Australia to Split Green Energy From Carbon Laws
SYDNEY - Australia's government said on Sunday it would split planned legislation to promote renewable energy from its controversial proposal for carbon trading, giving in to a key demand by the conservative opposition.
"We are safeguarding our Renewable Energy Target legislation, so it can come into effect even if the Liberal party continues to block the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme," Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Channel Nine on Sunday.
The emissions trading scheme was voted down on Thursday in the upper house Senate where the conservative Liberal-National coalition hold the largest block of votes and joined with Greens and independents to oppose the legislation.
The government has vowed to present the scheme again ahead of a U.N. meeting on climate change in Copenhagen in December. Two defeats could provide a trigger for an early election.
By contrast, the renewable energy legislation -- targeting a 20 percent renewable energy target -- has widespread support. The opposition has been calling for it to be treated separately.
If voted through, the legislation would unlock a potential $22 billion in planned renewable investment.