Sep 28, 2010

Climate committee is better without the Coalition

The Climate Committee announced by the Government yesterday will benefit from the absence of a disruptive and untrustworthy Opposition.

Bernard Keane ā€” Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Since climate change kicked its way out of the policy morgue to which both major parties had consigned it, there’s been more progress toward effective action on climate change from Parliament than at any time since the end of 2009 and, really, since 2008 when the Rudd Government started pre-emptively caving in to the demands of industry to neuter its CPRS.

Until the election delivered a minority government, we were on course for complete inaction on climate change for this term, a policy silence broken only by the insistence of the major parties that risible policies like a citizens’ assembly, or soil carbon (more correctly titled “soil magic” by Lenore Taylor) amounted to effective action on commencing the restructuring of our carbon-addicted economy.

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61 thoughts on “Climate committee is better without the Coalition

  1. David Sanderson

    “Confected” has become the word of choice to describe most things to do with the Abbott Liberals.

    They are on a confectionery sugar high at the moment but how long can it last?

  2. Jimmy

    You get the impression that Gillard has got the best of both worlds, she has invited Abbott in to show she is trying to work in the “new paradigm” but doesn’t have to put up with him on the committee wrecking things. That said it would have been good to get Turnball and the Greg Hunt that believed in an ETS on the committee.

  3. shepherdmarilyn

    Hunt must be the biggest hypocrite in the parliament today.

  4. Dr_Tad

    I agree that this committee *should* be one only to those who want to act on AGW.

    However, it shouldn’t only be open to those who are in favour of carbon pricing as a central aim. Rather than being “economically literate”, those obsessed with carbon pricing (sadly including BK and the Greens) are merely being hopeful that neoclassical economics will deliver here when there is not much evidence that it will.

    I fear that we will get a carbon price and 2-3 years from now people will wake up realising that it was too little, too late. By then the social consensus that we must act may be up in smoke too.

    In that sense, it matters little if the Coalition are involved or not. The bigger problem is the committee’s raison d’etre.

  5. Jimmy

    So Dr, if not a carbon price then what? Direct action will not get the job done by itself! The fact that we may be acting later than we should of shouldn’t stop us acting at all.

  6. Scott

    I disagree BK. To get a carbon price over the line and into law, a structured stakeholder dialogue is the only solution, with all primary and secondary stakeholders represented. And it’s hard to do that when business representatives in parliament (i.e the Libs) are outside the room.
    If Labor are really serious about this committee producing an outcome, they should appoint two more business representatives to the committee as a proxy for coalition interests.

  7. D Smith


    Why should Labor appoint business representatives to the committee? They asked the LNP to attend but the Libs decided not to be a part of it. If the outcome is something that big business isn’t happy with let them take it up with the infantile Libs.

  8. Dr_Tad

    Jimmy, Abbott’s direct action is a joke because it is not about shifting the capitalist economy away from its central dependence on carbon emitting production.

    The kind of direct action I envisage would be the rapid building of renewable energy industry, mass public transit, retrofitting buildings and/or more climate-friendly construction, etc, etc.

    That would be massively job-creating but expensive and there would be no just solution but to make big business pay more tax. But state industries (where private actors were unwilling to accept the government’s terms to join in) also create value because they also produce sellable goods and services, so in the longer term they would do all the things private companies do… innovate, create efficiencies, even (gasp) make profits.

    Once all this was being rolled out, non-renewable power production would be shut down, private car use limited, etc. Lifestyles would improve under the new arrangements. The state could also guarantee retraining and meaningful jobs for those dislocated from the “old” industries. None of those protections are guaranteed in a market-based approach, even if it were more successful than I predict it will be. It would also create a social consensus for climate action as a social good.

    Of course it would really upset those who currently make untold wealth from the current arrangement. It would restrict their “freedom” to profit from the mess they have gotten us into.

    I like this plan, from the trade union group of the UK Campaign Against Climate Change. Neoliberals need not apply. šŸ˜‰


  9. Scott

    @D Smith

    I’m sure they will. But remember how Gillard was able to get an outcome on the mining tax..engagement with business. Engagement works. Do you want this committee to be another Copenhagan, or do you actually want a quality outcome?

  10. D Smith


    I see your point. Although the latest version of the mining tax doesn’t go nearly far enough. Gillard basically gave the miners what they wanted. Even the miners came out saying they were prepared to pay more than what Gillard negotiated.

    No matter what the outcome of the Climate Committee, Big business will say it’s anti business, the Libs will say it’s going to hurt all businesses, bankrupt moms and dads, lead to socialism and marxism, and end all life in Australia as we know it, and the MSM will say “yeah, what the libs and big business said”.

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