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Gillard on climate change

I am disappointed that Julia Gillard has said that, although she seeks to take action on climate change, there is a need for a community consensus favouring this action first. The case for claiming this must be based either on the premise that (i) without community support action on climate change is impossible perhaps because of senate obstructionism or (ii) that the Labor Party will lose the next election if it unilaterally pushes a climate change action agenda. 

On the public opinion issue  it is not clear this is a substantive issue. To quote the Lowy Poll:

 “The priority Australians give to tackling climate change remains at its lowest level since this question was first asked in 2007. In 2007, it ranked as the equal-highest foreign policy goal with 75% of Australians saying it was a very important goal….This year a bare majority (53%) said it was very important (56% said this last year). It ranked behind goals like improving Australia’s relationships with its Pacific neighbours (61%) and controlling illegal immigration (62%)….However, a large majority (72%) of Australians agreed Australia should take action to reduce its carbon emissions before a global agreement is reached, but are not prepared to pay much for it….A majority were either only prepared to pay $10 or less extra per month on their electricity bill to help solve climate change (25%) or were not prepared to pay anything (33%, up from 21% in 2008)”.

The case for reform has weakened but it has remained a mile stronger than support for other reforms such as the GST and tariff reform.  Support has weakened since 2007 partly because Australian politicians have displayed ambivalence on this issue – the most coherent declaration of pollie support for an ETS came from Malcolm Turnbull after he was replaced as leader of the Coalition.   This statement coherently argued the case for an ETS.

In small part too the contribution of prima donna economists who disliked the fact that the Garnaut scheme got the gong rather than their own clouded the issue and made it appear controversial when the key issue was to take action.  Economists in their search for novelty and in their inexhaustible desire to promote their own egos damaged the possibility of getting anything done.

The Greens promoted the mantra that the governments’s ETS would do little to benefit the environment because vof grandfathering provisions that provided huge free quotas to the polluters.  This is nonsense – the foolish grandfathering provisions to the electricity sector deserve criticism but the remainder were to the traded goods sector where such concessions make sense.  The Greeens should have supported Labor in the Senate and, failing that, Labor should have negotiated with the Greens to implement a compromise such as a $20/tonne CO2 carbon tax.  Again either of these policies would put Australia a mile ahead in terms of addressing climate change compared to its current position.

The Coalition politicians are a bunch of liars who went to the 2007 poll endorsing an ETS that John Howard had articulated.  When this ETS morphed into the substantially similar CPRS the Coalition saw a short-term political advantage in rejecting their earlier support for the scheme. They are a disgrace that most Australians see as such. The recent collapse in support for Labor followed by an explosion in support for the Greens and a virtually static Liberal count are evidence of this.

Gillard needs to display some moral muscle on climate change and maybe she will if she succeeds in the forthcoming poll.  I’ve said I’ll vote for the Greens in this poll as my protest at the lack of action by the major parties on climqate change. That hurts me every time I watch Bob Brown’s santimonious visage on national TV.  But I cannot see any real alternative.  What probably matters for the tens of thousands of Liberal voters who will be doing this is not my first but my second preference vote.  I’ll give that to my local member if they commit to climate change action irrespective of their political party.

9 comments to Gillard on climate change

  • observa

    Without nukes you need to give it up Harry-
    And without the coal miners bang goes much of that lovely super profits tax to blow on saving us all from the GFC and expensive pink batts, solar panels, windmills and school halls and..and..whatever else those lunar left/greens can dream up. Without it there’d be no working families or a damn sight less of them.

  • hc

    Dealing with coal is a basic issue as Garnaut points out. The world will need to learn to do without it a long way before it is exhausted. Nuclear is probably part of the solution but look at the issue clearly and go for the cheapest, most reliable and least environmentally damaging option. That might be nuclear but don’t wear nukes as a badge of honour.

  • observa

    Not wearing nukes as a badge of honour. Recall I live in the Saudi Arabia of uranium where we ‘smoke but don’t inhale’. I’m still agnostic on AGW after the EAU/IPCC debacle and subsequent but can tell a bloke like Barry Brooks is fair dinkum as he advocates nukes, despite that making him a heretic among the usual. I’m no agnostic on an ETS though and Cope confirmed the veracity of that view if the failure of carbon credit creation and trading hadn’t convinced many beforehand. Kev gets it now no doubt and Julia has learned his lesson with this report-

    “Also yesterday, Ms Gillard left the door open to policy compromise on another of Mr Rudd’s big-ticket issues – climate change… Yesterday, Ms Gillard failed to rule out suggestions that she impose a carbon tax instead of an ETS.”

    James Hansen would approve no doubt and so would I, provided it wasn’t just another big deficit tax grab but traded off other distorting taxes. Short of nukes I can’t see how left/greens will wean us off fossil fuels. I have a 2.1kwatt solar feed-in system on the roof, compliments of a $9.5k taxpayer handout and other power consumers subsidising my tariffs to make the no-risk, after tax return stack up very nicely. However on a cold (coldest since 1983) wet, wintry Adelaide day today that system was putting out 100-150watts while my RC aircon was gobbling more than the system’s maximum output. The aircon’s still going while the solar sleeps at night because the lads at Port Augusta are shovelling lignite furiously, despite all the windmills. In my book that means uranium, carbon or the third world but greenies just can’t see the bleeding obvious. That’s because they don’t matter when and where it counts, but the day they ever do it’ll be the Kevin Dudd rerun all over again.

  • observa

    Mind you Harry it gets harder to remain agnostic as Mann dumps the sexed up Goracle-
    After over a decade of basking in the limelight of being the leader of the ‘Hockey Team’ we now have this pearler-

    “I always thought it was somewhat misplaced to make it a central icon of the climate change debate,”

    But note-
    ‘Professor John Christy, an atmospheric scientist from the University of Huntsville in Alabama, said just a quarter of the current warming is caused by man made emissions.’

    ‘However Prof Bob Watson, a UK Government adviser on climate change, said even if severe global warming is not certain it is worth preparing for the higher temperature projections.
    “What risks are we willing to take? The average homeowner probably has fire insurance. They don’t expect a fire in their home [but] they are still willing to take our fire insurance because they don’t want the risk..’

    Now a UK Govt advisor on climate change would say that now wouldn’t he? But how many of them take out home insurance against being hit by a giant asteroid eh Bob?

    While JoNova keeps asking the burning question- Where’s your hot spot Cookie Boy?

    And as one commenter quotes Cook-
    “So short-term trends confirm the moist adiabatic lapse rate. However, when we look at long-term trends, satellites and weather balloons have trouble detecting the magnified trend. Why? A likely answer is measurement uncertainty. Satellite measurements are subject to long-term biases caused by orbital decay and the cooling stratosphere. Weather balloon data comes with it’s own host of uncertainties. We have few balloon measurements in the tropics, there’s been many changes of instruments and there are known biases due to solar heating.”

    Yet these same Cookie Boys can’t see Anthony Watts same critique of their fast disappearing terrestial thermometers while I’m supposed to believe that coming round to my house, changing some light globes and shower heads, thereby creating some carbon credit forever more to be traded by Morgan Sachs and Co will solve all this?

    The mind boggles Harry!

  • HRT


    I might be missing something here but if we produce just 1.5% of the world’s emissions, what is the rush to do something? I don’t think the planet will notice whether we produce 1.5% or, after a heap of effort and spending, say 1.2%.

    Would it not be better to wait two years or so and then determine if we have to do anything and what, if anything, that should be?

  • observa

    “Would it not be better to wait two years or so and then determine if we have to do anything and what, if anything, that should be?”
    Well this bloke apparently reckons John Howard had it sussed-
    Although even the old maestro might have been a wee bit hasty in responding somewhat belatedly to the doomsayers-
    Which surely begs the question- at what stage of continually pushing out the ‘tipping point’ of AGW, does it all become just another Malthus,…Nuclear Winter, Club of Rome, impending Ice Age, Y2K, etc, etc?

  • observa

    Just a thought, but have you noticed Abbott’s statements on studying the Bible text in schools and aboriginals needing to go to school and get a job (even to the point of just cleaning up the rubbish). Now a while back he’d been pegged as believing AGW is a ‘load of crap’. You’d have to say he’s got a lot more in the armoury now to support that view. Now you don’t suppose he’s just waiting for an election to be called to become the first political leader of a developed country to fight an election on the veracity of AGW and it’s ETS prognosis? He might be tempted if Julia can cobble together a deal with the miners and reckons she’s on a winner. Now wouldn’t that quickly defuse that small win and up the ante for young Julia to deal with. Not beyond the realms of possibility and wouldn’t that put the cat among the pigeons? He’s knocked off one seemingly impreganable PM with his stance already and might believe he can knock off another by upping the ante.

  • observa

    Here’s a conundrum for you Harry (and perhaps for Julia too)-
    How is it possible for Gabo Is to show cooling (and 2 other neutral) when all that CO2 has caused Victoria to warm 0.9 degrees in the last century?

  • I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

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