May 4, 2009 – the CPRS trainwreck rolls on…

So, Kevin Rudd came to power on a wave of optimism that – unlike John Howard – he would actually do something about climate change. But what, exactly?  Well, a carbon pricing scheme, since to paraphrase Nixon, we’re all technocratic wonks now.  And after sidelining Ross Garnaut, Rudd and his henchpeople embarked on an insanely complex and something-for-everyone-to-hate round of Green Papers and White Papers, Treasury modelling and so on.  By the end of 2008 the process had run into the sand.  Rebooted (by the persistence of Penny Wong, Climate Change minister) in early 2009, there were then secret negotiations with both the business types (take a bow, BCA) and an elite coalition of green groups (take a bow Southern Cross Climate Coalition).  And so, on this day 8 years ago, the legislation was released.

Here’s what Joan Staples had to say, in an excellent article.

In May 2009 the Rudd government revamped its proposed Climate Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation increasing its target for reduction of carbon emissions from 5% to 25%, but only if there was international agreement – a scenario that appeared unlikely. The ACF (represented by Don Henry who consulted only with ACF President Ian Lowe) together with the WWF, the Climate Institute, ACOSS and the ACTU (making up the Southern Cross Coalition) agreed privately to the change. Their support was used by the government in announcing the change to the public. The Australian reported, ‘The state conservation councils and large organisations such as Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society were excluded from the negotiations, as were the Greens, because Rudd knew they would not compromise on their demands for much higher emission cuts…The outcome is that Rudd has wedged the environment movement, and many conservationists are angry at Henry and Lowe over what they regard as a sell-out’ (Roberts 2009).

Staples, 2012: footnote on page 156

Roberts, G. 2009, ‘Why green leaders backed the carbon plan’, The Australian, 9 May,

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Also on this day –

1989 AMIC Minerals Outlook Seminar at ANU- Exploration Access and Political Power

Massey, M. 1990. Environmental debate tops agenda at coal conference. Australian Financial Review, 4 May, p. 10.

The recent shift in the environmental debate to promote global rather than regional goals is causing alarm among the world’s leading industrialists because of its potential to distort world trade and regional economies.

The impact on Australia is assuming major proportions, with an Access Economics study to be released next week revealing that one-third of almost$40 billion in proposed mining and manufacturing projects are under threat of environmental veto.

Garran, R. 1992. Opposition to exploit resource indecision. Australian Financial Review, 4 May, p 9.

The Federal Opposition will seek to exploit the Government’s embarrassment over its on-again off-again resource security legislation by prolonging debate in the Senate until after Tuesday’s meeting of the Labor Caucus.

2016 Speech by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill at Emissions Reduction Summit

 

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