Others are acting on climate change


Sir – In coming days and weeks the climate change debate is sure to “heat up” as the current Government seeks to abandon a price on carbon, not just scrap the tax.
There has been a consistent mantra from some quarters that nothing is being done of much consequence in the rest of the world so why should we take action. This claim needs to be exposed for the bald faced lie that it is.
Just one example worthy of consideration is a recent agreement reached by three north western states of America ( Oregon, Washington and California) and Canadian province British Columbia to work together to maintain and refine their responses to climate change.
Note that these responses include a Carbon Trading Scheme (California) and a $30/tonne tax (British Columbia). Together these four jurisdictions cover some 53 million people and would be collectively the fifth largest economic zone in the world.
Details of this agreement can be found via Clean Technica on Facebook.
The recent decision to hold the line on the Carbon Tax by the ALP unless an emissions trading scheme is introduced is to be welcomed. While the conservative parties are claiming that it is not working little or no evidence is presented to support this assertion.
Another nine months of operation will allow more evidence to accumulate. Abandoning the current response for Direct Action that has been so widely rejected by most authorities in the field is highly irresponsible.
The tax underwrites much our own immediate responses to climate change including the analysis of the effectiveness of these responses and decisions about the size of emissions reductions that are required. Some parties are calling for much larger reductions than the current reduction targets that have been agreed by both the conservative parties and the ALP.
If higher reductions are required how do the major parties plan to respond? The media has a responsibility to put these questions to the Government and the ALP sooner rather than later.
Between now and July next year there are two more reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including The Working Group III (WGIII) contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report on mitigation of climate change to be considered in Berlin, Germany, on 7-11 April 2014.
Making decisions about our response in the light of evidence of effective international mitigation and with more knowledge of the effectiveness of our own response would appear to be a sensible approach.
Even industry bodies are calling for negotiation and a bipartisan approach. A press release last Friday from Innes Wilcox of  the Australian Industry Group advised: “The parties should work together to remove the tax and to agree on how to meet their targets at least cost to the nation.”
While the AIG believes the tax is too high evidence from other jurisdictions is that carbon pricing is having little effect on energy prices and that opportunities for efficiency gains and the falling cost of renewable options is able to substantially mitigate any additional costs.
Between now and July next year, if there are people with a sense of responsibility for the future of this nation in the major parties such negotiations are possible.
Failure to respond to such calls as those from the AIG will increase the suspicions that the current response has more to do with Coal Industry interests than the interests of the majority of Australians.
Richard Bentley
Alice Springs


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