Abbott to let the polluters play

February 9, 2010 at 2:49 am Leave a comment

On February 2, opposition leader Tony Abbott released the Liberal-National Coalition’s climate policy. For the Coalition, just as for the Rudd government, there’s one thing that’s irrelevant to climate policy — climate science. In Abbott’s 30-page document, the global warming crisis doesn’t rate one mention.

Abbott replaces the completely feeble carbon price stick of Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) with an even more futile bribe-the-polluters carrot.

The Coalition claims that over four years, its “direct action” approach can achieve for $3.2 billion what will cost $40.6 billion under the CPRS. It’s a good joke to see the outright neoliberals of the Coalition rejecting market mechanisms.

Both the government and opposition claim their policies will lead to a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Such a reduction is not remotely sufficient to avert catastrophe. And Abbott’s method of bribing the polluters to clean up is unlikely to reach even this inadequate target.

The Coalition policy would pay the big polluting corporations to do what they were probably going to do anyway.

Under Abbott’s plan:

• 20 millions trees would be planted by 2020, while the forest corporations would be allowed to continue to log millions more, including old-growth trees that draw down significantly more CO2 than younger trees;

• The older, most polluting, power stations would be allowed to wind down at their own pace. New coal-fired power stations aren’t mentioned;

• Other big polluting industries would also be free to carry on as usual;

• There is no mention of coal mining or road transport, two of the biggest emitters of carbon pollution;

• 60% of the planned reduction in carbon emission is planned to come from increasing soil carbon, over which there are big debates as to measurement, and where subsidy schemes could open up rich opportunities for rorting.

There is hardly a mention of large-scale industrial conversion to sustainable technologies. The “green shift” under an Abbott government would see tiny increases in energy efficiency, recycling and composting, and modest boosts to “solar energy roofs on homes” and tree-planting.

Like Labor, the Coalition has no serious plan for alternative green job creation in working class communities dependent on polluting industries, such as the La Trobe Valley, Hunter and Central Queensland. Abbott’s climate policy budgets $60 million to develop “Clean Energy Employment Hubs” in these areas.

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Entry filed under: greenwashing, Tony Abbott.

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