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Carbon price agreement: The transformation to clean energy can start now

The Australian Greens today joined the Gillard government in announcing an agreed pathway towards a carbon price that should commence on July 1, 2012, beginning the transformation of our economy from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy.

The agreement is a major step towards implementation of the Greens' proposal for a fixed carbon price starting as soon as possible, rising each year, with no international offsets allowed. The fixed price could be replaced in time with a well-designed emissions trading scheme.

"This agreement is the Greens in action, delivering certainty to the Australian economy, community, investors and the environment after productive negotiations with the government," said Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown.

"We proposed a fixed price on carbon in January last year as a way of breaking the deadlock the parliament had reached on climate action.

"The Multi-Party Climate Change Committee that was established at the instigation of the Greens to support the Gillard government, is paying dividends for all Australians."

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said "This agreement to set a fixed, rising price on carbon with no international offsets means that, as of July next year, the transformation of our economy towards a zero emissions future can begin.

"This will be good for the community who face out-of-control energy price rises, it will stimulate the economy, create jobs and, of course, help protect the climate which sustains us all.

"The Greens' agreement with the government sets out elements of a transition to emissions trading down the track once the parliament can agree on emission reduction targets.

"But it is important to note that, in the absence of agreement, the fixed price would continue and keep rising into the future, giving industry certainty that, from now on, change is inevitable.

"The carbon price would cover the energy sector, transport, industrial emissions and waste. There is agreement to support change in the land-use and forestry sectors but details are still under consideration.

"The agreement sets out points for compensation, including helping the community meet rising costs of living, but the details are still to be determined.

"This is a big step forward for climate action in Australia. For the first time, everybody in Australia will have a clear signal that the old, polluting ways will have to change and a new, exciting era is set to begin."

The text of the agreement is available on request.

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