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

Canberra watch « Previous | |Next »
February 23, 2009

It sure looks as if the Rudd Government is going weak in its knees around its proposed emissions trading scheme, despite its rhetoric that only Labor is keenly committed to doing the right thing environmentally. Inquiries are announced into the merits of a cap and trade emission trading schemes (ETS) as a policy mechanism against regulatory responses, carbon taxes etc, then quickly pulled within days.

Why such an inquiry by the House of Representatives Economics Committee when the Senate has an inquiry, and the report was to be released after the Rudd Government's legislation for its ETS had gone through the Senate? It sounds like this was designed by the Rudd Government to be a politicized inquiry.

MoirWong.jpg Moir Or does this event also signify the dead of the NSW Right and its opposition to reducing greenhouse emissions? Does it signify that the global economic crisis that other ways of dealing with greenhouse gas abatements need to be looked at---eg., a carbon tax. Are there increasing doubts about what is the best policy option?

I don't know the answers. Nor am I clear about the carbon strategy. I sense wobbles as unions and business raise the spectre of job losses, businesses going offshore and capital flight as they wage their politics of fear to block the shift to a low carbon economy.

My interpretation is that the barest minimum will be donevto reduce greenhouse emissions----the Rudd Government will offer to the emergency summit in Copenhagen next month a 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 from 2000 levels. The promise is that the Rudd Government will do a lot more after 2020, but until then, industries need "assistance measures that support Australian jobs". So says Penny Wong.

The implication that can be drawn from the policy assemblage of the low emissions target, the handouts for the biggest polluters, and the likely initial low cost of carbon, is that the ETS will provide no incentives or price signals for Australia’s heaviest industries to do anything other than continue business as usual. So the Rudd Government's actual policy is to preserve a heavy-emitting, fossil fuel-based economy because of its fears of a big backlash from polluter industries and the unions of the people who work in them.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:44 AM | | Comments (9)


well they--Environmental Protection Agencies/Authorities--- need to regulate carbon dioxide from coal -burning car plants, transport industry and manufacturing on the grounds that it is a pollutant that endangers (harms) public health and welfare.

Now that would stir things up among the free market advocates who cannot see any alternative to a deregulated free market.

Am I right in thinking that there will be two Senate inquiries now into an emissions trading scheme?

The Rudd government's position on emissions has turned out to be being seen to be doing something, putting some mechanisms in place, while actually doing nothing about emissions. Redistributing the costs of pollution rather than reducing it.

Malcolm Turnbull seems to be moving on this with Greens support. It seems he's finally decided to play his only strong suit and one on which Rudd has lost considerable ground.

If political game playing is the only way we'll ever see anything substantial happen, so be it. Go Malcolm.

Well its game on in Bananaland for an early election. Any predictions Lyn?

On topic the global meltdown equates to the best possible cut in emission. So jobs become more important. Every person that loses a job or gets reduced hours becomes a disgruntled voter. Most greens would by now regard the Rudd government as a toothless tiger. They can only now try to save jobs and hope for the best. Or hope the coalition shoots themselves in the foot. Thats a humorous reversal of fortunes.

Penny Wong has got herself into a position where she is attacking the environmental movement as economically destructive and environmentally irresponsible because they would drive jobs and pollution offshore.

it is too simple to point the finger at the NSW Right in blocking the attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It's Labor right and left

Swan and Rudd are from the Queensland RightThen you have Martin Ferguson, who is on the left, and who reckons that global warming is a fiction.

Wong's scheme has a basic design flaw. Under it any efforts by individual householders to reduce their emissions, such as by installing solar panels or ceiling insulation, will have no effect on Australia's total emissions. Reducing their electricity demand will allow "big polluters" (or just other households) to take up the slack because the scheme imposes a national cap on total carbon emissions.

No predictions of my own, but according to Possum, the Poll Bludgers and Antony Green, the Borg can't win without inner Brisbane seats, and he can't win those.

That fits the middle ground strategy - the ALP is surrounded on all sides by extremists who would roon us all given the chance.

Yes the opposition has no stand out economic guru that is known to the electorate. Bligh is disliked by more than dislike her is my reading but not necessarily disliked enough to get rolled (like the dislike of Howard)
The opposition will do very well in the bush and there will be some backlash against Rudd. It all depends on how the media is played but I call it even steven at this point with perhaps a mickey whisker in bligh's favor

Keep an open mind on the influence of media. They've been campaigning against Bligh for months now but it doesn't seem to resonate any more.

You've got stuff like Hanson running in Beaudesert and the Borg's claim that the GFC is a side issue in the Qld economy. Barnaby says he'll be on the campaign trail leading the No Climate Change protest and if you're going to factor in a Rudd backlash, you also need to think about how Turnbull comes over up here. We also have that rich bloke, whatever his name is, still threatening to sue and the LNP trying to keep a lid on him.

For an election it looks like being a fabulous 3 ring circus.