Sunday, December 14, 2008

Will Kevin Rudd be a coal eating surrender monkey?

The Rudd Labor government is set to releases it's much awaited target for greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020. What will will it be?

We have some some clues.

Rudd said on The 7.30 Report last week.

The second point I would say is this: is that this Government is determined absolutely to get the balance right. We understand the need for decisive action on the environment long term. If we fail to act there, the economic and environmental consequences for Australia are horrendous, as they would be globally. Secondly, we intend, also, in framing our approach to the carbon pollution reduction scheme to be entirely mindful of the difficult economic circumstances Australia and the world is facing as well. And I’m sure when this is delivered, early next week, we’ll get attacked from the left, from the right, we’ll get attacked by various radical green groups saying that we haven’t gone far enough because we haven’t closed down the coal industry by next Thursday.

So the governments PR tactics in dealing with climate change are revealed:

1. Frame the debate so that anyone who says Rudd’s weak target is weak is “a member of a radical green group trying to close down the coal industry”

Like Governor David de Kretzer, Professor Karoly, Al Gore, Malcolm Fraser, Arnold Schwartzeneggor, Barack Obama, Ban Ki-Moon, Prince Charles and Rupert Murdoch etc?

2. Make a token gesture towards renewable energy

Kevin Rudd announced today that the government would "bring forward $500m funding for renewable energy".

But he and Peter Garrett will keep the class warfare going with the cap on the solar rebate, and allow the dog’s breakfast of mostly woeful state Clayton’s feed-in tariff legislation to proliferate.

Whenever I hear the world “balance” from the government, I get a shiver down my spine.

Balance the wishes of the coal eating rent seeking surrender monkeys against the probable loss of the Great Barrier Reef, 3m sea level rises, and ice free (and 5 degree hotter) summer Arctic and no more snow in Australia?

This is not balance, this is capitulation and gross negligence.

The target? My guess is Rudd will come up with a 2020 target of a reduction of 10% (+/-5) and may even be audacious/hypocritical enough to also announce a long-term “aspirational” non-binding target of limiting greenhouse gases to 450ppm.

When we need a 40% by 2020 target, and to reduce GHG from the current 380 to 350 or lower.

Al Gore hit the nail on the head in Poland:

"We can’t negotiate the facts. We can’t negotiate the truth about the situation. And for those who are too fearful to finish, it can be done and must be done. Make sure we succeed, . . . It is wrong for this generation to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every future generation."

And overseas:
  • European Union leaders in Brussels have juest set targets for EU greenhouse gas emissions reduced to 20 percent lower than 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger has set the following targets for California: 2000 levels by 2010, 1990 levels by 2020, 80% below 1990 by 2050

The problem with Kevin Rudd's Labor government is that they are:

  • Not listening to the Australian people who want immediate reductions in emissions
  • Captive to big business and industry - delivering a weak ETS that won't reduce emissions
  • Playing russian roulette with our environment (reef, Kakadu, snow, water for major cities, bushfires)
  • Neglecting obvious energy efficiency opportunities that can immediately reduce emissions and save us money
  • Propping up our high emissions motor industry rather then legislating for a transition to clean electric cars
  • Allowing the ongoing destruction of Australia's native forests resulting in emissions of up to 1000 tonnes per hectare, rather then protecting them immediately
  • Deliberately ignoring the latest science that now indicates we are in a climate emergency (Hansen, etc)
  • Playing politics and looking for weak compromise solutions when we need emergency action on emission reductions to ensure a safe climate future.
  • Once again consigning Australia to being a climate laggard, not a global leader.
And of course Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals are no better, and actually still even worse - they have more climate change denialists/delusionists in their ranks.



BeyondGreen said...

Of the money we have seen thrown around thus far let me ask you this, that 168 billion that our country borrowed to give away to us in the form of an "economic stimulus package" ...did it do a darn thing to create jobs or stimulate our economy? NO, nothing. And we borrowed the money from China.

This past year the high cost of gas nearly destroyed our economy and society. More people lost jobs and homes as a direct result of that than any other factor in our history.

Fannie and Freddie continue to get all the blame. Of all the homes I have seen lost in my area SW FL and believe me I have seen many, none were due to an adjustable mortgage. They were due to lack of work.

Families went broke at the pump alone. Then added to that most saw record rate hikes at their utility companies. The high cost of fuel resulted in higher production and shipping costs that were passed on to the consumer, in most cases higher prices for smaller packaging.

Consumers tightened their belts, cut back, went out to eat less or stopped totally. Drove around on tires that needed replacing longer, some even quit buying medicines they really need.Unfortunately cutting back and spending less results in even more layoffs. A real economical catch-22.

And, as we are doing the happy dance around the lower prices at the pumps OPEC is planning to cut production to raise prices. They are even getting Russia in on the cutbacks. Oil is finite. We have used up the easy to get to reserves already. It will run out one day.

We have so much available to us. Solar and Wind are free sources of energy. Of course to get the harnessing process set up is somewhat costly it is still free energy.

It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. The electricity to charge the car could be generated by solar or wind at least in part and in most cases totally.

If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv’s instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. What a powerful resources we have neglected.

Jeff Wilson has a profound new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. Powerful, powerful book! Also, if you think electric cars are way out there in some futuristic lala land please check out the web site for a company Better Place. they are setting up infrastructures in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland as well as the state of Hawaii to accommodate electric car use.

I think we need to rethink all these bailouts and stimulus packages. We need to use some of these billions to bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. Create clean cheap energy, create millions of badly needed new green collar jobs and get out from under the grip foreign oil has on us. What a win -win situation that would be for America at large

Anonymous said...

Nothing new here. I've always maintained Rudd and Howard - on economic and environmental policies - are largely the same.

Peter Campbell said...

BeyondGreen, thanks for your comments. I agree that government and industry inaction on clean transport options has been a disgrace, in the US and in Australia.

They have completely ignored the obvious need for electric zero emission cars, now they want massive bailouts from taxpayers so they can keep building gas guzzling ones. This would reward their lack of foresight and their incompetence. It would be throwing good money after bad. Having just bailed out the failed world financial system, now governments are considering bailing out the failed world car industry. Is everyone now going socialist? This is really bizzare.

Here is a link to more information on the Better Place electric car network. This is where the car industry should be going. Also have a look at Green cars.

daharja said...

Hi - I'm not even going to comment on how disgusted I am at the 5% announced.

Yes I am.

Disgusted. I'm ashamed to be Australian. Living over in NZ I'm already having to apologize for various Australian crapologies - this is one more of which to be embarrassed. If it gets any worse I won't be able to step outside my door without a paper bag over my head.