2011 could be a happy new year on the climate front

"Earlier this month while travelling in California and Oregon in the US, I noted a positive increase in energy efficient housing, hybrid and electric vehicles, marketing organic foods and wines and even organic cotton clothing," said Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren.

"Now, the Australian Greens are welcoming President Obama’s announcement that greenhouse gas emissions from several sources are to be capped.

“If the USA can take these progressive steps in their sour economic climate, then surely our booming WA economy can take great strides forward in 2011,” added Ms MacLaren.

"This is the best Christmas present that those of us in the Australian community who have been campaigning for action to address global warming could have hoped for," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

"This move by President Obama gives further impetus to the push for a carbon price to be introduced in Australia as soon as possible, otherwise Australian businesses will be left in an increasingly uncompetitive position and vulnerable to global retaliatory action.

 "The US had been a problem since refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and had been the excuse that successive Australian governments used to refuse to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

"Now there is no excuse.

"Things are turning in the right direction. Only four months ago, neither the Liberal nor Labor Party in Australia was prepared to do anything to price carbon until post-2013, if ever.

"Now, because of the Greens gaining the balance of power, there is a multi-party climate committee dedicated to the task of reducing emissions through the introduction of a carbon price.

"Throughout 2010, China has moved to restrain its greenhouse gas emissions. Then, in Cancun, countries responsible for more than 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions agreed to work within the UN framework. Now there is this major move by the US, one of the world's largest emitters.

"2011 is now looking as if it could be a happy new year on the climate front," added Ms Milne.