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Gillard must test belief in CO2 output
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 30 June 2010

You report that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has indicated her belief in the need to put a price on carbon but that her government will not act to impose one until “we get that lasting and deep community consensus”.

At the same time, however, Gillard said she would be making “some statements about some further things we can do to address the challenge of climate change” (“Seeking ‘community consensus’ ahead of an ETS”, 28 June).

This last comment obviously refers to policy on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which raises a major question. Does Gillard intend to reduce emissions of carbon, not through imposing a carbon price but through costly subsidies for alternative inefficient renewable energy sources designed to provide 20 or more per cent of energy supply by 2020 as now legislated?  Such a policy would have similar adverse effects on the cost of energy and living standards to those from putting a price on carbon through an emissions trading scheme.  As such, a community consensus is surely needed not only on the imposition of a carbon price but on the replacement of traditional energy sources through subsidies on alternatives that would impose high costs on taxpayers and/or consumers.

How to obtain a community consensus either way? The first step must surely be to bring together the sceptics and the believers in the science behind the dangerous warming theory. So far this government and its predecessor has heard only one side of the story: the side promulgating the notion of a scientific consensus. But revelations from Climategate and other analyses indicate that has now been accepted as a myth.  Indeed, there are many more scientific and information flaws in the last report by the IPCC than is reported in the media. Moreover, although slanted questions in the limited Australian polling suggest “concern”, overseas polling now indicates that a majority do not accept that increasing human activity is causing temperatures to increase.

Gillard would demonstrate her capacity as a leader if she established an independent public inquiry to test her belief in the need to reduce emissions of CO2.

Des Moore
Director, Institute for Private Enterprise
South Yarra Vic

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