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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)



Emissions trading: a pollution and profits bonanza

Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is about profits for the polluters, not cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Liz Ross argues in the latest edition of Socialist Alternative.

Rudd’s done it again! One more broken promise.

Remember when Labor said they’d tear up WorkChoices – well we’ve got WorkChoices-not-so-lite instead and they kept all the “special” laws that strip building workers of any rights.

Then there’s the education non-revolution and now the environment package, a plan that pays billions to industry, keeps Australia’s emissions up there with the worst of the polluters and actually prevents anyone from making a difference!

Climate Minister Penny Wong claims the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is part of Labor’s plan to “support the jobs of today and drive investment in the low-pollution jobs of the future.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth.


First of all, Wong has picked up the totally discredited European carbon trading scheme, then almost unbelievably she’s made it worse.

Carbon trading schemes operate on the basis that if you put a price on carbon, set an emission level for companies, issue saleable permits or credits, then you can just throw it all out there into the market – and hey presto pollution levels will drop.

Well when they did this in Europe, the bosses passed all the costs onto the consumers, made huge profits, while emissions levels increased.

Then after the windfall profits, the market collapsed. Governments had handed out too many permits, so there was a glut causing the price of carbon to plummet and no-one wanted to buy.

Now the market is on the rise and profits of between €23 billion and €71 billion are predicted between 2008 and 2012.

Labor’s scheme does just the same, with the added bonus to companies that it’s going to pay them $9 billion “compensation” for being forced to reduce emissions.

The big polluters stand to benefit in other ways too. For lowering emissions by slightly more than the government’s pathetic 5 per cent target, companies will have permits to sell.

In Britain companies will make up to €15 billion simply through selling-on carbon credits they don’t use themselves

But many in industry won’t even have to cut emissions. As Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute explains:

Under the proposed scheme, if individuals, communities or state governments try to do their bit for the environment, all they will achieve is the freeing up of permits for the big polluters to increase their emissions. Fewer emissions from an individual mean more emissions from an aluminium smelter. Fewer emissions from one state simply mean more emissions from another state.

In other words it’s a scheme that actually prevents anyone outside the polluting companies from doing anything to lower Australia’s total emission levels, or crucially if we are to bring about real change – to put pressure on these companies or the government to do more.

It’s a scheme, Denniss argues, that “locks us into failure”.

Right now – as all the latest figures on global warming are suggesting that we’re passing the tipping point faster than the earlier data predicted, that we are increasingly running the risk of sudden and total failure in some sector of the environment – we need rapid change to the way industry is run, not support for more pollution.

And rapid change to renewable energy and new “green” industry and jobs is more than possible.

A recent report on options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Australia showed that a 30 per cent emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2020 and a 60 per cent reduction by 2030 could be achieved by developing technologies and energy efficiency measures costing only $2.9 billion.

But Rudd’s total package, whether it’s the industrial relations laws, education, or the environment, is not about sustainability, workers lives and jobs, but about making sure that profit triumphs, that capitalism survives come what may.

If we want sustainability, and an end to the crises and workers’ sacrifice propping up capitalism, we’ll have to reject Labor’s total package and fight instead for workers’ triumph over capital.



Comment from Pollution
Time March 17, 2009 at 12:38 am

For the first time, a large study shows the deadly effects of chronic exposure to ozone, one of the most widespread pollutants in the world and a key component of smog, according to a study in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Doctors have long known that ground-level ozone — which is formed when sunlight interacts with pollution from tailpipes and coal-burning power plants — can make asthma worse. This study, which followed nearly 450,000 Americans in 96 metropolitan areas for two decades, also shows that ozone increases deaths from respiratory diseases.

Comment from John
Time March 17, 2009 at 4:08 am

Thanks pollution.

As someone whose childhood asthma came back in mid-life I’d be interested in reading the study.

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