Thursday, September 11, 2008

Climate change: and it's law

The Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill passed its third reading tonight, 63-57. So, it's law (or at least, it will be when the final formalities are done). Good. Now, finally, polluters will have to pay for their emissions, and bear the costs they have previously inflicted on the rest of the planet. And this will lead to a long-term shift in behaviour away from emissions-intensive activities and towards a more efficient, sustainable economy.

But it doesn't end here. The next step is to back the ETS up with appropriate regulation in areas where the market is still failing, such as vehicle fuel efficiency, domestic appliances, and buildings (large capital investments with low turnover rates, meaning that it will take some time for the price signal to have any effect). And we need to set a long-term downwards path for emissions post-2012, so business knows what to expect and can plan for the future.

As for how steep that path should be, I'll have more on that tomorrow.