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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian speaks « Previous | |Next »
July 19, 2008

The editorial in The Weekend Australian is on climate change, the issue of the day. It is worthwhile reading to see where The Australian now stands on an issue that it has historically opposed because it thinks the science sucks. The editorial's argument starts thus:

By taking the soft approach, Labor has intentionally cut itself free from the Greens and environment groups, which have dealt themselves out of the debate by demanding much tougher measures, particularly against the coal industry. This is the right approach for Labor to take. It is much better to be cautious than to risk Australia's prosperity for an uncertain result.

Well if it is going to happen then lets do it softly, softly, and ensure that The Greens are defined as the extreme fringe. The core issue is economic prosperity, after all, not the need to shift to a low carbon economy. That is a shift to neo-Arcadian future. What does softly softly mean then?The editorial continues:
To really punch above its weight, Australia should focus on developing clean coal technology and boosting uranium exports, which have the potential to save billions of tonnes of carbon emissions. By electing the carbon cap-and-trade route instead, the Government faces a big job attempting to address legitimate concerns of trade-exposed industries.

There really is no need for an emissions trading scheme. Why so? Presumably there is no need for one since the core concern is prosperity in a warmed up world. But if we are to have one then we need to keep on an eye on Rudd Government because it is the Labor Party that has the control of the Treasury benches. Why so?

There is always a danger that as the election cycle moves on, Labor will become more obsessed with recycling carbon revenue for social policy and electoral purposes. If it does, it will be a repeat of the classic left-wing mistake of being too eager to cut up the economic pie and distribute it rather than grow the size of the pie.
This is standard practice in social democracy, which is all about high taxing big spending statist governments---and it is bad because it restricts the economy. Thankfully, an economic conservative Rudd Government appears unwilling to risk jobs to satisfy those people calling for a neo-Arcadian future.

The mood for change that resulted in the election of the Rudd Government in 2007 cannot be allowed to get out of hand. Democracy must give way to wealth creation in the economy. So not much has really changed at The Australian.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:55 AM | | Comments (2)


'... the classic left-wing mistake of being too eager to cut up the economic pie and distribute it rather than grow the size of the pie.'

Too true ... as opposed to the valiant Howard Government that ruthlessly eliminated middle class welfare and rejected the whole notion of income churning.

I'm constantly amazed that a newspaper can publish such juvenile tripe and still get taken seriously. Which begs the question Gary ... why on earth do you read it?

To see the conservatives at The Australian struggle with reality.They are being mugged by reality and they don't like it. So they just all perspective and compete to write the most alarmist stuff.

A good example is Keith Orchison, the chief of the Electricity Supply Association for 12 years and a member of the Howard government critical infrastructure advisory council 2003-07). He says in an op-ed in The Australian:

In Rudd's case, he has led the voters to believe he is going to deliver relief from global warming or, at the very least, a world-leading Australian example of how this can be achieved - and he can't.He can't, first, because no matter what is done here, the key impact of human-sourced greenhouse gases on the environment will be delivered elsewhere. Second, because delivering a massive cut in Australian domestic emissions through very high energy prices will make a slaughterhouse of the local manufacturing sector and deliver more than a million direct jobs, and perhaps as many indirect ones, to the block.

decimate? What about the free permits, compensation and one off cash payments? Orchison continues:
Nor can Rudd escape the political cost of undermining manufacturing by relying on the ongoing minerals and energy boom, heavily based on Chinese and other Asian demand for our resources, to be the key prop of the economy. As the eminent American economist, Jeffrey Sachs, at present visiting Australia, points out, countries over-reliant on exporting natural resources rarely show much economic growth.

Since when was the Howard Government concerned about manufacturing. Their policy was one of over reliance on economic growth from natural resources.It is the Rudd Government that is concerned about manufacturing.

He does speak some truths when he talks in terms of a raft of things Australia can, and should, do to deal better with its own greenhouse gas emission levels. An effective, regulation-driven approach to end-use efficiency is one. Adequately promoting effective large-scale non-emitting generation - geothermal in the short-to-medium term, perhaps solar thermal (baseload power, not rooftop solar cells) in the medium-to-long term - is another step that should be given greater prominence here.Spending big (and it will cost billions, not tens of millions) on cleaner coal generation technology and capture and disposal of carbon dioxide is important.

Suddenly they are acknowledging that solar is capable of base load power in the medium to long term, undercutting the claims of the coal industry.