Opposition propose changes to ETS
There are members in the opposition partyroom who would be happy fighting an election on the ETS. But in agreeing to talk, Mr Turnbull has placed the pressure where it should be -- on the government. At long last we are about to have the conversation that should have been running for months, a discussion on the detail of the ETS.
This will be a difficult discussion indeed for the government because the ETS is immensely complex and the risk is that there are many unidentified devils in the detail.
There is no case for rushing the ETS through parliament because Mr Turnbull does not want to be unfairly accused of opposing the cap-and-trade approach to carbon emissions or because the government would prefer to avoid being bogged down in debates over the detail. It is up to Mr Rudd to justify the legislation, not as a symbol to satisfy voters who want action on global warming. Rather, he must convince us it will work, without costing jobs and exports. The political manoeuvring this week will not be remembered for long but we will all endure the consequences of a flawed ETS.
Unfortunately, given the Opposition's weak position, they have no choice but to try and negotiate the ETS, rather than do the right thing which is to reject it outright. Remember, the ETS will do nothing, repeat nothing, to alter the climate, local or global. Australia contributes just 1.5% to global emissions and even reducing that to zero overnight (i.e. a 100% reduction) would make no perceptible difference to global temperatures, even if CO2 were the main driver of temperature, which is by no means proven.
What we do know, however, is that the ETS will damage the economy, raise energy prices for consumers, lower standards of living, cut thousands of jobs and make Australia less competitive against economies that have chosen not to hamstring themselves with pointless emissions reductions.
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