Reinstate Emissions Taxes for Heavily Polluting Companies


Target: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Goal: Reinstate taxes for companies with high carbon dioxide emissions

In July, 2014, the Australian Parliament agreed to repeal a tax on companies with high carbon dioxide emissions. The tax was approved in 2012 to help decrease the carbon emissions for which Australia—the largest polluter of the industrial nations per capita—is responsible. The levy’s repeal leaves Australia without any legislated policy to control and curb the nation’s pollution.

Over the next four years, the nation’s budget is expected to decrease around $7 billion as a cause of the repeal, money which would otherwise have been given by the 350 companies for which the levy applied. The country can also expect a rise in greenhouse emissions, which had fallen more in the first year the taxes were implemented than ever before in the previous 24 years.

The Australian government has promised to reduce its greenhouse emissions by five percent by 2020, as compared to recorded levels from 2000. It has also promised to reduce its emissions by 25 percent by the same year as part of a global deal, should the international community reach an agreement. Unfortunately, neither goal seems likely at the current rate.

To replace the taxes, the government instituted the Direct Action policy, offering companies incentives for environmental responsibility, but no longer holding them financially accountable for it. Direct Action would award $2.5 billion in competitive grants to businesses that voluntarily reduce their emissions. The government is certain its new policy will allow the nation to reach its goals for emissions reduction, but even if it does, the five percent decrease is expected to cost much more than the $2.5 billion in grants. A study commissioned by the environmental group WWF-Australia shows that another $5.9 billion would be needed per year between 2015 and 2020 for such a drastic pollution decrease. According to Reputex climate analytics, emissions will rise by sixteen percent by 2020 under the Direct Action policy’s funding.

Urge the Australian government to reinstate emissions taxes for companies responsible for contributing to climate change.


Dear Prime Minister Abbott,

The repeal of emissions taxes for heavily polluting companies in Australia stands both to raise greenhouse emissions and to reduce the nation’s budget. Chief Executive Officer of the Climate Institute, John Connor, called the move a “historic act of irresponsibility and recklessness.”

Australia has promised to lower its emissions by at least five percent by 2020 as compared to levels from 2000, and believes its goal will be possible under the new Direct Action policy. Unfortunately, studies have shown that this model is more likely to either raise emissions to sixteen percent by 2020 or spend more than $5.9 billion extra per year to reach the goal of a five percent decrease.

I urge you to reinstate emissions taxes for companies in Australia.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Arnold Paul via Wikimedia Commons

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