Howard Commits To Carbon Trading, Emission Targets And The Reality Of Climate Change
So John Howard has finally, officially recognised that climate change is going to cost Australia a lot of money, houses and jobs in the decades to come, and that his absolute stubborn refusal to set up a carbon trading system has already put us behind many other industrialised nations of the world.
Howard huggers are mortified that their glorious leader has fallen victim to the "global warming hysteria". But he hasn't, of course. Howard has just finally relented to the four year old calls from Australia's biggest corporations to get on board the carbon trading world currency wagon, and awoken to the reality that if Australia doesn't go along with the rest of the world they will punish us brutally with trade sanctions and boycotts sometime in the future.
Howard has, as always, a not-so-hidden agenda in his announcement yesterday that his government will actively pursue setting up a carbon trading system and also eventually set emissions caps and targets. The not-so-hidden agenda is that Howard will use his sudden "I'm A Believer" status to push nuclear power, at the expense of a new industrial age of nationwide renewable energy rollouts. We also now learn that Howard can over-ride the states and force them to take nuclear reactors, even if every single person in that state doesn't want such a thing.
Here's the news.
From the ABC :
The Prime Minister's carbon emissions task force says a trading scheme could be up and running by 2012, and efforts to cut emissions will lead to higher energy prices.
John Howard received the report of his task force yesterday, but has not made the findings public.
The ABC understands the report recommends a cap and trade system, in which polluters are issued permits and trade them according to their emissions.
Companies could buy pollution permits if they cannot keep their emissions under a certain level.
The report says the system would take four years to develop.
Setting a carbon price would be up to the market, and instead of recommending a target of greenhouse gas reduction the report simply urges the Government to take a cautious approach.
It says the setting of goals should be done with great care and more research.
But for consumers there is a sting in the tail.
The study warns cutting emissions has a cost: higher energy prices.
It should come as no surprise that Howard has basically allowed the corporations that use the most energy and produce the most carbon emissions to shape the next few decades of Australia's involvement in carbon trading and emissions reductions. The beauty of a system designed by the biggest energy users and carbon emitters is that they won't actually have to use less energy or reduce their emissions, not in the short term anyway. They can pay their way through their climate changing 'pollution'....or that should, You Will Pay Their Way.
They will set the agenda, and the public will pay. It's that simple.
They have billions invested in their companies and projects, you see, so you can't expect them to lose even one dollar while this slow but steady transformation of how Australians get their energy takes place.
To be clear. The biggest carbon emitters and energy users will not lose one single dollar. But you, yes you, You Will Pay.
Nobody is even trying to deny it.
From 'The Australian' :
THE Coalition has signalled its willingness to accept a long-term target for cutting greenhouse gases as John Howard readies today to receive a task force report on emissions trading.
As Labor attempted to trump the Prime Minister yesterday by promising to create an emissions trading system by 2010, Mr Howard last night gave his strongest indication yet that the Government was prepared to adopt a target to cut emissions.
"If we move towards an emissions trading system, that will as a necessity involve a long-term target of some kind," Mr Howard said.
The Coalition has long resisted setting targets for cutting greenhouse gases, criticising Labor for adopting its target of a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 without detailed analysis of its likely effect on the economy.
Mr Howard's signal that he was now prepared to adopt a longer-term emissions target came only hours after playing down the prospect in parliament.
Only hours? It used to take weeks, if not years and months, for Howard to backflip this spectacularly.
Soon he will be down to backflipping in minutes, and then seconds.
By the time the election rolls round, Howard will be backflipping on policies he hasn't yet announced yet.
Opposition leader Kevin Rudd has had a pretty good idea, for weeks, of what the prime minister is going to announce this weekend, about how his government will deal with carbon trading and emissions reductions, and Rudd knows the public is with him instead of Howard on these issues.
So Rudd jumped the gun on Wednesday night and announced the first stages of his own anti-climate change policies, and successfully managed to steal most of Howard's momentum :
So what brought all this on? What made Howard change his mind about climate change, when only a few months ago (hell, even a few weeks ago) he was denying it was even a reality, and mocking those who feared for their families' futures, and the future prosperity of Australia?
John Howard's expected announcement of a carbon emissions trading scheme has been gazumped by the Federal Opposition who last night outlined their own plan.
In a series of statements, Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd said a federal Labor government would increase the use of green electricity in government buildings and hand $50 million to geothermal companies to develop "hot-rock" technology.
John Howard will today receive a much-anticipated task force report on climate change and is believed to be poised to announce a long-term target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as early as today.
Mr Rudd said a Labor government would lead by example, using its enormous purchasing power to drive markets for cleaner and greener goods and services.
All commonwealth buildings would be forced to meet the five star mark of the Australian Building Greenhouse Ratings - including Parliament House.
He said Labor would aim to power the House with entirely renewable energy.
"Every year the commonwealth government spends hundreds of millions on energy to power its offices and its operations, generating over a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Rudd said.
Labor's environment spokesman Peter Garrett said the funding for exploration of hot-rock energy would help the burgeoning industry over the hurdle of high costs for drilling rigs in the current mining boom.
Geothermal or hot-rock energy is produced by drilling deep wells into naturally hot rocks, cycling water through those wells to heat the water which then drives a turbine.
"Geothermal energy holds the promise of being a renewable energy source with zero greenhouse gas emissions that can operate 24 hours a day providing critical baseload power for Australian homes and industries," Mr Garrett said.
It was the polls, of course, and perhaps some 'international influence'.
Howard had lost at least half of his voters to Rudd over climate change in a matter of months. The vast majority of Australians believe climate change poses a far bigger threat to their lives, and livelihoods, than terrorism.
That was shocking news to Howard & Co. After all, they had spent hundreds of millions of dollars since 9/11 trying to scare the living shit out of all Australians about the potential terrorists in their midst, of whom, few if any, so far have be proven to anything more than a bunch of racist, fascist idiots who talk big into police-bugged telephones.
But Australians grew bored with all that Howard fear-mongering about terrorism, when nothing exploded. They clearly preferred Al Gore-style fear-mongering about climate change instead.
And so John Howard learned in the most brutal way just what will be the decisive election issue later this year when Australians cast their vote.
But Guess Who Else Just Became A Climate Change True Believer?
Of course, Howard's change of heart and mind on climate change has nothing at all to do with this equally spectacular, and spectacularly sudden, reversal from President Bush :
President Bush, seeking to blunt international criticism of the U.S. record on climate change, on Thursday urged 15 major nations to agree by the end of next year on a global emissions goal for reducing greenhouse gases.
Bush called for the first in a series of meetings to begin this fall, bringing together countries identified as major emitters of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. The list would include the United States, China, India and major European countries.
''So my proposal is this: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce the most greenhouse gasses, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.
''Each country would establish midterm management targets and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs,'' he said. ''In the course of the next 18 months, our nations will bring together industry leaders from different sectors of our economies, such as power generation, and alternative fuels and transportation.''
Welcome to the Change Climate Change Party, Mr Bush and Mr Howard.
You're a bit late, but they'll probably still let you inside. After all, per head of population, Australia and the United States lead the world in pumping out the carbon.
In less than twelve hours, both Bush and Howard gave their thumbs-up to the eventual rollout of the new world currency : global carbon trading credits.
Surely it's all just some huge coincidence. Right?
November, 2006 : How Howard Left Australia To Go Begging On The New World Carbon Trading Economy
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