Westpac and Alcoa at odds on CO2

Post-Kyoto posture yet to be established: The BCA’s stance on global warming has been unclear since 2002-03, when its members split on whether to endorse the Kyoto Protocol. But while there is now widespread agreement that the debate should move beyond Kyoto, the peak body is yet to formulate a position on whether it supports a carbon price signal, such as an emissions trading scheme.

Nationally consistent climate-change approach would aid BCA rethink: Unveiling a business climate change report that calls on Canberra to announce a price signal next year and introduce it nationally by 2013, Dr Morgan said it was time for a reassessment. BCA policy director Maria Tarrant said the council was closely watching work going on through the Council of Australian Governments to see what steps were being taken to improve the consistency of climate-change policies in Australia.

State govts consider going it alone on carbon price scheme: The option of a price emerged as the key debate in Australia’s global warming response, with the Labor state governments examining the feasibility of introducing their own carbon trading system after the Howard government rejected a federal scheme.

BCA playing cards close at this stage: But Ms Tarrant said the BCA was yet to form a position on a price signal. "We haven’t drilled down to that level of detail," she said.

High energy consumption industry not keen: A key source of opposition to carbon trading has come from the aluminium industry, a voracious user of electricity. Australian Aluminium Council chief executive Ron Knapp said the industry had a "not now" stance on a carbon price signal.

Let’s look at low emissions technology first: Echoing a position articulated by the coal industry and Environment Minister Ian Campbell, Mr Knapp said a price signal would be counterproductive if it were introduced before low emissions technology especially carbon capture and storage from coal-fired power stations – was ready to come to market.

The Australian Financial Review, 7/4/2006, p. 57

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