I’ve just spent a punishing 30 minutes reading Malcolm Turnbull’s climate change plan and I think I need a bit of a lie down. If you want a reasonably concise explanation of what it means here’s The Australian’s noble effort. The unedited and unfathomable version can be found here at the Liberals’ site.

Nicholson in The Australian: will Turnbull's plan take the heat off his leadership?

These are the questions which struck me while reading it: Is Turnbull’s plan a sincere and reasoned attempt at compromise - and if so was Labor wrong to dismiss it out of hand?

Or is it purely an internal measure to silence his critics within the party - and if so should he butt out of the debate and let the government of the day exercise its mandate? We’ve asked some of the players to file, so there’s more to come but for now, over to you.

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    • Janice says:

      02:02pm | 10/08/09

      No doubt what ever Turnbull says will be discredited. That seems to be the order of the day with the media!

    • G says:

      02:26pm | 10/08/09

      Janice if Turnbull is sooo easily discredited then why shouldn’t the media report it - in other words his own stupid fault.

    • James says:

      02:29pm | 10/08/09

      We out here in the real world will only hear what is given to journo’s by the prime minister and his mates, and that will be all negagtive about anything Turnbull has to say. Reading or listening to anything coming from the media these days is as informative as listening to Rudd, Gillard or Swan. All media coverage is unfairly one sided. Even if Turnbull had good ideas, the media would still find something to discredit Turnbull, just the way Rudd wants them to. Just look at the above headline. You won’t see a negative headline about Rudd.  Hasn’t anyone else noticed this.?

    • koo says:

      02:46pm | 10/08/09

      The press release is putting all emphasis on the baseline emissions for generators and hence limiting costs to households. Also in there is that 100% free permits will be given to high-emission trade-exposed industries (the Govt are providing free permits to these industries but not 100%).

      This is the reason why the Govt’s CPRS is nicknamed the Conspicuous Polluters Reward Scheme, and it seems to me that the Coalition’s version is even more so.

      It’s nice that they’ve upped the minimum to 10% but as they haven’t said how their scheme makes this possible, it all seems a bit arbitrary. The cynic in me tells me that bit’s there just so they can claim it’s ‘greener’.

    • wolf says:

      02:47pm | 10/08/09

      From the report:
      “CPRS Intensity scheme includes a firm target; any increase in allocation to the electricity sector (as a result of higher levels of generation) or EITEI requires a reduction in permits auctioned by Government or an increase in imports of international permits to meet the target. This does not increase costs to, or require further emissions cuts from, other sectors because, under all variants of proposed design, international permit trade means that domestic emissions are not limited to the permits issued by the Australian
      Or to paraphrase, we can pollute as much as we like and buy back the emmissions on the international carbon trade market.  If anything it is worse.

      To be honest both sides have it wrong and the only fair way to do things would be via a carbon tax, applied at the point of generation or as an import duty based on the carbon+transportation costs (applied the same as the GST).  Because it is broad based you could initially set a relatively low price and allow the price rises to act as an incentive to consumers to reduce their carbon use.  A little of the revenue could be used to compensate low income households via the tax system, and the rest into R&D and subsidies for ‘green’ technology (solar hot water rebate, geothermal power stations whatever).
      Any trade based approach will inevitibly lead to greater price rises than a tax because the ‘middle man’ will want to make a profit.

    • Luke says:

      03:01pm | 10/08/09

      Ahhh It seems after all this time the libs have come up with something at the last min. If they where so worried about global warming they should have presented this scheme before hand, and worked with the government in creating the legislation that will be before the senete on thrusday.  I have a feeling this is more to do with Trunbull’s hold on the leadership of the party.

    • ANDIKA says:

      03:03pm | 10/08/09

      At least Turnbull is willing to debate it.
      Kremlinist Krudd won’t.

      Be under no illusion, China and India will not make any cuts to their CO2 emissions and why should they when all they want is what we already have, a better standard of living. But Rudd & Co have been hoodwinked by the Europeans into subjecting Australia into a useless ETS scheme that will do nothing for the environment but will put the cost of living up for every Australian and cause tens if not hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas. The ETS must be defeated and should only be introduced when China, India, Russia, Brazil and the US also agree on a suitable trading scheme; otherwise we are idiots for implementing it.
      The price the Australian people will have to pay just so Rudd & Co and occupy the moral high ground is too high. The ETS or CPRS or whatever its going to be called if introduced will act like a tax and the rippling effect will be huge across our economy. It will particularly hit hard our Farmers and cause the cost of living to skyrocket. The ETS is a regressive policy riddled with unfair regulation that will hurt many Australians for no real environmental gain.

    • Les says:

      03:07pm | 10/08/09

      Excellent column David - Silly me - I see what you mean - I went to the Liberals website and was “valiumed” ! I just wonder how many ETS’s the Liberal/Nationals have floating around ? Theres the now “official” one , Wilson Tuckeys , Barnaby Joyces’s and who knows who else has one in his/her knapsack - its it any wonder the Liberals arnt being taken seriously anymore !

    • jim says:

      03:12pm | 10/08/09

      I’ll have to read Turnbull’s ETS more carefully tonight.

      The issue with taxing companies is that it produces a profound effect on the company structure. I personally find Rudd’s ETS too difficult to follow, the assistance package and how to apply for it, to small business affected, will they need to navigate through government red tape.

      Currently, Turnbulls ETS makes sense in a way that energy companies are rewarded for producing more energy with less emissions, and he even admits that it’s going to be tough looking for a model to apply the appropriate benchmark.

      I’ll need to carefully read both proposals and make up my decision from that.

    • groucho says:

      03:15pm | 10/08/09

      14 years of obfuscation to finally get to a last minute rambling pastiche, borrowed from others like the Canadians who are already game to consider something better.

      As footnote, I don’t see the need to level wild, foolishly wrong insults at the elected Government, whose competent if uninspiring habit of much review and consultation has got us to something probably workable.

      We have a Prime Minister and a Leader of the Opposition wrestling with some of the most troublesome issues of our lifetimes. Leave the name calling out of it , thanks.

    • Henry says:

      03:17pm | 10/08/09

      David -
      Is Rudds version any more fathomable than Turnbulls?
      Did you need a lie down after reading Rudds 6100 word essay a couple of weeks ago?

    • Groucho says:

      03:26pm | 10/08/09

      Hum. Henry, try reading Garnaut, let alone Stern!

    • Paul says:

      04:26pm | 10/08/09

      Turnbull hasn’t learned, if something seems to be too good to be true it probably isn’t. I thought Gretch may have taught him to be a bit careful, but no, not our beloved banker. Anyone can take this guy in, I just hope he never becomes PM he would probably sell Australia to the Eskimos for a few trinkets and blankets.

    • Bruce says:

      04:51pm | 10/08/09

      Of course I would expect Labor to dismiss the proposal. Only the government in power has the best ideas. Tell me any proposal put up by an opposition party that has been taken up by a government. Turnbulls proposal could be 100% better, but no government in power will acknowlege that an opposition party has a better idea. GEE people !! this is politics, it has nothing to do with the best idea. AND thats why most of us have little faith in any politician, and as usual, we never get the best outcomes.

    • JB says:

      05:13pm | 10/08/09

      To snuff out the critical factor at play in the Rudd Government’s PR run climate policy, perhaps the Australian community should be reminded of a few simple facts:
      We aren’t leading the world at fighting climate change so there’s no need to throw caution to the wind and accept that an ETS is the only option (and that due to the earth falling off a cliff we have no time to investigate other policies); The EU has had an ETS since 2005 (where it has been rather ineffective at reducing carbon); There are very credible alternatives to an ETS.

      The ETS is essentially a huge derivative market that sees Carbon as a commodity to be bought and sold. The estimated size of the US Carbon Trading Market by 2020, according to New Carbon Finance is $US 1 Trillion.In light of the recent global financial mess created in part by derivative markets why would we create another opportunity for the opportunists?

      Have a look here to see what some of the world’s biggest banks are thinking about an ETS. They’re preparing to make the most of a dysfunctional and distorted market.

      But in addition to this a Carbon Trading market like the one proposed will tax our exports and local products but exempt imports. It is complete idiocy, and of course why would other nations (who aren’t heading down this same path I might add) remind us of our stupidity? They’re sniggering at “the bold, innovative Australians”.

      Unfortunately the business community is a rather minor voice in this whole debate. As a collective they are greatly divided between big business and small, and those who are setup already to make the most of a distorted market and those who will be crippled by the government’s policies.

      Now IF we truly are concerned than the issue at hand here is REDUCING carbon. Already it’s about Malcolm Turnbull’s tough week, and for big banks at least, its about making money.

      A carbon tax is a promising alternative. It is simple and easier to understand for the average Aussie, it provides absolute certainty to industry, and heavens above, it allows the market to find a solution to the problem without simply letting companies go broke, and allowing others to buy and trade carbon derivatives for a profit at their expense. If you really want action, then it’s ticking boxes already.

      For a furthre critique of the impacts of the Government’s proposed policy, see this.

      Also, Google “Geoff Carmody”, the co-founder of Access Economics, and “climate change” to see why an ETS is not the answer.

    • Ben Peters Jones says:

      06:49pm | 10/08/09

      Wolf, above, is bang on the money. Sound argument argued well.

    • BG says:

      10:15pm | 10/08/09

      Same problem as always.  If you try to argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their level, and then beat you with their ignorance.  The biggest problem is that we simply shouldn’t be even considering bringing in any new taxes to combat a myth.  The ALP is exploiting the ignorance of the people, and the Coalition is trying to come up with response policy to combat this exploitation of the ignorant.

        I’d be much happier for one side to be honest, stand up and say, “We don’t need an ETS, because man-made global warming is a myth.  If our opponents want to waste their time and cost the taxpayers billions of dollars, that is their decision to make.  We’d rather spend our time trying to make things better for the population, not find new ways to tax them unnecessarily.”

        It’s time to hold onto your hats folks, the rollercoaster ride we’re about to be taken on is going to make the Global Financial Crisis seem like a merry-go-round.

    • jim says:

      11:03pm | 10/08/09

      Now that I think about it, why doesn’t the government use the money generated from tax into it’s own spending, get rid of stamp duty all together?

    • groucho says:

      10:29am | 12/08/09

      Well, its pretty pointless to paint it all as media bias. It’s simply nonsense.

      There are two basic points. The Liberal Party - well, the coalition - has had well over 12 years to get a credible policy together, and 2 of those years with time on the back-bench to refine it, agree on it and & re-present it. Instead, we have a last-gasp re-hash distraction, which at root will give more subsidy to the really big end of town, and get the carbon credit back in supposed trade-offs from poorer countries which may or may not ever eventuate. No surprises there, then. 

      Not only that, the Opposition haven’t actually agreed among themselves that this rabbit from Mr Turnbull’s hat is or will be their policy. They *still* want to “discuss it further” for God’s sake. Nor have they reached firm, agreed views or plans over what they would want changed in the Government’s plan - and no prospect, from the looks of Sen Joyce and others, of ever reaching a united position. They don’t agree on or know what they want! The huffing and puffing about “open doors” is just that: would *you* negotiate with such a quicksand of indecision? How?

      The last point is that across the electorate, some 70% or more of us want action on a climate change scheme NOW. Better yet: by far the most of us are quite prepared to vote against *any* sitting member who votes down a climate scheme now.  Quite a lot of us have tried hard to do some basic spadework on policy and data. Quite a lot of us have been doing our bit.

      If the Parliament fails to act quickly now, the electorate looks set to punish the ditherers…errr….in spades.  Marginal seat members & senators, spare us the tricksy charts that you don’t quite get, and the denials that only show how poor your grasp is. Its time to get off your blots, do some serious homework, check your facts, get your act together, and pass a climate scheme. Now, please.  And yes, we can choose to modify it later.

      And no, I’m not a Labour voter, neither. I’d just like my grandchildren to inherit a world worth living in.

    • Helena says:

      11:21am | 12/08/09

      Not a Labor voter? Just a Rudd voter heh! Your just repeating Rudds and Wongs spin lol

    • groucho says:

      12:55pm | 12/08/09

      Nup. All my own work. Plenty of reliable reference material readily found on line. Go and do your own homework before spraying personal insult around.

      grouch out.


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