THE climate adviser Ross Garnaut appears to back the Gillard government's strategy to ''get started'' on reducing greenhouse emissions through an initial fixed carbon price before an eventual emissions trading scheme.
The government is finalising a ''hybrid'' carbon pricing model to put to the multi-party climate change committee to avoid disagreement with the Greens over long-term greenhouse reduction targets.
Professor Garnaut, who is revising his 2008 climate change review for the committee, will revisit his recommendation that Australia's ''fair share'' of the global greenhouse effort would amount to reduction targets of 5 to 25 per cent by 2020.
But he said as well as ''reminding people where we need to end up'', the idea of ''making a start with a carbon price, even something that won't get us all the way in one step … will be strongly in my mind''.
He said despite the fact there was not yet a legally binding international climate change agreement, it was wrong to pretend the rest of the world was ''doing nothing'' and that the commitments already made internationally were likely to lead to ''strong results''.
But Australia was now the ''world champion'' with the highest per capita emissions and had the most to lose if global warming was allowed to proceed unchecked.
''For the world champions not to do our proportionate part in an international agreement would be deeply subversive to the international effort, and let's be clear, we have been deeply subversive to the international effort from time to time over the last decade,'' Professor Garnaut said.
''I am asking Australians to stop being a drag on international efforts. We have a bigger interest in successful mitigation than any other country. We have more to lose from a failure in mitigation than any other country. It would be strange not to do our part in a global effort that will bring more benefits to us than any other country.''
Professor Garnaut will release eight ''update papers'' before handing the government his final review in May.
After failing to win parliamentary support for its emissions trading scheme in its first term, and then abandoning the policy altogether, Labor now hopes to legislate a scheme by the end of the year.
The hybrid model was proposed by Professor Garnaut in his original report in the event that other countries did not move quickly to emissions trading and was embraced by the Greens last year to break the political deadlock with Labor.
The Greens senator Christine Milne said yesterday that ''starting with a rising fixed price gives us the chance to get Australia moving, sending a signal to the market, while keeping the flexibility to lift our ambition significantly as soon as we can get political agreement to do so''.
Professor Garnaut said one positive development since 2008 was that low emission technologies were getting cheaper more quickly than he had expected.