Monday, May 04, 2009

Penny Wong's Emissions Trading Dream Becomes Nightmare

The Rudd Government's capitulation on its Climate Change legislation is good news for Agriculture because it paints the Government as a "Paper Tiger" - more bark than bite. Minister Wong would appear to be under pressure following the collapse of her legislation to establish Australia's emissions trading scheme. PM Rudd announced today that the scheme would be delayed for 12 months to allow for more negotiations. Introduction of the ETS is now planned for mid-2011 instead of mid-2010.
Penny Wong's 'crash through or crash' approach ended in the latter. PM Rudd announced that the Government was giving business the delay they wanted and a reduction in the price of carbon to $10/tonneCO2-e, down from $20 for the first year, a major concession to big emitters. The Government also offered the green lobby a possible emissions target of 25% of 2000 levels.
The announcement follows a decision by the Australian Greens to lower their demand for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions to 25%.
For Agriculture - and soil carbon in particular - the current dilemma shows what can be achieved with a little pressure. As Minister Burke urged, "There is no time like the present for producers around the world to be making the case to their governments as we go through the Road Map towards Copenhagen..." He says, in the latest Farm Policy Journal (February Quarter 2009) that we need to have the Kyoto process changed so that 'the science matches the accounting and the accounting matches the science..." He says: "Well managed pastures are not currently counted, but eventually we will have to find a way to include them if the accounting is to match the science... Good natural resource management on a farm is a better sequester of carbon than a plantation forest."

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