From the moment the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) concept was floated I had an uneasy feeling about it and unlike a lot of recent anti-ETS converts, I have voiced my opposition to this legislation for many, many months. Simply put, I don’t see the logic in trying to help the planet with a tax.
I am what Kevin Rudd would call a “global warming” denier. Actually I am more of a “questioner” but it seems that in Rudd’s Australia anyone who questions his infinite wisdom does not care about the future of the world, is not concerned about well-being of children and throws rock at small furry animals.
However the truth is that I, along with many other people across the blogosphere, simply don’t see the science behind Anthropogenic (human-induced) Global Warming (AGW) as being proven without doubt.
Therefore I believe debate should be still open on the subject and that we should certainly not be rushing through a punitive tax via the ETS before we all fully understand what the nation is getting itself into.
In any case we should be facing the challenges ahead by working smarter and using technology, not by creating a scheme that will generate millions in revenue for accountants and lawyers but do little to solve a number of problems we humans will face as we move further into the 21st century. (some of which I highlighted in Are climate change and global warming dangerous distractions?)
However in Australia there has been very little debate regarding an alternative to the ETS and the questioning of the science behind AGW has been shut down by the Government. Many in the media have also played their part in supporting the suppression of free speech by labelling those who oppose the ETS as people on the fringe with no credibility, or merrily echoing Rudd’s attack on the scientists who don’t fall into line.
It is a sad state affairs when a Luddite like Rudd is allowed to shut down scientific debate. Yet that is what the Australian public has allowed him to do.
But Malcolm Turnbull and the federal Opposition have also failed the Australian people. Rather than actually taking a firm position regarding the ETS they have simply folded and were prepared to vote for a modified form of the legislation rather than face a possible early election. It is irrelevant if Turnbull believes the planet is heating up or not, because the issue at hand is simply do you support a bad piece of legislation or not.
The Federal Opposition should have opposed the ETS from the beginning because:
- It is a punitive and complicated new tax. Do any of us really understand how the ETS will drive up costs? Why hasn’t any detailed economic modelling been debated and analysed?
- Australia should only undertake to reduce CO2 emissions as part of a global framework agreement that makes sense and is practical in nature, not political, and;
- It is flawed. How can you possibly claim the ETS will help save the planet when the coal industry for example will be compensated? This is a little like handing out money to speeding drivers to compensate them for speeding fines and while maintaining you are still interested in road safety.
By the way I am not against the coal industry as such, I am simply highlighting the hypocrisy of saying you are motivated by the desire to reduce Co2 emissions on one hand, but then using taxpayers money to shore up votes in “coal” electorates on the other.
This is why the ETS is flawed; because it is all about politics and it is not an honest and sensible approach toward reducing CO2 emissions. (if in fact we need to do this anyway)
Sadly King Malcolm’s leadership has been shown to be just as ego driven as Kevin Rudd’s. Turnbull simply does not offer the Australian people an alternative Prime Minister, but rather just a different version of Kev07.
Turnbull could have taken the position that no vote would be taken on the ETS legislation until at least after Copenhagen, but instead he appears too stubborn to admit he was wrong and take a new approach.
Of course the Australian public spent months not paying much attention to what the Rudd Government was trying to sneak though under the guise of saving the planet. However suddenly over the last few days talk back radio, online websites and blogs have been flooded with people expressing outrage over the rush to pass the ETS legislation.
On one hand it is good to see people taking a little more interest in what their politicians are doing, however it also illustrates how poorly our media presents all sides to an argument and how many members of the Canberra press gallery spend more time trying to be witty via Twitter as opposed to trying to scratch beneath the surface and encourage public debate on issues.
I don’t think either side of the global warming debate should be happy with the ETS as it stands today nor should anyone be comfortable when any government tries to rush though legislation. The reason the ETS is being pushed so hard is because Rudd knows when the public really understands what impact it will have on them their support for it will plummet.
Isn’t it also amazing that many G-20 leaders have just spent billions (and still are) on projects that create CO2 will be heading to Denmark to talk about reducing the emissions that they have helped create. Truly bizarre.
Personally I hope common-sense prevails and that the ETS legislation will be shelved until the result of the talks in Copenhagen become clear. In addition I would hope that the Prime Minister would encourage discussion around the science behind AGW rather then trying to suppress it, but I am a realist and appreciate that is unlikely to happen.
Finally I nearly fell off my chair the other day when I saw the Prime Minister on television linking the hot weather in some parts of the nation with global warming as if Australia was suddenly experiencing extremes in weather never seen before. Obviously he is not aware of these words from a well known Australian poem first published in 1908.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
From “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar.