Cap and Trade not enough for Australian Greens

Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced July 17 that he will introduce legislation this Fall to set up an emissions trading scheme. “The scheme will include maximum practical coverage of emissions sources and sinks, and of all greenhouse gases, a mixture of free allocation and auctioning of single-year dated emissions permits, a safety valve emissions fee designed to limit unanticipated costs to the economy and to business, particularly in the early years of the scheme and recognition of carbon abatement by firms in the lead-up to commencement of the scheme,” Howard said. As such, the scheme represents a culmination of all the hopes of the assorted big business rent-seekers and financial interests that are lobbying for such a scheme to be introduced in the US. Yet it still did not meet with universal acclaim. The Australian Greens condemned it as “electioneering” and said, “There are no science-driven targets, no role for Kyoto and no incentives for renewable energy. After a decade of inaction and active frustration of global efforts, Mr. Howard is delusional about Australia’s global role in forging a new treaty to tackle climate change. This announcement is an indication that if John Howard wins government again he won’t tackle polluters, he’ll give them free permits to pollute and the cheap option of a safety-valve if they exceed their permits. This trading scheme is being designed for polluters, not for the planet.” This provides yet more evidence that the green lobby will not be satisfied with a cap and trade scheme in the US and will push for tighter caps, taxes and other instruments aimed at significant reductions in emissions.