Australia's government put back its much-vaunted carbon-emissions trading scheme by a year today, bowing to industry demands for more relief amid a recession while opening the door to an even deeper long-term reduction.
Lacking the political backing to implement the world's most sweeping cap-and-trade scheme outside Europe, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the regime would be delayed until mid-2011, but he still aimed to push laws through parliament this year.
But the major opposition, Green opponents and a key independent senator immediately rejected Rudd's concessions as "flawed", making eventual success far from assured.
"Starting slower because of the global economic recession and finishing stronger, with the prospect of a bigger outcome for greenhouse gas reductions... we believe gets the balance right," Rudd told reporters.
The setback was not unexpected after months of hardening resistance to Rudd's plan, a cornerstone of his ...