The Rudd government cannot be trusted nor taken seriously on climate change policy. As Kevin struts the UN stage lecturing others about the severity of the challenge and need for action in Copenhagen, his half-baked Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme proposal for Australia awaits input from the other side of conservative politics. The media concentrate on whether it will trigger an early election, not whether it’s right or wrong. Nationals remain climate change sceptics and threaten Coalition split. Traumatised by this pincer movement Malcolm Turnbull says wait and see what the rest of the world will do first. That’s leadership and policy principles for you!
Australia is now highest global per capita carbon emissions polluter. Coal exports are set to double as new mines and coal loaders ramp up. Ditto LNG exports. Unproven carbon capture and storage technology is touted as a pollution solution. Gross energy feed-in tariffs, proven to encourage solar power investment in Germany and elsewhere, remain too-hard. Rail lines close. Etc.
Against this background the CPRS proposal mandates a mere 5% carbon pollution reduction and upper limit of 25% if other countries agree. Heavy polluters will receive $16 billion government handouts, and export industry exemptions mean business as usual. The Greens call it Continue Polluting Regardless Scheme. Simple test of these complex proposals is whether they reduce carbon pollution.
If Rudd and Wong were serious about substantially reducing Australia’s carbon footprint they would negotiate with The Greens and independent senators to introduce a real, binding, comprehensive scheme. Current CPRS proposals must be strengthened if they pass, or risk entrenching inadequate action, as political heat dissipates and punters’ attention moves on.
Jobs will not disappear under a proper scheme, contrary to energy industry scaremongering. ‘Green’ jobs will be created en masse. From 1998 to 2008 the oil price went from $US20 to $US130 and did not lead to massive job losses, and when it dropped back to $US40 in a year there was no boom. Our economy clearly has the capacity to absorb necessary adjustments in energy prices.
An eloquent statement of a brave new world from Caroline Lucas (Greens UK): ‘Transition to a post-carbon world doesn’t have to be about sacrifice. It’s about jobs, it’s about a more equal society, and it’s about a way of life with the potential to be more fulfilling than the turo-charged consumerism which is peddled by politicians today’. Amen.
Check here for an inspiring rendition of an old Australian youth hymn favourite.
Global CPR may help treat planetary cardiac arrest & drowning. Mmm!