Monday, January 04, 2010

To watch in 2010: Tony Abbott vs Tony Abbott

Happy New Decade to you all... let's hope it is the decade when the world finally takes man-made climate change by the horns, and soothes the savage beast. Science tells us that we don't have much option but to do so.

Anyway, I'm back from brief but restful holidays, so that also means I'm back to watching the big game in town. I am not talking about the cricketing carnage that Pakistan is putting a discombobulated Australian Eleven through, but Tony Abbott's 'cost-free' formulation to gazump global warming, which he promised for February.

Paul Daley pings Abbott's dilemma in today's SMH :

It seems most unlikely at this stage that the Government will win sufficient support for the legislation when it is again presented to Parliament next month.

Between now and then Abbott must formulate a policy to reduce Australia's carbon production that is not based on the emissions trading model he so opposes.

It's no easy task. He must convince voters that the Liberals under a big-C conservative leader such as himself can be genuine advocates for “green” measures to reduce our carbon output. Such green measures, of course, depend largely on heavy regulation – and government regulation is the enemy of both progressive and conservative Liberal-ism.

On human-made climate change – about which Abbott is something of an avowed sceptic – he is proposing what one Liberal colleague describes as “a type of progressive conservatism”. The Government will come out all guns blazing to discredit whatever policy he unveils as an alternative to the carbon reduction scheme come February.

Abbott's climate change policy will, however, be primarily about contrasting himself with both Rudd and the Government.

So we see here how Abbott is his own worst intellectual enemy, a conundrum of confused contradictions:

He belittles the government's proposed emission trading system by wrongfully calling the proposed free-market mechanism a "Great Big New Tax". Yet the only other effective way to conceivably achieve carbon emissions containment is via a Great Big New Tax of the kind proposed by NASA's James Hansen in his letter to the Obamas.

As the article states, Abbot would need to impose onerous legislation on business and the general population in order to achieve his cost-free containment, in contradiction to the stated principles of the party of small government. To draw up his scheme, People Skills has already hinted that he intends to pilfer the green ideas from Malcolm Turnbull, the man he deposed... for his green ideas. The man who once considered joining the priesthood now reduces peer-review science to a "green religion", and reckons his salvation will come from our farmers who are going to bio-sequester carbon in their soils.

I am so confused that I can't decide whether Anthony Abbott is a clod or a sod.

Perhaps the pathology of Abbot's illogic helps us explain how he has now painted himself into his colourful corner as he waits for February's bell: if, as he claims, "climate change is crap", then wtf is he doing coining a policy to combat it?

No explanation there, unless you now see that Abbott's famed grasp merely extends to media grabs; that our pugilistic Mad Monk is the Pontiff of Populism, not sound policy.


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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Support the environment and art by supporting Emergence, a large outdoor installation at AU Museum; references  icebergs, calls attention to fragile beauty of our environment:

Dan Kelly said...

Nice blog. There have been some MAJOR developments since you've last blogged though. I've summed them up on my non-global-warming-specific blog:

dangerdan said...

I've started my own blog about global warming and the environment more generally, it's still a work in progress, but then I only started yesterday! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.