As part of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Plan, the Government has attempted to harness the legal innovation of the tradeable emissions unit, within a capped carbon trading system, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such an approach promises to send a price signal to the market which will influence emitting behaviours and reduce our emissions in a cost-effective manner. However, if the carbon trading scheme is to successfully achieve cost-effective emissions reductions then the carbon market must be supported by an appropriate legal framework. This paper will consider the key features of the Australian Carbon Pricing Mechanism, including the Carbon Farming Initiative, and critique whether it has all the hallmarks of an effective legal framework to reduce Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions. The likely future of the trading scheme, following the 2013 elections, will also be addressed.