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Origin's King playing with fire


Source: Climate Spectator, 10 May 2013

Sometimes it can be difficult deciphering how Origin Energy chief executive Grant King’s mind works.

Yesterday in the Australian Financial Review it was reported,

“Mr King stepped up his criticism of Australia’s fixed $23 per tonne carbon price, which is almost five times higher than in Europe. He said it was making no difference to emissions and was only a 'deadweight cost' to the economy.”

This is all rather confusing because back in July 2011 he told Ali Moore on ABC Lateline,

ALI MOORE: … You're also part of the Business Council of Australia, which wanted a $10 carbon price. Did the government get it right with $23?

GRANT KING: Look, I think the government has struck a reasonable balance….So I think the carbon package, the carbon part of the package is in about the right place. It will cause some change, not as quick as some would like, but that price together with the offsetting measures I think is a reasonable package.

ALI MOORE: …a couple of years ago you said – in fact more recently than that – that if they wanted to achieve their 5 per cent cut in reductions on 2000 emissions by 2020 on price alone, you'd need a price in the $40-$60 category. So you believe that there are enough other mitigating factors around that price to make it work? 

GRANT KING: Yes. There's three phases. If you think about how to reduce carbon, there's sort of three phases in the process. The first is we have to change the capital that we're going to spend in the future, particularly to generate energy. And in fact the very simple carbon scheme at a starting price of $1 would do that. That would cause us to change the way we spend capital in the future. If we want to change the way we use our current power stations and change the energy we use, change the fuel we use and the way we use them, that's what this scheme will cause us to do and it will start that process and it will accelerate the rate at which we reduce carbon emissions. 

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