From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/10/gillard-emisson-cut-australia
Emission-cutting scheme to target country's 500 worst polluting companies
Alison Rourke in Sydney
The Australian government has unveiled one of the world's most ambitious schemes to tackle climate change, a plan to tax carbon emissions from the country's worst polluters.
After a bruising political battle to win support for the measure, the prime minister, Julia Gillard, said on Sunday that from July next year, 500 companies would pay $23 (£15) a tonne for their carbon emissions in the largest emissions trading scheme outside Europe.
The government predicts that by 2029 the plan will lead to a reduction in emissions equivalent to taking 45m cars off the road. The government will fix the tax for three years, before moving to a market-set price in 2015.
"It's time to get on with this; we are going to get this done," said Gillard.
Australia generates more carbon pollution per head than any other developed country, thanks to its heavy reliance on coal-fired power stations. With a population of 22 million, Australia is responsible for 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By comparison, Britain, with nearly three times the population, produces just 1.7%.
The package is expected to pass votes in both houses of parliament before the end of the year, but Gillard faces a furious backlash over the scheme, which 60% of the population opposes. Her government is the most unpopular in 40 years, and analysts say her political future depends on her ability to sell the tax to voters.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/10/gillard-emisson-cut-australia