In The Daily Fix, Crikey taps into the wisdom of experts and community leaders to find solutions to problems. Today: climate change.

Most major economies are either not a party to the Paris agreement (such as the US), not subject to any meaningful constraints on emissions (such as China), or not on track to meet their targets (such as the EU).

Accordingly, emissions reduction should not be a focus of government policy at this time, given that it would effectively be unilateral and ineffective.

Public policy responses, if any, to changes in the climate should be limited to adaptation measures Australia can directly control.

In terms of energy policy, governments should focus on affordability and reliability. Ideally, the energy market would be free to determine the most desirable means of electricity generation. Proposals for government support for fossil fuels should therefore be rejected, but equally all subsidies, quotas and other government interventions encouraging the use of renewables should also be scrapped.

In a free market, energy companies would compete for who can offer the best “deal” for customers, not for who can best game the system. The best government “energy policy” is none at all.

Gideon Rozner is the director of policy at the Institute of Public Affairs

Peter Fray

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