I can’t work out whether ‘the environment’ is more or less important as an issue in Australia this federal election.
Both the Coalition and ALP have agreed to allow a pulp mill to be built in Tasmania, both are hell bent on buying back water licences in the Murray Darling Basin and both are ignoring the difficult issue of tree clearing in our rangelands. So there is not the polarisation and heated debate, for example on forestry or how much water is needed for the Murray River, that has so characterised previous federal elections.
The focus has changed since the last federal election from almost exclusively rural issues – where most of the Australian environment is – to what happens in our cities.
Climate change is certainly top of the agenda. The Coalition is suggesting we meet the challenge of reducing carbon emissions including through a national emissions trading scheme and developing low emissions technology including solar power, geosequestration, clean coal and even possibly nuclear.
The ALP is dealing with climate change and ‘water’ as one issue and is promising to sign Kyoto, provide rebates for the installation of rainwater tanks, loans to families that invest in solar energy and stop the building of nuclear reactors.
Apart from the issue of Kyoto – which is almost a non-issue given the Coalition plans to endorse an emissions trading scheme – nuclear seems to be the standout defining environmental issue between the major parties.
So what would it mean for Australia to go nuclear as the Coalition more-or-less propose, versus significantly cutting carbon emissions without the development of a nuclear industry as proposed by the ALP?
Liberal and Coaltion polices can found here: http://www.liberal.org.au/