August 9, 2009

Emissions Trading Scheme Sunk

The proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) relies on regulations, not on law.

This matters.

It's the same as circumstance surrounded the failed Australia Card in 1987.

Hawke went to a double dissolution election using the senate obstruction of the card as a trigger. Although Labor won the election and was busy setting up a joint sitting of parliament, the tee wee matter of the start-up date for the card blew everything out of the water. The start date was governed by regulation - not law - a regulation that the senate could and would have voted down.

Outcome: ID card abandoned.

The Clerk of the Senate, and the shadow attorney-general are both of the opinion that the same legal defect surrounds the ETS.

It would seem the script Rudd and everyone else had in mind for the next six months or so will undergo on-the-run re-writes. It's not going to play to plan after all.


  1. It's all very confusing, and doesn't inspire much confidence. Even the governments department of climate change website gives very hazy information:

    "When it (carbon pollution reduction scheme) commences on 1 July 2011, it will guarantee that Australia meets its expanded emissions reductions of as much as 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020."

    Maybe I'm being pedantic, but doesn't this statement actually provide no "guarantee" at all? It doesn't say a definitive 25% decrease will be achieved, only "as much as 25%" which frankly could be anything above zero. It's almost like a government legal team has drafted it in such a way to leave a loophole in case of failure.

  2. If the Greens had their way, those wobbly commitments, dressed up as targets, with no technology capable of getting us there, would be double or more Dan.

    Even Kyoto was only about "targets", which, btw, pretty much none of the countries met, while some still managed to increase their emissions. Symbolic signatures, much?

    In any case, the legislation looks like its headed for a dive.

    The Libs are already proposing some "simple" replacement ... argh ... I don't think I want to know the details if Turnbull is coming up with the ideas! His beaut ideas have been a little dodgy lately.

  3. If the Greens had their way Caz, goodness knows where we'd be. I quite like having them in the Senate where they can "keep the bastards honest", and can make efforts to stop the government of the day f**king everything up. But that I think is their limit. Funny how that used to be the job of the democrats in years gone by.

    The whole ETS and the programs associated with it are doomed to fail. Frankly, even though we speak with inspiration about the issues, the bottom line is we don't want anything that may reduce our wealth and quality of life. We simply don't do sacrifice, and any government who makes a "courageous" decision to volunteer it's people for the noble cause is committing political suicide.

    I almost feel sorry for them...almost.

  4. Dan - the Greens no doubt serve a purpose in life, but keeping anyone honest isn't amongst them, they're vocal, yet remarkably passive.

    The Dems (RIP) verifiably served a strong purpose in Oz politics, albeit with sometimes uneven and contentious results.

    If you do a search (scroll down, below the right side navigation links), punch in 'Bob Brown' in the Avatar Briefs search box. The first result will be a post about Bob Brown's political "achievements". Give it a read. Nothing has changed. The Greens are still vocal, passive participants in the political process. They don't get their hands dirty with the hard yards, the hands on work. The Dems did, much to their credit. Australian's, bless 'em, let that era die. Strange.

    "even though we speak with inspiration about the issues, the bottom line is we don't want anything that may reduce our wealth and quality of life. We simply don't do sacrifice"


    Ain't that the ugly truth.

    Let's not forget that the only reason "we" in the developed world are suddenly interested in the environmental welfare of poor black people is because we don't want them invading our shores; we don't want them needing any more help than we already give them. We don't actually care if they die - they already die, by violence or disease or lack of food, tens of thousands by the day - we don't want them to die via rising seas or hot weather if it means we have to, literally, given them a life boat though.