Sunday, July 27, 2008

Political Management of Australian ETS

If the weekend papers are to be believed the Liberals are likely this week to alter their policy to oppose any ETS prior to commitments to reduce emissions from the major emitters; the US, China and India. Nelson seems keen to find a way to oppose the Rudd legislation without moving too far from their previous position.

The green paper which has very similar proposals to the model that was being investigated by the previous government was thought by many to be aimed at ultimately getting support from the Coalition. That support seems very unlikely to be forthcoming unless perhaps Turnbull becomes leader in a hurry.

That would mean the ETS would need support of the Greens AND a selection of populist independents to get through the Senate. It may not be possible to satisfy all the factions of the Labor party, the Greens and the assorted loose cannons.

There is a kind of nuclear option known as double dissolution. The government could try to push their desired model through parliament, fail, call an election in which the House and the entire Senate stand for re-election and hope that the Senate that is returned is more friendly to an ETS. This may emerge as a real possibility.

See also John Quiggin.

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