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CANBERRA, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand, the two largest economies and greenhouse gas emitters in the South Pacific, are considering harmonising their carbon trading scheme plans. "This is a matter where the two governments are considering possibilities," Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told the Senate on Thursday during a debate on Australia's renewable energy target. Wong gave no further details.
Australia's government plans to start imposing a cost on carbon emissions from 2011 through a carbon-trading scheme, while New Zealand is reviewing its emissions-trading laws and is expected to announce a watered-down scheme by the end of 2010.
In the biggest setback to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's agenda since his 2007 election victory, the upper house Senate last Thursday rejected his emissions scheme after rival conservative, green and independent lawmakers joined forces to oppose it. [ID:nSYD16743]
Wong has said the government would bring the package back to parliament and try to push it through before a December U.N. meeting in Copenhagen, where world nations will try to hammer out a broad global climate pact.
Rudd has promised emissions cuts of 5-25 percent on 2000 levels by 2020, with the higher end dependent on a global agreement to replace the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol.
New Zealand is aiming to cut its emissions between 10 and 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. The exact size of reductions will depend on the target adopted at the Copenhagen talks. (Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Michael Perry and Sanjeev Miglani)