Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Labor policy clowning on climate change

The Coalition has been subject to repeated, venomous attacks from Labor because it refused to sign the Kyoto agreement unless developing countries also came to the party and also made commitments to cut emissions. Developing countries are not required to cut their emissions under the Kyoto agreement until after 2012.

But now Labor has stated that it too will not sign a global climate change agreement after 2012 unless developing countries agree to cut their emissions. Labor has adopted the climate change stance of the Coalition.

Watch for the denials and for the qualifications from the rabid left but this theft of Coalition climate change policy is precisely what has happened.

This development caps off a completely hopeless 24 hours for Labor on climate change issues. After Labor’s ex rock star-cum-environmental spokesman Peter Garrett said that developing countries not signing would not be a ‘deal breaker’ yesterday Labor’s policy was revised to say exactly the opposite today.

Previously the Labor Party criticised the Coalition for not setting firm greenhouse gas cutback targets. Labor went ahead and formulated firm targets – 60% cuts by 2050 – and then selected pro-Labor economics Professor Ross Garnaut to conduct an investigation which would show how large the cutbacks should be. This inversion of commonsense is a bizarre and inept policy move, perhaps designed to derive advantage from the current political situation, but certainly to the disadvantage of Australia. The Coalition are going slower and, sensibly, advocate setting targets once they know the implied adjustment costs.

Labor went on today to set fixed targets for renewable energy production to be 20% of the total by 2020. But where is the analysis and where are the cost estimates? Why not 5% of 15% or indeed 50%. I think the Coalition policy on this one (15% target by 2020) is silly but Labor’s policy is 5% sillier without information on costs and benefits.

Labor policies on climate change are in the hands of populist clowns who don’t have the capacity to think beyond election day.

I have argued that electing the Labor Party will place Australia’s continued economic prosperity at risk. Because Australia has enjoyed 17 years of strong economic performance and currently enjoy high growth, record low unemployment and low inflation some people have come to forget the costs of inept economic management and are pursuing other social objectives. But the Labor buffoons won’t realise these either because they have such transparently inept policy development skills.

There is more to policy than mouthing comfortable clichés about ‘working families’ and there is more to government than just copying the successful rational policies of other parties. Indeed Mr Rudd’s ‘me-tooism’ is a clear endorsement of the value of not voting Labor. The Coalition would not work as policy advisers for a Federal Labor Government so who would design Labor policy?


Mark U said...


I agree with you that Labor's handling of the climate chnage issue has been inept.

But didn't you sign a letter that stated, amongst other things:

"Credible estimates suggest that a 50% emissions reduction is achievable for less than one
year’s economic growth."


"6. Since developed countries are responsible for around 75% of increased greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere, and are in a stronger economic position, they should take the lead in
cutting emissions. It is fair that developing countries should begin reducing their emissions
only when developed countries, including Australia, have led the way.
7. The Kyoto Protocol represents the first step towards a major international effort to deal
with climate change in the long term. The refusal by Australia and the United States to
ratify the Kyoto Protocol is undermining global efforts to tackle climate change."

You now say:

"The Coalition are going slower and, sensibly, advocate setting targets once they know the implied adjustment costs."

Am I correct in saying that your position has changed and you would not have signed that letter if you had your time again?

BTW, I think the characterisation of Ross Garnaut as "pro-Labor" is a cheap shot. Surely what is more important is the quality of his work, which I would expect to be of a high standard.

Anonymous said...

Labor a clowns. Just a bunch of clowns and Rudd is a shallow fool.

Australians will be worse off under these clowns in 5 years time.This is going to be a horror story.

conrad said...

I'm beggining to think that what all these sorts of thing show is that Stern was wrong about discount rates. Many people don't give a shit about the next generation and their children and are not willing to make even tiny sacrifices to avoid future potential problems. They're just no willing to admit that.

hc said...

Mark, I have not changed my view on anything.

This post is about pure hypocrisy - about Labor criticising the Coalition then in effect adopting exactly their policy.

I favour Australian ratifying Kyoto and have long held that view. Australia will realise its Kyoto targets and would lose little by ratifying. There might be some extra pressure oin developing countries to fall in line.

The Coalition will set targets if elected in 2008 on the basis of implied adjustment costs. The rate at which such targets is pursued matters as does their scale. Where does Labor get its 60% cutback by 2050 figure from?

Eventually developing countries must sign an agreement or some other means of effecting cutbacks found otherwise we will be swamped by their emmissions. Cutbacks in developed countries alone will not succeed.

Ross Garnaut works for the Labor Party and is a Labor supporter. Calling a spade a spade. No disrespect to him intended.

Mark U said...

So Harry, where does your 50% figure (by an unspecified date) come from? If 50% means a loss of 1 year's worth of GDP over 40 or so years (as stated in the letter you signed), wouldn't 60% mean only a loss of 1.2 years worth of GDP over the same period?

Isn't the 60% by 2050 the figure set by the IPCC which would be required to prevent dangerous climate change? Seems a pretty reasonable target to me and it is a figure supported by many businesses in Australia.

There are still key differences in the policies of the two parties: (1) Labor has set long-term targets (which you appear to support given that you signed the letter) (2) Labour will ratify Kyoto (which you also support). To my knowledge these are not Coalition policy.

Spiros said...

"The Coalition are going slower and, sensibly, advocate setting targets once they know the implied adjustment costs."

Harry, you are a silly Billy. How can you know the costs of adjusting to a target before you know what the target is?

The sensible thing to do is what the Labor Party is proposing.

First, use the science to determine what the necessary target is.

Then, work out the least cost way of hitting the target. As you well know, this will involve trading in carbon credits. I think this is what you economists call "gains from trade". But we are locked out of doing that because you hero Johnny H refuses to sign up to Kyoto, for no reason other than George Bush refuses to sign up.

Who loses from this stupidity? Australian businesses who are forced into higher cost emissions reductions than they could get if we were a party to Kyoto.

And you say the Labor Party are the policy retards? ROFL.

hc said...

You find out the costs of achieving various targets as a data input into selecting the target.

Yes trade will reduce costs of hitting targerts.

I cannot be bothered responding to the other bits.

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