Tony Abbotts Climate policy – will anyone buy it?

The deniers have won control of the Liberal Party and after hearing Tony Abbott on AM this morning, it seems obvious that there is no comprehensive policy on climate change coming from the Coalition this time around. What scared the Squid was the clever spin from Tony Abbott, backed up by uncosted promises of billions of dollars in spending on climate programs. Will people buy it?
The Labor ETS, widely criticised by environmental groups and the Greens, is far from perfect, in fact the soft landing for industry and jobs protection has become a level of subsidy so excessive it will mean the biggest polluters won’t be forced to change their habits for years. However, it does establish infrastructure that could be used to gain medium to long term carbon reductions and has potental to create the fundamental change to the markets that we need. It has to be better than billions in randomly administered industry subsidies with NO infrastructure for change and no ability to increase emissions reduction targets without billions more in Government spending.
Couched in guarantees that there would be “no penalties for companies undertaking business as usual”, meaning that if companies don’t increase their emissions intensity (i.e. they can increase overall emissions, just not emissions per dollar earned) then they won’t be penalised at all. Companies who incease their emissions intensity would have their penalties negotiated with the Government. Companies who make reductions would be in the running for a handout. Reading between the lines, emissions reductions become voluntary – has any voluntary environment scheme ever worked on an issue involving such fundamental changes to industry practice? In case you are wondering, the answer is no.
The Governments climate scheme isn’t good, but it sets up a policy infrastructure that could be mended to meet our needs. On first impressions, the Oppositions scheme is a terrible mess.
We are in serious trouble if this is the best Australia can do, and I haven’t even touched on coal exports yet.
The climate deniers have had some enviable traction in their public campaign to create confusion on climate change in the last few months. However, the climate change science remains as strong as it always has been, and we need action now.
We need to fight back – write letters to the editor of your local paper demanding better coverage of the overwhelming science behind climate change to balance the recent high levels of coverage of minor slip ups cherry picked from amongst one of the most massive bodies of scientific work every assembled. Write demanding real analysis of the solutions to climate change, and what an ETS is all about, to counter the rhetoric that it is just a tax. Write demanding that the Government and Opposition be held to account. Write demanding action on climate change.


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