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Carbon tax to be key issue at CHOGM in Australia: official

06-01-2011 16:26 BJT

CANBERRA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The debate over a tax on carbon emissions and climate change will be key agenda items at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Australia in October, director-general of the Commonwealth Business Council, Dr. Mohan Kaul said on Wednesday.

During Oct. 28 to 30 later this year, more than 50 world leaders, including the Queen, and 3,000 delegates will attend the CHOGM in Perth of Australia. The summit is one of the world's largest gatherings of international leaders.

According to Dr. Kaul, commonwealth nations will be under pressure to reach an in-principle agreement on a carbon tax.

"I think carbon and climate change will be one of the major items when the Commonwealth heads of government meet in Perth," he told ABC News on Wednesday.

"Many countries are looking at both sustainable development in one way and the climate change in the other.

"There is a general consensus worldwide that carbon needs to be taxed. I think the industry would like to have it in gradually so that it doesn't affect its growth."

Dr. Kaul signaled that getting an agreement from all Commonwealth members attending the CHOGM would be a challenge.

"Britain, Australia, India, more or less many of these countries will try to get some agreement. I'm not sure it will happen but there is a will from most of the countries and this debate will certainly take place in Perth," he said.

"And we hope there would be some level of agreement taking place in Perth."

Earlier, the Australian federal government announced its plan to introduce a fixed tax on carbon products from July 2012. The carbon tax will then morph into an emissions trading scheme (ETS) in three or five years time.

There have been criticisms on Australia's carbon tax, arguing that Australia is getting ahead of the world.

However, Dr. Kaul refuted criticism that independent action by Australia would be irrelevant without the leadership of major carbon emitters, adding that that Australia making a start is a good initiative.

Dr. Kaul said the carbon debate in Australia was being closely monitored by both developed and emerging nations, and he believes an Australian deal on a carbon tax could pave the way for wider global action.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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