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Billionaire Forrest backs carbon levy on Australia fossil fuels

Fortescue CEO Andrew Forrest

Fortescue CEO Andrew Forrest

26th February 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Australia should impose a proposed carbon levy on fossil fuel producers to accelerate efforts to meet climate targets, according to billionaire mining-to-clean energy tycoon Andrew Forrest.

“It’s high time that industry that causes global warming contributes to alleviating its harm,” Forrest, executive chairman of iron-ore exporter Fortescue, said Monday at the National Press Club in Canberra.

Australia, among the developed world’s highest per-capita polluters, could miss a target to cut emissions by 43% of 2005 levels by 2030 if it doesn’t ramp up action, he said.

Former government advisers Rod Sims and Ross Garnaut called for a national carbon solutions levy earlier this month, arguing the policy could raise an initial A$100-billion a year to help fund deployments of renewable energy, improve power grids and underwrite other green new infrastructure.

“If we make the right decisions today, it will deliver the most profound and enduring economic growth that I’ve ever seen,” Forrest said.

The charge would be imposed on fossil fuel extraction sites and levied at a rate equivalent to the European carbon price, according to Sims and Garnaut.

Fossil fuel suppliers have rejected the call for a new levy. The proposal would “seriously undermine our international competitiveness” and result in job losses, said Tania Constable, chief executive officer of the Minerals Council of Australia, which represents companies including coal producers.

Edited by Bloomberg

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