No carbon price in sight for Australia before 2012

Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:26am GMT

By Michael Perry

SYDNEY, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Australia will not put a price on carbon emissions until at least 2012, after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that a committee examining the issue would not finish its deliberations until end-2011.

Australia, one of the worst per-capita greenhouse gas polluters, is reviewing its policy to tackle climate change after elections last month left the ruling Labor party relying on a Greens MP and three independents to retain power.

The multi-party committee will meet monthly from October 2010, producing confidential papers to the government until cabinet makes a decision, Gillard said on Monday.

"It's envisaged that the committee will work through to the end of 2011 when there will be a consideration at that time about the further need for the committee to continue," Gillard told a news conference in Canberra.

"The global economy has already begun to shift to a low carbon economy and if we fail to act on a price on carbon pollution we ... run a risk of falling behind," she said.

Australia is the world's largest coal exporter and its economy is heavily reliant on coal-fired power. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For a factbox on Australia's CO2 footprint, [ID:nSGE67G075] For a Q+A on why Australia needs a CO2 price [ID:nSGE6640C0] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

After twice failing to push a carbon-emissions trading scheme through the last parliament, the Labor government is now seeking an industry and community consensus for a carbon price.

Gillard has left open the option of imposing an interim carbon tax ahead of a full market-based scheme.   Continued...

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