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Garnaut: addressing climate change « Previous | |Next »
March 22, 2008

Ross Garnaut's key idea to address climate change is simple. The easiest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was to set a cap, create a limited number of permits for those who wish to emit, which would decrease over time, and auction them off, letting the market determine their value. The funds generated would be spent on structural adjustment or returned to the community to ensure that government didn't grow in size.

Garnaut's view of greenhouse policy under the Howard regime is clear and hard headed:

John Howard's scheme was designed by the big emitters.They thought the most important thing was that they didn't change at all,so they had to get all the free allocations, and a lot of the other complexities emerged from the complicated starting point.

This states what we tacitly knew. The opposition to a cap and trade scheme comes from power generators, who are acting as the vested interests applying pressure to the policy-making process to block reform.
Why should we give the power generators a free ride? The European trading scheme showed that giving power generators free permits worth millions of dollars didn't stop them putting up their prices. Nor should we go along with the NSW government and compensate the power industry or losing billions of dollars in the value of its coal-fired power stations as they are scrapped years ahead of their use-by date.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:55 PM | | Comments (1)


My answer to your question about the power stations is that we should not give them a free ride. The trouble is that some may look back further in the chain to the coal communities.And the answer then to the question of supporting them or not is not so clear.
Governments and industry though out the world seem to be relying on the so called sequestration of CO2 to solve some of these issues.
Burying rubbish has never been a good idea but it took us along time to work that out.I suspect burying CO2 is in the same category. There are scientist in a number of countries working on ways of using it. The photosyntheses pathway or the catalysis pathway
may be more successful and productive than burying the stuff. It would provide jobs for miners and offsets for coal fired power stations.