Canberra flags shift on emissions

Many options: There are many options to "price" carbon.

Carbon tax ruled out: There is a carbon tax – which the Government has ruled out.

Emissions trading getting mixed messages: There are emissions trading schemes, in which greenhouse gas emissions are capped and companies trade permits among themselves. The Government is sending mixed messages about whether it would accept emissions trading.

Sequestration: Another option that would put a price on pollution is to make companies increasingly bear the costs of their emissions, by requiring investment and use of technology to make coal clean, or to capture emissions and bury them.

Howard moving because voters alarmed: Greg Bourne had a long career as a petroleum executive for BP before joining environmental group WWF Australia as chief executive. Bourne says Howard is moving with alacrity on global warming because voters are genuinely alarmed at the doomsday scenarios.

Business prepared to pay for its pollution: Australia will remain critically dependent on coal. Bourne says business is prepared to pick up at least some of the tab for its pollution, and is already "shadow pricing" – in plain terms, factoring the cost of a pollution price into its operations.

Predicts "modest" carbon price: His prediction is the Government will unveil a "modest" carbon price, signal that it will take effect from a certain date, and call for submissions from business about the best way to design the system.

Business willing to accept emissions trading: Business was also signalling that it is prepared to cop a global system of emissions trading.

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