A European Union climate expert has described Australian opposition to a carbon tax as bizarre, diplomatically pointing out Britain's Conservatives were more co-operative in opposition.
Jill Duggan, who managed Britain's initial emissions trading scheme (ETS), said there was an incorrect perception that Australia would be going it alone if it put a price on carbon.
"The thing that struck me is how the debate has changed here and also that wide perception that I keep hearing that Australia shouldn't go first," she told reporters in Canberra today.
"Coming from Europe, that sounds slightly bizarre because there are 30 countries in Europe that have had a carbon price ... since the beginning of 2005."
Unlike Australia the EU has been making progress in cutting carbon emissions and switching to clean energy. Their carbon pricing hasn't been without its hitches (since they were the first) but their experience does provide countries starting later (like Australia) with plenty of lessons in how to design an effective scheme. Of course it isn't just the EU with carbon pricing, even our little old neighbour New Zealand has an emissions trading scheme.