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ABC Midday Report -

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(generated from captions) are as bleak as ever. Australia's carbon emissions

are on track to rise 24% above

2000 levels by 2020, according

to figures from the Federal

Government, which

prediction adds pressure for a

carbon price to be put in place

as soon as possible. In the

near term, though, carbon

emissions in four eastern

States are down, falling an

average of 2%, according to the

climate group. Greg Combet is the Climate Change Minister.

He still believes setting a

carbon price is the key

solution. The introduction of a carbon price into economy, which at the end of

the day is a price tag on

pollution, it provides an in

sentive to cut pollution,

investment provides an incentive to drive

investment in clean energy,

provides an incentive to drive energy efficiency improvements

and energy savings, that's the

policy mechanism that has to be

at the core of any effort in

Australia to reduce our

pollution and bring it

down. There is some good news,

though, from the organisation

the climate group. They've

just done research showing that

emissions fell an average of 2%

in four States in

mainly because of steep falls

in coal-fired power generation. Why can't that situation

emissions continue to fall? continue and we will see carbon

What we're seeing now own economy, of course, is

recovery due to the Government's strong economic

stimulus package, our recovery

is going better than in a

number of other economy, but

that also means our pollution

is growing as well. A lot of

areas that growth is coming from

areas in the resources sector, where of significant boom in investment.

The challenge for us is to

decouple our economic growth

from Groth in pollution. To do

that you need a carbon price in

the economy to drive the cuts

in pollution and to drive

investment in clean energy. You

said a little earlier that a

carbon price is the principal

measure needed. Does that mean

that, on its own, it's not

enough and that you need other

measures to be in place in

levels down? You basically order to bring greenhouse gas

have to work on all the major

fronts. A carbon price,

and the Government is working improvements in energy savings support for

on all those fronts, but right

at the centre of it is a price

tag on pollution, and the

reason for that, as I said before, is that creates the incentive to cut before, is that that's what

pollution, it's what creates

the incentive for investment in

clean energy sources and it

also helps drive energy savings

and energy efficiency

measures. Just finally, the

State Labor Government in NSW

is offering $250 power bill

rebates if it's re-elected in March. Does that undermine behaviour? No, at the end of efforts to

the day, a carbon price, as I

said, is needed in this economy

to help drive investment in

clean energy, to cut pollution,

to support initiatives that

will save on energy, and it

will stand on its merits and

the Government is very

committed to it. Greg Combet,

thank you. Thank you very