Australia has become the first country to reverse action on climate change after the country’s senate voted to scrap the price on carbon.

The government justified the move on the basis of providing relief to consumers and businesses but it now leaves Australia without an approved mechanism for tackling emissions.
The repeal bill was passed 39 votes to 32 in the 76-member upper house, dismantling a law introduced by the previous Labour government that initially charged polluters A$23 ($21.50) per tonne of greenhouse gases emitted.

The move will go down well domestically, but not so well internationally. Australia hosts the G20 Summit in November and the country’s policies run counter to those of other nations, such as the US, which are pressing for a global agreement to combat climate change.

Australia, the world’s biggest emitter of fossil fuels per capita, hasn’t backed US calls to add the issue to the G20 agenda when leaders meet in Brisbane.

The repeal will save the average family A$550 per year through lower electricity prices and will make Australian companies more competitive, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in an e-mailed statement after the vote.

Australia, the world’s 12th-largest economy, will still be able to meet its promised 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, the government added.

For more Australasian power generation news