Australia takes step towards national emissions trading

7 June 2007

Australia has taken a big step towards setting up a greenhouse emissions trading scheme after state and territory environment ministers agreed to a proposal from Climate Group member Victoria for mandatory reporting by companies emitting more than 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

The ministers resisted pressure from the Prime Minister to abandon the plan for mandatory reporting and public disclosure of greenhouse emissions through the National Pollution Inventory (NPI) starting 1 July 2008.

The Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, John Thwaites, said the plan was an essential first step for setting up a national emissions trading scheme.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, wrote to all Premiers urging them to instruct their environment ministers to abandon Victoria's proposal.

But all states and territories supported the motion except one state and the Federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. The Northern Territory did not attend the meeting.

A pilot program led by Victoria and involving 25 companies and 76 sites around Australia, found the six greenhouse gases could easily be added to the 90 substances already reported under the NPI. Emissions data from participating companies can be found here.

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