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It seems that politicians are picking up the somewhat obvious fact that Abbott’s ‘plan’ to reduce carbon emissions will cost more than it would under an ETS.

ALP:

‘The Liberal Party should keep its puddings for the Christmas table,” Minister for Finance Lindsay Tanner said yesterday. ”The Liberals’ $63 billion magic pudding has no place in the serious task of running the Government’s finances.”

Turnbull:

First, let’s get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal fired power stations with cleaner gas fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money.

“To get farmers to change the way they manage their land, or plant trees and vegetation all costs money.

“Somebody has to pay.

“So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, `bullshit’. Moreover he knows it.”

Turnbull, of course, states it in more eloquent and ideologically charged words. But it comes down to this: an ETS uses market forces to lower the inevitable costs needed to fight climate change. Abbott’s climate change ‘policy’ is wrong on every economic level. Instead of funding the fight from polluters, it funds it from taxpayers. It does not create incentives to reduce pollution. It does not minimise costs or use the most efficient ways to find carbon-reducing mechanisms. There is no justification for it unless you completely disbelieve in climate change. Honestly, literally doing nothing has more justification because then at least you can claim that you don’t t impose burdens not faced by international competitors.

On another front, the tame, lazy journalists in Australia are calling the Bradfield and Higgins by-elections a win for Abbott. In a way, they are. He didn’t lose either seat or get forced to preferences. But a 1% and 4% drop in primary votes from already low 2007 levels is a big deal – especially in Liberal strongholds like Bradfield. Just because the 2PP did not decrease is not a symptom of Liberal strength, but of Green incompetence (for reasons I have previously argued).

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