Australia hails breakthrough climate change pact
The Australian Government has hailed the outcome of the United Nations climate talks in Durban as a breakthrough, but the Opposition and the Greens Party remain unconvinced.
UN-member nations have agreed to a package of measures which will eventually force all the world's polluters to take legally binding action to slow the pace of climate change.
Talks on a new legal deal covering all countries will begin next year and end by 2015.
The Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, says the government's decision to introduce a carbon tax has been validated.
But the Greens Climate spokeswoman, Christine Milne, says Australia has lost any credibility it gained from passing the tax by driving loopholes into agreements.
"Australia even refused to put a target into the second Kyoto commitment period," she said.
The Australian Government has not yet decided whether it will sign up to the extended Kyoto protocol.
The shadow Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, says the government must be careful about what it is agreeing to.
"We'll have a look at the fine print very, very carefully," he said.
He says it is important to know whether the United States and Canada would join the second commitment period.