Rudd's ETS quandary

A bit like the ETS

Thanks to the weak-as-water outcome from Copenhagen, the ETS is sunk. Kevin Rudd’s desire to arrive at Copenhagen with a trophy has scuppered any possible chance of the two errors in four words “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme”. Just think about it for a minute. If Rudd had not been so stubborn and vain, and agreed to wait until after Copenhagen to try to pass the ETS, Malcolm Turnbull would still be leader of the Opposition (god help us), and there would have been bipartisan support for it. Rudd may have been able to get it through after Copenhagen with Turnbull onside.

But now? No chance. With Tony Abbott at the helm, the Coalition wouldn’t pass it in a billion years, and the only option for the government is to accede to the wishes of the Greens, who are now arguing for 25% – 40% cuts by 2020:

The federal government should start negotiating with the Australian Greens if it wants parliament to pass its plan to tackle climate change, party leader Bob Brown says.

Despite the Copenhagen summit’s failure to deliver strong cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, Labor maintains it will re-introduce legislation setting up its carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS), or emissions trading scheme, to the lower house in February.

The Greens want to see Labor’s ETS include a 25 to 40 per cent target, which Senator Brown said would help the government fulfil its international obligation.

“They have to now move to targets that would keep global warming below two degrees, and that is where the Greens have been aiming,” he said. (source)

What international obligation is that, Bob? Remember, Copenhagen resulted in no international obligations – just a wish list, that the US and China have probably already forgotten about. As Terry McCrann says, 40% is really 60% per capita by the time you get to 2020, which would send Australia’s economy back to the Dark Ages, which is what we must assume the Greens want for the Australian people. Because people are very low on the Greens’ list of priorities.

It would be suicidal for Rudd to climb into bed with the Greens on this, so he’ll just have to get used to it: the ETS is sunk.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Penny Wong has already ruled out any deal with the Greens:

“The reality is that the Greens have taken a position, in relation to targets, that the Government was not able to negotiate on,” Senator Wong said.

“They indicated they did not wish to have a negotiation unless the Government was prepared to put targets of 25 to 40 per cent on the table. That is not the Government’s policy, that is not the Government’s position.

“We don’t believe that is a responsible way forward.” (source)


  1. “It would be suicidal for Rudd to climb into bed with the Greens on this”.
    Of course, this assumes that Rudd is saner than Brown. I think the jury is still out on this one.

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