Exposed sectors at risk

26/11/2008 - 22:00

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SOME of the state's largest greenhouse gas emitters have called for a moderate introduction of the emissions trading scheme to protect the country's emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries.

Exposed sectors at risk

SOME of the state's largest greenhouse gas emitters have called for a moderate introduction of the emissions trading scheme to protect the country's emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries.

CSBP chief financial officer Charlie Perkins told the WA Business News forum the government needed to do more to support the trade-exposed industries.

Its chemical and fertiliser products compete directly with similar imported product, which will not have a carbon component priced in.

"Where I think more work needs to be done is in businesses which have energy intense or emissions intense industry and you can't pass it on because you're truly trade exposed," he said.

"You need to do a bit more work on industries that are truly trade exposed, and perhaps look at compensation and permits to actually support the trade-exposed industries so you don't have the contraction or loss of employment from Australia to other places in the world.

"If you have a cost impost on a local industry you curtail future expansion here and it will expand elsewhere."

CSBP emits about 1.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year. It is also a significant energy user, consuming 10.7 million gigajoules of electricity annually.

Adelaide Brighton's Cockburn Cement business is also one of the state's major greenhouse gas emitters, with almost 2mt of CO2 equivalent emitted from its Kwinana facility a year.

Adelaide Brighton CFO Andrew Poulter told the forum the company as a whole had one of the largest emissions-intensive footprints in Australia of the ASX top 200 companies.

He said cement manufacturing was faced with a particular challenge because of its energy intensity and the fact that manufacturing gave process emissions as well.

"Because we're not an end user, our carbon footprint also passes down the stream to resources sector or fundamentally to the construction and materials sector," Mr Poulter said.

"The real challenge for us - we're probably operating at best known technology for the size of plant were operating in this country - is to see how we can complement the use of cement with other materials like slags and fly ashes and even supplement with ground limestone to reduce the carbon content of our products."

Alcoa of Australia director, business development Bill Reid, said emissions trading should be introduced in a measured way to ensure Australia is not disadvantaged relative to its global competitors, but in such a way that it could still show leadership.

"We believe it's inevitable and necessary, and given that it's inevitable and necessary, it's better that it happened sooner rather than later," Mr Reid told the forum.

"We also have a very strong view that it would be foolhardy to bring it in at such a level that we cause enormous damage to Australian industry ahead of the global competition. There's no point being self-sacrificing here and just simply seeing the jobs and emissions migrate to other regions.

"If you know the carbon scheme is coming you're going to have to factor that into your decision making, and it will cause you to pick the most energy efficient process to mitigate your carbon emissions the best you can with the known technologies at the time and so you start changing the behaviours without getting the immediate shut-down effect, which a large carbon signal would do immediately."

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