It is very fashionable these days to talk about "carbon foot prints" of consumer products which is an indication of the extent of pollution to the environment caused by the process of manufacturing and distributing the product but very little is happening at the ground level to cut down CO2 emission through "green" processes with minimum pollution. At global level every country wants to reduce emission of green house gases that contribute to warming of weather and reduce the impact of its attendant consequences. While those with high living standards depend heavily on fossil fuel sources to maintain their comfort level, countries aspiring to climb up the ladder of development have few options but to depend on these very non-renewable energy sources! Against such a bewildering scenario, Australia deserves to be congratulated in mustering the necessary political will to come up with a carbon tax regime that will compel major polluters in the industry and business conglomerates to try to reduce CO2 emission. The proposal by the Government of Australia to provide financial support to help them reduce pollution is also praise worthy.
"The average cost of living will rise about ten dollars a week in a carbon priced economy and weekly grocery bills are expected to rise by 80 cents a week in the first year of the new tax. However Treasury' estimates that while food prices will rise nominally has food manufacturers questioning the accuracy of the Government's projections. Under the Government's carbon tax package, the food industry will receive $150 million over six years to assist industry to become more energy efficient as part of as part of the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program. The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) chief executive Kate Carnell welcomed the assistance package but stressed that the $150 million may not be enough. "We are particularly pleased the Government acknowledged this amount of money may not be enough and indicated if it's expended, industry will be able access extra funding," Ms Carnell said.Carnell said AFGC lobbied the Government to increase the $150 million package that was also part of the CPRS, as we believed it would not be sufficient for a $102 billion industry, which is already investing heavily in technology to reduce environmental impacts.Under this program, funding will be provided on a co-investment basis, with industry contributing three dollars for every dollar from Government. "This could make it difficult for smaller manufacturers as the cost of becoming more energy efficient are often very high." "At the end of the day, there will still be price increases right across the supply chain and this will impact on the competitiveness of industry," Carnell said. According to chief executive of the Australian National Retailers Association, Margy Osmond who spoke with ABC'S AM, any price rises in the food retail space is more likely to be the product of what is happening with the manufacturers of the food products. Carnell said the cost increase will predominantly result from the high price of power. "The Government carbon tax will increase the cost of Australian manufactured goods – but will not affect imports, which are already cheaper due to the high Australian dollar," Carnell said".
The area of renewable energy is receiving world wide attention and enormous investments have been made to tap the most abundant natural energy source, the Sun. To day countries like the US, China, India and Europe are in the forefront in generating huge quantum of solar energy, though it is still a fraction of their total energy requirement. Economic incentives used to be provided liberally and if they are continued or enhanced the growth of renewable energy industry can be very high. There are many other renewable sources of energy like wind mills, hydroelectric power, ocean waves, geothermal energy etc which also can supplement the energy pool in the world if exploited efficiently. The example shown by Australia must be a lesson for other wavering nations to be strict on polluters and stingy in using fossil fuels to help this world survive from the impending catastrophe posed by global warming. Paying a little more for material comforts is a small price to pay for the longevity of this planet.