July 23, 2010 / 12:07 AM / 10 years ago

Australia PM: to act on climate when economy ready

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Friday her government would act on climate change when the economy was ready as she unveiled her August 21 election climate policy.

Gillard did not change the Labor government’s policy of deferring the introduction of a carbon emissions trading scheme until at least 2012, saying if re-elected she would form a citizens assembly to gather consensus on a market-based scheme.

Gillard also said any future coal-fired power stations would have to have the ability to capture and store carbon emissions. Australia is one of the world’s top per-capita emitters of planet-warming carbon pollution, relying on coal to generate more than 80 percent of its power.

The Labor government was facing electoral defeat until Gillard’s appointment in June in a party coup, after the then leader Kevin Rud deferred action on climate change, sparking Green voters to desert the government. Recent opinions poll Labor is now on course for a narrow victory at the election.

Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Ed Davies

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