Draconian powers of new "carbon cop"

Knocking on your door?

The idea of carbon cops has been around for a while (see here), but now it is set out formally in the draft carbon tax legislation. The powers are draconian and intimidating, with previously sacred rights, such as that of avoiding self-incrimination, being swept away:

A NEW carbon cop will be given sweeping powers to enter company premises, compel individuals to give self-incriminating evidence and copy sensitive records under a carbon tax package that will force about 60,000 businesses to pay 6c a litre extra for fuel.

The tough new powers of the Clean Energy Regulator were included in the fine detail of the carbon tax package released yesterday, which enshrines national emissions cuts of 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year after 2016, if the government of the day rejects targets proposed by its Climate Change Authority.

The package, which shows that the government will cement in law the body of its carbon tax structure in a bid to force Tony Abbott to win the approval of both houses of parliament to complete his promise to scrap it, also tasks the Productivity Commission with inquiries into assistance to trade-exposed industries, international climate change action and the future of fuel taxes.

As it released the exposure draft of the 14-bill package — which will set up the $23-a-tonne carbon tax, the mechanisms to pay compensation for households, the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Regulator — the government said it planned to introduce the bills in September and plan to have them passed by November. The schedule raised hackles with some interest groups for allowing only three weeks of consultation.

The exposure draft of the legislation gives sweeping powers to the Clean Energy Regulator, which will police the scheme, and the climate change minister will have the power to demand information from corporations covered by the scheme.

Fraud or attempts to subvert the scheme can be punished by up to 10 years in jail or fines of $1.1 million for corporations.

Inspectors working for the regulator will be able to obtain warrants to search premises of companies covered by the act and search or examine any activity on site as well as copy documents.

The regulator will have the authority to demand information from company officers even if it could incriminate them. (source)

Welcome to the new world of the carbon police state.

US puts climate bill on hold until 2010

Another nail in the coffin of Hopenchangen, I mean, Copenhagen. The US has confirmed that it will not pass any climate bill before the COP15 summit in December, delaying it by at least five weeks to review the potential costs (which will be huge):

The delay, which would push a Senate vote on a climate change bill into next year, frustrates a last-minute push by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to get America to commit itself at home to cut greenhouse gas emissions before the Copenhagen meeting. World leaders – and US officials – have repeatedly said US legislation is crucial to a deal on global warming.

However, the appeals for urgent action were overridden by political concerns in the Senate, which formally began debate on a proposed climate change law last week. The House of Representatives narrowly passed a climate change bill in June. But the Senate version has been repeatedly delayed, first by the battle over healthcare reform and now by Republican demands for more time to study the proposals.

In a move to stem the Republican protest, and quieten Democrat critics, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, said he would ask the Environmental Protection Agency to spend five weeks reviewing the potential costs of the bill. Opponents of the proposal argue the target of a 20% cut in emissions on 2005 levels by 2020 is overly ambitious, and will be too costly for US businesses and families.

The five-week delay would all but rule out passage of a bill before the Copenhagen meeting begins on 7 December.

So just remind me again: why on earth is the Rudd government so desperate to pass the ETS before Copenhagen? Give me one good reason.

Read it here (h/t Watts Up With That)

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