Emissions trading delayed

Government to delay emissions trading until mid 2011 due to recession

The Federal Government’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) will be postponed until mid 2011, Prime Minster Kevin Rudd says.

The global financial crisis and Australia’s recent slide into recession have been outlined by Rudd as the major reasons to delay the scheme, which was due to be implemented in 2010.

"The worst global recession since the Great Depression means we must adapt our climate change measures, but not abandon them," Rudd says.

"Our objective of course is to provide business certainty for the future."

The delayed scheme will also be watered down, with the price of carbon being bought down from $40 to $10 per tonne for the first year of the initiative.

However, the Opposition says the Government needs to start afresh rather than delaying the scheme.

"The delay of one year announced today was inevitable, but it is simply not enough to rescue this dog of a scheme," opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss says.

Unless the scheme is amended, Truss claims it will have "untold damage" on the economy as it begins to recover. He wants the Government to conduct an inquiry into the effect an ETS will have on jobs.

"A recession is not the time to introduce an ETS, but neither is a time when we are struggling out of recession," Truss says.

The Opposition wants the Government to delay the scheme until Australia’s major trading partners are also bound by an ETS.

Truss has also accused the Government of waging a "jihad on the coal industry", and has also called for the Government to protect export industries and stop giving importers "a free ride".

The trucking industry has been exempted from buying carbon permits but operators will need to pay more for fuel. Unless the scheme is amended, the Government will give the industry one year to transition to emissions trading by freezing the fuel excise.

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