4 May 2009

Australia to delay emissions scheme

9:47 pm on 4 May 2009

The Australian government is to delay its planned carbon emissions trading scheme for one year.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday redrew his government's plan to tackle climate change, in the process breaking a key promise he took to the election.

Mr Rudd says the changes are necessary because of the worsening global economic conditions.

The move has been endorsed by key business groups, unions and most green and conservation groups.

Under the new plan, an emissions trading scheme will begin in mid-2011, a year later than originally planned.

The government has also increased the range of its emissions reduction target to from 5% to 25% of 2000 levels by 2020, depending on international action.

There are also concessions for business. The price of carbon will be slashed from $A40 per tonne to $A10 per tonne while emissions trading is phased in and there will also be a new "global recession buffer" for emissions intensive, trade exposed industries.

Mr Rudd also introduced a new carbon trust which he says will recognise individual efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Major emissions industries had complained about the planned 1 July start of the scheme next year, saying it would hamper an economic recovery as Australia teeters on the edge of recession amid the global slowdown.