As Conservatives Win Australian Election, What Impact Will It Have on Carbon Markets

Tony Abbott, the head of the Liberal National Party Coalition, has won the election in Australia to become the country’s new Prime Minister. Abbott has long vowed to scrap the carbon tax that the government implemented in 2012, going as far as declaring the election a “referendum on the carbon tax.” His plans to get rid of the carbon tax may have to wait until the new senators take their seats next July, as current Labor and Green party members plan to try and prevent the process while they can. Abbott hopes to introduce an incentive plan for taxpayers in an effort to make polluters operate in a cleaner fashion.

As Australia moves forward to eliminate the carbon tax, how does it impact carbon policies in the United States, more specifically California and the European Union (EU). Benjamin Cole, spokesman for the American Energy Alliance told The Daily Caller, “The results of the election should be an instructive lesson for U.S. lawmakers who have yet to understand the economic consequences of a carbon tax. Given the results of the Aussies’ election, U.S. policymakers who want to replicate the failed Australian experiment on the U.S. economy will do so at their own peril.”

The elimination of a carbon tax in Australia will have an impact in California as well. At the end of July, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator and California’s Air Resource Board (CARB) entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Part of the agreement focused on sharing information to design and run carbon pricing programs and the potential of linking their markets together in the future. This agreement came after former Prime Minister Rudd announced plans to move towards an emissions trading scheme (ETS) if he was reelected. Now that he has not been reelected, and there are plans to move away from such programs, it is possible that the relationship between Australia and California could fall apart.

Australia and Europe were scheduled to link there carbon trading schemes together in 2015 but as Australia eliminates their carbon tax and the next steps remain unclear, the linkage is sure to be in doubt. With the United Nation climate talks heading to Warsaw, Poland in November of this year, where Poland has been vehemently against a carbon tax, the failure of Australia’s program will surely be brought up.