Saturday, June 02, 2007

Will Howard be alive to trade carbon?

Yesterday winter officially began in Australia, yet here I am still wearing me favourite t-shirt and blogging away in me favourite grundies. You, dear reader, should consider yourself seriously honoured.

So it is with a certain sense of irony that I witness that our prime global warming denialist, Prime Minister John Howard, release his Report on the Task Group on Emissions Trading into such an under-dressed climate. While his unprecedented acknowledgement of the need for emissions trading is a radical departure from his previous stances, and a welcome one, it is still hard to throw off those nagging doubts sparked by those within own party referring to him as The Lying Rodent.


by Wadard

1. The PM's terms of reference are biased towards sustaining coal and uranium exports.

“Australia enjoys major competitive advantages through the possession of large reserves of fossil fuels and uranium. In assessing Australia’s further contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these advantages must be preserved.
Against this background the Task Group will be asked to advise on the nature and design of a workable global emissions trading system in which Australia would be able to participate. The Task Group will advise and report on additional steps that might be taken, in Australia, consistent with the goal of establishing such a system."

2. Some of the submissions by interested parties are confidential, that is, not publicly available for scrutiny.

Why so? Is transparency not important? The list of 'non-confidential' submitting parties is here:

3. The Task Group Committee comprises of senior bureaucrats, mainly economists, and fossil-fuel industry representatives, not scientists or renewable energy experts.

The Bureaucrats:
David Borthwick – Economist and former member of the Office of the Prime Minister; Ken Henry - Secretary to the Treasury in 2005; Michael L’Estrange - secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Mark Patterson - the chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2001).

The Fossil Fuel & Industry Representatives:
Peter Coates - coal miner Xstrata; Tony Concannon - International Power managing director; Chris Lynch - BHP Billiton executive director; John Marlay - Alumina Chief Executive; Margaret Jackson - chairwoman of Qantas; John Stewart - National Australia Bank.

So honestly - do I really need to take this analysis further?

If the godfathers of the local Mafia and the Yakusa, the snakeheads of the Chinese Triads, as well as the financial manager from the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan opium franchise, their Russian Crime Syndicate partners, and the Columbian Cocaine Cartels were all brought together at the taxpayers' expense to form a working group to develop a framework to combat drug trafficking, and they sought submissions from the Banditos, Nomads and Hells Angels motorbike gangs, amongst others, would you read their report with confidence or amusement?

Well, that's how I feel about this task force's report, which you can download here and judge for yourself. Let me know what you think.

I don't like being so cynical, but Howard's track record in the integrity stakes makes Judas look like Jesus. I may be wrong to be so dismissive; it's just that they want to wait to 2012 to kick-off their carbon trading. That's five years away; Given Howard's advanced age I wonder whether he is having a lend of us all?

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