July 6 (Bloomberg) -- China, India and Indonesia must become involved with emissions trading to counter climate change, Ross Garnaut, the Australian government's adviser on global warming, said today.
``The arithmetic of solving the global problem doesn't work unless China plays a substantial role from an early date,'' Garnaut told ABC's Inside Business television show today. ``Eighty percent of the emissions growth over the next couple of decades is going to be in the developing countries,'' especially China, India and Indonesia, he said.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose first act in office was to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, wants to show Australia can provide leadership on the environment without jeopardizing 17 years of economic growth. China was the second- largest emitter of carbon dioxide in 2004 after the U.S., according to the 2007-8 Human Development Report from the United Nations Development Program.
China plans to use hydropower, nuclear energy, biomass fuels and gas to help reduce 950 million tons of greenhouse-gas output by 2010, according to a National Climate Change Program announced in Beijing in June 2007. China can't be forced into an emissions trading plan, Garnaut said today. The world's most populous nation will only act to join such a program if it sees the developed world doing so, he said.
Australia should ``urgently'' introduce an emissions trading system to address climate change, Garnaut said July 4 in a draft report outlining the country's carbon trading plans. Trading should start with a two-year ``transition period'' in 2010 to address climate impacts on the economy, and the government needs to ``go further'' on its pledge to cut greenhouse gases 60 percent by 2050, the report said.
``Time for Australia is running out,'' Prime Minister Rudd told the ABC's The Insiders program today. `` We will be very mindful of what business says to us in terms of implementation arrangements. We don't believe there is a case for delay.''
``What we're asking this generation of Australians to do is to recognize the costs that have accrued to all of us from the greenhouse gases, the greenhouse pollution we've put into the atmosphere over hundreds of years,'' Australia's Minster for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, told Channel 10's Meet the Press program today. ``We're asking this generation to take responsibility for at least part of that.''
Australian business groups have voiced concern higher energy costs will cut earnings at the resource companies driving economic growth.
The trading plan will cover more than 70 percent of the country's emissions and use the so-called cap-and-trade design adopted by the European Union. Companies are set an emissions cap and must hold sufficient permits to meet that limit. If they exceed the target, they buy permits from businesses that have undershot their respective caps.
The cost of climate change is already being felt by Australians through higher water, energy and food prices. Gasoline prices rose to a record A$1.62 ($1.56) per liter last week, according to industry data, and food prices rose 2.1 percent in the first quarter, the fastest pace in two years, government figures show.
Australia is experiencing its worst drought on record, with water-use restrictions in place in Sydney, the country's biggest city, for six years. The Murray-Darling Basin river system, home to almost half of the nation's farms, is under long-term environmental and ecological degradation as a result of land clearing and water shortages, the government said last month in a report.
To contact the reporters on this story: Jason Scott in Perth at firstname.lastname@example.org
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