Monday, September 19, 2011

"Carbon Party" undermines Gillard on carbon price

John Brumby made a good case for carbon pricing and low-emissions economic opportunities in his Saturday opinion piece in The Age. In it he makes an admission that State and Federal Labor need to act on, not just acknowledge. Standing in the way is the "Carbon Party". Here's my letter, published today (scroll to "Green initiatives are totally cancelled out").
It's good to hear former Victorian Premier John Brumby acknowledge that "Australia won't always be able to rely on what we dig out of the ground". That's true not because of the exhaustion of our large fossil fuel reserves, but because under the inevitable global pricing of carbon, the market for fossil fuels will disappear, and products we produce from emissions-intensive energy sources will become very expensive, and therefore uncompetitive.

Given the greed of large corporations and the short-sightedness of our less reflective investors and shareholders, it is understandable they will seek to capitalise on fossil fuels to the maximum possible extent before this happens. Understandable, but not acceptable.

As they rush to squeeze value out of their dinosaur powerplants and fossil fuel reserves, they push Australia and the world towards or even across the boundary of dangerous climate change. Their misleading campaigns foretelling economic ruin and energy insecurity place dollars above disaster.

While John Brumby argues well for the economic benefits of low-emissions investment and development, the timeframe in which too many Labor governments see the transition would allow the exploitation of fossil fuels and their climate impacts to substantially play out. We are, in fact, expanding our search for oil, coal and gas, and we operate in a deluded two-climate economy - one where we invest in green initiatives, and one where we cancel these out through the headlong pursuit of fossil fuels.

It is this duality within Labor at state and federal levels that is undermining the argument for carbon pricing. With federal Labor MPs like Martin Ferguson, it is almost as if there's an implicit Carbon Party at work in Australia, drawing its members in lesser or greater numbers from Labor and the Coalition respectively. If we're not to lose the race - the human race - that has to stop.

Comments welcome