If there’s one reliable constant in Australian economic policy debate it’s that Judith Sloan and I will be on opposite side. However, she’s picked up my idea of a nuclear “grand bargain”, with the rather striking claim that the carbon price side of the deal is already done
Interestingly, professor John Quiggin, a left-wing economist, has given his blessing to the introduction of nuclear power in Australia. He does this on the condition that a carbon price also be introduced, which he sees as a necessary prerequisite to make nuclear power cost-competitive.
The good thing is that we already have a (shadow) carbon price, given our Paris emissions reduction commitment. Estimates put a figure of $90 a tonne on the carbon price by 2030. This part of the bargain is already in the locker
The unstated premise here is that the government will do whatever is necessary to meet our Paris commitments, without reliance on accounting tricks, and with a path to further decarbonization. If I could be sure of that, I’d be happy to support removing the legislative ban on nuclear power.
Sadly, I don’t think there is any reason to believe that the government has any coherent thoughts at all on energy policy. Angus Taylor’s absurd claim that the Sydney City Council spent $15 million a year on air travel is enough to show that he is both innumerate (a minute’s thought would have shown that this would require every gardener and office worker in the council to get an overseas trip each year) and more concerned with culture war than with policy outcomes. This is par for the course – Abbott provides the template, and Morrison fits it perfectly.