Climate Legislation in Australia

For nearly a decade, Australia suffered from a devastating drought. In 2007, Australia began requiring corporations and entities over a certain size to report their greenhouse gas emissions, energy production, and energy consumption under the  National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER)

Prime Minister Rudd tried to pass a carbon emissions trading scheme, but it stalled in 2009.

Julia Gillard challenged Rudd and was elected leader of the Labor Party. In 2011, the drought ended, with heavy rains flooding huge areas. She helped negotiate a one time tax on incomes over $50,000 to help with reconstruction after the floods,

In December of last year an agreement was reached in Parliament on a carbon pricing mechanism requiring 500 largest emitters of greenhouse gases to buy permits. This week, the pricing for the permits was modified, under an agreement with the European Union. In Australia the price will be  fixed $A23 per ton, but change to a floating price in 2015 and emitters will be allowed to purchase half their required permits on the European Union market at their price now, which is around $A10 per ton.  Europeans will also be able to buy permits from Australia in a few years.

Emitters will be able to buy offsets, under some restrictions, and for no more than half of their obligation.

Part of the revenue from the sale of permits will be returned to Australian households to buffer the rising price of energy, and part will be used to ease impacts on industries, and to boost investments in renewable power and energy efficiency.

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Green military

A wave strikes the side of USNS Henry J. Kaiser as it conducts a replenishment at sea.

USNS Kaiser delivered 900,000 gallons 50-50 blend biofuels and petroleum-based fuels to USS Nimitz aircraft carrier for Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration

Sen James Inhofe (R-Okla) said that the greening of the navy is a waste of money.

Response:

We need to systematize military energy use and sources. That was the recommendation of a Department of Defense task force a decade ago. Then in 2008 another task force decried the lack of progress and said that there was a serious need to reduce energy use, increase efficiency, and include more alternative energy. That report for the Department of Defense found that ‘high fuel demand compromised operational effectiveness,’ not just high use of foreign fuel, but high use of all fuel.

On July 18, 2012, the Navy made history.  A carrier strike group with 71 aircraft conducted drills, all run on 50-50 mix of petroleum and biofuel from algae and used cooking oil. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus and Rear Admiral Tim Barrett of the Royal Australian Navy signed a statement of cooperation on biofuels research and deployment.

The importance of reducing dependence on fossil fuels has been the subject of much military analysis. The DOD spends $1 billion a day on foreign oil. The U.S. has only 3% of known oil reserves; countries with large reserves include Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Venezuela. Our dependence on oil entangles us with hostile regimes, weakens our international leverage, and subjects us to high expenses  according to Vice-Admiral Dennis Mcginn.

Although biofuels cost four times as much as oil now, the technology is new and there is the potential for much lower costs with further research.