CANBERRA, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Australia on Monday moved closer to setting up a carbon offsets market that would reward steps by farmers, foresters and landholders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Land use, including agriculture, accounts for 23 percent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
The government released guidelines for the scheme that it hopes would start ahead of a decision expected in about a year on a national price on carbon emissions aimed at pushing other sectors, such as power generators, to rein in their emissions.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet wants the offsets scheme, known as the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), to start from July 1, 2011, to allow farmers, foresters and landholders to access carbon credits on domestic and international carbon markets. The government will accept submissions until Jan. 21, 2011. The Greens broadly support the plan, but Combet could struggle to pass the scheme before July 2011 without opposition support.