Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

backpedalling? « Previous | |Next »
June 11, 2008

We are still waiting for clear direction from the Rudd Government on its plans to drive the Australian economy to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. The signs so far aren't good. Various Ministers evade publicly even saying that an emissions trading scheme will cause petrol and electricity prices to rise. Why not come clean? Then outline the options?

Patcars.jpg Pat

The Rudd Government is backpedaling (eg., solar panels on households) even though a price on carbon is coming, and soon. How come the back pedalling? Why not start a public debate about the way that households can make the energy shift in terms of their cars and houses?

As Anthony Burke says in The Canberra Times:

The only relief consumers can rightly expect is that existing excises are replaced by a carbon price. Such ''relief'' will be short-lived: within a decade, as stringent new global emissions-reduction targets are agreed, petrol prices will go much higher. We need to move to more fuel-efficient vehicles fast, and be able to use them less. What the Government has failed to recognise is that we need help to do so with affordable hybrid vehicles and better public transport.

I guess the hybrid needs to be encouraged because it opens a pathway to ultimately breaking with liquid fuels. But it is not just cars is it? It is also investing in public transport to carry people to work from the suburbs to the city. State governments have failed, and continue to fail big time, to invest in urban transport infrastructure.

Public transport infrastructure such as underground and surface light rail systems are expensive, requiring state authorities to borrow large amounts of capital to construct.

SA, for once, is beginning to think in terms of long term strategic urban planning to develop high density housing along rail corridors of a rejuvenated public transport system. From these hubs--- such as Port Adelaide, West Lakes and Bowden-- people will be able to take a quick light rail ride to the city rather than clog streets with cars. It is beginning to think otherwise to a car dominated city centred around jobs in the CBD.

That means not just getting people into the city from the outer suburbs by rail and trams but enabling people to get around the city easily without needing to use cars. That means less cars in the city, better public transport in the city (bikes in Adelaide, for instance) and making the city much more people friendly. The city as a city has been dominated by engineers and traffic flows for too long.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:48 AM | | Comments (11)


I've just read Chris Kenny on climate change on The Advertiser's low grade AdelaideNow website. His is a voice from the Howard past, as he is saying that climate change has become a dangerous ideological cause that could ruin our national economy. I kid you not.

He says:

The Government is making a decision to increase prices and lower our standard of living. And for what? Even if we shut down the whole Australian economy - abandon our cars, dismantle our power stations and start living in caves - it would have negligible effect on global carbon emissions. Australia produces less than 1.5 per cent of emissions.We could take ourselves back to the Dark Ages and, according to doomsday predictions, the planet would still boil.

Amazing. Its all tabloid emotionalism. He continues:
It is lunacy to go down this path. It would be self-inflicted pain for no gain - a policy of carbon sadomasochism. But the Rudd Government came to power partly on a climate-change scare campaign, fuelled by Al Gore's deceptive movie and the fear our drought might be linked to some new phenomenon. Then Labor ratified Kyoto in an emotive fanfare, knowing the protocol does nothing to stem carbon emissions in the U.S. or a raft of developing countries, including India and China.

Climate change, apparently, is driven by the Left who see climate change as their salvation: Mother Earth's revenge on capitalism.

In other words climate change is not real. It is not actually happening. It's only an Leftist ideology.,25197,23781070-5013404,00.html

Whilst not disagreeing strongly with the post I must say I saw this report as positive from the ALP/Wong and indicative of the attitude and problems she is facing from the polluters. In this case including some of Howard's favourite names.

" Print Matthew Warren, Environment writer | May 30, 2008
TENSIONS are emerging between major greenhouse emitters and Climate Minister Penny Wong after a number of hostile meetings before the release of the Government's green paper on emissions trading in July.

Senator Wong has told small groups of chief executives from major power and other energy-intensive companies that the Rudd Government's election promise of a renewable energy target was "not negotiable ......
the Government's refusal to budge on its 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020 on top of an emissions trading scheme"

an interesting link. It is news to me and it does change things especially this bit:

One of these meetings in Melbourne last Tuesday completely broke down, with Senator Wong reportedly furious at the way she was being treated by the eight business leaders present, telling them "you wouldn't treat (former Treasurer) Peter Costello the way you are treating me".

Those present at the meetings, included Rio Tinto Australia managing director Stephen Creese, International Power executive director Tony Concannon, Alumina Limited chief executive John Marlay and senior executives from Exxon Mobil, CSR and BHP Billiton.
Presumably they are all men used to getting their own way. They don't like a woman in charge?

Judging from the report they are hostile about the the Government's refusal to budge on its 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020 on top of an emissions trading scheme.

Why this hostility do you know? What's wrong with that target?

From reading Warren's piece I reckon that the big power bosses and Ceos of the heavy energy users are hostile to the Rudd Government's reluctance to compensate owners of coal-fired power stations for the multi-billion-dollar losses in asset values they face with the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in 2010.

Nan: "Why this hostility do you know?"
I can guess.
Profits threatened,capitalist hegemony, the right to rule, questioned. As Peter suggested. Its interesting to note this article from Crikey that shows at least 3 of the same names getting preferential treatment from Howard in the past.
"John Howard announced a taskforce to establish an emissions trading system which is stacked with Australia’s biggest and dirtiest polluters....."

And now for some irony:
"All of this makes climate change an even hotter issue at the forthcoming election and the door is wide open for Peter Garrett to perform on the biggest stage of his life."

Male arrogance, as you suggested.

Personally I attach a great deal of importance on what, from the first article, appears to be happening, a conflict between a democratically elected government and an established power [pun] clique on a matter of critical import.
"The times they are a'changin'"
Elswhere I have suggested that the power clique will marshall it's forces and start a PR assault against the ALP plans. By the back door probably: 'think tank' reports, tame journos, [as in whatshisname above, Kenny, who I personally despise for his role in the Kumurang affair] 'experts' expressing doubts, even doom and gloom , lost jobs, rising costs, massive starvation, the fall of civilization.....
I suggest it has already started. There was a report on something said by Prof McCubbin recently that threw a bit of smoke around.
Interesting times ahead, I'm [very mildly, even minimally] optimistic.

"I'm [very mildly, even minimally] optimistic"

Same here. Where people are wanting to do something on their own account, say solar panels, you're talking about decentralising power supply and eroding the sort of influence the old polluters are used to having.

We already know there's public support behind doing something, and I think the successful water saving campaign in Qld for example has had the added benefit of people enjoying a degree of independence from the main supply with their subsidised water tanks.

By contrast I think it would be tough for the big dirty business types to convince people that they, with their billions, should be compensated.

you could read The Independent Weekly online. It has no commentary under the opinion tab. So you won't be offended by nonsense in the form of commentary by Alexander Downer's ex-Chief of Staff.

As The Independent Weekly comes under the Fairfax Digital umbrella so maybe things will change given this in Brisbane or this in Perth. Maybe the 100 year mining boom in South Australia---nay even more says Rann--- will see a similar Adelaide today news website being developed by Fairfax.

I have to say that WAToday is a bit thin on the commentary. Its mostly the SMH downloaded with a bit of WA around the sides. Maybe things will develop. Dunno much about the online Brisbanetimes. Lyn might.

thanks. Insightful. I didn't know about that. I rely on Crikey to pick up the stuff I miss reading online. But they are not good on greenhouse and emissions trading. So it has been asking to waiting for Godot not knowing what was happening behind the theatre of Parliament.

True, things have changed since Howard stacked things with the Greenhouse mafia, who proceeded to write the government's energy policy. These are different times.

We can only hope that Wong stands firm, that Rudd stands behind her and Garrett is kept on the sidelines when the wind blows strong from the Greenhouse mafia.

what upsets me is that the Riudd Government lacks the courage to say that the emissions trading scheme it will introduce in 2010 will increase petrol prices.

We know that the basic principle of such schemes is brutally simple: they force up the prices of fossil fuels so as to discourage us from using them.

Rudd and Swan refuse to come clean on this. That's backpedalling.

My fear is that the Rudd Government will lack the courage to include petrol in the trading scheme. That would mean the price of electricity rose even more than otherwise. Why don't they say that the way to address increased petrol prices is using less petrol.

Why the lack of courage when petrol prices under the emissions trading scheme will rise less than they have in the past couple of months?

Qld media, online and off, is dismal. In many areas, water management, infrastructure, dual industrial/post industrial economies and others Qld is moving ahead of other states. Our media still lives in Joh land.

I wouldn't think that right now is the best time for them to say fuel prices will go up, partly because as Gary says, they might not include fuel in the scheme, and partly because it's such a sensitive issue at the moment.

One thing they could do is to introduce the scheme slowly by staggering the inclusion of various contributors over time. Gary, what affect would that have on the trade side of the scheme? Would it be possible to exclude petrol for say a year, if only to give people more time to maybe get smaller cars or something?