07/03/2011 - 09:45

Greens vow to limit carbon compensation

07/03/2011 - 09:45

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The Australian Greens say they will oppose any moves to compensate mining giants under a carbon price, amid calls from Rio Tinto that business will struggle to adapt, and from Woodside Petroleum, which says its exports should be exempt from the tax.


The Australian Greens say they will oppose any moves to compensate mining giants under a carbon price, amid calls from Rio Tinto that business will struggle to adapt, and from Woodside Petroleum, which says its exports should be exempt from the tax.

Rio Tinto's chief executive, David Peever, said the Gillard government's carbon price model could not be applied in the "real world".

"In the real world, access to abatement rarely occurs along an ideal continuum and business can only respond if it is viable to do so," he wrote in a column for The Australian newspaper.

Greens leader Bob Brown said an independent arbiter should decide compensation.

"There's no way we will back these big corporations being compensated when they don't deserve compensation," Senator Brown told Sky News.

"I'm just saying if trade-exposed industries, which include Rio Tinto ... want to put in a claim after carbon pricing's been brought in ... let that claim be looked at independently and verified so we don't have gouging by big industry at the expense of small business."

Senator Brown revealed one big business was modelling a $40-a-tonne carbon price.

But he declined to say if he believed this was an appropriate price, arguing the multi-party climate change committee was yet to decide a level.

"We have further studies to be done," he said, adding the government's key climate change adviser Ross Garnaut and the Productivity Commission needed to do more modelling.

Given the absence of an international agreement on the price of greenhouse gas emissions, Woodside said its trade-exposed exports should be exempted.

"The company accepts the government's intention to put a price on emissions associated with products consumed domestically such as natural gas, but recognises this will lead to an increase in costs for consumers," Woodside said in a statement.

"Woodside's position on exemption for its trade-exposed exports recognises the important role liquefied natural gas plays in helping lower global greenhouse gas emissions.

"Liquefied natural gas is regarded internationally as a cleaner transition fuel towards an alternative energy future and it is important the government's framework acknowledges this."

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