“Climate criminal” Tony Abbott to dismantle carbon laws without credible alternative

Intro

The Abbott Government has released its anticipated draft legislation for repeal of the carbon pricing laws – which are working to reduce carbon emissions – but it has come under immediate criticism for still not having a credible alternative policy ready to replace them. Clive Palmer’s demand that the repeal be retrospective to July 1, 2012 has been denied, but the Coalition has created greater uncertainty for businesses, who could still be liable for the carbon tax after July 1, 2014 if the repeal is not passed. While releasing the policy, Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt emphasised cost of living pressures as the reason for repeal, totally ignoring climate change and the threat it poses to the health, security and prosperity of all Australians. In pressing his “mandate” to repeal carbon price, Tony Abbott also continues to ignore the significant majority of Australians that want strong action on climate change, and does so despite promising to “govern for all Australians”. The Greens have labelled the Prime Minister a “climate criminal” for dismantling carbon pricing, renewable energy support and key climate institutions, and his reputation as a climate science denier looks like it will solidify further given he has surrounded himself with climate change denying voices and advisors.

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RT @climateinstitut: Gov’t should reveal the credibility of its climate policy before repealing the carbon laws http://t.co/tMTOTeNccN

Key Points

  • Tony Abbott has sanctimoniously declared that he will give the ALP a chance to “repent” for supporting a price on carbon by allowing him to dismantle the existing, working carbon reduction scheme, but he has yet to prove he has a credible alternative ready to replace it. The Coalition has not released proper details of its policy for scrutiny, and so far every expert and financial institution that has examined its vague plan or modelled the costs have found that it will not only be prohibitively expensive, but it will not be able to achieve the five percent minimum cut to emissions Australia has committed to – let alone the higher 25 percent target that is needed.
  • The Coalition’s continued assertions that abolishing carbon pricing will ease cost of living pressures on families means cents may be saved now, but at a cost of big dollars later as climate impacts become worse, and climate action more expensive. Framing the debate as a “cost of living” issue totally ignores the fact that carbon pricing was introduced to ensure Australia did its part to address climate change and protect the health, prosperity and security of Australians in the longer term.
  • Australia cannot afford to move backwards on carbon pricing, renewable energy, and climate action while the rest of the world is rapidly moving forward. Australia is set to suffer through some of the worst impacts of climate change, and will do so sooner than many other places on the planet if strong action is not taken now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Global polling shows strong public agreement that we need urgent climate action, and that while it will not be free, switching to renewable, sustainable economies is necessary, and the sooner it is done the cheaper it will be and the better chance we have to stay under a 2DegC rise in average global temperatures.

Background

The Abbott Government has released its anticipated draft legislation for repeal of the carbon pricing laws, but it has come under immediate criticism for still not having a credible alternative policy ready to replace the existing laws – which are already working to reduce carbon emissions.

The announcement has rebuffed Palmer United Party demands to make the carbon price repeal retrospective to July 1, 2012, but the Coalition has also refused to say if business will still pay the carbon tax post July 1 next year if its repeal legislation is not passed. This and its review of the Renewable Energy Target are creating uncertainty headaches for businesses.

Tony Abbott has continued to claim he has a “mandate” to repeal the legislation, and he and Environment Minister Greg Hunt have repeatedly emphasised that removing the carbon price will ease financial pressures on families in a deliberate attempt to mire the debate in a “cost of living” frame. Both have totally avoided mention of climate change – the reason carbon pricing was enacted in the first place – and the increasingly serious health, economic and environmental risks Australian’s face from it if there is not strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions here and around the world.

Abbott claims that Australian households will be better off to the tune of $550 per year, with power prices to go down by nine percent for a saving of $200, and gas prices by seven percent saving $70. The ABC’s factchecking service has found the Coalition’s claim that households will be $550 a year better off if it scraps the carbon tax is wrong. The threat of a double dissolution election still hangs in the background should the repeal be rejected, despite an early repeal of the carbon laws costing an estimated $2 billion.

Pushing repeal without a credible alternative policy is not only threatening Australia’s international reputation, but it is also reinforcing Tony Abbott’s reputation as a climate science denier. An image that is again reinforced by the fact he has surrounded himself with climate change denying voices and advisors.

The Government has made a call for public comment on the repeal legislation, and will be accepting comments until Monday November 4, 2013.

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Key quotes

“We are giving the Labor Party a chance to repent of its support for the carbon tax. We’re giving the Labor Party a chance to repent of its massive breach of faith with the Australian people in the last Parliament. I think that the Labor Party, being pragmatic political survivors, will ultimately embrace that opportunity.”  Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“Labor supports terminating the carbon tax but we’ve always said that there has to be a credible scheme to target climate change in its place. And we’ve always said that credible scheme is an emissions trading scheme. The problem with [the repeal] legislation as it stands is that it puts absolutely nothing credible in place of the carbon tax.” Opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler.

“Tony Abbott is releasing his repeal legislation for public consideration, but he is not being honest with the Australian people. The true costs of not acting on global warming are the even more devastating fires, droughts and heat waves that are happening now and will worsen over the next half century. In all of Tony Abbott’s statements talking about repealing the price on pollution he never talks about the urgency of global warming. He is a science denier.” Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne.

“The Greens will stand steadfast to protect the Australian people from the climate change criminality of Tony Abbott.” Greens MP Adam Bandt.

“The Government has won the right to bring forward this legislation but prior to repeal, the Parliament, the public and the international community should see greater detail on how Government policies achieve their commitments to achieve up to 25 per cent reductions by 2020. Australian Parliament needs to very carefully consider why it would allow Australia be the first country in the world to dismantle a carbon market, particularly when leading financial institutions such as the OECD, IMF and World Bank are strengthening their advice that carbon pricing is the cornerstone of effective climate policy.” Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

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More tweets

  • RT @djspratt: Greens’ Adam Bandt: Abbott wants to wreck action on #climate change, but there is a way we can stop him. http://t.co/dCzxNQKj7e #auspol
  • RT @acw_angela: Send @GregHuntMP a message about protecting the #carbontax in this 2min #environment survey http://t.co/Z02HcKBS1M
  • RT @djspratt: Great, precise summary of #carbon price repeal legislation http://t.co/Ta7LIbvuOL #climate
  • RT @Jackthelad1947 I still can’t believe all Libs want to get rid of carbon price/ETS. It is just so obvious that world moving
  • MT @p_hannam: Global push for #carbon standards progress (even as Abbott govt moves to dismantle Oz price) http://t.co/xrNuhmhTjS #climate