Australia to Charge Biggest Polluters

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10:  (L-R) Treasurer Wayne Swan, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet talk during the government's announcement of the Carbon Tax plan at Parliment House on July 10, 2011 in Canberra, Australia. AUD $15 billion in compensation will be allocated to Australian households to offset the impact of the new carbon tax which will be in place from July 1, 2012. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

    Stefan Postles / Getty Images

    Australia is one of the world's largest polluters per capita thanks to its use of coal, and now it's trying to make amends. The government plans to roll out one of the world's largest carbon-pricing plans, charging a fixed price of $24.74 per carbon ton emitted starting in mid-2012. The cost would increase 2.5 percent per year until 2015, when a floating-rate price will take effect. The move is a gamble for Prime Minister Julia Gillard's minority government, with the center-right opposition opposing the deal.

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