Australia will name -- and shame -- major polluters in an attempt to cut the nation's greenhouse gas output, despite Canberra's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a senior government official said Thursday.
CANBERRA, Australia Australia will name -- and shame -- major polluters in an attempt to cut the nation's greenhouse gas output, despite Canberra's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a senior government official said Thursday.
Under the program, businesses can have the government certify products and services as not contributing to global warming.
But rather than being penalized for poor performance as the Kyoto plan calls for, Australian companies would face public shame by having the government publish their names and pollution records published on the Internet.
The Kyodo protocols do not dictate how countries should enforce emissions targets. Germany is considering a tax on carbon emitters, and Japan is thinking of taxing fossil fuel importers.
Germany is considering introducing a carbon tax on carbon emitters and Japan is considering taxing importers of fossil fuels.
Australia and the United States are the only major industrialized countries that have refused to ratify the Kyoto pact, which sets targets for greenhouse gas reduction.
But despite the fact that Australia has not signed, Environment Minister Ian Campbell said it will meet the Kyoto target of allowing emissions of just 8 percent above the country's 1990 level by 2012.
Starting in July 2006, large corporate users of diesel fuel will have to report to the government each year on how much greenhouse gas they produce and what plans they have to reduce that output.
"What we're doing is adding transparency to the system," Campbell said. "We'll be able to advise consumers of products in Australia just which companies are the most greenhouse-friendly so that consumers can make informed decisions about supporting sustainable companies."
Companies can improve their performances by reducing energy use and waste, and switching to renewable energy sources, Campbell said.
Campbell said penalizing the polluting businesses could harm the economy -- repeating Australia's argument for not signing the Kyoto deal.
"There's no point in us having a group of nations armed with Kyoto self-flagellating, bringing in new costs and penalties into their economies, while developing nations go on expanding rapidly," Campbell said.
The government expects the reporting program -- which will be mandatory for companies receiving certain levels of tax breaks on their fuel costs -- will add about 250 companies to a system that had been voluntary for the past 10 years.
Since 1995, 780 companies have signed up to report their emissions, and their success in trying to reduce them, to the government.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said that through the program Australia would meet its Kyoto target without penalizing business or sacrificing Australia's competitive advantage.
Source: Associated Press