CANBERRA (Reuters) - The Australian government is seeking to introduce one of the world’s most inclusive carbon trading schemes by 2010 but needs the support of big business, which fears emissions trading will make them less competitive.
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson met more than 70 large firms at parliament on Friday to talk over their concerns.
Left-leaning Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made tackling climate change and rising carbon emissions a top priority of his government.
He signed documents to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on December 3, 2007, as his first official act after being sworn into power, and has promised to introduce carbon trading in 2010.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, Australia must limit emissions growth to 108 percent of 1990 levels by 2012. The country says it is on track to meet its Kyoto target.
Here are some details about Australia’s carbon emissions.
* Australia’s net Greenhouse emissions totalled 576 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or about 1.5 percent of world emissions.
* Emissions in 2006 were 4.2 percent higher than 1990 levels, despite a 47 percent increase from stationary energy.
* Australia emits 28.1 tonnes of carbon per person, the highest per capita level in the developed world and five times more per person than China, due to use of coal for electricity.
* Transport and Energy account for 69.6 percent of Australian emissions, or 400.9 million tonnes.
* Stationary energy, which includes electricity generation, petroleum refining and gas processing, accounts for 49.9 percent of emissions, or 287.4 million tonnes.
* Transport accounts for 14 percent of emissions, or 79.1 million tonnes. Road transport and passenger cars accounted for 12 percent of national emissions.
* Agriculture created 15.6 percent of emissions, or 90.1 million tonnes.
* 10.9 percent of Australian emissions, or 62.8 million tonnes, come from sheep and cattle, due to gases produced when they digest food.
* Land use and forestry account for 6.9 percent of emissions, or 40 million tonnes, down more than 70 percent from 96.5 million tonnes in 1990.
* Carbon dioxide represents 74 percent of Australian emissions (427.8 million tonnes), methane 20.5 percent (118 million tonnes), and nitrous oxide 4 percent (24.2 million tonnes).
* The energy sector is the main source of carbon dioxide (86 percent), while agriculture is the main source of methane (59 percent).
* Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter, with coal used to generate about 77 percent of Australia’s electricity. Poland, China and South Africa also rely on coal for more than 75 percent of electricity generation.
* Australia has the world’s largest reserves of uranium and is a major uranium exporter, but has no domestic nuclear power.
* Limited carbon trading already exists in Australia. The New South Wales state introduced a Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme in 2003, which forces electricity suppliers to meet Greenhouse targets by investing in projects to offset emissions. The Australian Capital Territory has a similar scheme.
Sources: Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory; Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics)
Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by David Fogarty
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