Thursday, August 13, 2009

First defeat of bad climate change legislation

Today the Australian Senate is expected to knock back the government's key climate change bill, which sets up an emission trading scheme.

The scene would then be set for a re-introduction of the bill in November, potentially to be followed by a double dissolution snap election.

The opposition, scheduled to knock it back ostensibly via a raft of amendments, is opposing the bill for the sake of opposing. The government doesn't have the numbers in the Senate unless the Greens are on side.

Which they're not, because the bill is a thorough travesty. Despite Al Gore's backing (on the basis that taking something to the end of year climate change conference is better than nothing), this bill is seriously regressive.

Under the bill, large polluters are obliged to cut back carbon emissions, but any action by individuals means the large corporations don't have to do as much. In effect, individual action only benefits the corporations (see Ross Gittens here). In fact, this encourage people to engage in greater carbon polluting activities, simply to force the corporations to become more energy efficient. After more than a decade of paying higher electricity prices for green energy, as soon as the bill is passed I should move to brown electricity (as Gittens points out).

Kevin Rudd should be thoroughly embarassed to present such a perverse message to Australians.

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