Sunday, July 27, 2008

What is wrong with an ETS?

For those of you outside of Australia, the current political hot potato over here is the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Let's face it, our earth is going to hell one degree at a time and a properly implemented ETS would be a great step toward a sustainable future for our country. That, and investment in Geo-Thermal energy *cough*.

As the government wrangles out the details behind a proposed scheme, the political moves behind the scheme make for some interesting political grandstanding.

You see, the former Liberal government (which is now in opposition with a new leader...Malcom Turnbull I think his name is?) at the last general election was trying to limit the damage from being an 'ungreen' party by stating that its aim was to introduce an ETS from the get-go.

Now, the Liberal Party is opposing any implementation of an ETS until at least 2010. For a piece of legislature that is already 10 years too late, that's a big call.

So why this seemingly anti-green stance?

Well, the shadow government is keen to paint Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong (Environment Minister) as populists keen to inflate their own egos without consideration to well-drafted legislation.

On the Sunday program today, Malcom Turnbull accused the government of rushing out this legislation in order to capitalise on pro-green sentiment.

He has a point.

You see, very little detail has come out regarding the finer points of the ETS, and the government has done a very good job of keeping the Australian public in the dark.

"This new ETS is good for the environment, that's all you need to know"

Yet, the government has stated the ETS would be modeled on the somewhat (from an Aussie POV) successful ETS started in Europe. The fact is, the ETS probably will be good for the environment, after a few learning difficulties.

Mr Turnbull said the government had adopted a 'wait and see' approach to climate change. He said they wanted to wait to see the outcomes of the next US Election and the next environment conference in Copenhagen to gauge whether or not it would be worth the trouble.

The shadow government's reasoning being that without China and India on board, any efforts to change would be fruitless and end up costing Australian taxpayers an arm and a leg.

At this point, Mr Turnbull grew thick eyebrows as they went back to that old stance of 'Those furriners are costing our battlers money'.

So the tactic from the shadow government is to aim squarely at the hip pocket of the Australian voter and to paint the Labor government as pie-in-the sky idealists without a sense of economic reality.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The question remains, would a rushed ETS now be better than an fully thought out ETS further down the track? Can our planet afford to take another one for the team?


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