Tuesday, November 24, 2009


...some words from Tim Colebatch:

Defenders of the status quo fought against working people having the right to vote: it was only in 1950 that all Victorians got the right to vote for the Legislative Council. Sir Winston Churchill in the 1930s was obsessed not only with combating Hitler but also with combating Gandhi, opposing any suggestion that India be given independence.

Under John Howard, the Coalition in the 1980s opposed the introduction of Medicare and compulsory superannuation with the same kind of wacky overstatement some of them now use on climate change (such as Joyce telling us we won't be able to buy steaks).

Remember the fear campaign waged against the introduction of unleaded petrol?

BTW: I still wonder whether the scheme is worth supporting.

Related Posts

. Perhaps we should rename it the "Carbon Pollution Compensation Scheme"

. Bin the CPRS

. Making sense of the Senate's emissions trading debate


Persse said...

The scheme is worth supporting - whatever flaws the current proposals have they are a start. And, yes, I know that is not much comfort to those wanting decisive action.
In time the science will determine what is required to abate CO2 as the body of evidence mounts; this may well be completely different to anything proposed today.
It is time to get into the boat and look for the rudder and oars when we can

Anonymous said...

I agree. The scheme is deeply flawed, but so is just about every bit of legislation that gets passed. It's a product of politics. A couple of additional points
1. There is bound to be a lot of action taken outside the ETS. I for one have dramatically cut my own carbon footprint and so have others. I didn't need the carbon tax or ETS to do it. One must have not just the motivation to do something but most importantly the knowledge of how to do it. There is an amazing ignorance about where energy is being wasted amongst the population, media and even professionals who should no better. On this Australia is way behind even the US.
2. A market mechanism will hopefully help discover where the cheapest action can be taken which is vital - hopefully the market can be improved over time.
3. A scheme will also help businesses and institutions to take tackling climate change seriously. Sweet FA is being done at the moment - in fact worse than that - decisions that lock in wasteful energy use in the future because it is "just how things are done" will continue to be made until there is something official to give direction. People in organisations don't have the scope to make decisions just because it is "the right thing to do". They need to be able to point to something official like the CPRS or regulations to justify their actions.

Therefore I don't think holding out for the obstructionist and vested interests to give up so we can have a perfect scheme is going to work. The only thing that will allow a better scheme is more certain science, which will always take time, and more community acceptance evolves. Even after many decades the fight to reduce cigarette smoking hasn't ended, but progress has been made. Tackling climate change will probably be similar.

Adam S said...

I've gone on record as saying I think the CPRS is too flawed to be workable and running too far in advance of the discussions in Copenhagen. But it looks like we are getting it anyway.

A bit like Anon, I will be doing my own thing, but it's market signals that I will be paying attention to, not the ETS. As my energy costs go up, my use will be more efficient (actually that is starting already). We've had a 25% increase in electricity prices this financial year already and I expect more to come. If you want to change people's behaviour, then that's a pretty good way to do it, though it's pretty easy for me in a comfortable middle class existence to say that. Other people will not find it so easy.

Anonymous said...

I would imagine that increases in interest rates and petrol prices will have a bigger impact on more people than the CPRS. The factors that engineered that exposure are both bi-partisan and a long term economic project. The current Australian suburban lifestyle is going to feel big changes whether or not anything is done to mitigate catastrophic climate change.

carbonsink said...

I hope the CPRS passes flawed or not.

In time the concessions to the big polluters will be worked out of the system, targets will be toughened and the price of carbon will rise substantially in the future.

Its important we get the mechanism in place now and make it work better in the future. Personally I would have preferred a simple carbon tax, but the CPRS is better than nothing.

As for acting on your own to reduce your carbon footprint -- all very honourable but largely infective. Household emissions are just 20% of the total. For example, Victoria could reduce its emissions by 20% by cutting off electricity to every household --OR-- close Hazelwood --OR-- close a smelter or two.

I know which is easier politically.

carbonsink said...

Also, the CPRS ignores our coal exports

Australia's exported emissions far exceed our domestic emissions, and there is no penalty if we export coal to countries without an effective price on carbon.

For every CO2 molecule emitted globally, around 5% originated in an Aussie coal mine. That's a horrifying statistic.

Despite that, morons like Michael Pascoe cheer on the coal mining boom.

Anonymous said...


Agreed some sort of cprs is better than no cprs.

Barnaby Joyce is a joke whenever he speaks up about this issue, some of the things he has come out with over the last 24 are a disgrace.

the whole oppositions argument that we don't want to be ahead of the rest of the world(not that we would be) is pathetic, what wrong with being world leaders? instead of just followers?

There is no reason why we shouldn't be the world leader in renewable energy, energy efficiency and a host of other pollution curbing industries. We have the brain power, we have the natural resources, we just need the will and the policies, i hope it's just not to late.

Hazelwood should close, in fact it should have been closed years ago


Adam S said...

According to this report, temps could rise up to 6c by the end of the century, though there is some debate about the validity of that prediction (I'll say!)


The prescription?

"This is very different to the trend we need to be on to limit global climate change to 2C [the level required to avoid dangerous climate change]." That would require CO2 emissions from all sources to peak between 2015 and 2020 and that the global per capita emissions be decreased to 1 tonne of CO2 by 2050. Currently the average US citizen emits 19.9 tonnes per year and UK citizens emit 9.3 tonnes."

So 20 tonnes per capita to 1 tonne in 40 years in the US. Can't see that happening without either a miracle technology breakthrough, complete and utter economic collapse, or a lot of nukes. It's an absolutely massive change in a short period of time.

So I guess we're buggered either way.

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