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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Emissions Trading: Establishing the Boundaries

19 March 1999

Environment Minister Robert Hill has released a discussion paper on emissions trading, one of the most far-reaching and complex policy issues facing the Commonwealth Government.

The discussion paper, titled National Emissions Trading: establishing the boundaries, is the first in a series being prepared by the Australian Greenhouse Office for public consideration during the coming months.

The other papers in the series include issuing the permits, crediting the carbon, and designing the market. They will be released on a two month schedule with the final document available for comment in September.

If introduced, a national emissions trading system would be primarily aimed at helping Australia meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and facilitating low cost adjustment in any subsequent commitment periods.

It also would need to complement other policies and programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The system would involve emission permits or credits, issued by Government which could be traded amongst participants and acquitted to cover emissions, essentially representing a tradeable form of a country's assigned level of greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

Carbon credits generated by carbon sink activities could also be traded and acquitted to cover emissions.

Any national emissions trading system would need to be able to integrate with a future international trading system, and include emissions credits earned offshore by companies and individuals through the clean development mechanism and joint implementation.

Preparation of the discussion papers follows a request by the Commonwealth Government for advice on the feasibility of a national greenhouse gas emissions trading system.

Establishing the boundaries considers the types of greenhouse gases which could be included in a trading regime and the likely effects of carbon trading on sections of industry and the community.

All Australian governments are being invited to contribute to the discussion along with key experts, industry, conservation groups and other special interested organisations and the general public.

Comments on the discussion papers will be used to develop views on the establishment of a national emissions trading system for consideration by the Commonwealth Government.

Rod Bruem, Senator Hill's office, 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582
Carol Bartley, Australian Greenhouse Office, 02 6274 1859 or 0412 994 800

Commonwealth of Australia