I have described the Rudd Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme as a rabid dog. It will infect us all with a nasty bite. If Labor persists with its illogical and highly political demand that the ETS must be passed by the Senate this week, then The Nationals will be first in line to say no.

Labor’s scheme is probably the most radical economic change ever proposed for Australia. Unfortunately, it is more about new taxes and symbolism than enacting real change to benefit the environment. The Rudd ETS will cost hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs if it is introduced as planned, but do nothing to cool the planet.

Why close industries where we are most competitive and cleaner than the rest of the world, when the globe is yet to consider how people can work together to achieve our environmental objectives? Mr Rudd and his team have decided to act locally, but not think globally — to our eternal disadvantage.

Australia produces just 1.4% of the world’s CO2 emissions, and that share is going down. We cannot repair the world’s climate by ourselves. Government spin implying that its ETS will save the Barrier Reef, flood the Murray and stop bushfires is simply dishonest.

The Prime Minister has never been able to explain why a 100 million tonne decrease in Australia’s emissions will counter a 10 billion tonne increase in China’s emissions.

For example, aluminium smelted in China will emit 60% more greenhouse gas than the same product smelted in Australia. Food production in Australia will emit less CO2 than food from Asia. Making cars in Australia will do less damage to the environment than making cars in most other countries. The coal industry has estimated that 66,480 jobs will go in their industry by 2030.

The best that anyone can say about Labor’s proposed emissions scheme is that it should be passed so there is certainty. This view is being mouthed by a few rapacious traders, some barely affected sectoral figures and multinational companies who want to make an early decision to simply move their investment overseas if Australia introduces an ETS and others do not.

The Nationals in Coalition are committed to a comprehensive response to climate change issues in partnership with the world’s major emitters. We are prepared to provide leadership and to do our part, but we are also determined to ensure that we do not prejudice the competitiveness of Australia’s trade-exposed emissions-intensive industries.