The 500 million people in European Union countries have lived with an emissions trading scheme since 2005.
Jill Duggan, a carbon price expert from the EU’s Directorate-General for Climate Action, says the scheme has created more jobs and was easier to implement than first feared.
Briefing journalists in Canberra, she said carbon tax only accounted for a fraction of the yearly price rises for fuel.
“The impact would be a quarter of the impact of gas or oil prices, so people notice gas or oil prices rising, they notice the impact on their household bills, but the carbon price is much, much smaller than that in impact.”
Ms Duggan said Australia had the chance to invest in sustainable energy systems such as solar to actually increase employment.
“The experience in Europe is the drive to a low-carbon economy has created more jobs – I’m not aware of any jobs that have been lost as the result of a carbon price.
“It was easier and cheaper to reduce emissions than was initially estimated. The impact has not affected the economy adversely.”
Speaking earlier, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott repeated his claim the tax would add $300 a year to power bills and bump up the price of petrol.
“Every time prices go up if this carbon tax comes in to effect people will think of the government, because this tax will cascade through the economy.”
Greens leader Bob Brown took exception to Mr Abbott’s description of household compensation as a “slush fund”.
“His new description of proposed compensation for households under the carbon tax proposal as ‘slush’ will offend many Australians but delight the big corporations who want the same money for themselves,” Senator Brown said.
Senator Brown says the “slush fund” is actually the Coalition’s “direct action” plan to compensate polluting industries without compensating households which he claims will have to pay an extra $720 a year.
Climate Change Minister Greg Comet has pledged to return the entire carbon tax to consumers, particularly low-income households and pensioners.
“Every dollar raised by the payment of the carbon price by the large polluters – because that’s where the obligation resides – will be used to support households to meet price impacts,” Mr Combet said.
He says it will also be used to help industries transition to a low-pollution future.
“Mr Abbott will run a fear campaign and that’s exactly what he’s doing, but we intend sticking to our guns, arguing the case because it’s the right thing to do for the future of this country.”
Mr Abbott said he would welcome an early election on the issue – but said it was not up to him.
“It’s up to the Prime Minister to go to Yarralumla and call an early election if that’s what she wants to do. It’s up to the independents to decide what they do.”
Media Sourced : abc.net.au