Senators voted 42 to 30 against the law, which included plans for a carbon trading system similar to one used in Europe. Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter, was proposing to reduce greenhouse gases by between 5 percent and 15 percent of 2000 levels in the next decade.
Rudd, who needs support from seven senators outside the government to pass laws through the upper house, can resubmit the bill after making amendments. A second rejection after a three-month span would give him a trigger to call an election.
“We may lose this fight, but this issue will not go away,” Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told the Senate in Canberra. “Australia cannot afford for climate change to be unfinished business.”
Five members from the Australian Greens party sought bigger cuts to emissions while the opposition coalition and independent Senator Nick Xenophon wanted to wait for further studies on the plan’s impact on the economy.
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