Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Urgent action shelved by Rudd as climate burns

The news that the ETS has been shelved might have been welcome if there had been stronger, science-based action to replace it. While the current Bill in no way represents any sort of effective measure against climate change, its ditching comes with no other proposal for the urgent action the global climate needs.

Labor is selling the delay as biding its time for political conditions that will be more favourable for the passing of its current ineffective Bill. In reality, the Government welcomes any delay even on half-measures that come with massive inappropriate compensation for the fossil fuel industry and heavy emitters.

With a bit of guts, the Government could have instead introduced science-based legislation in the first place. By now it would have had a double-dissolution trigger on a Bill that might have been worth passing. Even now, it could negotiate with the Greens in good faith to put in place an interim carbon tax that would make a start on climate action when the science says we need it - now.

Earlier in April I met with Martin Ferguson on these issues, and even then he was flagging that the ETS would again fail in the Senate and the Government would not be taking a carbon price to the next election - how prescient seems our energy and resources minister and champion of fossil fuels. As for the Greens, Ferguson said there would never be a "settlement" with them on climate change.

While Ferguson is the real face of Rudd on this vital issue, we must remember it is in the hands of all voting citizens to decide the terms on which we make our settlement with the global climate.

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