Australia's Carbon Tax Experiment Goes Up in Smoke

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In what's being seen as a setback to anti-global warming legislation around the world, Australia on Wednesday repealed its much-debated carbon tax on emissions from industrial sources.

Repeal of the bill has been widely expected since Prime Minister Tony Abbott's election in 2013. Abbott ran on a platform that included lifting of the levy on the grounds that it hurt families and did nothing for the environment. 

Quoted in news reports Thursday out of Australia, Abbott said the repeal was a major political victory and families could expect to see lower power bills coming soon and average savings of $550 a year as a result.

Bill Shorten, leader of the Opposition, vowed to revive the tax and said "history will judge Tony Abbott harshly for refusing to believe that action is needed on climate change."

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Manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its secondary effects are raising the earth's temperature, causing havoc with weather systems, melting sea ice, raising sea levels and raising the threat of agricultural and health-related disasters. Putting a cost on carbon emissions for industry has been a key strategy to slow growth of CO2 levels and ultimately reverse the trend of pumping more and more of it into the atmosphere.

The World Bank sees efforts like Australia's carbon tax as an important part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While Australia's carbon output is small compared to the rest of the world, on a per capita basis among the G20 nations it ranks slightly ahead of the U.S., second to No. 1 Saudi Arabia.

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