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Australia’s ‘Carbon Police’ May Enter Premises

australiaFederal police will be forced to become “carbon cops” under the Australian Government’s climate laws to cut greenhouse (GHG) emissions, reports the Herald Sun.

Federal police agents, who are involved in law enforcement in Australia and overseas, investigating terrorist threats, drug syndicates, people trafficking, fraud and threats against children, now will be expected to prosecute a new range of climate offenses including under reporting of carbon emissions by firms and bogus carbon offset schemes without extra resources, reports the Herald Sun. Interpol has warned the carbon market will be a target of criminal gangs because of the vast amounts of cash to be made.

According to the Climate Change Minister’s office, the federal agents would be expected to enter premises and request paperwork to monitor firms’ emissions reductions, acting act on the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority’s orders.

In May, Australia decided to delay its program to cut carbon dioxide emissions. The carbon pollution reduction scheme is now facing Senate defeat unless it can secure the support of key cross-benchers or the Opposition, reports the Herald Sun.

Steelmakers and electricity generators are urging the Rudd government to delay a vote on its emissions trading scheme (ETS) until its effect on the key industries is finalized, reports The Australian. In addition, the Business Council of Australia, which publicly backed the amended scheme announced by the government in May, said in the article it wanted to see the ETS become law this year, but only after issues have been resolved for the electricity generators, coal miners and other emission intensive industries.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the government is determined to force a Senate vote on the ETS this month before the winter break on June 25, reports The Australian.

The Coalition, the Greens and impacted industries recently accused the government of “playing politics” with climate change legislation after they learned that compensation for emissions-intensive industries under the renewable energy target would not begin until the carbon pollution reduction scheme and accompanying regulation were also passed, according to The Australian.

As a result, the Rudd government has hinted it could back down on its strategy of linking renewable energy legislation with the success of the emissions trading scheme, according to the newspaper.

Wong said she was “open to amendments” to the bills legislating that 20 percent of energy must come from renewable sources by 2020, due to be debated in June, reports The Australian.

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