Feb 1, 1990 – IEA calls for a carbon tax

At the height of concern about climate change, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to release its three reports and negotiations for a climate treaty all to begin in 1990, the International Energy Agency gets in on the act, with its boss, Ms Helga Steeg, flying a kite of economic measures,  including – gasp – a carbon tax.  That had been there in the fine print of the Toronto declaration from June of 1988, but everyone had been more hung up on the eye catching 20% reduction target.  In November 1989 an Australian politician (we won’t say who just yet – keep you guessing) had suggested it too….  The battle for a price on carbon was beginning.  Twenty seven years later, who can say we are any closer.

“Drastic measures to combat global atmospheric pollution caused by burning carbon fuels were urged yesterday by the International Energy Agency.”

Anon. 1990. Carbon Fuel Tax May Limit Pollution Levels. Australian Financial Review, 2 February.

Also on this day –

Five years later, a columnist in the Fin does a thought experiment.  Turns out Australia should keep digging it up and selling it….

Everyone wants a drop in carbon dioxide emissions but the costs have not been properly assessed, reports ALAN MITCHELL LET’S suppose that Australia did decide to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by cutting back on its use of coal. Presumably it would start by cutting back on the inefficient or low-value uses of coal.

Mitchell, A. 1995. Ambitious energy target may prove too difficult to achieve. The Australian Financial Review, 1 February.

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