For a brief period after the election of the Rudd government, Australia wasn’t right at the rear of the pack in the race to cut emissions of CO2 before irreparable damage is done to the global environment. The ratification of Kyoto and a strong performance at Bali deprived both the Bush Administration and would be backsliders in Japan and Canada of a crucial ally.
But, with the release of US plans for cuts in emissions, and the deplorable 5 per cent target of the CPRS (with a conditional maximum of 15 per cent) we are now further behind than ever.
Its obvious now, that even the watered down CPRS will never get the support of the Libs/Nats. And its hard to see the Greens settling for the quarter loaf on offer here. So, it’s time for the government to do a drastic overhaul of the legislation and come back with something serious.
The idea that we could just decide that it’s all too hard is untenable, and not merely in terms of environmental responsibility. Just like the EU, the US is now talking about carbon tariffs on non-complying countries. Some commentators think the WTO will stop this, but it’s equally likely that by declaring carbon dumping to be an unfair trade practice, the WTO may judge it can divert other protectionist pressures.