What to do about carbon prices and compensation – and for that matter, what to do about the two major parties’ climate change departments – dominated political debate this week.
The Libs are, at least, being clear about their plans for the latter – “We will merge the departments of climate and environment. We will abolish the Climate Change Authority, the Climate Change Commission, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Energy Security Council,” asserted shadow climate minister Greg Hunt this week. But the ALP’s plans are not so clear. Meanwhile, the Australian Industry Group weighed in on emissions trading (good) and the Coalition’s Direct Action Policy (rubbish), Joe Hockey engaged in some flatulent scienciness, and China got real about the dawning of mass environmental consciousness.
“Let me be very clear, if there is no carbon tax, there is no need for compensation because if you don’t have a carbon tax, you don’t have injury. And by its very design, the carbon tax is meant to cause injury, it’s meant to change behaviour, and that’s why the government compensates.” – Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey again ruling out compensation if the Coalition abolishes the carbon tax
“The point to make is that the increases that people got… when the carbon tax came in, were carbon tax compensation. …They were compensation for the carbon tax. Now if you don’t have the carbon tax you don’t need the compensation, but we will continue to fund tax cuts and pension increases.” – Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott
“Abolishing the (federal government’s climate change) department without the tax still doesn’t have any impact on the cost of electricity and gas for families or refrigerants for small business. The right thing to do is to abolish the tax and in so doing abolish and merge the Climate Change Department with the Environment Department.” – Coalition climate spokesman Greg Hunt on rumours the Gillard government will be dissolving its climate change department
“We will merge the departments of climate and environment. We will abolish the Climate Change Authority, the Climate Change Commission, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Energy Security Council.” – Greg Hunt
– Environment Victoria’s Mark Wakeham responding to a Liberal Party tweet about the AIG’s comments this week about carbon pricing and the Coalition’s Direct Action policy
“We’ve got cattle that belch” – Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey explaining why Australia has the highest per capita emissions in the world
“I think one of the best ways of thinking about it is imagining that the base line has shifted. If an athlete takes steroids, for example, their base line shifts. They’ll do fewer slow times and many more record-breaking fast times. The same thing is happening with our climate system. …What we’re seeing is a whole slew of new records… new climatic territory.” – Climate Commission Chief Tim Flannery talking to the ABC about the Commission’s new report, Angry Summer
“I am not against renewable energy and I am not against wind farms. I am against taxpayers’ money being thrown at an industry that considers itself above the rules followed by other industries.” – DLP Senator John Madigan, who last Friday called for complete audit of the Renewable Energy Target, citing concerns regarding transparency and cost effectiveness
“The major reason for mass incidents (in China today) is the environment, and everyone cares about it now. If you want to build a plant, and if the plant may cause cancer, how can people remain calm?” – Chen Jiping, a former leading member of the party’s Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, talking to reporters at a meeting of the Chinese People’s Political and Consultative Conference, where he’s a member