Thursday, March 10, 2011

Climate change cage match: Abbott debates Abbott

Some, (humour?) from Crikey: Climate change cage match: Abbott debates Abbott.

With all the focus on Julia Gillard's change of heart on how to price carbon it's worth seeing what Tony Abbott believes. Some excerpts:

As the Gillard government’s plan for a carbon prices sends Coalition stocks soaring, attention is increasingly focusing on what opposition leader Tony Abbott believes in about climate change and how to deal with it. Today in Crikey, Tony Abbott debates one of his most formidable opponents on the issue — Tony Abbott....

On climate change:

Tony Abbott:I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have significantly increased since the spread of industrialisation, but it seems that noticeable warming has only taken place between the 1970s and 1990s.

Tony Abbott: We have a clear policy on climate change. Climate change is real.

On how to reduce emissions:

Tony Abbott: I think that the science is far from settled but on the insurance principle you are prepared to take reasonable precautions against significant potential risks, and that’s I think why it makes sense to have an ETS (emissions trading scheme).

Tony Abbott: What we need is environmental direct action. We need action which is actually going to make a difference. What we don’t need is a whopping great new tax masquerading as a green measure.

Tony Abbott: ....Still, a new tax would be the intelligent skeptic’s way to deal with minimising emissions because it would be much easier than a property right to reduce or to abolish should the justification for it change.

I would also note this quote:

''If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax? Why not ask motorists to pay more? Why not ask electricity consumers to pay more?''


Well i doubt it. Abbott's pronouncements on climate change leave it very difficult to know what he actually believes. Except perhaps that he has taken the Groucho Marx approach to any climate change policy advocated by Labour. This does seem rather unfortunate because in the UK for example the conservative PM Margaret Thatcher was one of the strongest early voices for action on climate change. A position the British Conservative party still embraces today.

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