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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
15 November 2000
Environment Minister Robert Hill today released the public consultation paper, Encouraging Early Greenhouse Abatement Action. The paper represents an invitation to Australian industry to join with the Commonwealth Government in developing greenhouse crediting arrangements.
"Officially sanctioned early action "credits" could be used to offset potential emission liabilities of the future," Senator Hill said.
"This would encourage business to invest early in relatively low-cost abatement opportunities. It would also respond to industry concern that they might be disadvantaged under "Kyoto rules" by taking early action."
"The Australian Government recognises the uncertainties faced by industry and business planners in the context of evolving international greenhouse negotiations. It wishes to consult with industry to develop arrangements that would enhance opportunities for investors to hedge against greenhouse risks and encouraging further abatement in the most cost effective areas of the economy," Senator Hill said.
The Government has given its in-principle support to the development of arrangements that would allow industry to earn credit for actions that help reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions profile. Credits would be exchangeable for emission allowances that would be assigned to Australia if the Kyoto Protocol enters into force. Participation by industry would be voluntary.
"Australia has clearly identified the Protocol outcomes that would need to be achieved before it would consider ratification. While these outcomes are still being negotiated, a voluntary early credits program could offer industry a way to move early to secure emission allowances that could be scarce and valuable in the future. The Australian Government is prepared to make the commitments necessary to give industry that opportunity, subject to a satisfactory program design being developed," Senator Hill said.
Government is seeking responses to the issues raised in the public consultation paper by March 15, 2001. Copies of the paper are available on the Australian Greenhouse Office website at www.greenhouse.gov.au
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) ph: 0419 258364