Emissions Trading

In politics, as in many areas of modern life, the detail can often be forgotten amongst the spin.

Seldom do the headlines in our newspapers or press releases reflect the full story. At first blush, this appears to apply to Kevin Rudd’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) announced yesterday.

My initial reaction to a five per cent reduction in carbon emissions was actually disbelief. A reduction of five per cent would (by my basic arithmetic) reduce global emissions by a paltry 0.07 per cent over 12 years.

Hardly enough to save the world given that Kevin Rudd saw the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as the most important moral issue of our time…or was that only a pre-election perspective?

Don’t get me wrong – I remain unconvinced about the need for an ETS given that carbon dioxide is vital for life on earth, the earth hasn’t warmed since 1998 and many of the predictions made by climate change alarmists (including Al Gore and Tim Flannery) have been demonstrably false.

But the Rudd response makes a mockery of even his own moral outrage.

According to The Australian newspaper, Rudd’s plan will generate $11.3 billion in annual revenue for the Government. This will then be spent (plus another few hundred million) compensating people for the cost of living increases brought about by the ETS.

My first question is that if one is trying to change the behaviour of consumers and industry, why compensate for more than the cost of implementation?

As to Rudd’s other spin about per capita reductions, I ask him, which is it?

Is the Rudd ETS a mild approach that won’t disadvantage Australia’s economic interests or is it the toughest per capita regime in the world today? Surely even Mr Rudd can’t have it both ways.

Only when we examine the detail of the Rudd policy will we be in a position to evaluate alternatives to the Rudd ETS and ascertain the real cost to Australia.

A process the Coalition will undertake in the coming months.

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