Posts Tagged ‘Australian Labor Party’

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Australia’s Minister for Greenwash

13 February 2013

Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke – or as the Greens call him, Minister Against the Environment – on Monday signed conditional approvals for three new coal and coal seam gas (CSG) mines in New South Wales.

The three projects are Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine (despite Burke having said last week he would defer that decision for months), Idemitsu’s Boggabri coal mine expansion, and AGL’s 110 CSG wells in Gloucester (the first stage of a potential 330-well project). Together, they would result in 47 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. (To make matters worse, on the same day the NSW state government gave conditional approval to BHP Billiton’s Dendrobium coal mine expansion, and on Tuesday the Queensland government lifted a moratorium on shale oil.)

Burke says his decision is intended to cut the NSW government out of the process, after NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher leaked a confidential letter from Burke expressing an intention to approve the three projects. Burke claims his new approvals come with unusually stringent conditions:

For the areas that are not yet resolved, instead of giving a normal approval and say these are the conditions, I’ve said these further issues need to be worked through to my satisfaction before we know whether the project can actually go ahead. So it’s quite – even though it’s just being reported as approvals, it’s actually quite a different set of conditions to what would normally occur. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Liberals Part 4: Australia has a legitimate government

27 January 2013

This is the fourth part of a series examining the Liberal Party of Australia. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 examine the party’s climate policies. This part debunks their allegations that the incumbent government is illegitimate.

Both sidesIllustration: Stephen Wight

There has been a persistent campaign by the conservative Coalition, led by Tony Abbott and his Liberals, assisted by most of the mainstream media, to create the perception that the incumbent Labor minority government, led by Julia Gillard, is illegitimate. Don’t get me wrong: I have a long list of disagreements with the government. But the implication it is somehow illegitimate is simply unjustified. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Liberals Part 3: False crimes of a climate crook

16 January 2013

This is the third part of a series examining the Liberal Party of Australia. Part 1 covers the party’s climate change denial and intention to abolish various existing climate policies. Part 2 examines the climate policies they promise to introduce. This part defends them against incorrect criticisms of their climate policies.

To use language which Liberal leader Tony Abbott might outside of a family program, the Liberals’ climate policy is complete crap. Having said that, its problems do not include some of the things for which it is most often criticized: fiscal impact, directness, and reliance on domestic action.

Fiscal impact

Some commentators (eg. Alan Kohler) claim the Liberals’ policy would have a massive impact on the government’s budget. But there is nothing wrong with the government spending money on addressing the greatest threat facing humanity. Indeed, we should be spending far more than either major party is currently prepared to. The real problem, as I explained in Part 2, is the Liberals would not spend enough. The Emissions Reduction Fund is capped at $10.5 billion by 2020, making it impossible to make sure it meets its target (let alone a more ambitious target). Because the Fund’s current costings depend on achieving 60% of its abatement through buying soil carbon offsets, it is difficult to see how it could make genuine absolute emissions cuts with such a limited budget. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Yes, the Greens do compromise

10 July 2012

Representatives of the Australian Labor Party have repeatedly accused the Australian Greens of being unwilling to compromise. Though this is obviously a self-serving argument designed to shore up Labor’s own support, it is so blatantly false that I felt compelled to set the record straight.

In negotiations with the Gillard Labor Government over climate policy, the Greens made the following compromises (and this list is probably not exhaustive):

  • The carbon price initially proposed by the Greens in January 2010 was a compromise, beginning as a fixed price of $23/tonne (an inadequate price based on a 550 ppm target) to break the deadlock until agreement could be reached on emissions targets.
  • The Greens guaranteed supply and confidence to the Gillard Government in exchange for initiating negotiations on climate policy.
  • The Greens agreed to not only tolerate, but guarantee in law for at least five years, Labor’s ridiculous compensation package, where the highest-polluting trade-exposed industries will get 94.5% of their pollution permits for free, diluting the $23 price to $1.27.
  • The Greens agreed to give free permits to coal power plants, with the only condition being that they continue to operate, effectively locking in their existence for years.
  • The Greens agreed to allow Australia’s emissions targets to be met by international offsets.
  • The Greens agreed to completely exclude transport from climate policy.
  • The Greens have accepted a Clean Energy Finance Corporation which will not be additional to existing policies, which will spend money on fossil fuels and fossil/renewable hybrid technologies, and may be too risk-averse.
  • The best that can be said about the final policies is they are flexible (in contrast to Labor’s original policy, which would have locked in failure), but that flexibility goes both ways.
  • The Greens’ presentation of the agreed policies has made them sound better than they are. Read the rest of this entry ?
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Don’t mention the warming

15 May 2012

The Gillard Labor Government’s stupidity has reached a new low. They have released a new set of climate change ads… which fail to mention climate change. Instead they tell us about the Government’s “Household Assistance Package”:

Assistance for what, you could be forgiven for asking? You wouldn’t know it, but in fact the ad is referring to household compensation for a $23 per tonne carbon price which will come into effect in July. Read the rest of this entry ?