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Climate policy: Coalition told to cut the cr*p

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A new analysis on the state of Australia’s low-carbon investment market has called on the federal Coalition to cut down on the climate double-speak – a well-honed feature of the Abbott-Turnbull administration that is currently proving a much bigger hindrance to local market confidence than weak, short-sighted policy.

As we noted earlier this month, despite a decision on the RET and other signs of low-carbon policy progress, it is arguable that the current brand of Coalition climate and renewables discombobulation is worse than it was on Tony Abbott’s watch, when the message was clear and unequivocal.

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According to leading energy and emissions market analysts RepuTex, while federal policy uncertainty remains an “Achilles heel” for the Coalition, “government rhetoric – not policy design – (is) the key impediment to local market confidence.”

And their report, published on  Tuesday, concludes that even if current policy remained the same, “the government may be able to restore certainty to the market by simply changing its rhetoric and more clearly communicating its existing policy to the market.”

To do this, RepuTex recommends the Turnbull government gets real about its Direct Action Plan, and particularly the Safeguard Mechanism, and sells it for what it is – a ‘soft start’; “a fiscally responsible scheme, whereby the flexibility provided to companies (as currently designed) may be utilised to prepare high emitting companies for future compliance obligations.”

This sort of ‘under promise, over deliver’ approach would be well suited to the current Australian policy environment, says RepuTex, and comparable to markets like Europe, eastern US, California and China, where initial policy was intentionally set with low compliance obligations to provide companies with time to “learn by doing” ahead of the future scale-up of policy.

“Given Australia is able to increase its emissions and still meet its Kyoto commitment, we believe that a ‘soft start’ scheme is far more befitting the current political and economic climate,” the report says.

But taking this approach – “whereby the Coalition may be able to maintain its current policy, yet simply provide greater transparency on the long-term direction of its Safeguard Mechanism” – will require some straight talk.

Happily, it also offers some advice on how this might be done.

“This may be done by communicating ‘market phases’ that more accurately match the design of its existing policy, as outlined within this Market Update,” it says.

“Moreover, this may buy time for the government to defer the detail of its policy, such as rules, trading, ambition, etc, to a later consultation process (such as the policy review), while enabling it to immediately restore confidence in the market, without any change to its policy.”


  

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  • Keith

    Nice try by RepuTex to get the LNP out of their bunker. When it is clear that the policy is controlled by climate deniers, why would the LNP change its highly effective policy from a climate denial standpoint?

    Surely this will become a differentiator in an election year? Oh wait a minute Labor believes that “coal is good for humanity too”. So we are back to the Greens as the only sane group at the moment.

    The real puzzle is why on earth the Government signed up to the 1.5C warming goal. I assume they thought it is just nonsense that they can ignore. However, as April approaches and countries begin to make firm commitments, either Australia will have to reneg or actually do something. Certainly there will be things happening before the election that might get tricky for the LNP.

  • mememine

    My grade 10 and 11 classes here in Canada keep asking me these same questions about climate change;

    -Smog Warning Days have been rare for decades in N. America so what is the real issue here?

    -Fracking is making gas and oil cheaper and plentiful enough to end the oil wars so what is the real issue here?

    -Why are there always countless thousands of more consenting climate change scientists than “believing” climate change protesters?

    -Why does science agree smoking causing cancer is real but a CO2 Armageddon is only “99% real”?

    -Isn’t it too late now to save the planet after the last 35 years of climate action delay?

    -What is stopping another 35 years?

    -Does CO2=Y2K²?

    • john

      Interesting I notice that you make the same comment everywhere.
      Points smog reduction because of reductions mainly in NO2 emissions.
      Fracking has produced cheaper gas.
      Consenting Scientists and protesters I find hard to fathom.
      Smoking and CO2 you do realise the same learned men oppose the link between smoking and cancer and CO2 and its effects.
      Too late this is the give up on the planet which is hardly a good argument.
      CO2 and Y2K , no Y2K was a problem with some programming language that only used 2 characters for the year fortunately good programing did minimize the outcome. No CO2 and its effects is based on good science and is provable by observable outcomes.

  • david_fta

    “Under promise, over deliver” – the Clownshoes government motto.

    We have never had a government as bad as that of Tony Abbott – if Malcolm Turnbull is at all patriotic then he must be sorely tempted to call a Double Dissolution to rid Australia of the Party it is his misfortune to lead.