Home > Australia, Climate Change, Politics > >Climate policy will cost Australian Labor Party the next election

>Climate policy will cost Australian Labor Party the next election

>Labor is riding high in the polls with Roy Morgan Research currently giving them a 60-40 lead over the government. With that sort of advantage the only thing that Labor needs to do is not over reach and give people pause for thought about what a Labor government might actually mean for Australia. However, Labor leader Kevin Rudd continues to expose himself as a shallow policy wonk that is not connected in even the most basic way to the average Aussie voter.

Rudd believes that climate change is a vote winner and is pushing the issue for all it’s worth by undertaking a trip to China to discuss reducing emissions with the world’s soon to be largest emitter, embracing the Stern Report’s 60% CO2 reduction target as ALP policy (as Tim Blair points out the lifestyle changes that people will need to make are extremely radical) and announcing his own Australian version of the Stern Report in order to assess the economic impact on this country.

By doing so he is throwing away an almost certain election victory.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd has called for an Australian version of the Stern Report to calculate the economic cost of climate change, following the release of the latest UN warning on climate change.

Never mind that the Stern Report is as worthless as used toilet paper having been hopelessly torn to shreds by economists that used proper discount rates, amongst other things.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released in Brussels, giving the most alarming forecast yet about the consequences of climate change for the world.

It predicts worsening drought conditions and water shortages for Australia over the next 20 to 50 years with the loss of the Great Barrier Reef within the next two decades.

It also warns that as many as 711,000 Australian homes will be in peril from rising sea levels, and says vulnerable wildlife species could begin to disappear by 2030.

For some reason that is beyond me the political left have not grasped the fact that people simply do not believe the predictions. Who believes that the Great Barrier Reef will be gone within 20 years? If up to 711,000 homes will be in peril in just 23 years time then why are coastal property prices continuing to rise?

Mr Rudd said Australia would suffer from economic and job losses as a direct result of climate change and that cost should be calculated.

But this could be achieved only by an Australian global warming audit, similar to the influential report recently prepared for the British government by economist Sir Nicholas Stern, who recently visited Australia.

Mr Rudd told reporters the economic cost could only be assessed with the Australian equivalent of a Stern Report, which was Labor policy, but which the government had refused.

“I can’t understand why the government would not want to calculate the economic cost and the jobs costs of failing to act on climate change,” he said.

“We need to put numbers around that as well and that’s why we need an Australian-Stern Report.”

And this is exactly what is going to kill the ALP’s election chances. People are rightly suspicious of the ALP’s economic credentials given a history of profligate spending that saw near 20% interest rates and billions of budget dollars needed simply to service the interest on the government incurred debt. The Labor Party will not be able to help itself but produce a Stern-style doom and gloom report with a view to worrying voters into supporting them. The problem is that the sort of economics needed to produce such a report will suffer from the same shonky assumptions as does Stern, which the government will easily be able to attack and thus remind the public about the fragility of the ALP’s economic credentials. The government will also be able to point to what the ALP’s equivalent is doing in the UK including the massive 50% rise in energy prices most of which has occurred since the carbon trading scheme was introduced.

Mr Rudd says Labor’s climate change policies are practical and include emissions trading, increasing renewable energies and electricity efficiency management.

He also called for the government to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change, to “become part of the global network to deal with this global challenge”.

If the government ratchets up its alternative policies to Kyoto and points out that by ratifying Kyoto Australia will face significant economic difficulties with the loss of at least 100,000 jobs to offshore markets then the ALP will have nowhere to go.

“By and large Mr Howard’s government denies these plans because in their heart of hearts they are climate change sceptics and climate change deniers, their heads are in the sand they hope it’ll just go away,” he said.

It is disappointing that Rudd is using the ‘denier’ label so loved by those on the lunatic fringe of the climate change debate. I think it is a sign that the unpleasant arrogance he displays in private is making its way onto the public stage.

The ALP’s plan to create its own Aussie Stern Report is extremely unwise and when the dust of another election loss has settled will be identified as the point at which Labor’s fortunes took a fatal turn.

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  1. April 8, 2007 at 7:37 am

    >I hope that you are correct, Jack.My personal belief is that the interest rates of 16+ years ago are off the radar for most of the sheeple.

  2. April 10, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    >this is all based on the assumption that they’ll commission a report with detailed costings and outcomes like stern’s. if you’ve heard garrett or rudd talk about this plan, they’ve been very, very careful not to mention an emissions target number. to go into specifics, like you’re suggesting they will do, is something they simply won’t, because it’s bad politics. all labor have to do is pay lip service to climate change to maintain their dominance in that issue. howard is the one who has to detail hard policy.

  3. April 10, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    >Hi Tommy,They’ve already endorsed Stern’s 60% target so I think they’ve backed themselves into a corner. If they try to skim over the costings then the Coalition will be able to run their own numbers, giving them the upper hand. If they show shonky numbers such as in Stern then the Coalition will be able to pick holes in the report and demonstrate the ALP’s threat to the economy.

  4. April 11, 2007 at 2:28 am

    >What an insane rant. Just want to point out the most simple of errors you make: The ALP policy is to commission the report after they win government. Pretty hard for ‘the government’ to attack Labor’s economic credibility after they’ve already lost the election. If you think those attacks will make a lick of difference to the election after you are deluded.

  5. April 11, 2007 at 5:57 am

    >Nice to see you’re about as on the ball as Philip Adams on a good day, Anonymous.The ALP has called for its own report. They will need to cost that if it is to have any electoral impact BEFORE the election. They leave themselves wide open to attacks on their economic credibility otherwise.

  6. May 5, 2007 at 1:06 am

    >I think you’re as fullof shit as the north side of a south bound camel train. Profligate spending by the government didn’t cause 20% interest rates, it was runaway inflation. And you carefully ignore the current rise in interest rates under the Howard governmeent – the apparent paragons of economic management – which is cause by a boom in resources, which leads to higher incomes, higher spending, higher debt, etcetera.The current account deficit of the 1980’s was an Aussie addiction to imports. Government interest rates on foreign loans was not 20%. You’ll find the historic bond yields a good guage of interest rates paid by governments and they certainly weren’t 20% in the 80’s.Secondly, coastal property prices aren’t going up because people believe in the lack of climate change. Property prices are going up, period. Coastal or otherwise. Investors are working on a 5 year horizon at the moment when property prices have increased by anything from 150 to 300% in the past 5 years. The current 6.5% nterest rates, by the by, have more of an economic sting than the 18.5% rates of the 1980’s because capitalisation levels are 10 to 20 times that of the 1980’s. You also seem to think, in your own ostrich-necking way,similar to most aussies, that you won’t have to make radical lifestyle changes. Well, hello, what if electricity prics double because power plants don’t get enough water to run their boilers?

  7. May 5, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    >Rolinator,It’s unfortunate that economics is not a mandatory subject in middle schools.When you state “The current 6.5% nterest rates, by the by, have more of an economic sting than the 18.5% rates of the 1980’s because capitalisation levels are 10 to 20 times that of the 1980’s” you’re demonstrating your lack of knowledge of the period.I remember those time. Families were doing it really tough. The average families weren’t doing home extensions, buying cars at record rates, spending as much on holidays, entertainment or even food.To demonstrate how bad things were: luxury brands disappeared from the market and low cost/quality entered. Mercedes introduced its worst ever car – the 180E – that had a radio but no cassette player and wind up windows in an effort to remain competitive at the entry level. Hyundai came into the market with their low cost, awful Excel. People bought them. It’s all they could afford. To my chagrin, Campbell’s Chunky soup disappeared from supermarket shelves. When I enquired why I was told that it was too expensive for families.High interest rates mainly affect business who won’t make the necessary investments required to expand and increase employment.Of course, you wouldn’t understand that at all.

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