Australia's bold plans for a carbon emissions trading scheme are under
threat after the conservative opposition in Canberra hardened its
stance against it. Critics of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's proposal say it
would cost jobs and provoke economic uncertainty for the next 20
The prime minister wants the legislation - a proposal that would become the world's most sweeping emissions trading system - passed by
the end of next month.
Under the bill, companies
would have to buy permits for every ton of carbon they emit, a system
designed to provide financial incentives for those that reduce their
pollution. It would cover about 75 percent of emissions from
Australia's 1,000 largest polluters.
Critics say that
new, independent research proves the system will damage the Australian
economy and cost jobs if it is introduced at a time of global recession.
Conservative lawmaker Andrew Robb says the government should delay its controversial plans.
report establishes very clearly that the government has got serious
work to do to fix this deeply flawed scheme that they have put in
place. Do not put in jeopardy tens of thousands of Australian jobs," said Robb.
The left-of-center Mr. Rudd wants the scheme to be working by July of next year.
The measures need the approval of the country's upper house of parliament, the Senate, which the government does not control.
It needs the support of Greens Senators, who argue the scheme does not go far enough to protect the environment.
Change minister Penny Wong is adamant she can convince skeptics to
change their mind and that the plans will get parliamentary approval.
I can say is that we are determined to act in the national interest and
the national interest means that we are determined to get this
legislation through," said Wong.
one of the world's worst per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, warns
that without tough environmental measures the country would lose
jobs and key industries, including agriculture and tourism.
long-standing drought, along with recent devastating bushfires and
widespread floods have given some scientists more reason to think that
the vast continent is likely to be one of the countries
hardest hit by a shifting climate.
Skeptics argue, however, that
rising temperatures and warmer oceans are part of a natural cycle and
are not convinced the changes are a result of man's pollution.