December 5, 2007 (TheAge.au) – BUSINESS will reap benefits from the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, with easier access to global carbon projects and multimillion-dollar investments expected to flow into Australia.
Investors, as well as industry experts, have hailed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s decision to ratify the 10-year-old global climate change agreement, saying Australian businesses will be among the main winners.
Australia will be able to participate more easily in two project-based mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol that may be used to meet its abatement target — “joint implementation” (JI) and the “clean development mechanism” (CDM).
Rob Fowler, managing director of Abatement Solutions Asia Pacific, said the benefits to Australian businesses of ratifying Kyoto would be twofold.
“It makes it much easier for Australian companies to invest in renewable energy, clean development and energy efficiency in other parts of the world. It is a very big driver. Previously, if companies wanted to (participate in CDM) they had to seek approval from the UK or the Netherlands,” he said.
“Secondly, if the Rudd Government decides to use a (joint implementation) mechanism, then Australian companies could do things like energy efficiency and be issued with permits which they can then sell overseas or use within Australia.
“There is no doubt that if we grab hold of this with both hands there is a lot of money to be made.”
Clean Energy Council chief executive Dominique La Fontaine, in Bali to discuss a post-Kyoto agreement, said the ratification of Kyoto was more than symbolic and that Australian companies would have access to international markets through emissions trading worth $US55 billion ($A63 billion) a year.
Both Origin Energy and Pacific Hydro have expressed interest in using the mechanisms under Kyoto for future investment.
Andrew Richards, Pacific Hydro’s manager of government and corporate affairs, said Australia was now “open for business” and that companies would also be more encouraged to invest overseas.
“In the past with CDM you could only be active in a developing country. Under JI it allows us, for example, to plant trees in Australia, create the carbon credits and sell them to Japan,” he said. “From a business perspective, this is really about turning a corner from a domestic policy point of view … but from a global policy perspective, it puts us on the map.”