ETS delay labelled bad news for trucking


Coalition's decision to defer final vote on emissions trading scheme until after Copenhagen conference labelled bad for trucking

May 27, 2009

The Coalition’s decision to defer a final vote on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) until after the climate change conference in Copenhagen has been labelled bad for trucking operators.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) claims businesses may be hit with strict emissions standards unless the Coalition and the Greens reconsider their decisions to block the Rudd Government’s plans to introduce its carbon scheme.

"The longer we leave the introduction of an ETS [emissions trading scheme] the more likely it is that there will need to be tough and distortionary regulations as well," a spokesman for the group says.

"The current debate about vehicle emissions standards for light vehicles is an example of this and there is no need for heavy vehicle emissions standards with emissions trading. However, if an ETS is not introduced such measures as heavy vehicle standards will be faced."

Under the Government’s proposal, fuel companies will be responsible for buying carbon permits and then passing on the costs through the price of fuel. The ATA argues this is the best method for the trucking industry because businesses will not need to worry about the administrative burden of complying with emissions trading.

"The ATA would urge the Coalition and the Greens to reconsider their position and allow the ETS to go through as soon as possible," the spokesman says.

But Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull remains adamant Australia must wait for rival nations before making a decision to cut emissions, claiming the country’s economy will be jeopardised if it forges ahead with the CPRS.

"It is clear the emerging Obama [ETS] plan will offer 100 percent protection for US export and import- competing industries until 2025," Turnbull says.

"The Coalition believes it would be premature to lock Australia into an ETS that is out of step with the rest of the world."

The Rudd Government, however, says the scheme will ensure Australia can compete with countries such as the US while also helping domestic businesses.

"Delaying a decision on the CPRS provides around 25 percent of permits free to emissions- intensive trade-exposed industries, compared with 15 percent under the current US bill," Minister for Climate Change and Water Penny Wong says.

"Delaying a decision on the CPRS undermines certainty for business and threatens billions of dollars of investment."



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