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What the CPRS could (and should) have been

Crikey readers unpack the CPRS and the ongoing fight for effective climate action, while former PM Kevin Rudd drops us another line to reaffirm his legacy.

power plant carbon emissions carbon capture
(Image: Getty)

On the CPRS

Richard Letts writes: The Greens made a political miscalculation, when there was more innocence around climate politics. But their position that climate action by the government should address the actual problem effectively is reasonable and principled even if doomed. Labor is undependable, concerned above all with the politics and it would be hard to justify its attacks on the Greens as principled. The Coalition is dependably appalling in more ways than can be counted.

Roger Clifton writes: The CPRS was all carrot and no stick. It failed to state the blindingly obvious: it is criminal for anyone to emit fossil carbon now that we know the consequence of our action. Any trading scheme that sells an industry a “right” to emit is complicit in that crime. On the other hand, a carbon tax that taxes all fossil carbon as soon as it leaves the ground, or crosses our borders, is taxing a bad, much better than taxing a good.

Keryn Robinson writes: The press gallery is happy to support Labor’s claim about the Greens wrecking the CPRS because it fits one of its favoured narratives: that “extremists” on both sides have wrecked the chance of effective climate action, and that if only the “sensible centre” would be allowed to govern things would be OK. But when it comes to climate action, this is both wrong and irrelevant. Climate change is caused by basic physics. You either reduce carbon emissions or you cook the planet. The CPRS wouldn’t have reduced emissions — just given huge taxpayer-funded handouts to polluters. The press gallery’s centrist “fault on all sides, extremism is wrecking civility” hand-wringing will never change the basic maths, just guarantee we’re stuck in a permanent loop of climate failure.

James Burke writes: The Coalition’s been in government for six years. So why is Labor attacking the Greens again? For ten years Labor’s been trying to summon the courage to stand up to the schoolyard bullies. Every morning it whispers into the mirror: “This time. Today’s the day I tell Rupert and Gina and Alan and the rest to piss off, and they’ll see I mean business and leave me alone!” Yet every day, year after year, it wets its pants and hands over its lunch money… then goes looking for a smaller kid to pick on.

On Kevin Rudd’s legacy

Kevin Rudd Writes: Thanks for inviting readers to share their reflections on my legacy as prime minister. Now it’s known that I’m a reader, let me provide you with some of my highlights. 🙂

  • Making an apology to Indigenous Australians for past wrongs and setting the Closing the Gap targets to begin fulfilling the Apology’s promise to our first peoples.
  • Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, setting a mandatory Renewable Energy Target and introducing to parliament Australia’s first legislation to put a price on carbon pollution.
  • Abolishing John Howard’s WorkChoices laws and restoring fairness to industrial relations through the Fair Work Act.
  •  Keeping Australia out of recession, avoiding mass unemployment and protecting Australians’ savings through a world-leading response to the Global Financial Crisis.
  • Legislating to increase the compulsory Superannuation Guarantee Levy to 12%, addressing fundamental inequality in Australians’ retirement savings.
  • The biggest ever increase to the aged pension, helping to lift thousands of older Australians out of hardship.
  • Bringing Australian troops home from Iraq after the invasion launched by George W. Bush and John Howard in 2003.
  • Overhauling the nation’s Freedom of Information regime to foster more transparency and a culture of disclosure in government.
  • Amending almost 100 federal laws to remove discrimination against gay and lesbian couples including in superannuation and family law.
  • A national school curriculum to apply modern, high and consistent standards across schools regardless of where they are situated.
  • Major health reforms to preserve the long-term viability of the public health system and prevent patients being lost in the system.
  • Building or refurbishing almost 100,000 units of social housing after years of neglect under the Liberals, while attracting new investment into affordable housing for low- and middle-income households.
  • Launching the National Disability Insurance Scheme to support the needs and aspirations of all Australians with disabilities, regardless of where they live.
  • A 10-year, multi-billion-dollar housing partnership to address overcrowding and other dangers in remote Indigenous communities.
  • Establishing Infrastructure Australia as an independent guide of the nation’s infrastructure needs, and launching the biggest infrastructure investment since the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
  • Starting construction of a high-speed, full-fibre National Broadband Network that connected tens of thousands of Australians.
  • Modernising facilities across every primary school in Australia while achieving value for money and supporting 100,000 construction jobs.
  • Helping to establish the G20 summit to guide international economic policy, with Australia having a seat at the head table.

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