Australia’s carbon trading shift — finally

Australian Prime Minister John Howard says he is to propose a new strategy to tackle global warming at the Asia Pacific Economic Council (Apec) forum.

In an apparent major change in policy, Mr Howard said he would propose a new international carbon trading scheme – an idea he has rejected in the past.

Australia, the world’s largest coal exporter, refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, along with the US.

Mr Howard now says he is setting up a task force to look at carbon trading.

He is set to hold talks with coal producers on Wednesday to discuss ways of cleaning up the industry.

But critics say he is responding to electoral pressures rather than genuine concern for the environment.

“Those who are genuinely interested in moving forward on climate change have already ratified the Kyoto Protocol,” says Christine Milne, Greens party spokeswoman.

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