28 Apr 2010

The Great Moral Backflip Of Our Time

By Ben Eltham
The decision to delay the introduction of its emissions trading scheme until 2013 is the Government's most serious betrayal of voters yet, writes Ben Eltham
Another day, another broken promise.

Last week it was childcare centres and the final death of the home insulation stimulus. Both announcements were wheeled out apologetically by junior ministers. Both times, the Government made little effort to defend its decision (perhaps wisely, in the case of the home insulation debacle).

This week's broken promise is much, much bigger. The decision to delay the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme  until at least 2013 means Labor no longer has a credible policy on climate change — "the great moral challenge of our generation", according to the Prime Minister.

Those words have already come back to haunt him. And so they should.

Climate change was not some minor election promise thrown out in the heat of the campaign. It was a centrepiece of Labor's 2007 election platform. It was Kevin Rudd as opposition leader who commissioned Ross Garnaut to begin work on fashioning Labor's climate change policy.

Strong action on climate was a key plank in Labor's campaign material and its election ads. Remember the TV commercial depicting a sleeping John Howard? "Now he's finally said Australia needs an emissions scheme, but he won't set targets until after the election," the ad proclaimed. Now that he's in government, neither will Kevin Rudd.

This backflip is staggering, even for those of us who have come to expect policy timidity from the Rudd Government.

Penny Wong has spent the better part of Labor's first term in office formulating, negotiating and trying to legislate for an emissions trading scheme. The Garnaut Review dominated policy considerations through 2008 and early 2009, and the eventual bill Labor proposed, the CPRS, was its major legislative goal last year. Kevin Rudd gave a series of major speeches about it in the lead-up to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. And the CPRS was of course one of Labor's major triggers for a double dissolution election.

What's changed? It's tempting to say, simply, "the polls". And there's no doubt that the electorate's former ardour for climate action has cooled somewhat since 2007, as a time-series of Lowy Institute polls on the issue shows.

To some degree, climate scepticism has had an impact. So too has the ceaseless campaigning by the Murdoch media, and by the active proselytisers among the conservative plurality who are viscerally opposed to climate action, seeing it as a plot by radical lefties to "de-industrialise" the world (Nick Minchin's term, not mine).

But the polls on climate are not really that bad for Labor. Most polls still show a majority in favour of an emissions trading scheme. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that strong action on climate change would still resonate with many parts of the electorate, including the women voters in marginal seats who will probably decide the election result.

No, the real issue here is not the electorate. It's Kevin Rudd's failure of leadership. Faced with an issue which he himself painted in phrases of high principle and moral clarity, the Prime Minister has failed to screw his courage to the sticking point.

That "sticking point" would have been a strong emissions trading scheme, one strong enough to have won the support of the Greens. Refusing to negotiate with them was a major tactical blunder.

With a policy that embraced reasonably strong emissions reductions targets, Labor could have won Green support, isolated the Opposition and applied the screws to the cross-benches. Xenophon could have been bribed with more money for the lower Murray. As it was, history records that three Liberals voted for the ETS anyway: Malcolm Turnbull in the House plus two Liberal Senators, Sue Boyce and Judith Troeth. Those two Liberal votes, plus the Greens, would have equaled victory. It's the great "what if" of this term of government.

For reasons entirely to do with the vicious hatreds of sectarian politics, Labor likes to paint the Greens as dangerous extremists. In fact, experience and common sense suggests the Greens would have gladly negotiated on the ETS, given the chance. Instead, the Government tried to do a deal with Malcolm Turnbull. We all know how that tactic played out.

Strategically, Labor's next error was to abandon climate as an election issue. Unlike Barack Obama, who, when faced with a difficult healthcare bill and sliding opinion polls, decided to rally the troops and press on for a redoubtable victory, Rudd played safe. Climate was taken off the public agenda, to be replaced by health reform, which party strategists have decided is home turf.

The result has been an amazing waste of political capital. Quite apart from delighting the Greens, who can now campaign as the only party serious about climate change, the backflip is a gift for a struggling Opposition. This decision plays into all of the Coalition's talking points: that Kevin Rudd is all talk, and no action; that's he's ultimately a weak leader; and that the Liberal policy of waiting for the world was the right one all along. Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt looked positively jubilant as they gave their reactions yesterday. Today, they are even taunting the Government to bring on the double-dissolution.

Labor will now struggle to win support from the left in its second term. Socially liberal, environmentally minded voters are already drifting away to the Greens, and Labor should not assume that it will always receive their second preference, as the developing strength of the Liberal Democrats in Britain all too clearly demonstrates. In time, this decision could cost Tanya Plibersek and Lindsay Tanner their seats.

Finally, the backflip has eroded Kevin Rudd's moral authority. It will be almost impossible for Labor to regain the high moral ground on climate. The Prime Minister has begun to look more and more like just another grubby politician, willing to break promises and compromise his principles to get elected. Labor has already abandoned its principles on refugees. Now it has caved in on climate change too.

The way this decision leaked was telling. As Laura Tingle pointed out on Sky News last night, the announcement was badly mishandled. The Prime Minister's performance in his doorstop press conference was terrible. He looked tired and irritable. He mumbled. It was a far cry from the confident, pleasant persona of Kevin07, or even the recent health debate with Tony Abbott.

Paradoxically, this decision might just be good news in terms of Australia's future climate change policies. The Greens will almost certainly control the Senate in the next Parliament, meaning Labor will have no choice but to negotiate with them on each and every bill it needs to pass. So if Labor does move an ETS bill after the election, the resulting policy will have to be stronger, featuring tougher targets than the risible reductions proposed by this CPRS.

That is, assuming Labor wants to pass a emissions trading bill at all. Perhaps it doesn't.

In the meantime, Big Carbon is laughing all the way to the bank.

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calyptorhynchus
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 13:39

I agree, it just sucks on every level.

Some greens I know are happy that this particular scheme has failed because they don't like emissions trading. I agree, emissions trading is compeltely shonky. What we need is a carbon tax. But as the Greens pointed out the mechanism for auditing carbon dioxide emissions could be used for either the ETS or a carbon tax, and so it's a tragedy this opportunity to introduce it has been lost.

What would have been a smart thing to do, if the ETS couldn't have been passed, would have been to set up the mechanism to audit carbon dioxide emissions and publish the data, without using it in any ETS or carbon tax scheme, so people would know which industries and which firms are the largest emitters.

Kim Hart
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 14:53

I think you may be dreaming when you say the climate change was a centrepiece of the ALP election platform. There was only one centrepiece which was Work Choices. It is a lot easier to terrify Howard's battlers with the threat of losing their jobs and working conditions, than with something as easily overlooked in their daily lives as climate change. What Rudd did wheel out was a Greens appeasing policy which brought them valuable preferences. Now it has served its purpose and Mr Abbott has successfully sold the CPRS as 'a great big new tax' the issue is dead to Rudd. He is afraid that the Coalition will use the CPRS fear campaign in the same way as he used Work Choices.
I believe those on the very left may be waking up to the fact that this guy is completely self serving and when it comes to matters of his (apparent) conviction completely spineless.
The big question is who will the Greens hand preferences to this time around? I would bet that history will repeat itself.
By the way calyptorhynchus makes a valid suggestion.

Marilyn Shepherd
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 15:42

The greens though voted with liberal and so did the imbecile Xenophon and the moron Fielding.

I don't know what the media in this country are any good for but it ain't their rivetting analysis of anything at all.

When you keep hitting your head against a brick wall the only thing you get is a headache and Fielding is in the senate until next July, when Minchin will also be gone along with some of the other dinosaurs.

martyns
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 17:13

I sense a certain sadness in Ben's article, Kevin Rudd promised a lot when he came into office two years ago.It feels like a long, long time since then. As he had been a diplomat I thought Rudd would be a good negotiator, but unfortunately it wasn't so. Just about everything he's undertaken has gone pear shaped. Ben mentions Obama and compares him to Rudd. Sadly the American president of whom Rudd increasingly reminds me is Jimmy Carter. Some people have "got it" and some people don't. Sadly Kevin Rudd doesn't seem to have what it takes. A Keating would by now have chewed up Tony Abbott and spat the remains out all over the country. As you say Ben, people who vote Green 1 cannot necessarily be relied on to give their second preference to the ALP, although Rudd is probably safe whilst the Tories are (mis)lead by Abbott.

David Grayling
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 17:14

Kevin Rudd would never be advised to participate in porn movies given his record in Government.

In porn movies you have to deliver on your promise time after time. Taking a rain-check halfway through each act is just not good enough!

K Rudd
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 17:52

My fellow Australians.

Climate change is "the great moral challenge of our generation"!
I make no apologies about that!

But what you whiners need to understand is the fact that I am confronted with the most medieval opposition yet. A Mad Monk who believes in the Apocalypse the subjugation of women and the formation of the Abbott Youth: "hi-ho, hi-ho!".

In politics one must be politically astute: why flog a dead horse of an opposition? (Unlike my Melbourne Cup tip!) Why push a shit-storm uphill?

Calm down folks: we'll get to it. But only once we amend a decades worth of health and education short falls first and, ahem, shortfalls in our ETS proposition...

We tried: but someone (?) voted those prehistoric fools in!

Vote me in the Lower House: Vote Greens in the Senate! Don't completely rebel!

p.s. I must win the next election or our Unemployed Youth will be sent to the Mines and other concentration camps and where will be your climate change hopes then?

p.p.s. Dear Ben, I appreciate your earnestness, t'is felt by all sentient beings.
But it wouldn't be the greatest moral issue, if it wasn't left for the people, themselves to resolutely decide!

Hence I informally announce a strike to take place on 21st of September: my birthday!

Lets save the World! (I'm in with the Clinton's) Australia let your voice be heard!

Speed
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 22:16

When the emissions trading scheme was first proposed, it did appear that the Greens' demands were more compatible with the scheme drafted than the Liberal Party's demands. However, such a Bill would not have been passed by the Senate.

The Senate that considered the ETS was was not the Senate of 1993 that blocked the Keating/Dawkins budget. It was the Senate elected in 2004. The Coalition had a majority. In Howard's final term, he could expect to get any Bill through (except when Joyce didn't follow National Party lines).

Once Labor gained control of the House of Representatives in 2007, they still needed the Liberal Party's support or the National Party's support to get a Bill through the Senate. They were repeatedly accusing the coalition parties of stalling progress, be it the repeal of Work Choices or the stimulus package. The talk of a double-dissolution election persisted from 2007-2010 because it was the only way that they could hope to pass a Bill if they couldn't get support from a coalition party.

The Labor Party negotiated with the Liberal Party over the ETS because that was the way most likely to get the Bill passed. While the Liberal Party might have ousted Turnbull because they couldn't agree to pass the Bill, other parties voted uniformly against this incentive to reduce emisssions. Once Turnbull was gone, all that Labor could do was to accuse the other parties of lacking morals, hardly a way to win a double-dissolution election.

Marilyn Shepherd
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 03:00

Psssssst. Most of the world is broke, who would we trade with?

Or is that consideration a bit too ordinary?

1 billion people are starving and we are still whinging about pissant nonsense.

thirra
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 08:13

The CPRS was a dog.It was a sop to the section of the population who like to be politically correct environmentally but do not have a clue what Australia really needs to do for effective action on carbon pollution.After all,that would require real sacrifice and we can't have that.

At the same time the CPRS was a method of allowing Big Coal and other major polluters to continue BAU and be even more subsidized by the community at the same time.

The Greens had a good suggestion for an interim carbon tax.That was not taken up by the government for the reasons described above.

The coming election will likely see Abbott as PM if for no other reason than the increasing contempt that a lot of voters feel for Rudd.No matter how well the Greens do in the Senate that still leaves the global heating issue in the too hard/deniers camp.There are plenty of those happy campers in both the Labor and Liberal parties.

At present I can't see any other longer term outcome than the "We are Toast" scenario.

Marilyn Shepherd
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 13:48

What I have not seen in any of the media is any acknowledgement that things have changed so drastically in the last three years that even if we started the ETS when we wanted there would not be anyone to trade with.

What is the point then? They would be sending the taxes and trade around in ever shortening circles and achieving nothing.

It has always had to be global and with 2 billion hungry people on the planet the rich countries were and are playing games that would further penalise them.

Do grow up parochial little people and have a look around the world.

In the words of Tony Abbott - shit happens, and in this case it was and still is a global recession.

Just because we avoided that recession ourselves most of our trading partners did not.

It's entirely pathetic reading the Australian media whining about broken promises when there is no money to pay for the rich world indulgences like hundreds of child care centres that we don't need, and the media beat up over the insulation scheme stopped a perfectly good program.

Honest to goodness, grow up.

Frank Campbell
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 14:05

"Unlike Barack Obama, who, when faced with a difficult healthcare bill and sliding opinion polls, decided to rally the troops and press on for a redoubtable victory, Rudd played safe. Climate was taken off the public agenda, to be replaced by health reform..."

Someone mention Obama? The same Obama who failed to mention climate change in Kerry O'Brien's interview the other day? The Obama who did a Rudd on climate before Rudd?

It's just as well the ALP isn't listening to Eltham: "Strategically, Labor’s next error was to abandon climate as an election issue".

This "error" was essential. AGW cult belief and its analogues have been declining steadily since 2006. The ALP read the poll trend. The vast ETS rortfest was narrowly avoided. Likewise, Turnbull's execution was essential for the Right. Under Turnbull, the Coalition would have been colonised by Rudd's ETS agenda.

So don't cast around for media or political scapegoats- it's the electorate.

You can also be sure that the Greens won't be rewarded for "holding the high moral ground on climate" (can't you see the clue in the word "moral", Mr Eltham?). They'll just continue to get their usual vote.

The obtuseness of most Left commentary stems from wishful thinking/sanctimoniousness/hysteria over "climate". Eltham's piece here is a case in point.

Fiona McColl
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 14:06

To relegate climate change into a primarily political issue is to miss the point - none of the parties are any better than the others - any 'choice' is based on the best of the worst. Increasingly this non-voting, vote is pragmatically unworkable.

I suggest a unilateral vote of 'Political Non-Confidence' and a revisioning of global, country, community, personal accountability to create change. We're wasting valuable time pretending any of these parties are going to roll up their shirt sleeves and get dirty around climate change.

mbolan
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 14:31

This raises the question of whether our governments can actually achieve anything at all any more.

Local, State and Federal systems are rife with failures which are causing us all to pay more while suffering degraded services. (Tax system, MDB rescue, batts, public transport, health care etc etc)

Our politicians talk big, make lots of promises but cannot deliver. The Howard politicised public services are progressively less inclined to argue with politicians so most of our government 'initiatives' are based on fantasy. The ETS was just one example.

The ETS was always an administrative and financial 'scheme' that itself couldn't possibly reduce emissions. Instead it created disincentives for Australians who were penalised with a massive, bureaucratic money-go-round that diverted funds from new technologies and methods to pump up the size and power of government.

Rudd's not the only fantasist in politics today, and the cheer squad in the mainstream media offers little in the way of critical thinking or the alternatives to political dreams and ambitions.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Marga
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 15:02

The ETS was never an effective weapon to combat climate change anyway. It would have lined the pockets of vested interest people though. It may still do so, if it is re-surrected.

What we need is not an ETS but a carbon tax, and even better: decarbonise Australia (and the world) forthwith. Alas, it looks at the moment, as if there is nothing happening on this front.

Ben thinks that as a diplomat Rudd would be a good negotiator. I see diplomats as smooth and empty talkers, not makers.

Suvendrini
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 15:37

Together with changing the rules on the processing of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, and amending the policy on house purchases by foreign citizens, this is the third major issue on which Labor has danced to the tune of a Murdoch media scare campaign.

Suvendrini

denisaf
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 16:24

I do not know whether to laugh or cry at the ignorance of our political 'leaders'. Perhaps they are so engrossed in their maneuvering and attempting to look in control that they ignore reality. Irreversible climate change is under way so top priority should be given to mitigation of the impact. Even global reduction in the rate of emissions will only slow down what has been set in train. The reduction in our rate will not affect what happens one iota.

There is talk about how Australia should be seen to be doing the 'right thing'. That could be done by promoting understanding that global use of fossil fuels have already initiated rapid climate change and we have no means of reversing that process. That would then tend to focus effort on what can be done to alleviate the consequences. That would be much better than kidding the populace that they can stop climate change.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. David_H
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 16:45

thirra's analysis pretty much sums it up..."At present I can’t see any other longer term outcome than the “We are Toast” scenario"

The question is no longer is there climate change but what to do about it. Rudd and Co have come down firmly on the side of the do nothing camp after a period of ambivalence which should surprise no one especially Ben. What emerges now is a situation where climate change is established as a scientific fact with consequences unknown and public policy to reduce our contribution to global warming non-existent.

Clearly Rudd and Co have sided with the status quo who feel that privilege will protect them and the rest of us can go to hell. Those that think that the CPRS is an attempt to be seen to be doing something miss the point that it also represents an acknowledgement of the risks of doing nothing. Rudd was right when he called it the great moral challenge but it was a test his government would always fail since morality and government are mutually exclusive.

jorey
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 17:46

Maybe we should emigrate to New Zealand. They don't have coal to conflict them, and they have a history of standing up for what they believe in, ie Rainbow Warrior...or maybe we need a New Zealanders to Save Oz political party?

just a thought...

ben.eltham
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 18:46

Frank Campbell

Good to see you back! I'm assuming you are applauding this decision, given that you don't subscribe to the AGW hypothesis?

Oh well, we'll have to agree to disagree. I'll be very surprised if the Greens vote doesn't increase from 2007 levels in inner-city seats, however.

Jungarrayi
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 18:57

Exposing lies and broken promises and incompetence isn't necessarily wingeing. Perhaps it is a duty in "democratic" society. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. The price of liberty is indeed eternal vigilance (not quite sure who said that).
I live on a remote Aboriginal community. Emanating from Darwin and Canberra there is a bright new world: "the Education Revolution" "Closing the Gap" and on and on....
My grandson attends Kormilda College in Darwin. This is one of the very few places where Yuendumu school children can get a secondary education (the secondary programme at Yuendumu School is nothing short of farcical- and please don't interpret this as a criticism of the devoted staff).
Kormilda College parents received a letter advising that the College's Federal Government funding to support the education of remote Indigenous students had been significantly cut. These cuts affect all boarding schools with significant populations of Indigenous students. I suppose they need the money to inspect the pink batts.
What has all this all got to do with the CPRS you ask - not much, but another day another broken promise.

Christopher_M
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 22:35

Rudd doesn't look like a grubby politician, he is one. And he has handed over the moral right to any one other than Tony Abbott - who could offer you three moral rights to choose from and reneg on all of them in an exscrecence of sweat the next day. [ How easy to oppose the unsupportable - he's wasting a dream run by being so dumb]
The farce is that the commentariat still talk in two party terms - where is the gumption of the British election campaign. But The Age, The Australian still conduct all thier polls as though there are only two alternatives. Are we such wimps that we can't consider putting both at the bottom of our ballot papers
Christopher
PS Frank, you must remember, Obama has a sense of humour - he refered to Kev as humble. I think that demolishes your entire thesis if that's what it was.

Alex Njoo
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 22:52

Alex Njoo
Oh my God! Moses didn't come down the mountain with the promised tablets, already the crowd are gathering stones to throw. Ben's hyperbole's full of indignant crap, no solutions just crap. The conventional wisdom in politics is that if a promise is not delivered it's either broken or abandoned. It seems that no one among your readership has heard of The Art of War. Ben, rush to your library and get hold of a copy, you'll find out that what Rudd is doing, backflip or non-core promises etc. etc. Everybody thinks that Rudd is like any other polly. He's not. He works in ways that most of your readers don't understand, nor have they ever encountered such a politician before. Think like a square and you are one. But remove yourself from the comfort of your square and you'll be in the realm of the visionary. I believe that Rudd is a visionary politician. Most of us have judged him as if he's like Howard, Abbott et al. To paraphrase the great I.F. Stone, what do you expect from a country where one half wants to be like the other half?
We've ditched Gough, then Keating, if we ditch Rudd, we don't deserve another chance. Watch this space!

ben.eltham
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 23:44

Alex Njoo:

"Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been associated with long delays."

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Christopher_M
Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 - 08:09

Alex, if you are suggesting that Rudd is being clever, explain how. If you are suggesting Rudd is a visionary, explain in what way. What I see is a grubby politician who was voted in on a platform that included decisive action on climate change. Ross Garnaut offered him the way to do it and he reneged by coming up with a plan that no-one concerned about the impact of climate change could reasonably support.
I can't imagine anything simpler than putting up the Garnaut proposal. Yes, it may have been defeated. And defeated it again but the process would have focussed the national consciousness on 'the greatest moral issue".
What the ALP has successfully done, is the exact opposite- gutless!
Christopher

cherry
Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 - 20:51

When the ETS came in the world was an optimistic place. Then came the great GFC , the climategate email scandals, the rise and rise of climate sceptics thanks to Murdoch and Mockton and Plimer and the disaster of Copenhagen. With the Icelandic volcanic erruption ... end of global warming so we are told( if not acid rain) later. Now, less than 50% of Aussies believe in global warming and of those that do believe less than half would pay more for electricity etc to save the planet. I suspect about 10% of the world would pay more, so what a major task now faces politicians on this vital topic. Rudd and Obama have nowhere to go at the moment. If enough , and I mean enough Australians, are passionate about global warming their voice has been very small. Most of us want and nice glean globe and life as usual thanks.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. bobbeeart
Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 - 23:47

The reason Labor has dumped the ETS is they realise that people have woken to the fact our cost of living would increase dramatically, it was flawed from the beginning in that industries could still pollute and buy some carbon credits , and put up the prices of power ,steel ,aluminium,food etc , also it was noted these credits could be traded on the stock exchange eventually, so corruption would rear it's ugly head and our cost of living go up further, sometimes I wonder if we forget that Labor has always been a high taxing party , Ben Chifley was outed way back , so kevin is just carrying on the tradition .He on other fronts getting away from ETS let the important things lag , indigenous folk are still living like pigs in shit,the Murray Darling issue was never resolved ,on the driest continent in the world they stop states building new dams ,rural health was never a priority and it's bad ,the homeless are still very homeless , in the building game there are still penal clauses ,nothig to fix the casual workers lot, Hume Highway is still not dual carriage all the way , the manage ment of the roof insulation was so poor it had to fail as it did in NZ , the upshot of all this is at the election he is going to pay , he will probably survive as he has a big majority but in my opinion he and his mates have got no idea how to run a country , the worse thing would be though is if Abbott got elected it would be a shamozzle you wouldn't believe ,God help us ! We need it !

tadtietze
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 08:34

The death of the CPRS occurred last last year thanks to the Abbott victory and the collapse of the Kyoto Process at Copenhagen. Rudd has merely had to finally acknowledge that his agenda—of introducing an ineffective, big business emitter-rewarding scheme to create the appearance of "doing something"—was in tatters.

The problem is that the debate is now around what is merely a variation on the CPRS theme or "pricing" carbon: a carbon tax. I am not opposed to this, but when you consider the scale of the problem and how quickly our economy needs to be transformed to meet that challenge, it's a debate around the edges. In a country like Australia we need 80-90% emissions cuts over the next half-century, something that cannot be achieved without massive state intervention to shift to renewables being at the centre of energy production, and things like private transportation being replaced by mass public transit.

How high would a tax have to be even provide the potential incentive for private companies to invest in renewables on the scale needed? Ridiculously high. And would that guarantee investment on the scale needed? Not without total government guarantee—meaning it would be much more efficient (and socially rational) for government to do it directly.

Sadly even the Greens and much of the Left are still entranced by debates over indirect market and taxation measures as well as inefficient subsidies to business when something more fundamental needs to happen. The weird bit is that in the middle of a world economic crisis, this could be a massive driver of job creation. At least some in the UK are looking at this seriously:

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/resources/green_workplaces/green_campaigns/one-...

David Grayling
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 14:07

Alex, I lived through the unfortunate period when Whitlam and Keating reigned. Both men were abject failures.

Rudd is quickly turning into an abject failure. He couldn't run a chook raffle at a country pub. Rudd is a visionary: yes, he sees himself as the head of the American run U.N.

If you're going to appoint 'icons', then use facts rather than mythology!

www.dangerouscreation.com

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 17:53

Good article by Ben Eltham.

Labor was elected in part to "tackle climate change" but has done nothing in its first term - Australia's Domestic plus Exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution actually increased under Rudd Labor (see "Australia INCREASED Greenhouse Gas Pollution in 2008 by 2% over 2007 value": http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/australia-inc... and "Australia's Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution has increased [by about 4.5%] under Labor": http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/australia-s-g...).

Now Labor has stated it will not do anything until 2013 i.e. until the end of its hypothetical second term.

And of course, what it still proposes to "do" in "2013" is an ETS that top climate scientists ans economists say is empirically ineffective, counterproductive and indeed fraudulent (see "Experts: Carbon Tax needed and NOT Cap-and-Trade Emission Trading Scheme (ETS)": http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/carbon-tax-ne... ).

In essence, an ETS means selling something you do not actually have the right to sell, specifically selling licences to pollute the one common atmosphere of all countries on earth (including Tuvalu and Banglaldesh), It is like selling your neighbor's house without his knowledge and in the full knowledge that there is a demolition order out on the property.

255 top US scientists (including 11 Nobel Laureates), all members of the prestigious US National Academy of Sciences [it was my privilege to have worked in the laboratory of one of these great scientists] , have just issued an Open Latter stating unequivocally that climate change is real and man-made man-made - it concludes by stating "The good news is that smart and effective actions are possible. But delay must not be an option" (see "Open letter: Climate change and the integrity of science. Full text of an open letter from 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences in defence of climate research": http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/06/climate-science-open-l... .

However anti-science, pro-coal Labor thinks otherwise.

Pro-war, pro-coal, human rights-abusing Labor has utterly betrayed Labor supporters, our children, grandchildren, Humanity and the Biosphere - ergo, decent folk must vote 1 Greens and Put Labor last.

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.