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Australia to reveal carbon trading legislation

| Sourced From Taiwan News |

The government plans to unveil legislation next month to create an Australian carbon emissions trading scheme designed to tax climate changing pollution beginning next year, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said Friday.

Wong said her government remained set on a July 2010 start date for the scheme, in which major polluters will buy and trade permits to emit carbon gases.

Industry wants the scheme delayed until 2012 because of global economic uncertainty, while some green groups favor a set-price carbon tax on emissions rather than a trading system in which market forces determine the price.

Wong said the draft legislation will be made public March 10.

The government will consider the views of the senators before the legislation is introduced to Parliament in June, she said.

The government does not hold a majority in the Senate so will need the support of opposition or independent senators to pass the legislation.

“There will be criticisms from both sides of politics, both sides of the community, both sides of the debate,” Wong told reporters.

“But we are determined to take a balanced, reasonable perspective and to implement a scheme that will for the first time in this nation’s history reduce our contribution to climate change from next year,” she added.

The government will influence the price of carbon pollution permits by restricting the number of permits to be released on the Australian market.

Conservationists argue that the government plans to issue too many pollution permits.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced in December that his government plans to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by as little as 5 percent by the year 2020, far less than the 25 percent cut sought be environmentalists.

Heather Ridout, chief executive of the business lobbyist Australian Industry Group, declared the 2010 start date as “neither necessary, nor realistic.” since the economic downturn was already reducing industrial pollution.

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