Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard

Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has announced that the government will bring forward by a year a decision on how to price carbon emissions, but left unclear whether the previous 2013 date for implementation of any scheme would stay in place.

She told reporters that “2011 needs to be the year that the nation decides on how we price carbon, with sufficient consensus that it can be legislated.”

At the same time, documents released under freedom of information laws show that Australia’s target of a 5 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 pales in comparison with other countries’ commitments made under last year’s Copenhagen Accord.

Analysis by the Department of Climate Change found that steps being taken by China are equivalent to Australia cutting emissions by 25 per cent and that promises from the US, Japan, the European Union and South Korea are equivalent to Australia setting a target of between 10 and 20 per cent. The major developing countries – Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, China and India – are doing even more to play their role in tackling climate change than the wealthy nations, let alone Australia.