As climate change becomes a widely recognized and acknowledged global issue, and more countries bring forth efforts to combat it, the hope is that countries may link schemes with others in an attempt to combat it together. Australia and the European Union are one pair that could agree to link carbon emissions trading schemes as a way to broaden their impact.
The Australian government released plans two months ago to put a price on carbon emissions, imposing a tax from July 2012 before moving to a carbon trading system in 2015. According to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, this is an important step both economically and environmentally.
Europe has the world’s largest carbon market with their emissions trading scheme, which was launched in 2005 and forces factories and utilities to buy carbon permits in order to cover their emission output.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is fighting for public support for the proposed carbon reduction scheme. While it remains controversial, Barroso has praised the Gillard government for its plan. He wants to enlarge the EU carbon market and bring more attention to greenhouse gas emissions in these trying economic times.
Leaders of 193 countries will be meeting for the next annual United Nations climate summit in November in Durban, where disagreements between rich and poor countries could continue when discussing whether or not to extend current climate protocol. Discouraging talk faded hopes for compromise and partnerships after the 2009 Copenhagen meeting, where U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders failed to agree on a new deal for slowing down emissions and limiting global warming.
The United States and China are the world’s largest carbon emitters, and have yet to sign up for any sort of emissions caps, although China now has internal plans for regional pilot emissions trading schemes. The previous head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change actually stepped down after the unsuccessful 2009 discussions.
As some countries are hesitant to put caps on carbon emissions, in the near future Australia and the European Union could be used as examples by others of how to achieve success in reducing emissions within large industrialized economies.