Australian Senate rejects curbs on greenhouse gases

[Ed. To put this in perspective, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government is considered Left-of-Center.]

Kevin Rudd’s government vows to push legislation through despite setback
Thursday 13 August 2009

Australia’s Senate today voted to reject legislation that would have curbed the amount of greenhouse gas pollution the country emits, but the government said it would resurrect the bill later this year.

Climate change minister Penny Wong said the government would continue its campaign to push the legislation through the Senate, in a move that could trigger an early election if the opposition-controlled chamber rejects the measure a second time.

“We may lose this vote, but this issue will not go away because we … understand Australia cannot afford climate change action to be unfinished business and we will not let it be,” Wong told the Senate before the vote, which the government lost 42 votes to 30. “We will press … on with this reform for as long as we have to,” she added.

The government plan would institute a tax on carbon emissions from industry starting in 2011 and limit Australia’s overall pollution. The government wants to slash Australia’s emissions by up to 25% compared with 2000 levels by 2020 if tough global targets are agreed at the Copenhagen summit in December.

If the Senate rejects legislation twice in three months, Australia’s constitution allows prime minister Kevin Rudd to call a snap election before his three-year term has expired.

Such an early election fought on the issue of climate change is expected to favour Rudd’s center-left Labor Party, which opinion polls suggest remains far more popular than the centre-right Liberal party opposition.

Read the entire article at the GuardianOnline.

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