NZ Passes Carbon Trade Laws

24 November 2009 (Last Updated November 24th, 2009 18:30)

New Zealand's revised emissions trading plan became law today, while neighbouring Australia moved a step closer to ending a deadlock stalling its carbon-trade legislation. Australia and New Zealand are not big greenhouse gas emitters in total, but a passage of their carbon reduction sch

New Zealand's revised emissions trading plan became law today, while neighbouring Australia moved a step closer to ending a deadlock stalling its carbon-trade legislation.

Australia and New Zealand are not big greenhouse gas emitters in total, but a passage of their carbon reduction schemes will give UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December a boost, reports Reuters.

The law will start in July 2010, but for a two-and-half-year period the industry will only have to meet 50% of their targets with a slow phase-out of assistance after that.

"It is a critical and important first step in our nation's effort to do our fair share in combating climate change," New Zealand Climate Change Minister Nick Smith told parliament.

In Australia, the Senate rejected a move to delay a vote on the government's carbon-trade scheme, suggesting the once defeated legislation should gain final approval this week.

The scheme is scheduled to start in July 2011, covering 1,000 of Australia's biggest polluters and becoming the world's most comprehensive outside of the European scheme.

Australia aims to put a price on every ton of carbon dioxide emissions, giving the industry an incentive to become more efficient.