Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A "Green" Federal Government?

The Federal Government's announced plan to eradicate the incandescent light bulb and replace it with energy-efficient compact fluorescent tubes is a good one. All parties have applauded it. It would be implemented with legislation by 2010, and there are projected savings of 800,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Relatively, this is a small amount, but there must always be a start.

On Monday, the Federal Government ruled out other changes: changes to planning laws, including inefficient electric hot-water systems, which they said was a "State matter".

Nevertheless, this is an issue that ought to be pursued. Making multiple, smaller changes can have an impact, and reduce the RATE at which we pour greenhouse gases into the air. However, it could be argued that we need to reduce not just the growth, but the absolute amount of CO2 to start undoing the damage we've already done. This means we also need to look at the "big users" - cars (in total); air conditioned buildings; industrial, commercial and governmental use of energy.

The Federal Government has set a standard for intervention in State affairs in other areas: Industrial Relations (WorkChoices); Murray-Darling Basin proposal; Health and Education. While I do not agree with the financial blackmail of States, I do believe that the Federal and State Governments must work together cooperatively , to achieve better results for all Australians (voters!). Perhaps it would be timely to remind them of the costs of building and maintaining the infrastructure of ever more power stations. Budgetary implications seem to be the only blunt instruments they understand.

The Analyst