Thursday, July 10, 2008

Parties split on emissions scheme

By Louise Yaxley and Lyndal Curtis

ABC News Online, Posted 4 hours 34 minutes ago
Updated 2 hours 18 minutes ago

There is now a split between the Federal Government and the Opposition about a greenhouse gas trading system.

Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson has changed his position and is no longer backing the same sort of "cap and trade" system that the Government wants.

Dr Nelson has written in The Australian newspaper that he is not giving unconditional support to the model proposed by economist Ross Garnaut, but he says he backs having a limit of some sort on emissions.

Earlier this week, senior Coalition figures have insisted their position is clear on emissions trading, but the Government has been attacking its opponents for being confused and divided.

Just a day ago, Dr Nelson's leadership rival Malcolm Turnbull said the Coalition's position had not changed from last year and it was to back a cap and trade system starting in 2012.

The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has accused the Opposition of having a new position on an emissions trading scheme every 24 hours.

Mr Rudd has concluded his overseas visit to the G8 in Japan and to Malaysia.

Climate change and discussions over reducing greenhouse gas emissions formed a significant part of the agenda, and on the Australia Network's Newshour program he has brought his focus back to the domestic political debate over the details of an emissions trading scheme.

"We are adopting a calm, measured, sensible, responsible approach to this great challenge of climate change," he said.

"They adopt a new position every 24 hours. Who knows where they stand on this great challenge of our age?"

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says it is a new day and a new position for Dr Nelson.

"Clearly he's simply not up to the task, the Opposition's not up to the task of tackling this issue which is critical to Australia's future," she said.

Mr Rudd has acknowledged the most recent international discussions on climate change have produced no mechanism or agreement on how emissions should be reduced.

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