Super funds call for carbon tax

The rest of the panel included ABN AMRO’s director financial markets Craig McBurnie, IAG’s sustainability research manager Elayne Grace, AMP Capital senior analyst Ian Woods and Origin Energy communications and government relations manager Tony Wood.

Along with Mr Hughes they discussed the "opportunities side" of climate change.

Origin Energy’s Mr Wood said emissions trading produced a least-cost pathway for business to reduce their greenhouse output.

Mr Wood presented a package of proposed action that included a long-term emissions target in line with global action, market-based carbon pricing scheme introduced from 2010, funding for research and development of low and zero-emission technologies and more focused support for renewable energy projects.

AMP’s Dr Woods said there was already a significant market for carbon trading, with 374 million tonnes of Co2 traded in 2005 under the Kyoto Protocol, which was about two-thirds of Australia’s annual greenhouse emissions.

"Institutional investors have a unique view on climate change as we are exposed to all aspects of climate change," he said.

Dr Woods said polices would be put in place that would help determine the price of carbon.

He said that when that happens, the price would be determined very quickly, leaving businesses behind that had not prepared themselves for a carbon-constrained economy.

In Europe this week, a research note by investment bank UBS said forward hedging of power production by utilities would push the price of carbon up to 30.00 euros/tonne in 2008.

According to website information service Point Carbon, the price of "phase two" carbon dioxide allowances in the European Union have climbed by 70 per cent since February from a low of 12 euros.

The increases caused UBS to revise upwards its previous carbon price forecast of 20 euros to 30 euros for 2008.

UBS said one reason for the increase was a dearth of credits from clean development mechanism (CDM) and joint implementation (JI) projects, allowed under the Kyoto Protocol, which generate carbon credits from greenhouse gas reduction projects.

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