Crikey Says

Jun 25, 2014

Crikey says: crunch time on climate

Rundle on the Rebekah Brooks verdict. Why the Festival of Dangerous Ideas is a dumb idea. Uthman Badar’s views explained. The Greens’ bizarre opposition to fuel excise. PM’s sister belts out a tune. The Indonesian general accused of war crimes and coming to Oz. ABC’s Quentin Dempster slams Lewis review. And MONA apologises for Tassie’s racist sheep.

When the new Senate assembles on July 7, it will have a relatively straightforward decision to make on carbon pricing. Either it maintains a functioning, effective pricing scheme now two years old and embedded in the economy, a scheme that has helped reduce emissions from the critical electricity generation sector, or it abandons it. Clive Palmer, via his neophyte PUP senators and Ricky Muir, has navigated his way to the balance of power through political cunning learnt at the feet of Joh Bjelke Petersen and the investment of massive amounts of his personal wealth. Because of its impacts on his business interests, Palmer has persistently opposed a carbon price, although the High Court challenge he promised in 2012 doesn't appear to have eventuated. Palmer's senators are likely to combine with conservatives like David Leyonhjelm -- whose policy platform, amusingly, supports market-based solutions if climate change is proven to be real, and climate denialists like DLP senator John Madigan, to end carbon pricing. While Labor, and particularly Kevin Rudd, bear much of the responsibility for the debacle that carbon pricing has become over the last six years, ultimately it seems it will be defeated by a combination of blatant self-interest, hypocrisy and stupidity. And if it does, we will send a signal to the world that Australia wishes to be a free rider on carbon emissions, despite having one of the industrialised world's most emissions intensive economies, and despite being a massive carbon exporter via the coal industry. For a country that, more than any other industrialised economy, is exposed to the negative consequences of climate change, that's a position of profound historic irresponsibility.

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14 thoughts on “Crikey says: crunch time on climate

  1. Alex

    Crikey, you are not wrong!

  2. Tamas Calderwood

    And the warming “pause” for the past 17 years? Surely the lack of global warming is relevant?

  3. Roger Clifton

    “… despite (Australia) being a massive carbon exporter by the coal industry”.
    That should read :
    “… despite (Australia) being a massive carbon exporter by the coal and gas industries”.

    This is a matter of integrity for anybody who is serious about damage to the greenhouse. Say it out loud, “and gas” every time you see it missing from our speech, our writing, our thinking.

    Gas mains leak methane, and methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. Let’s not be tricked by sales talk that is missing those two treacherous words… and gas.

  4. j.oneill

    We have only ourselves to blame for this ridiculous predicament where we have a
    Senate with members elected with less than 1% of the primary vote. The inevitable result is people like Muir, Leyonhjelm and Madigan, truly examples of Keating’s “unrepresentative swill” actually determining Senate voting outcomes. One might have thought that the unfortunate experience of Fielding would prompt voting reform. Instead, self interest reigns supreme and we have the dire outcomes you suggest as a very real possibility.

  5. aswann

    Seems like once the world gets its act together on carbon pricing, there will have to be some penalty for countries that don’t pull their weight, and Australia will be at the top of that list.

  6. AR

    So what you’re saying – “.. blatant self-interest, hypocrisy and stupidity is SNAFU.
    I heard Leyonmarket-based solutions if climate change is proven to be real..hjelm on ABC local this morning try the mouldie oldie “no other country is doing owt..” on Linda Mottram who almost choked before she recited the long list of countries to the fore.
    His response? “They are lying”.

  7. CML

    Crikey – why do you persist in denigrating Kevin Rudd on the whole business of carbon pricing? He couldn’t get his legislation through the Senate, THANKS TO THE GREENS, as commentators on the Guardian website today have finally worked out.
    Give it a rest!!

  8. AR

    CML for which we should be eternally grateful, it was a scam creation scheme for banksters.

  9. JMNO

    Of course Tony Abbott bears none of the blame for the odour in which the carbon tax was held! How much taxpayers’ money did he spend flying around the country in hard-hat and fluoro vest frenziedly denouncing the carbon tax as bringing about the end of life as we know it?
    Labor did not stand up to him, that was the tragedy.

    The other tragedy in my book is that NO journalist ever seemed to notice that Gillard said MANY times before the 2010 election that she would put a price on carbon by July 2012 and that is exactly what she did. Somehow one mention of a tax by her seems to have wiped out everything else she ever said.

  10. CML

    AR – Bulls+it!!
    Just about everyone now acknowledges that if the Rudd ETS had been introduced in 2010, it would be now almost impossible to dismantle. The Greens stuffed up big time.
    Sure, the proposed ETS at the time was not perfect, mainly because there wasn’t a perfect scheme anywhere in the world. But it could have been reviewed and changed over the intervening years as more info became available.
    And NO, I will never be ‘eternally grateful’ to the Greens for anything. Perhaps you would care to justify their support for the rAbbott’s PPL scheme, where babies of rich women are worth more than those of poor women?
    Then again, don’t bother – there is NO justification!!

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