Tue, Feb 06, 2007 - Page 5 News List

PM Howard asks for carbon pricing


Australia must place a price on carbon emissions to fight climate change, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday in an apparent softening on his refusal to join in global carbon trading.

Howard said a government-appointed task force will this week release a discussion paper on the role Australia can play in a global emissions trading scheme.

Australia, the world's largest exporter of coal, joined the US in refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia is also one of the world's worst greenhouse gas polluters per capita because of its dependence on that fossil fuel to generate electricity.

Australian National University climate change expert Warwick McKibbin said he preferred a carbon pricing system in Australia to a carbon tax as a means of creating financial incentives to reduce industrial pollution.

A tax would financially penalize polluters for the amount of carbon they emit.

The opposition Labor Party has long called for the government to sign Kyoto and to introduce a carbon trading scheme.

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