March, 1999Specifically, the government is promoting an international agreement on tradable emission permits. Advocates of the plan say that it would allow some countries to avoid making major emission cuts while still achieving the general goal of emissions reduction.
The Australian government has begun advocating an international campaign that would encourage governments to be flexible in their handling of the problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the program, all countries would agree to set a level of total emissions for each nation. Then, countries
could trade pollution permits between themselves.
The European Union opposes the plan because it does want countries to substantially reduce their emissions. But, the United States and Norway have long been supporters of such a program.
The issue was discussed at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) "Outlook" conference.
was optimistic about the program, its director said, "there are many ways in which a global emissions trading regime could go badly wrong." Greenpeace advocates limiting the number of permits a country can buy so that the wealthier nations are required to limit their own emissions.
ABARE Director Brian Fisher said that an international agreement would bring much higher levels of efficiency. Advocates of the agreement say that carbon
taxes, currently favored by Europe, are much more expensive.