Let’s see if we can just clarify this emissions trading debate.

Tomorrow the Government’s ETS bill will be defeated, but the Government is insisting on a vote anyway rather than talking to anyone. And the Government insists on wrecking its own renewable energy target into the bargain.

The Government’s bill won’t do anything about emissions, and nor will the nearest thing to a Coalition policy, its Frontier Economics modelling. We’ll just pay the rest of the world for the right to keep polluting, and make sure our big polluters don’t have to do anything. In fact, the only real dispute between the Government and the Opposition on emissions trading is whether polluters should pay a tiny fraction of their emissions costs, or nothing at all.

Big polluters are insisting that, despite having to pay virtually nothing for the cost of their emissions under either model, they face financial ruin.

And the public don’t have the faintest idea how emissions trading works and are completely disengaged from the debate over model details. They just want something done about climate change and know that the experts think emissions trading is the way to go.

This entire debate is being conducted under false pretenses or on the basis that what is manifestly not the case, is. Is this the best a democracy can do?