A PROPOSED brown coal export industry could face virtually no carbon cost under an Opposition amendment to the emissions trading scheme.
The Coalition amendments - currently the subject of negotiations with the Government - included lowering the emissions level at which industries qualify for compensation.
According to Government documents issued last year, the only industry that would benefit from the lower threshold is brown coal mining.
Brown coal mining for export is responsible for only a tiny part of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. But as revealed in The Age last week, the State Government is considering opening up brown coal reserves for export on a mass scale. Proposals include exporting to India for burning in its power stations.
Under the Opposition proposal, brown coal mining for export would get 94.5 per cent of its emissions permits free.
That would be the same as giving away millions of dollars, Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Owen Pascoe said. ''Exporting brown coal is a terrible idea, and certainly not one the Government should be subsidising,'' he said.
The Opposition yesterday delivered amendments costings to Climate Change Minister Penny Wong.
They show the Coalition plans to use unallocated money from the sale of carbon credits after 2015 to pay for compensation to polluting industries.