Climate change continues to dominate the Federal and State Governments’ agendas with recent reports predicting that Australia’s emissions will rise steeply without decisive and effective new policy action.
The Federal Government is committed to achieving at least a 5% reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (from 2000 levels) and is now proposing a target of an 80% reduction by 2050 (from 2000 levels) in line with targets in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Details of the national Carbon Price Mechanism have been announced but there is still some uncertainty about the practical implementation of the scheme and how the legislation will be driven through in the current political environment. The proposed mechanism is part of a wider national climate change plan – Securing a Clean Energy Future – which places more emphasis on renewable energy, energy efficiency and Government assistance.
Businesses must now prepare for the various legal ramifications of the Carbon Price Mechanism and need to assess the impact of the carbon price on their business, review contracts to ensure they contain an appropriate mechanism for passing through or apportioning carbon costs and take steps to ensure their information gathering and disclosure obligations are met.
Corrs has been advising on the full spectrum of climate change policy issues and initiatives -from the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme through to the trading of carbon, the Renewable Energy Target Scheme, strategies to prepare for a carbon price and an emissions trading scheme; and renewable energy projects.
We also have significant expertise on the implications of Commonwealth and State legislation on carbon capture and storage, having advised on one of Australia’s flagship carbon capture and storage demonstration plants, and on the legislative framework applying to renewable energy projects.