Part 1: Labor’s climate policy – moving backwards, fast

August 17, 2010 at 11:58 pm 2 comments

This is part one of our special 2010 federal election climate policy series. Part 2 is here, and part 3 here.

It’s all very confusing. So many schemes, funds, initiatives and flagships. Taking money from this one to pay for that one. So here’s a straight-talking summary of Labor’s climate policies, including previously announced schemes.


A Big New Focus Group (BNFG)

Labor’s most immediate and pressing climate change measure is to hold off on pricing carbon until after they open the phone book at random pages, point to 150 names, and have these people represent the general population (hang on, isn’t that what politicians are for?) then let them talk about the science (!!!) and the policy options (???) so they can come to a consensus. Over a period of twelve months. Come on, it’s only going to cost 9 million dollars! Money that would otherwise be supporting renewable energy development, since it’s coming out of the Renewable Energy Future Fund.

Has 150 random people ever come to a consensus on anything, ever? (Unless by consensus Gillard means a majority agreement, which WE ALREADY HAVE). Don’t worry, because Gillard has indicated the Government won’t necessarily implement whatever consensus the BNFG comes to anyway. Which makes all this for what purpose then? Oh, yeah, so we’ll be a year or so down the track and we still won’t have a price on carbon, but there will have been ACTIVITY, there will be MOVEMENT and TALKING, things are HAPPENING! Only, not really.

Transport initiative – more cars!

What, you were expecting some major public transport initiative that will get cars off the road? Don’t be silly. Labor will pay people $2,000 to scrap their old clunker car and buy a new car! Of course, that’s little help to the people who can’t afford a new car. And lets not worry about all the resources and energy that goes into manufacturing those new cars. And also, we’ll avert our eyes as Labor pays for this from the solar infrastructure program. It’s only going to cost $394 million! That works out at $394 per tonne of carbon dioxide saved. As a fun comparison, a basic emissions trading scheme would save a tonne of carbon for $20. And Australia’s dirtiest power station, Hazelwood, could be closed for under $20 a tonne. So, there’s that.

Plus, Labor will introduce emissions regulations for all new light vehicles. In five years time. And not for heavy polluting commercial vehicles.

A Price on Carbon

You know, to make businesses responsible for their pollution. Sounds like a good idea. When will we get it under Labor? When they get around to it. After the election. And after the Community Consensus. Maybe 2013. And as long as pretty much every other big country goes first. And maybe the small ones, too.

No new coal (just joking)

You might think that was a good idea, to stop building new coal-fired power stations (CFPS), since burning coal is the most polluting way of producing electricity. But, no, under Labor we’ll expand them instead! All 12 new CFPS (I love unwieldy acronyms) currently on the drawing board will go ahead as planned! And all subsequent new CFPS will be subject to “emissions standards” that will block brown coal development, but not black coal. Because that would just be silly. We love black coal, because one day and several billion dollars later we might be able to wash it and make it clean. So all new CFPS will need to be Carbon Capture and Storage ready (CCS-ready). See, Labor even made up a new acronym to describe getting ready for a future technology that we don’t know when it will be ready and is hugely expensive and we don’t even know if it works. Brilliant! I love acronyms.

Oh, and don’t worry, all our brown coal reserves won’t go to waste. Labor just signed a deal to export up to 20 million tonnes of brown coal each year to Vietnam! So we can still keep digging it up and making money from it, and we’ll just call it someone else’s problem!

Other posts in this series: Part 1: renewable energy policies; Part 2: business, forestry, various assorted policies, and some fun target shooting.

– Jane Pike

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Vote Climate icons for Facebook and Twitter Part 2: Labor’s climate policy funding shuffle dance

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