Kevin Rudd has promised that no one will be disadvantaged by the new Carbon Trading Scheme - there will be compensation for all. So then why would anyone actually reduce their carbon emissions?
For businesses, details of the scheme include such allowances as receiving 90% of their (tradable) carbon permits for free if they emit more than 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per million dollars of revenue. So we could actually see businesses increase their emissions levels over the next two years, in order to secure permits they can later sell. Meanwhile, motorists are hardly likely to reduce their reliance on cars if they believe they won't face increased petrol costs to compensate for the damage they're doing to the planet for at least five years. Has anyone actually thought this through?
The point of the carbon trading scheme is to discourage carbon emissions by putting a cost on them. The Rudd government though, has given Australia a scheme that doesn't involve anyone having to reach for the wallet (the Bush administration did the same thing to pay for the war in Iraq). They're willing to risk electoral dissatisfaction by launching the scheme, but not enough to ask us to pay for it.
Still, their hearts are in the right places. Australia should take a leading role in combating climate change. Naturally, this has been one of the main points Piers Akerman has chosen to attack:
But it is a tribute to the awesome egos of Rudd and his Cabinet that they believe other nations, or even neighbouring countries, stand poised, holding their breaths, until they see which course Australia takes.
Unlike those on the right who honestly believe that terrorists cared if Australia was or wasn't in the Coalition of the Willing? There were a lot of nations against us on that, too. A consistent ideology is probably too much to hope for - from either side of politics.