Australia to get an emissions trading scheme (probably…)

STOP PRESS: Update 2 December – The CPRS has been voted down in the Senate – However the Rudd Government will try to get it through again next year – so these criticisms stand.

What else is there to say?

About one year since Kevin Rudd announced his 5% target, it seems enough Liberals will vote for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) in the coming days for it to become law.

A lot has been written by scientists, economists, journalists, environmentalists, health professionals, religious leaders, development workers, politicians and ourselves, as to why the CPRS is inadequate and deeply unjust, however, the only people that Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong and the Liberal Party listened to were the fossil fuel lobby.

Let’s not mince words here, the CPRS is an abomination. It will not reduce Australia’s emissions due to the unlimited import of dodgy permits and offsets from overseas. Even if it did, it would reduce emissions to such inadequate levels that if they were adopted by all the developed countries we would almost guarantee catastrophic, runaway climate change.

Worst of all it makes rich the very people who should be feeling the pinch of a carbon price. Billions of taxpayer dollars will be handed over to coal miners and coal burners – those that pollute the most get the most money.

With the deal that the Labor and Liberal Parties made, compensation for the big polluters will go up even more, while $910 million will be taken away from household compensation, that is, money for poor households to cope with rising prices caused by the scheme, to be given to the shareholders of companies like TRUenergy and International Power Hazelwood.

We will see prices for many of our goods and services increase under this scheme, with no subsequent emissions reductions (modelling by the Australian Treasury showed that under the scheme as it stood before the negotiations made it even worse, Australia’s emissions wouldn’t drop below 1990 levels until 2035, and that was after it was assumed that clean coal was invented in 2033).

What has happened is a complete corporate takeover of our two major political parties. The hypocrisy of the Labor Party, which talks about the importance of acting on climate change, while putting forward a scheme that does nothing, is extremely saddening and frustrating. They have put the interests of large foreign fossil fuel corporations before the interests of every existing and future man, woman and child on this Earth. They have broken their election promise to take climate change seriously.

The only amusing sideshow in this whole saga has been the extent to which the Liberal Party has torn itself apart, with the climate change hypocrites and the climate change deniers fighting over their support for a scheme that locks in business as usual anyway.

Every single politician that has been involved in the development of this CPRS should forever be condemned. They do not deserve to represent us in parliament. We hope the Australian public is not fooled by Rudd’s spin and punishes the Labor and Liberal Parties for this betrayal, and the scheme is repealed in the future, to be replaced by policies that will take action to the extent the climate science demands.

To read the speech of the only politician that’s making any sense in all this, click here.