Australia becomes world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws
After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia's Conservative government repealed a much questioned carbon tax on the nation's worst greenhouse gas polluters on Thursday.
The decision makes of Australia the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Senate, News.com.au reports, voted 39 to 32 to axe the A$25 (US$$23.45) tax per metric tonne of carbon dioxide that was introduced by centre-left Labour government Prime Minister Julia Gillard in July 2012.
It was the current administration's third attempt to repeal the tax since introducing the legislation last November.
Australia is one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters due to its reliance on coal-burning power stations to power homes and industry. The tax was devised to penalize hundreds the country’s biggest polluters.
Tony Abbot, who took office last year, had made repealing the tax a central pledge of his campaign, arguing that doing so would reduce electricity prices and enhance economic growth.
After the vote Thursday, Abbot characterized the revoked measure as a “useless destructive tax, which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment,” as quoted by The Guardian.
The carbon tax and plans for an eventual emissions market dominated Australian politics for years, gaining momentum in 2007, when former Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called climate change "the greatest moral challenge of our time" and made signature of the Kyoto climate protocol one of his first political acts after taking office.