Monday, 8 February 2010
Malcolm Turnbull speaking today in Parliament on anthropomorphic global warming and an emissions trading scheme, in direct opposition to his leader's new policy position:
The White Paper estimates the CPRS will result in a one off increase in the CPI by 1.1% – compared to the 2.8% one-off increase in the CPI caused by the introduction of the GST. Most households are compensated for this increase in costs either in whole or in part.
I should note that the largest component of increases in electricity prices in NSW over the next five years is, in fact, additional network charges to recognise the increased investment in the security and reliability of electricity infrastructure. Those increases, unlike the CPRS element, are not the subject of any compensation.
But given we have an apparent bi-partisan agreement that emissions should be reduced by 5% of 2000 levels, is an Emissions Trading Scheme, at a general level, the best policy to achieve the desired reduction in emissions?
Believing as I do, as a liberal, that market forces deliver the lowest-cost and most effective solution to economic challenges, the answer must be yes.
Because more emissions intensive industries and generators need to buy more permits than less intensive ones, lower emission activities, whether they are cleaner fuels or energy efficient buildings, are made more competitive.
A brown coal fired power station, for example, pumps out four times as much CO2 as an efficient gas fired one. But gas is expensive and clean and brown coal is cheap and dirty.
If there is no cost charged for emitting carbon there is simply no incentive to move to the cleaner fuel.
Until 1 December last year there was a bi-partisan commitment in Australia that this carbon price, this exercise in reducing emissions should be imposed by means of an emissions trading scheme.
At their core these bills are as much the work of John Howard as of Kevin Rudd. The policy I am supporting today as an Opposition backbencher is the same policy I supported as John Howard’s Environment Minister.
And why did we, in the Howard Government, believe an emissions trading scheme was the best approach?
It was because we, as Liberals, believed in the superior efficiency of the free market to set a price on carbon......
The ETS allows Australian businesses to make their own decisions as to how to reduce their emissions – Government sets the rules and in part sets the cap on total emission and then lets the market work out the most efficient and effective result.
Schemes where bureaucrats and politicians pick technologies and winners, doling out billions of taxpayers’ dollars is neither good policy is neither economically efficient and nor will it be environmentally effective.
For these reasons, Mr Speaker, I will be voting in favour of these Bills.
Rather cleverly Turnbull has released his full speech here ahead of the Hansard transcript.
Shafting Abbott in this way must have given him much pleasure, with the added advantage that he appears steadfast in his views when compared to Abbott's recent volte face.