The Dernogalizer

August 13, 2009

Australian Climate Bill goes Down in Flames(for now)

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 1:04 am
Tags: , ,

Back in June, I made a post on Australia’s political situation regarding their climate bill.  Here is part of what I said….

“The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ran on a platform that included taking action on climate change, and he’s put forth a cap and trade plan, but it’s only  5% reduction below 2000 levels by 2020, but Australia is willing to go as far as 25% if other nations step up in Copenhagen.  It’s passed out of Australia’s House, but is facing huge problems in the Senate.  The labor party can’t pass the law on its own, and the conservatives are vowing to fight it and kill it.  However, in Australia they have a 3 party system, and the 3rd party is the Greens party, which is strongly pro-environment.  If the Greens party teams up with Labour, they can pass the bill.  However, the Greens are saying that 5% is too weak, and they cannot support it.  Right now, their position is 25% or bust.  If this position holds, we’re going to see a very comparable result as we would see in the United States if the liberal members of the Democratic party listened to their base and voted no because the bill wasn’t strong enough.  Would the result be a stronger bill, or an empty sheet of paper in Copenhagen?  Of course, Australia has an advantage in that if their bill fails twice, they can call elections and have the people kick out the troublemakers.  Let’s see what happens to the bill.  In my opinion,  it will give a good indication of what would happen here.”

The vote has been cast, and the neither the Greens or Labour agreed to budge.  The bill just failed.  However, as I noted above, because of how Australia’s political system works, if Labour re-introduces the bill again and it fails, here is what will happen…

“If the Senate blocks or rejects the legislation a second time, after an interval of three months, it will hand Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a trigger for an early election. Rudd remains well ahead in opinion surveys.  With polls showing most Australians favor action to combat climate warming, Rudd’s Labor has promised emissions cuts of 5-25 percent on 2000 levels by 2020, with the higher end dependent on a global agreement at the Copenhagen talks to replace the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol.”

“Environment groups said the failure of the legislation left the world in a more vulnerable position in lead-up negotiations to the Copenhagen meeting.”

I read a great explanation on Grist from Todd Woody of what happened in Australia, and what will likely happen next.  Read it here.

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