According to financial journalist Alan Kohler, an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will effectively be established in Australia on July 1, just one day before the Federal election.

“One-hundred and fifty companies, representing about 50 per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions, will be capped by legislation at their highest level of emissions between 2009-10 and 2013-14,” said Mr Kohler in The Australian newspaper.

“If they emit less than their caps, they will get credits, called Australian Carbon Credit Units, which were created by the Gillard government’s 2011 legislation; if they emit more, they have to buy ACCUs on the market.”

Tellingly, the caps specifically include the electricity sector and the ACCUs are “financial products” under both the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act, which means they can be traded.

So if a virtual ETS is on the horizon, why aren’t our politicians talking about it on the campaign trail?

Mr Kohler speculates that all the major parties want to see some form of ETS established and fundamentally agree with the idea, so they’re simply keeping quiet on the contentious issue. Both the Greens and the Australian Labor Party passed the legislation in December.


Picture: Aaron Francis / The Australian