Carbon Conscious welcomes Clean Energy passage

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Kevin Rudd kissed Julia Gillard while the Labor Party cheered and Tony Abbott glowered while the Liberal Party jeered.

The positive vote for Federal Government’s Climate Change Plan, more popularly known as the Carbon Tax, in Parliament, also set-off some back-slapping in the Board room of forestry plantation project developer Carbon Conscious.

Carbon Conscious expects it will benefit from the Clean Energy Bill through the House of Representatives, going as far as to proclaim it as, “a major milestone in the birth of Australia’s new carbon economy”.

The company uses its forestation activities to provide companies with carbon offset credits.

The passage of the Clean Energy bills through the House of Representatives is the first step with the Bill is expected to be passed with the support of the Greens in the Senate.

Carbon Conscious said the expected passing of the Bill through both Houses meant last major political obstacle to the introduction of an Australian carbon price would now been removed.

The company’s executive chairman Steve Lowe said the passage of the Clean Energy Bill 2011 through the lower house was a great day for Australia’s carbon abatement industry and paves the way for expansion of the company’s carbon forest sink operations.

“The Board is currently examining a proposal to massively increase the size of the 2012 planting season from 2,000 hectares to 10,000 hectares,” Lowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We have 8,000 hectares of Mallee Eucalypt trees under management and are aiming to more than double this in the next planting season to accommodate the anticipated new demand for carbon abatement.

“Carbon Conscious will be responsible for managing the largest carbon bio-sequestration investment projects in Australian history.”

The Clean Energy Act mandates a starting price for carbon at $23 per tonne.

Carbon Conscious highlighted CSIRO studies that have estimated that with a $20 per tonne price for carbon, carbon forest bio-sequestration projects have the potential to sequester 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050.

This equates to an abatement potential of $7 billion per annum.

“The passage of the Clean Energy Act will remove the final legislative hurdle to large scale investment in Australia’s carbon abatement sector,” Carbon Conscious said.

“This provides a clear carbon pricing mechanism for Australia’s largest carbon emitters to purchase carbon credits on an open and transparent market from accredited suppliers such as Carbon Conscious.”

The company said that international buyers were the most likely to become investors in Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) projects and as a result, the Australian carbon forestry industry is positioned well to become a major beneficiary.

Carbon credits will be sold on domestic or international carbon markets.

Carbon Conscious has existing commercial forestry contracts worth $45 million as well as close to $190 million worth of commercial forestry options.

“Over the past few years Carbon Conscious has been developing a pipeline of carbon farming projects with major Australian carbon emitters, and expects a number of those projects to be realised as a direct consequence of the passage of the Clean Energy Act 2011,” Lowe said.