Coal producers in Australia yesterday said they would start a public campaign against Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s bid to initiate carbon trading to cut emissions.
COAL producers in Australia yesterday said they would start a public campaign against Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s bid to initiate carbon trading to cut emissions.
General Electric and Fujitsu have backed Ms Gillard’s bid to initiate carbon trading to cut emissions in the country that is the developed world’s biggest polluter per capita.
The companies are two of 55 that signed a letter sent to Ms Gillard on Tuesday night from the Carbon Markets & Investor Association supporting her plan for an emissions trading system to start next year.
But the country’s coal producers yesterday said they would fight the policies they say would cost the industry A$22bn ($23,5bn).
"Australia is one of the top 20 countries in the world in terms of emissions and has the highest per capita emissions of almost any country in the world," said Anthony Hobley, board member of the investor association . "If Australia does not do this it allows others to do nothing."
Ms Gillard, the least popular prime minister in 13 years, on Tuesday told parliament she would be "wearing out my shoe leather" to reverse record low public support for climate measures in the world’s biggest coal exporter. On Sunday, she is due to announce a start price for carbon, the deadline for open trading and compensation for companies and households.
Shares of steel makers rose yesterday . BlueScope Steel , Australia’s biggest steel maker, rose 6,1% in Sydney trading to A$1,39 and Onesteel rose 6,2% to A$2,05.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet declined to comment when Bloomberg contacted his office.
The Australian Coal Association yesterday reiterated the plan would cause the closure of 18 coal mines, costing 4700 jobs. "We will be telling the story to all Australians," Australian Coal Association executive director Ralph Hillman told the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday. Mr Hillman said any plan to address climate change should occur in phases and shield exporting polluters, and Australia should act in concert with trading partners.
Independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie and the Greens party, which has one member in the lower house, said they would support the plan if it met their conditions. Ms Gillard needs the four votes from non- Labour Party members to get legislation through parliament’s lower house. Ms Gillard’s popularity rating fell to 28% last month, matching the low for then-prime minister John Howard after he proposed tax hikes in 1998. (By Bloomberg)