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John Passant

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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Labor’s Carbon Pollution Scheme – the R’s fallen out

The Labor Government has released its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill. 

A more appropriate title might be the Carbon Pollution Scheme. The R’s fallen out.

What is CPRS? Liz Walsh from Socialist Alternative described it this way in her article The great carbon trade scam:

Carbon trading creates a market in which companies buy and sell pollution credits. The most widely used scheme is the “cap and trade” system: a cap on total emissions is established by government, permits to pollute are distributed among industry up to that cap and the “invisible hand” of the market supposedly finds the cheapest way to meet it.

Setting a price on carbon, the theory goes, gives polluting companies an economic incentive to reduce emissions. If companies produce below their carbon allocation, they can sell their permits on the carbon market. If companies produce over their quota, they are penalised because they need to buy carbon permits from those who have produced below their target.

Carbon trading thereby reduces action to avert the enormous threat that climate change poses to a cost-benefit analysis. It is symbolic of our sick capitalist society which prioritises profits above all else.

So CPRS relies on the market to fix a problem created by – the market! Ingenious.

After all, the market has been such a resounding success of late in solving the problems of the financial and productive sectors of the economy, problems it itself created. Who can doubt the market will be even more successful in reducing greenhouse gases?


Rudd Labor’s CPRS is not just a cap and trade scheme. It is a floor and trade scheme too. 

This means that the more individuals and households reduce their carbon footprint the more the big polluters can pollute. 

I suspect this is the rationale behind Rudd’s promise of pink batts in every roof. As households reduce their greenhouse gas emissions courtesy of the pink batts, the coal fired power stations can buy more Pollution Permits. 

And where the initial Pollution Permits are given to the polluters for free, there is a massive transfer of wealth to them for their polluting activities.

Look at the European Emissions Trading Scheme (similar to our CPRS scheme.) Greenhouse gas emissions went up in the years after it was introduced.

The proposed 5 to 15 percent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 (depending on what the rest of the world does) is a joke. It won’t reduce greenhouse gas levels to the level even the conservative economist Ross Garnaut recommended, and his targets themselves were pretty poor.  

Kevin Rudd has said that CPRS will only decrease the rate of growth of carbon pollution in its first five years of operation, not reduce the level at all.

A real alternative would be to develop green jobs immediately through massive public spending on urban and inter-city (free) transport, on solar, wind and other energy sources, energy efficient homes and a range of other possibilities I am sure readers can suggest.  (See too the post on this site called Create climate change jobs and save the planet).

To delay is to deny.  For example James Hansen argues we are moving into a tipping zone where change soon will be irreversible. He says we must start immediately to reduce emissions to 350 parts per million. 

Garnaut’s target was 550 ppm, and Labor’s CPRS won’t even reach that.

This green jobs program needs to start now. But the Rudd Labor Government will only take real action around green jobs and green energy sources if we force them. 

Let’s mobilise for a new world. 

I hope to give a more detailed analysis of Labor’s Carbon Pollution Scheme once I have read the material in detail. For those interested in the Exposure Draft of the CPRS Bill released on Tuesday, the Government Commentary contains a general outline of the provisions.  Read that first.



Comment from Sparkyq
Time March 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm

The sooner Australians wake up to the fact that Rudd’s CPRS scheme has nothing to do with the reduction of emitted GHGs, the better. It is all about setting up another commodity trading market. The average australain household will be forced to pay for this folley through higher prices on everything.

Attendance at a recent south east asian conference on Climate change was very light on scientists, the majority of attendees were financiers looking to invest money for carbon credits.

Another stock exchange type trading scheme will do precious little for the environment, but it will do a lot to help pad the pockets of traders.

Comment from John
Time March 11, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Thanks Sparkyq.

Good point.

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