Australian super funds to price carbon in portfolios as legislation passes

Investors welcome passage of landmark clean energy legislation

Australian institutional investors will start pricing carbon into their portfolios following the passage of Australia’s landmark clean energy legislation today.

The Clean Energy Legislative Package has been passed by the Australian Senate, the government said.

Its main feature is the Clean Energy Act which sets a fixed carbon tax of A$23 (€17.2) a tonne on the top 500 polluters from July 2012, then moves to an emissions trading scheme from July 2015. The vote means Australia is following the European Union in passing carbon price legislation.

“Investors will now get on with the job of pricing carbon in their portfolios and preparing their investment accordingly,” said the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), the group of Australian and New Zealandinvestors with A$700bn in funds under management. “Investors need a long term, transparent and certain regulatory framework to address carbon emission risks in their investment portfolios and the Clean Energy Future package provides it,” the IGCC added.

“We are delighted that it has finally passed the Parliament after so many years,” said Frank Pegan, chief executive of Catholic Super and IGCC chair. The development was also welcomed by the CEOs of fellow super funds CBus and HESTA.

“Today Australia has a price on carbon as the law of our land,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard was quoted as saying by Reuters. Opposition leader Tony Abbott has sworn a “blood oath” to repeal the laws if he is becomes PM.