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

dreaming of a lost age « Previous | |Next »
July 18, 2014

Carbon pricing has gone but it lives on in the form of a battle about decreases in the cost of living and the Coalition's new fear campaign that Labor wants to bring back "the carbon tax" (ie., an emissions trading scheme) at the next election. The conservative cultural warriors claim an iconic victory. Mission Accomplished.

What survives still is the Climate Change Authority, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Renewable Energy Target. For how long? The fossil fuel industry wants this architecture gone in order to protect its declining profits. The mining industry and polluters call it "damaging the economy".

RoweDFossilfuel.jpg David Rowe

The Coalition appear to think that they have voted climate change away. They and the coal industry is in for a surprise since their massive Galilee Basin mining proposals look set to go the way of Olympic Dam: pipe dreams of another age. The Canberra Press Gallery has yet to figure this out.

The Coalition’s approach to climate change is political management. It seeks to avoid embarrassment on the domestic and world stage by doing the bare minimum and fiddling at the margin to cover its protection of the fossil fuel industry. Black is their future. So they have no need of a credible policy to deal with greenhouse gas emissions or global warming.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:40 AM | | Comments (6)


The repeal of the mining tax (MRRT) is in limbo.

The Senate's amendments (preserving all the associated spending with the MRRT, such as the school kids bonus; the income support bonus; and the low income superannuation contribution) were quickly rejected by the House of Representatives. The Coalition controls this chamber.

So the bill now goes back to the Senate. There is no sign at this stage that any bloc in the Senate will wilt under Coalition pressure to accept its mandate. The Senate will continue to insist on its amendments. That is the most likely scenario.

It is then up to the House to decide how to proceed.

It doesn't look as if the mining tax will be repealed before the winter break. This does not look good for the Senate passing the Hockey's 2014 budget. The Coalition has got a problem.

The removal of carbon pricing was cloaked in populist ‘cost of living’ rhetoric, but the main beneficiaries are big business and our mining sector, at the expense of our environment.

The Coalition's asset recycling bill provides the states incentives to privatise their assets and invest the money in roads.

The amendments passed last night by the Senate give the federal parliament capacity to determine what gets privatised and also ensure that new projects will be subject to cost benefit analysis. More than $3bn got knocked out of the funding pot as well.

The House rejected the amendments and sent the bill back to the Senate. The Senate stood firm on accountability on how money is being spent and on the state governments, and what assets they move to sell.

Govt loses. Rightly so. The Coalition wanted a cost benefit analysis on Labor's NBN but not on its big road infrastructure spend.

Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm voted with the Coalition --as usual.

coal has defined Australia’s political economy. But renewables are cutting into coals dominance and profits.

The Coalition aims to re-focus Australia’s economic future on the extraction of fossil fuels. Abbott has made much of wanting Australia to be a global energy superpower, providing cheap energy to the growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

However, the market price supporting his economic blueprint is in the process of collapsing.The price for thermal coal has plunged more than 10 per cent in the last two months as the presumed major customers – China and India – make it clear that renewable energy is offering a competitive alternative to coal and gas.

The international market price for thermal coal is now becoming so cheap (below $70 on the spot market, ) that Australian coal producers are unable to dig it out of the ground and ship it overseas without losing fistfuls of dollars.

It's unlikely that Australia will become a cheap energy superpower’ based on coal and gas. Gas process are starting to soar and we have huge rises in electricity network charges.

The next big policy battleground between the incumbent fossil fuel generators and those that seek to replace them is the renewable energy target. Apart from the state-owned energy generators such as Stanwell Corp and CS Energy, it is the bigger retailers such as Origin Energy, AGL Energy and EnergyAustralia who are seen as the most antagonistic towards the RET.