Climate sense from Tom Switzer (almost)

In an article in The Australian, former Liberal adviser Tom Switzer points out that the climate policy of former leader Brendan Nelson was the right one all along. The policy, which raised serious doubts about the economic viability of an emissions trading scheme, and which was received with near-universal hostility, is now the preferred course of action for much of Australia’s industry.

The issue that cost Nelson his leadership could yet be a political godsend for Malcolm Turnbull. The financial crisis has given industry more political ammunition to criticise the scheme. The many commentators who berated Nelson for his wait-for-the-world policy are now writing obituaries for the Government’s emissions trading model. A Lowy Institute poll revealed that most Australians are far more concerned about their jobs and hip pockets than any campaign to save the planet.

Labor, meanwhile, is spooked. The Prime Minister himself has walked away from Garnaut’s proposals and significantly downgraded the Government’s target range to as low as 5 per cent by 2020. So much for Rudd’s claim that “climate change is the great economic, environmental and moral challenge of our time”.

In this environment, the Liberal and Nationals parties should oppose the Government’s legislation outright and spell out a different way of meeting the climate challenge in the most forceful and coherent language they can find.

Unfortunately, Switzer then goes on to list a number of alternative ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions (all of them pointless in terms of influencing global climate), and warns that the Opposition should not question the science:

Forget about questioning the science underlining global warming and leave that debate to the climate scientists, policy wonks and media columnists on the sidelines. To reopen this debate in parliament now would merely allow the Government to portray the Opposition as climate change deniers: a foolish and offensive charge, but nonetheless a politically damaging one to a party still struggling to recover from John Howard’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol.

Whilst it may be politically damaging, it is the right and proper thing to do. I say bring it on. The Opposition should vigorously question the science, especially that from the IPCC on which the Government’s climate policy is based, which is misleading and politicised. Until or unless there is proper debate on the science, the whole issue of “climate change” is fatally flawed.

Doing the right thing is not necessarily the easiest thing.

Read it here.


  1. Geoff Brown says:

    Geoff BrownOf course, Simon, there is an alternative to the major parties. The Climate Sceptics (TCS) party will be actively campaigning against any form of carbon tax or ETS.I know you put up the link before, but here it is again for anyone interested in fighting the “Carbon is pollution” madness

  2. Simon from Sydney says:

    Thanks, Geoff! Absolutely right!Best wishes, Simon

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