Kevin Rudd makes second bid for ETS tax despite failure in Copenhagen agreement
By Sue Dunlevy
December 21, 2009
THE Rudd Government will press ahead with its plan to put a price tag on carbon pollution even though the leaders of other nations refused to reach a legally binding agreement on reducing global warming in Copenhagen.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said the controversial emissions trading scheme that would push up the cost of electricity and power was "just as relevant now as it was before Copenhagen and we need to pass the bill for business certainty".
The ETS was rejected by the Senate earlier this month and the Government planned to re-introduce the scheme for parliamentary approval in February next year even though other nations were refusing to agree to cut their own carbon emissions.
The Rudd Government said it still remained committed to cutting the nation's greenhouse gas output by between five and 25 per cent.
It would set a more exact target in February next year when other nations made public the size of any greenhouse reductions they would eb perpared to make.
"We will do no more, but no less than what the rest of the world is doing," Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said. After 13 days of talks and two years of negotiations world leaders failed to reach a binding agreement on greenhouse gas reduction in Copenhagen.
Instead, representatives of 192 nations set a goal of limiting warming to 2C and earmarked $US10 billion ($11.28 billion) in early funding for poor countries most at risk from climate change.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who claimed the government's ETS was a big tax said Mr Rudd had failed his own test of leadership.
"He said, real progress means real targets against real timelines, and certainly by that standard it's been a comprehensive failure," Mr Abbott told Sky television.
Meanwhile, global warming protesters yesterday chained themselves to the rail tracks at the Koorang coal export terminal in Newcastle to protest against the outcome of Copenhagen's talks.