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Prime Ministers Climate Change Task Force fails to surprise PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 2007 01:16
The Prime Ministers Climate Change Task force reported yesterday. Essentially it reported what everyone expected, i.e. it admits that we can't deny that climate change exists, and is important but it tells Howard, "don't do too much, and not without more study, and don't set any targets, and don't do it until several years from now. With a task force stacked with hand-picked bureaucrats, and mining, energy people the only thing surprising is that Howard will take a few days to respond officially! Given that taking action later is going to mean a much more drastic cut, this response is very very dangerous. Even more dangerous is that the most serious money being spent on this issue is going to be a massive advertising campaign - which Howard denied existed in parliament a few days ago - to convince us that his government is doing something on the issue, and that turning the lights off is going to make a huge difference. Peter Hartcher in the SMH put it well...
Unfortunately, the report seems designed to help Howard not in dealing with the environmental threat to civilisation but in beating back the political threat to the Government. The report gives the Government licence to procrastinate for another few years. While it does propose the essential policy tools for dealing with global warming - an emissions trading system and targets for cutting emissions - it suggests that Australia take four years in getting around to it. This is all designed to allow Howard to commit in principle to fixing the problem, but without committing to any specifics before the federal election. Why? To give him licence to portray Kevin Rudd, with his target of cutting emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, as an environmental fundamentalist who will wreak economic devastation. And the report endorses a general posture of cautious followership. Rather than leading the world in the design of good policy, it will allow Australia to continue to function at the level of the world's lowest common denominator.