Australia to Issue Free Carbon Permits for Steel, Copper Makers

Australia’s producers of steel, aluminum and copper are among high greenhouse gas emitters that will receive free carbon permits for an anti-pollution tax that begins July 1, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said.

Under the law, which sets up an emissions trading system, the government will charge about 500 polluters A$23 ($24.80) a ton for discharges. The imposed price will give way in 2015 to a cap-and-trade system that allows companies which keep emissions below their limit to sell permits to other polluters.

“The most emissions-intensive industries will receive an initial average of 94.5 percent of their carbon permits for free,” Combet said in a statement today. “That means the effective average carbon price in these industries is reduced from A$23 to only A$1.30 a ton.”

Other industries to receive the free permits are aluminum production, petroleum refining, flat-glass manufacturing, pulp and paper making and zinc refining, according to the statement. The 94.5 percent rate is for the first year, after which the rate will be reduced by 1.3 percent a year, it said.