Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wong flags possible emissions trading delay

ABC News Online, Posted 1 hour 5 minutes ago 

Updated 8 minutes ago

Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has left some room for the Government to delay the introduction of an emissions trading scheme.

Climate change adviser Ross Garnaut says the scheme should start in 2010, but be eased in with a low target for the first two years.

The Australian Workers Union says the Government should delay the start of the scheme for about two years and there is disquiet in Labor ranks, with New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa saying the Garnaut report is full of "Chicken Little" warnings about climate change.

Senator Wong has told Fairfax Radio the Government wants to stick to its 2010 target, but she says there will be consultation.

"That's the ambition, we said that before the election, we recognise we have to get moving on this," she said.

"Obviously we'll listen to what people have to say but that remains the ambition."

The Federal Opposition also wants the 2010 start date delayed, with Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson saying he is concerned that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is "taking Australia way out in front of the rest of the world," on emissions trading.

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has attacked Mr Costa's criticism of the report, saying the Garnaut report's bleak picture of the impact of climate change leaves no option but to adopt a comprehensive emission trading scheme.

"Doing nothing is not an option and yet we do find Mr Costa and others suggesting in relation to some of the aspects of some of the recommendations that doing nothing is an option," he said.

"I'm more inclined ... to adopt the line of Professor Garnaut in relation to this, I think he makes the case, it's a sensible report.

"Just imagine the manner that that sort of attitude [Mr Costa's] gives to industrialists in China and India and Indonesia and other places around the world," he added.

"I think we are thinking a very critical issue, there is no more critical issue facing the world, there is no more difficult policy issue facing the world."

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