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playing catchup with a wedge « Previous | |Next »
April 28, 2007

The wedge is being played in energy as well as old growth forests with Howard going down the road of nuclear power by removing all unnecessary restrictions on mining, processing and exporting uranium to open the way for domestic nuclear power generation. Howard is playing catch up on climate change and nuclear power is a big button issue that makes the Coalition Government look proactive and future orientated, as well as pushing the ALP into a corner and dividing them.

Bill Leak

It's unclear whether the nuclear wedge will work as all the Labour states and territories remain opposed to nuclear power, it is not economically viable without substantial subsidies, and most Australian's remain opposed to nuclear power and are not prepared to live near a nuclear reactor. He opens the door to Labor's scare campaign that the Coalition would pepper the country with nuclear reactors.

The political reality is that the Prime Minister is being forced by public pressure to act on climate change by committing to some sort of emission reduction target. Howard has to do something as the fiction that Australia is reducing its greenhouse emissions becomes more obvious, whilst the spin that action to reduce greenhouse emissions will damage Australian jobs and reduce economic growth far more than the costs of doing nothing looks like spin to protect the coal industry and heavy energy users. It is spin because there is no explanation of why emission reduction targets will be so damaging to jobs and the economy.

There is little evidence to support Howard's position---and from we know from Treasury comments the evidence does not exist because the Government has not been interested enough in climate change to do the work. Treasury has revealed it had done no economic assessment or modelling on the consequences of climate change.

What we do have is the CSIRO advising that big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions appear to be both inevitable and affordable for Australia.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:24 PM |