Monday, July 02, 2012

Climate change: Neither balanced nor responsible

The government has announced its response to its strapped-chicken review panel: introducing offsetting for pre-1990 forest land, and extending pollution subsidies for industry and agriculture for another three years. While inconsistent with Kyoto, the former isn't particularly bad when applied to plantation forestry, though it will mean the government covering the costs of such switches, which is an implicit subsidy to dairy conversion. The latter OTOH fatally undermines the scheme. The basic principle of the ETS is supposed to be "polluter pays". Instead, with the extension of "transitional" subsidies, that has been turned on its head, to "pay polluters". And its costing us over a billion dollars a year - revenue we are currently having to borrow, or steal from other areas in cuts. And while we are paying these subsidies, polluters have no incentive whatsoever to clean up their act and pollute less.

The government calls these chances "balanced and responsible". They're not. Instead, they're just another handout to its cronies.