A pedant’s revenge! (mwa ha ha). I have been seeking revenge ever since the day 41 years ago I had to go through and make a hand written correction of a figure in every printed copy of the annual report of the Public Service Board which I had been in charge of editing and proofreading. Now my moment has come. I have found a mistake in Senator Penny Wong’s Green Paper and I urge her to get the offender responsible to cross out 336 in every copy and write in 82.
Mean and spiteful of me I know but I have been waiting since 1967 to share the pain!
Rudd leaves himself some wriggle room . The Prime Minister was strangely absent from the release yesterday of the Green Paper on the Emissions Trading Scheme which apparently I now have to refer to as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. I say strangely because it has been a feature of this Labor Government that Kevin Rudd makes all the major announcements. This time Penny Wong was left on the stage alone. Probably quite a wise tactic really; the PM now has more scope to react to the inevitable pressures that will come from interest groups without appearing to back down. When the final plan is announced in the promised White Paper at the end of the year we can rest assured that Prime Minister Rudd will be doing the honours for this emissions trading business – sorry, this Carbon Pollution Reduction business. It will be the issue that determines whether he becomes a second term leader.
Pillars one, two and three. Most of the Wong Green Paper is devoted to what the government calls the first pillar of its climate change policy – the reduction of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Pillar two, adapting to climate change that we cannot avoid, and the third, helping to shape a global solution that both protects the planet and advances Australia’s long-term interests, were yesterday given scant attention.
Perhaps that was the sensible approach but I hope someone in the government somewhere is working away at the other pair because working out how to reduce our own emissions is easy in comparison. If you are wondering what I mean then have a read of the thought-provoking piece in The Australian this morning by Greg Sheridan on his belief that the big developing countries are not going to do anything to cut greenhouse gas emissions. They may cut the rate of growth of emissions, he writes, but that is all. His fear that anything the developed world did on climate would be vastly outweighed by the developing world’s growth has a frightening ring of truth about it which should have us all hoping that the eminent scientists of the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change have got it quite wrong.
On the inconvenient assumption that the scientists have got it right while the natural desire of developing countries to keep improving their standard of living continues to see an overall growth in the world’s carbon emissions, Pillar Two is what Australians should be seeking some detailed views on.
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Pressure to sell uranium . Presumably one of the things Australia will want to do under its Pillar Three approach is limit the worldwide use of carbon emitting fossil fuels in other countries so can we expect some encouragement for the efforts of the government of India to expand its nuclear power industry rather than construct new coal burning electricity generators? That the Indians are trying to do their bit is clear from the plans announced this week to build eight new 700 MW nuclear power plants. The big problem with the proposal, however, is that the country’s present nuclear power generation capacity of 4,000MW is operating at only 50% of its capacity because of a shortage of uranium.
The same the whole world over. The Chinese People’s Daily has this happy snap together with its story of a politician meeting a press camera.