It’s eloquent testimony to the state of the debate over a carbon price that a statement of the obvious by NAB’s Cameron Clyne is newsworthy. So wretched has been the contribution to the debate on climate change action from Australian business and so distorted has the debate become that Clyne’s simple remark that a carbon price would drive certainty and investment seems like a breath of fresh air.

However, another of Clyne’s observations is more significant. He correctly notes that if a carbon price does not eventuate, the issue will not go away; rather, the debate about how to curb Australia’s emissions will have to continue. We are currently on a trajectory to well overshoot the bipartisan commitment to reduce our emissions by 5% by 2020. Even with a carbon price, it will be a struggle just to meet that unambitious target. Worse, the Coalition’s misnamed “direct action” plan will do nothing to curb emissions, but in essence pay business to lock in exactly the business-as-usual trajectory we are currently on. Climate change, the need for international action to reduce or curb growth in emissions, and Australia’s role in that action will remain as major policy issues regardless of what this current generation of risk-averse politicians decide to do.

Clyne appears to understand that delay significantly increases the costs of the actions we must take, better than many of our leaders in Canberra.

***

Meanwhile, it turns out you really do prefer Prime Minister Gillard. Well, that, or you didn’t take our fake poll in the spirit it was intended. Gillard rated second on our reader poll for preferred Labor leader. Roughly five percentage points below, er, the Emperor Penguin that washed up in New Zealand…

And the lucky recipient of the promised Cooty Notes goes to @katinacurtis for this sharp observation:

Dear @crikey_news if we answer your Labor leader survey and it doesn’t ask our name, how do we win Cooty Notes? #sooky #ineverwinanything

Peter Fray

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