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Australian and EU committed to low carbon future

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THE HON GREG COMBET AM MP Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency


GC 262/11 5 September 2011


The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, today met with his European counterpart to discuss developments in the global carbon market.

European Climate Commissioner Ms Connie Hedegaard is in Australia for a range of meetings on climate change, following the Australian Government’s recent release of draft legislation to introduce a price on carbon from 1 July 2012.

“Europe has been a pioneer in global efforts to price carbon since the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) commenced six years ago,” Mr Combet said. “The Gillard Government’s commitment to price carbon will see us follow the lead of 32 countries which already have national emissions trading schemes,” he said.

“In addition to all European countries, Australia's top six trading partners — China, Japan, the United States, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and India — have implemented or are piloting emissions trading schemes, carbon taxes or coal taxes at the national, state or city level.”

Ms Hedegaard highlighted the expansion of the global carbon market in recent years. It has grown from about US $11bn in 2005 to $142bn in 2010.

“Given our experience in Europe we know that carbon markets provide an effective, least-cost way of reducing emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from big emitters covered by the EU ETS have fallen by an average of more than 8 per cent since the start of the system in 2005,” Ms Hedegaard said.

“Our ETS has led our most forward thinking industries to some very creative and innovative ways of working that help reduce emissions and cut costs. This creativity is also developing the skills and experience in the industries of the future,” she said.

“We look forward to Australia embarking on the same route and making a robust carbon market the core of its policy response to the climate challenge.”

''Australia's commitment to pricing carbon emissions and introducing a domestic cap-and-trade scheme from July 2015 is a significant step forward for international action against climate change. We are happy to share the extensive experience we have gained with Europe's own emissions trading system, which is helping to cut our emissions at least cost.''

Media contact: Mark Davis 0400 295 560, Gia Hayne 0412 060 406