Sunday, March 23, 2008

Should coal-fired energy producers pay for greenhouse pollution permits???

Compo call for coal-fired energy producers

Adam Morton
March 22, 2008
The Age

AUSTRALIA'S coal-fired energy industry has won the backing of business and the NSW Government in its campaign for massive compensation under Kevin Rudd's proposed laws to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

A heated debate is raging between the electricity generation industry and Government climate change adviser Ross Garnaut, after he argued high-polluting power stations did not deserve a handout to ensure they survived.

Under the professor's proposed carbon trading scheme, the Government would cap emissions and force all non-trade exposed industries, including the dirtiest power producers, to buy greenhouse pollution permits at auction.

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry said yesterday that the state's brown-coal reliant power stations should be compensated to "smooth the adjustment burden" of the new scheme.

Its chief economist, Steven Wojtkiw, supported many of Professor Garnaut's suggestions — including helping poor households hit by soaring electricity prices and developing "clean coal" technology — but said it was unclear whether power stations would keep operating without help.

The Victorian Government, which has supported compensation through a states-backed emissions taskforce, indicated it would consider Professor Garnaut's position.

But the NSW Government, facing the prospect of the value of its state-owned electricity industry tumbling while it is trying to privatise it, warned that the national electricity market would be destroyed if no compensation was offered. NSW Treasurer Michael Costa said power station owners had property rights that must be recognised. Federal Opposition sources said it was likely the Liberal Party would back Professor Garnaut's call to not directly compensate power generators.

Professor Garnaut says it is inevitable that household electricity bills will rise, and there is no proof that giving power generators free permits will keep them down. Carbon trading is due to start in 2010.

Random Man says "dirty coal should pay for permits !!!!!"

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