Just for a moment, suspend any semblance of critical thought and accept the cataclysmic version of anthropogenic climate change advanced by the likes of Penny Wong, Tim Flannery and Al Gore.
Ignore too, the tens of thousands of scientists who disagree with the political agenda of the IPCC and just accept the claims of those who have made increasingly alarmist predictions, yet have been proved wrong time and time again.
As you lie awake at night worried by the mere thought of ocean front land in Wagga Wagga, you realise that something needs to be done before it is too late. Australia needs to act now and introduce an emissions trading scheme because climate change is "the greatest moral issue of our time."
As an acquiescent disciple of the new religion, to save the planet you concoct a scheme that will tax every business and every family in the country. Sure, it will raise the cost of food, electricity, construction and transport but that is a price you are prepared for others to pay. You condemn any opponents of your plan as sceptics and heretics, while trying to convince the community that it won’t hurt them too much.
In fact, so desperate are you to facilitate the introduction of your multi-billion dollar wealth redistribution system, that you promise to compensate some of those affected by more than it is going to cost them. Surely everyone can see the sense in taking from the wealthy and giving to those who pollute just as much but aren’t as well off. Just think of it as spreading the socialist love to save the planet.
Despite the rejection of your scheme by farmers and environmentalists, businesses and families, you plough on regardless. What does it matter if hundreds of thousands of jobs are going to be lost and industries closed if it means we will have less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
Desperately looking for support, you enlist those notorious polluters in the investment banking, legal and financial markets to support your cause, conveniently forgetting only months ago you were blaming their excessive culture of greed for the failure of the world financial system. Ignore too, the billions of dollars they stand to make from the creation and administration of the unwieldy bureaucracy and carbon trading scheme you propose. Surely the opportunity to profit wouldn’t be the reason they endorse your scheme, would it?
Such is the urgency of the matter at hand, you insist that the Parliament pass your legislation immediately, even though your new scheme won’t actually commence for a couple of years. Worse still, you acknowledge that your scheme won’t actually make any difference to the climate unless the rest of the world does something similar.
Of course the rest of the world won’t be making up their minds for a few months yet. Undeterred, you make the ‘decisive and tough’ decision to act now, even though you know you are damaging the economic future of your own country.
Now back to reality.
Under any critical analysis, the above scenario would be considered the height of political madness, yet that is exactly what the advocates of Labor’s dishonestly named Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) want to do.
Even the most devout anthropogenic climate change believer knows that Australia acting alone to reduce carbon emissions will not make a jot of difference to the climate. They also know that Australian industry and jobs will disappear overseas in the absence of a truly global agreement.
Under Labor’s CPRS, prices for everyday goods will rise and every power point will be come a tax collection outlet for a rapacious Government with an insatiable appetite for interfering in our lives. Worse still, acting ahead of the rest of the world might actually mean that Australia is stuck with a scheme that won’t make any difference except to damage our domestic economy.
It’s time for a reality check of the political action attached to the climate change debate.
Labor’s CPRS is so flawed that it should not be reintroduced into the Parliament until after the global climate change talks in Copenhagen later this year. To pass this Bill, or any incarnation of it ahead of the Copenhagen talks, is sheer folly. To do so, when Labor’s scheme is not even scheduled to commence until 2011, would suggest that politics and politicians have taken leave of their senses.
Any talk of accepting, amending, improving or adapting Labor’s scheme before then is to ignore our national interest.
Cory Bernardi Liberal Senator for South Australia