The new Coalition Emissions Trading Policy, devised by Frontier Economics with a tight brief on what to protect has the following main features:
- agriculture is excluded. Yes, there is no cost for those who wish to clear-fell trees. It is after all, an "agricultural" activity.
- emissions-intensive industries get 100% free permits. (& perhaps a free lunch with the current Opposition Leader?)
- electricity producers, those who burn huge amounts of coal & generate huge CO2 emissions, would get a baseline & credit system. Free permits up to a baseline, then they have to pay. The problem is that the baseline will be so high, it will be largely meaningless.
- the coal industry (miners) gets more help
- electricity price rises have been kept to a minimum (so that consumers & industry don't need to change their usage habits, thus keeping profits up)
- claims of a 10% reduction in greenhouse gases hinge on the goodwill of polluters to buy carbon credits off-shore. Like the Government's "up to 25%" this is not a fixed target, only a "best - possible - outcome -if - the - gods - are - kind" figure.
We'd really rather they argued rationally, but politics is all marketing these days, isn't it? Bloody marketers!