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Greg Hunt Endorses NSW Labor’s Carbon Trading

March 1, 2011

Nice to have Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action and Environment, say this morning on ABC Radio National that:

NSW has arguably the best incentive-based emissions reduction scheme in the world. It’s been highly effective, and it has created certainty.

It was in fact the world’s first carbon trading scheme, launched in January 2003, two years before the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

The GGAS scheme works by requiring NSW electricity suppliers to meet targets for reducing or offsetting their emissions. They can meet these targets by surrendering NSW Greenhouse Abatement Certificates which represent one tonne of carbon reduction or sequestration. GGAS has already saved or offset over 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gases since starting in 2003. It is legislated to remain in place until 2020 and beyond, or to the commencement of a national emissions trading scheme.

The then-leader of the state Liberals, Peter Debnam, promised to abolish the scheme at the 2007 state elections.

  1. Watson permalink
    March 1, 2011 1:33 pm

    I don’t know that there’s necessarily anything wrong with the NSW carbon trading program, but Greg Hunt’s endorsement is no recommendation. The ongoing hypocrisy of the Federal Opposition in matters of climate change and emissions trading leaves one wondering if he isn’t just being mischievous and divisive. Why doesn’t he, unlike their former leader and environment spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, promote an emissions trading scheme in preference to their half-baked and expensive plan to buy selected polluters out of the market? What can we make of this endorsement when Abbott has sworn to repeal Labor’s Carbon Tax if he is elected, no matter what economic harm it may cause?

    I find myself wishing that Ms Gillard or even Mr Rudd had taken the Nation to the polls in a double dissolution election with the ETS as the trigger. Having received one mandate from the electorate in 2007, it would be possible to mount an even more powerful campaign based on the obstruction and duplicity of the Opposition. I’m sick of lies, half truths and meaningless promises from both sides of parliament. Like tens of thousands of other Labor supporters, I voted Green because Labor abandoned its own policy, and guess what, the Labor Party was forced to compromise with the Greens and independents who effectively demanded a return to the abandoned emissions policy in exchange for government. The same bargain was offered to the Libs and they refused to deal – so we got the government we asked for and the Liberal opposition and Tony Abbott have nothing to complain about.

    On a more mundane but practical issue, you use the term ‘saved or offset’ with respect to the 90 million tonnes of GHG, but fail to identify the actual proportions of each ‘mitigation’ process. While offsets are better than nothing, it is a bit like passing the buck, and does not of itself necessarily lead to ongoing GHG savings as would the permanent installation of alternative generating or carbon sequestering technology.
    Are there aspects of the NSW scheme that encourage genuine and permanent savings as opposed to buying carbon permits from re-afforestation programs?

    • Bob Carr permalink
      March 1, 2011 3:23 pm

      I mention the endorsement because the scheme never got the attention it deserved and the Libs said they would repeal it at the last State election. It is actually an intelligent position for Hunt.

      The irony is that we would have an ETS if Howard had won in 2007. Another irony : we would have one if the Green Party had not blocked Rudd’s version in 2009. But enough of history – let’s just win this battle and price the gas that is changing the atmosphere around the earth before we get to two degrees warming, if that is possible.

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