ETS dismissed as joke

THE outcomes achieved by the federal government’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) prompt the question “why bother?”, a University of the Sunshine Coast academic said yesterday.

Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership of the federal Liberal Party might have survived his agreement with the government on the scheme, but associate professor Peter Waterman, who set up the university’s climate change adaptation division, said the outcome was more political than something likely to reduce emissions.

“The ETS makes Monty Python look weak,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a joke. The reality of the ETS, with its massive concessions, coupled with the government’s own figures, mean it will take 20 years to get a reduction. Why bother?”

The government’s placement of all its eggs in the basket of one market instrument (ETS) to solve everything was wrong and would not work, Mr Waterman said.

“The market can manipulate too quickly,” he said.

“There is a need to mitigate emissions at source. The ETS doesn’t do that. The government needs to be reassuring the community that it will reduce emissions, rather than creating a tradable commodity.

“If you can’t measure impacts of the scheme within 20 years, you are perpetuating a problem that already exists.”

The government and opposition were in the same space, with the ETS becoming a politicised imperative rather than a genuine process to reduce emissions, Mr Waterman said.

The Sunshine Coast Environment Council agrees.

Campaigner Sonia Marshall said yesterday the proposed scheme was doomed to failure.

The scheme’s “big polluters sit pretty” stance would lead to horrific climate change impacts in the future, while placing the consequences on taxpayers, Ms Marshall said.

“The ETS has to be right before it is passed. Tightening it up in the future will result in massive legal consequences under the Australian Constitution.

“Not only will taxpayers be suffering the effects of an inadequate ETS, but they will probably be expected to pick up the bill for compensation claims. Meanwhile, because the emission targets are insufficient, the environment will go on suffering the intensified impacts of continued climate change.”

It was ridiculous to even entertain the notion that throwing money at the big polluters would help reduce emissions, Ms Marshall said.

“We need an ETS that puts the environment first, through measures that discourage the use of coal and encourage clean, green energy alternatives if we are to achieve intergenerational equity.”

Is the ETS a joke? What do you think? Leave your comments below...

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