Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Political Expediency Pollutes CPRS

Kevin Rudd's CPRS - Carbon Pollution reduction Scheme - was to be one of his great environmental stamps. It was to involve a carbon cap-and-trade system; higher electricity prices, which would encourage more consumers to use renewable energy; some compensation for high energy use industries; and an environmental halo for Mr Rudd.

It was beset by difficulties:
  1. The Greens thought it didn't set sufficient targets for the reduction in carbon pollution
  2. The Copenhagen Conference on climate change achieved little, as many predicted, and countries have not committed to any reduction in carbon emissions
  3. The Coalition - Liberal and National Parties - are running a policy of denying climate change, protecting the short-term interests of big business. They, and the Greens, defeated teh CPRS Bill in the Senate, biut for the different reasons outlined above.
The NSW, and other states, electricity price regulator, approved large price rises for electricity. In NSW there were 2 reasons for this: preparation for the carbon trading scheme, and the desire of the NSW Labor government to privatise electricity generation and sale, for its own short-term political reasons.

Voter backlash against the price rises, and manipulation of that anger by teh Coalition parties before this year's election have led to Prime Minister Rudd shelving the CPRS until at least 2012.

The shelving has nothing to do with the merits, or otherwise, of the CPRS. It has everything to do with political expediency.