Australia Commits to a Price on Carbon

By Morgan Pettersson

The Say Yes Protest Outside Parliament House- Canberra

Debate is still raging as the Carbon Tax legislation was passed through the lower house of Parliament today, with pro climate change groups and individuals all over the country celebrating the government’s commitment to lowering out emission levels.

Whilst leader of the Federal opposition  Tony Abbott, swore to cut the legislation if he becomes Prime Minister, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Labor were rejoicing at what is already being perceived as a victory for the unpopular carbon tax.

The legislation passed through the lower house with 74 votes to 72.

The tax still needs to be passed through the senate next month, but with the Greens support in the senate the bill will be passed and will come into effect next year.

Whilst the tax is not the perfect policy, it is an important step towards reducing Australia’s huge carbon offsets,the plan being to reduced emissions by 1.1 billion by 2020.

This is such an important step, as Australia is one of the biggest carbon polluters every year and needs to lead the way towards a cleaner future.

Australian businesses will be given incentives to make the change towards clean energy initiatives in a bid to cut pollution, and a large majority of house holds will receive financial support.

Many anti carbon tax campaigns have been broadcasted across radio and television over the last month, many calling for the carbon tax to be scrapped as it will greatly affect already battling families and local businesses.

Yet the question remains, how dedicated is Australia to ensuring that the future generations can look forward to a world where climate change will not be having a destructive impact.

In voting through this carbon tax the government is committing itself to the 30 other nations already committed to lowering their emissions output.

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC)  is one group who has welcomed the passing of the legislation, stating that it is an important step towards moving Australia towards a 100% clean energy future.

“Today our representatives displayed the leadership young Australians have been waiting for,” said Ellen Sandell, National Director, Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

“Young people are the biggest stake holders in climate change policy, because they shape the world we will inherit. Today does not point to the perfect solution, but it marks an important moment when Australia joins 100 other countries working towards a future of clean jobs and industries; and a safe climate for future generations” Sandell says.

The carbon tax comes as a celebration for the AYCC after campaigning through the Say Yes Campaign, Meet Your Member and the Power Shift summits.

Perth was the stage for the first Power Shift summit for this year, with young people from all over Western Australia gathering to commit to action on climate change.

The three-day conference was run in Perth from September 30- October 2 and brought together over 200 young people under 30 from across Western Australia to discuss, learn and unite to fighting climate change.

The weekend aimed to empower over 200 youth providing momentum for a climate change movement with a range of high-profile, inspiring speakers and workshops to develop leadership and campaign skills.

Power Shift Flash Mob in Perth

The Australian Youth climate Coalition (AYCC) who organised the event also hoped to further empower young people by creating regional break out groups, where delegates will go back into their communities across Western Australia and start-up their own local AYCC branches.
Speakers include Leader of the Opposition Eric Ripper, IPCC author Leslie Hughes, Professor Carmen Lawrence and entrepreneur Nic Francis.

The three-day summit also aimed to raise public awareness through a flash mob stunt that was staged on the Sunday at the Urban Orchard in the Perth Cultural Centre.

The stunt stopped a large group of passing pedestrians who watched all of the conference delegates dancing in blue shirts to show their commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

AYCC national director Ellen Sandel believes that young people have the power to act and make a difference to Australia’s climate future.

“Young people are the biggest stake holders in climate policy, and they are ready for action and for Australia to move forward towards a safe and sustainable future” she says.

The organisation aims to build a generational wide movement to solve the climate crisis.

Whilst climate groups are calling the carbon tax the move forward that Australian needs, it will remain to be seen how the rest of the world acts towards the creation of a legally binding document on climate change at the COP17 summit in Durban, South Africa later this year.

Power Shift is also being run in Brisbane later this month from October 15-17.
Tickets and more information can be found at http://www.powershift.org.au

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