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Nelson on climate change « Previous | |Next »
July 12, 2008

Brendon Nelson says that his position on climate change is that the Coalition is unified in strongly in support of an ETS. However, he argues the case by undermining his stated position. Consider this:

Of course, it is prudent to reduce our carbon footprint, but we should do so in a way that is practical and responsible, not economically ruinous and socially destructive. Because of Australia’s natural abundance of fossil fuels, our prosperity is threatened if the Rudd Government hastily embarks on a misguided approach to climate change. It is the job of a responsible Opposition to help the Government move in the right direction....The Rudd Government’s approach to an ETS has all the hallmarks of a giant revenue grab and centralist redistribution. In contrast, we believe Australian motorists should be protected with no new net taxes on petrol....

There are lots of boo words in that paragraph: "economically ruinous and socially destructive"; a "giant revenue grab"; centralist redistribution". There is not one positive. Still the Coalition fully supports an emissions trading scheme says Nelson. Well his op-ed doesn't read like that at all.

The Coalition 's position hasn't really changed. It fully supports the coal industry and the big energy users antagonism to an emissions trading scheme and their desire to be free riders. That is how the boo words in that paragraph reads. And, then we have this, which strengthens this interpretation:

Design implementation in such circumstances (the developing world's reluctance to do much to sign up to targets ) is critical. We would need to start with a low carbon price and a near flat trajectory. Unless the nations responsible for the biggest emissions commit to effective plans to reduce them, Australian unilateral action would inflict collateral damage on the wider economy in lower growth and higher prices up and down the energy chain. It would lead to the export of our energy-intensive jobs to those nations that do not take action to reduce carbon emissions, thus worsening the emissions problem. And it would reduce the competitiveness of Australia industry and lead to lower living standards.

It's all negatives. It could have been written by the Greenhouse mafia. Still the Coalition fully supports an emission trading scheme. Though not Garnaut's cap and trade model. Which one then? Well there are lots of them to choose from. Such as? Nelson doesn't say.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:36 AM | | Comments (7)


Such as the one the Republicans end up supporting in the USA of course.

it does look as the Coalition front bench is deeply divided on an emissions trading scheme. Nelson is creating a space so that the Coalition can abandon their "support" for an emissions trading scheme. In doing so he is opposing Turnbull.

I presumed that they would have emnbraced the model proposed by Warick McKibben.

Coming to a truckstop near you.....Brendan O'Dusty singing his new single
" I'd love to have a beer with Garnaut but Bazza's me mate"

Why are leaders elected if not to lead? Instead we get wait-and-see'ers...

Nelson is all over the place on emissions trading.

According to Glenn Milne the above op-ed above was written by Tom Switzer, who used to edit The Australian's opinion page and who now works for Brendan Nelson as his international affairs adviser. Milne says that:

Nelson took a newly sceptical line on the so-called "cap and trade" model for a greenhouse gas emissions market. Nelson suggested, in his piece for this page that a trading system should not begin before other major trading emitters - code for India and China - had agreed to implement cuts....But by week's end Nelson was, almost inexplicably, back in the "cap and trade" camp.

What was the strategic thinking for this kind of flip flop? Nelson's base in the Party room lies in opposition to an emissions trading scheme.

Dean, Nelson appears to have been advised by the crowd gathered around Concept Economics. Brian Fisher, a Concept Economics executive director of analysis, Brian Fisher has said that he did not question the science underlying Professor Garnaut's draft report, but that it was futile "cutting the throats of the Australian export industry" unless the rest of the world also agreed to take action on their carbon output.

Henry Ergas, Chairman of Concept Economics, was in The Australian today arguing that the Garnaut Report:

is a report that costs the problem, but says little or nothing about the costs of its proposed solution. As for its proposed solution, it does not even seek to systematically compare it with alternatives: rather, it acts as if the only options were complete inaction on the one hand, or its version of an ETS on the other. And for all of its 500-plus pages, it is at times uncomfortably thin on analysis, appealing to fears and hopes rather than likelihoods and realities.

A similar argument can be found in the op-ed under Nelson's name.

Philip Coorey has an op-ed that says that Nelson was playing a two faced game on climate change. He was running with the language of a sceptic and embraced the populist route in opposition to the Coalition policy that they would start an emissions trading scheme come what may in 2012. In doing so Nelson walked away from the Coalition policy, and so embarrassed his frontbenchers Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Greg Hunt and Helen Coonan, all of whom stated the agreed policy publicly only to find themselves contradicted almost daily by their leader.