“This includes a minimal and unconditional commitment to reduce emissions,” Wong said in a statement released in Canberra. That includes an emissions trading system, an expanded renewable energy target, investment in green technologies and carbon capture and storage, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in November 2007. As per the International Energy Agency data, the country’s emissions from fuel combustion rose 31% in the decade through 2000 and 45% in the 15 years ending in 2005.

The country’s economy unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter for the first time in eight years as exports and housing slumped.

Carbon trading is projected to trim Australia’s annual economic growth by 0.1% point. Australia’s Senate will release findings of an inquiry into the plan by May 14, 2009.

The US President Barack Obama has reversed the earlier climate-change policy and wants Congress to endorse emissions trading legislation by early 2010. His budget plan includes $75 billion in revenue in 2012 from the sale of greenhouse-gas emission permits to polluters.

The European Union (EU) intends to cut greenhouse gases by a fifth in 2020 from 1990 levels. EU governments are seeking to build momentum for a possible UN climate-change agreement, which would succeed the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012.