulations to meet targets.

“In the absence of a carbon price, Australia would need to achieve the same mitigation effects through regulation, in power generation, product standards including motor vehicles and energy efficiency,” Mr Rudd said. 

The former prime minister criticised the government’s record on reducing climate emissions, which he said is on its current trajectory to “reach net zero not this century, not the next century, but the following century.”

Describing Australia’s target as appallingly low, the former PM also criticised the government for struggling to reach emission targets.

Tariffs and emission taxes as Australia misses target by 200 years
Kevin Rudd
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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