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Carbon trading possibilities down the track


Brigid Veale
16 October 2007
Future roles for the Australian rail industry in emissions trading schemes are under investigation by Southern Cross University researcher and lecturer Scott Niblock.

Scott, who also lectures in finance at the Tweed Gold Coast campus, is analysing the scheme already operating within the European Union, assessing submissions to the Australian Government’s National Emissions Trading Taskforce and interviewing Australian rail industry representatives as part of his research, which is being conducted in conjunction with the University of South Australia and funded by the national Rail CRC.

“Australia does not yet have a national emissions trading scheme so the time to do this research is now,” Scott said.

“Hopefully my data will help the rail industry to take a leadership role at a pivotal time, well informed about the possibilities and threats of future carbon trading.”

Scott said that while the first stage of the Australian emission trading scheme, which Prime Minister John Howard wants to have operational no later than 2012, will only include stationary energy sources, transport could be phased in at a later stage.

“All modes of transport – private and public – account for 15 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “All the attention so far has been on the airlines and road users, which have been shown to be the bigger carbon emitters. If you consider that rail is already an efficient operator then there could be financial benefits in the industry participating in a future scheme as a seller of credits. This brings into question the merits of expanding the rail network and could have ramifications for the entire transport sector.”

The study forms a background to Scott’s larger PhD project on emissions trading for the Australian financial environment. He hopes to deliver his findings in December.

Photo: Southern Cross University researcher Scott Niblock, who is investigating the role of the Australian rail industry in future carbon trading schemes.