The new Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd just did a major flip-flop on his pledge to reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions as recommended by the United Nations and its IPCC. It seems someone explained the realities of life to Mr. Rudd and told him how much his plan would cost.
The same thing happens all the time, everywhere it seems. Someone comes up with an idea that looks good on paper, and everyone gets excited. Then they consider the price. Oops, maybe that is not such a good idea. Politicians are seem especially prone to his kind of stupid, irresponsible behavior. Expect to see more flip-flopping on the efforts to stop global warming and climate change as the true cost of such actions become more clear.
Kevin Rudd recoils from climate change pledge
December 07, 2007 12:00am
PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd last night did an about-face on deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, days after Australia's delegation backed the plan at the climate talks in Bali.
A government representative at the talks this week said Australia backed a 25-40 per cent cut on 1990 emission levels by 2020. But after warnings it would lead to huge rises in electricity prices, Mr Rudd said the Government would not support the target.
The repudiation of the delegate's position represents the first stumble by the new Government's in its approach to climate change. Mr Rudd said he supported a longer-term greenhouse emissions cut of 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050. But the Government would not set medium-term targets until a report by economist Ross Garnaut was completed next year.
"I think speculation on individual numbers prior to that is not productive and I would suggest it would be better for all concerned if we waited for the outcome of that properly-deliberated document," Mr Rudd said.
The electricity industry yesterday warned it may not be able to meet growing consumer demand and comply with the 2020 target. Energy Supply Association of Australia chief executive Brad Page said a 17 per cent power price rise in Victoria would seem "pretty modest" compared with the cost of complying with the target. An ESAA report released this year found cutting carbon emissions by 30 per cent of 2000 levels by 2030 wold push up power costs by 30 per cent.
Mr Page said the cost of meeting the higher target by 2020 would be much more as low-cost, green-generation technology would not be available for more than 10 years.
"You are dependent on yet-to-be delivered technology," he said. "The community needs to be aware cuts of this magnitude will come at considerable cost and it's difficult to know how exactly it will be delivered." Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson said the suggested cuts would have "devastating impact" on Australia's economic development.
"It will have serious consequences for electricity bills and many other burdens borne by working families in day-to-day life, and pensioners," Dr Nelson said.
Greenpeace campaigner Steven Campbell said Australia should slash carbon emissions by 20 to 40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020. "If we want to keep global warming below 2C then these are the targets we need," Mr Campbell said. A team of 212 climate change experts from more than 20 countries yesterday called for a 50 per cent cut in greenhouse pollution by 2050.