Australia's Emission Trading - getting it right
Sunday, 06 April 2008 02:09
I heard Ross Garnaut speak at the excellent Solar Cities conference in Adelaide last month, so I wasn't totally surprised when a couple of days later his proposals for Emission Trading in Australia were released.
However there is a huge difference - as we see with Queensland's Feed-In-Tariffs - between an announcement that looks great; and the implementation.
The Federal Labor government started by minimising the report, which - prior to its release - it claimed was critically important.
Since that time, the political jockeying has started. This is only to be expected, since it is cheaper to influence politicians than to fix the emissions problem.
The Australian covered Ross Garnaut's call to ignore the political fixers, and in particular not to grant free permits to the worst polluters - duh, first they trash they atmosphere then they want a free pass to keep doing it. These are the very people who need to be adjusting their industries, and if they can't find a way - as many of their competitors will - to find a solution that benefits their business then they could, and should, suffer "readjustment". The NSW government, that wants to sell off the state-owned electricity business are putting in their pitch for the money.
It is the employees of polluting businesses we should be looking to support (e.g. retrain) through the transition, rather than the businesses that we should be propping up. This is where we also have to watch for the fixers, the significant pot of money from auctioning permits needs to be used for this re-adjustment, to support the lower-income households likely to be effected by for example the necessary down turn of some industries. One of the first grabs for this money has been from Malcolm Turnbull (Opposition Treasury Spokesman) (printed in the Australian, and reported in the Melbourne Age )
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