Yesterday, on the same day long time anti-nuclear campaigner Peter Garrett was given the job of Shadow Environment and Climage Change Minister, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, announced the establishment of a joint government businesss Prime Ministerial Task Group on emissions trading.
He said, “As a world community we need to find new practical global solutions to climate change that include all major economies and emitters and that take account of national goals for economic prosperity, energy security and environmental sustainability.
Australia is blessed with abundant coal, gas and uranium reserves and significant renewable assets. In assessing Australia’s further contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions these advantages must be preserved.
While there is no one single solution to the global climate change challenge we need to maintain the prosperity that our abundant fossil fuels have given us while at the same time exploring options for global climate change solutions and accelerating the development and deployment of low emissions and clean coal technologies.”
Today, the Prime Minister made comment that:
“In all of our policies we seek a sense of balance.
In health, we strongly fund, through the Government, the Medicare system and that is balanced by private incentives for health insurance. In education, we support both government and independent schools. In social security, we achieve a sense of balance by avoiding, on the one hand the harshness of the American approach and also the over indulgent, nanny-state approach, of many European countries.
It’s crucial that in the important area of climate change we achieve the same sense of balance. We must play our part in responding to the challenge of growing greenhouse gas emissions, but we must do it in a way that does not damage the industries such as the coal industry and uranium, which have given us a competitive advantage.
The Task Group I announced yesterday brings together industry and government people to give us the way forward in relation to a global emissions trading system that will respond to the greenhouse gas challenge, but in a way that does not hurt Australia’s competitive position. In this way, once again, we in Australia can achieve that sense of balance which is so important in many areas of public policy.”
What might the Task Group actually recommend?