The Gillard government is working on plans to link its carbon pricing scheme to Europe’s emissions trading scheme from 2015, while also looking to limit the use of low-cost permits generated in developing countries. The Australian Financial Review reports that the move would bring the price of carbon in Australia closer into line with Europe, where efforts are being made to shore up the price of permits. The move is part of plans revealed by the AFR to scrap the $15 floor price from 2015 and limit the amount of potentially low-quality permits generated under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). But while the plan would mean Australian companies could buy EU carbon permits to meet their domestic liabilities, European companies will not be able to buy Australian permits, says the AFR.
The government is yet to finalise the changes – the office of Climate Change minister Greg Combet has not commented – but some have questioned the impact of the carbon scheme on the economy if the changes were made; namely that they would mean more costly domestic abatement would need to occur in Australia. Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt told the paper that the question for the Prime Minister was whether or not she still stood by her Treasury modelling. “If she does, then the floor price is irrelevant because they still believe the international price will be $37 by 2020,” Hunt said. The price of EU ETS allowances currently stands at about $8.75, after plummeting over the past year due to oversupply and the European debt crisis.
$6 billion: that’s the estimated annual cost to Australia of fossil-fuel related death and disease, according to a new report released today by the Climate Institute and the Climate and Health Alliance. The report finds that pollution (namely rising carbon dioxide levels) from coal-fired power generation triggers lung, heart and nervous system diseases at an estimated $2.6 billion a year, while the annual health costs of pollution from oil-fuelled vehicles has been estimated at $3.3 billion a year.
”Many of the biggest health challenges today, and the greatest drains on the public purse, are preventable chronic diseases associated with carbon-intensive lifestyles,” says the report, which also points to substantial and immediate economic and health benefits available through taking action on climate change. ”In Australia, air pollution is estimated to kill more people every year than the road toll,” it says. And recommends strategies such as reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering consumption of animal produce as offering immediate and localised health benefits.
In other news…
Shares in Germany’s largest solar panel maker, Solarworld, fell 11 per cent – the biggest intraday decline in almost four months – in Frankfurt trading on Monday, after the company posted its second-biggest quarterly loss and forecast negative earnings for the year. Bloomberg reports that the company reported a net loss of €161 million ($US198 million) last quarter, larger only than its €312.7 million loss in the fourth quarter of last year.
Better news for Canadian Solar, with the world’s third-largest solar panel maker announcing it had received a $C93 million loan from state-owned China Development Bank Corp. Bloomberg reports that the five-year loan will be used to part-finance the solar maker’s recent acquisition of a stake in 16 photovoltaic projects in Ontario from developer SkyPower Ltd.
Work has begun on the deployment of a 1,500 tonne power substation off the coast of North Wales – one of the most crucial components of RWE and Siemens’ 576MW Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm development.BusinessGreen reports that the offshore substation, to be followed by a second one in a fortnight’s time, is today being craned onto a pre-installed foundation, to provide an offshore hub for the soon-to-be-deployed turbines – which, altogether, the companies say should provide enough clean electricity for a third of Welsh homes.
And speaking of Welsh wind farms, German reinsurer Munich Re has just bought one – a north Wales onshore wind farm called Tir Mostyn, to be precise – as well as two others in the UK, a move that has pushed its renewable energy investments past €600 million since last year. Bloomberg reports that, as well as Tir Mostyn, Munich Re bought Scout Moor near Manchester and Lincolnshire’s Bagmoor plants from HgCapital through its MEAG Munich Ergo AssetManagement GmbH unit.