A consultation initiated by Australia's federal government on whether the country should participate in a global carbon emissions trading program has been widely welcomed, although Tim Brook of wind developer Pacific Hydro points out that it would probably have little or no immediate impact on demand for wind power. The Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) agrees that emissions trading, while desirable, is no silver bullet. "Making a serious dent in our emissions will require other measures such as renewable energy targets, measures to support energy efficiency, addressing energy market failures through feed-in tariffs and the continued support for commercialisation of clean energy technology," says BCSE's Ric Brazzale. Don Henry of the Australian Conservation Foundation adds that a successful emissions trading system must feature strong, binding targets that deliver big cuts in carbon emissions and makes polluters pay. A strong penalty price of around A$35 per tonne of greenhouse pollution is needed to provide the incentive for polluters to cut emissions and reward investment in clean energy, he says. "If the price is too low, all we will see is a cost to industry, which will be passed straight on to ordinary Australians, without achieving any significant move towards clean renewable energy."
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