Mar 25, 2014

Direct Action subsidies: wrong way, Abbott, go back

Nothing has happened since the election to challenge the view that the Coalition’s Direct Action plan for carbon reduction is vastly inferior to carbon pricing, write economists Frank Jotzo and Paul Burk at Inside Story.

Direct Action is often perceived as an exercise in keeping up appearances: a fig-leaf policy from a government that has expressed little enthusiasm for serious action on climate change. But with the possible neutering of the Renewable Energy Target, Direct Action subsidies are set to be the main pillar of Australia’s climate change mitigation effort as well as a new drain on our scarce fiscal resources.

The cornerstone of Direct Action is a system of subsidies for emissions-reducing projects, channelled through an Emissions Reduction Fund. In a nutshell, government will pay companies to implement specific projects that are thought to reduce emissions. It will “buy up the cost curve”, purchasing the lowest-cost emissions reductions first.

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3 thoughts on “Direct Action subsidies: wrong way, Abbott, go back

  1. Liamj

    Direct Action is perfect on two fronts. First, its ‘pick a winner’ structure is ideal for crony capitalism, which after all is how this country runs (I’d cite numerous examples but then this comment wouldn’t make it past the moderator).

    Second, by calling his pig trough ‘Direct Action’, Abbott hijacks the keywords ‘direct action’, which for decades have referred to those modes of political activism involving actually doing real things in the real world, like boycotts, pickets, blockades, haunting etc, as averse to clicktivism, letters, petitions & other forms of merely symbolic action. Perhaps hijacking the label for the only mode of action that will work against the plutocracy is just coincidence.. perhaps not.

  2. GLJ

    The Great ploy is to label the program with a name that is the opposite to the very nature of the program. The Other Great ploy is to accuse the enemy of your own action. A Further Great Ploy is to undo any actions taken by the enemy so that the enemy has no claim to success.

  3. AR

    There is no intention of “doing” anything – it is a safe bet that even the misnomer was thoroughly focus grouped – strong, meaningless phrases are always more attractive than thinking.
    “Direct Action” is the 21stC equivalent of that other great oxymoron, “Clean Coal”.

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