Mark Butler and Andrew Bolt debate the emissions trading scheme

We need to get some broad based support,
to capture the public’s imagination…
So we have to offer up scary scenarios,
make simplified, dramatic statements
and make little mention of any doubts…
Each of us has to decide what the right balance
is between being effective and being honest.

– Prof. Stephen Schneider
Stanford Professor of Climatology,
lead author of many IPCC reports

Mark Butler and Andrew Bolt debate the emissions trading scheme

JULY 18, 2013 12:00AM

Labor pledges ETS start in 2014

Kevin Rudd says shifting to an emissions trading scheme in 2014 will save households about $380 a year.

MINISTER for Climate Change, Environment, Heritage and Water, Mark Butler and columnist Andrew Bolt debate the emissions trading scheme.


CAST your mind back to 2007. Australia had just thrashed the Poms in the Ashes 5-0, Mark Williams and Neil Craig were coaching Port and Adelaide and Kevin Rudd was elected Prime Minister and acted immediately to ratify the Kyoto Protocol – it was one his first acts in government.

There was an air of optimism about addressing global warming and a sense that the country had united behind a common purpose.

Young people were leading the charge and half the country had been inspired by An Inconvenient Truth – Al Gore’s blockbuster documentary.

Mark Butler

Minister for Climate Change Mark Butler with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd outlining the shift to an emissions trading scheme in 2014.

All political parties, led by Kevin Rudd, but including John Howard’s Liberals and Bob Brown’s Greens, had backed the move to an emissions trading scheme (ETS) to cut carbon pollution.


Well, next year, Australia will get the ETS voted for in 2007. The carbon tax will be shelved a year earlier than previously planned and we will transition to a “floating price” ETS.

The scheme works by placing a “cap” on the total amount of carbon pollution released across our economy and requiring around 370 large businesses to purchase “carbon permits” equal to the pollution they create.


But what it really means is that we can address global warming in the cheapest possible way for our economy because we’ll have access to cheaper ways of offsetting our pollution via the international market.

This is a cost of living measure from a Government committed to taking action on climate change. The move from a carbon tax to an ETS will save the average Adelaide household around $380 next year.

And the biggest impact will be on electricity and gas bills. The change is expected to save the average household around $3 a week, or over $150 in the year, on its electricity bills and around $1.10 per week, or $57 over the year, on its gas bills, providing much needed cost-of-living relief to many households.

[Insert Butler Alarmism Here:]

The change also guarantees we hit our target to cut carbon pollution by 2020, which is important because global warming is happening now and the climate is already changing.

Thirteen of the hottest years on record have occurred in the last 15 years. And in South Australia, seven of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2000.

We had such incredibly hot temperatures in January, the Bureau of Meteorology had to add a colour – purple – to their weather charts to show the unprecedented temperatures of above 50 degrees. They called it the angry summer and for good reason – it was the hottest we’ve seen.


And if global warming continues unchecked, it will have significant adverse impacts on our environment, our economy and our society.

Global warming should not be a political issue. Sixty-five per cent of Australians say they are experiencing the effect of climate change right now. Without climate change mitigation, by 2050, around the time my children are my age, we will live in a different landscape.

I want my children and their children to be able to enjoy the Murray in all its glory, from the food bowl of the Riverland to the beauty of the Lower Lakes.

I want South Australians to be confident that we have done all we can to avoid the extreme weather events such as heat waves that are caused by climate change, letting people live long, healthy lives.

Whether it’s declining food productivity, increasing health costs, declines in the tourism industry, increased insurance and infrastructure costs, along with many other issues, all of this impacts our community and our economy.

Global warming is an issue that should unite our country, not divide us.

[Insert rational, common sense fact Here:] 


PEOPLE cheer Kevin Rudd because they cannot believe a Prime Minister would trick them so brazenly.

But never has Mr Rudd – a genius at seeming, a disaster at doing – been as brazen as he was this week.

No, he did not “terminate” Labor’s carbon tax.

No, his planned emissions trading scheme cannot start next year – or not without spending billions he does not have to buy off the hostile Greens.


No, it won’t save families $380 each year.

No, your electricity bills might in fact soar, not fall.

In fact, Mr Rudd will be the second Labor Prime Minister to go to an election promising “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”.

If re-elected he will be the second Labor Prime Minister to claim “changed circumstances” made him break his solemn word.

On Tuesday, Mr Rudd made the following false claims, or almost certainly undeliverable promises in announcing he’d move to an emissions trading scheme one year earlier than Labor planned:

“The Government has decided to terminate the carbon tax … From July 1 next year Australia will move to an emissions trading scheme …

“The modelling from Treasury shows that in the financial year 2014-15 an average family will receive a cost of living relief to the value of $380 per year …

“We expect the change that we are bringing in will see the price on carbon fall from an expected $25.40 a tonne by next July to around $6 a tonne.”

Not one of those claims can be trusted. Some are outright fabrications. Here are the facts.

First, it is very unlikely Mr Rudd could get his plan through Parliament in time, because the Senate, in which Labor can be out-voted by the Coalition with the Greens, stays until June 30 next year.

The Coalition is against this switch to an emissions trading system, in which the European Commission effectively sets our carbon price by manipulating its market in permits to emit carbon dioxide.

Europe’s price is now an unusually low $6, but European politicians plan to ramp it up.

The Greens are opposed for different reasons. For one, they don’t want the carbon price to fall by as much as Labor promises.

“The Greens do not support making it cheaper for the big polluters to pollute,” Greens leader Christine Milne said.

IF the Coalition sticks to its guns, Mr Rudd’s plan is dead – unless it can bribe the Greens with billions of dollars of more dud green schemes just like the ones Mr Rudd says he needs to cut.

Second, Mr Rudd is dead wrong in claiming his change would save families $380 “per year”, as he stated five times on Tuesday. In fact, he is merely bringing forward by one year Labor’s planned switch to emissions trading, so any savings are also for just one year, as Treasurer Chris Bowen tried to point out to him: “It is a one-year figure based on the Treasury’s view of the carbon price.”

Third, Mr Rudd’s claim of $380 in savings for each family is a wild exaggeration at best.

That figure assumes that our carbon price will next year drop to the $6 set by Europe’s trading system today.

But the European Commission this month voted to increase that $6 price, with analysts at Point Carbon expecting it to perhaps double in the near future. Add the likely depreciation of the Australian dollar, and half Mr Rudd’s $380 in claimed savings could be wiped out.

In fact, in a few years we might not be saving but instead spending a lot, lot more.

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on 2GB this week not only conceded the obvious – that the price set by Europe could well rise – but refused to rule out it rising to a level much higher than our carbon tax today.

Indeed, the Government’s own Budget, released just two months ago, worked on a “modelled price of $38 at 2019-20” – which the Government needs to pay for its hugely expensive disability scheme and Gonski education changes.

People with short memories may find it unbelievable that a Prime Minister could tell them such untruths with such moral conviction.

But Mr Rudd has long traded on seeming something he is not. He is a genius at seeming to fix what he’s actually broken, like border laws.

And here he is again, pretending to fix a tax that pretended to stop a global warming Mr Rudd pretends is dangerous, even though it’s now paused for more than 15 years.

Pretending, too, that he’ll save you money when he’s costing you a fortune.

The King of Seeming in an Age of Seeming. Not worse than Julia Gillard, but a greater indictment of Australia and our times.

Courtesy: The Daily Telegraph