IT'S JUST NOT CRICKET
From the Australia Institute.
The CPRS is stalled in the Senate because the Coalition doesn't want it, the Greens don't want it, Nick Xenophon doesn't want it and Steve Fielding doesn't want it. Their objectives and their objections are all quite different, but the government has managed to unite them in their opposition to its scheme. Although the parliamentary politics of the CPRS might have been explosive, it's hard to see the public caring quite so much. Can you imagine a rally in favour of the CPRS? 'What do we want? Unambitious targets and a complex trading scheme! When do we want it? We want the legislation passed ASAP but we are OK with the scheme not commencing until 2011 with serious reduction targets to come into effect after 2020!'
The Minister for Climate Change has done a great job of getting the leaders of big environment organisations, big business groups and even some in the Liberal Party to support her so-called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Her challenge now is to convince the public to do the same. But recent polling shows that she hasn't been too successful in explaining her scheme to the people, or in convincing them of the need to rush the legislation through the Senate.
She hasn't been successful in answering any questions. She keeps refering to the "Science." I think she means the hypothesis. There is an unproven hypothesis (Oxymoron - like carbon pollution) that CO2 causes global warming. The "science" actually tells the reverse. Ice core samples porve that warming causes atmospheric CO2 to rise.
Rather than building a strong case for the CPRS over the past 12 months, the government has instead focused on defending it from those who would question it and, although the Minister has a reputation for never looking rattled, she certainly doesn't have a reputation for answering the hard questions. Like a tail-ender blocking the way towards a drawn test match, the Climate Change Minister has met question after question with indecipherable jargon. She has never really tried to score any runs, seeming more concerned to protect her wicket. But ambitious change in an area as important, and contestable, as climate change will never make it through the Senate without a champion who is playing to win.
The political argy-bargy will continue over the coming months and many questions will be fielded. Will the Government re-introduce its legislation in February? Will the Prime Minister debate the new Opposition Leader? Does serious climate change policy have to start with a carbon price? Does carbon price mean Carbon Dioxide emissions price? Why does the MSM show visible steam or pollution coming from chimneys when CO2 is invisible?
But one thing is clear—if the government wants to bring the public with it on this issue, it needs to start talking in a language that we can all understand.
It's going to be a long hot summer.