National has pulled its support for the emissions trading scheme which is intended to set limits on the emission of greenhouse gases and penalise polluters. This is the latest in a long line of Key’s shifting positions on climate change.
First climate change was a “complete and utter hoax”. Then as the environmental mood gained momentum Key tried to have a bob each way, imploring us to be “fast followers” rather than leaders. Now as the mood and polls shift again and National’s big business backers start to squirm, Key’s done an about face on the emissions trading scheme.
What’s increasingly clear is that Key’s not prepared to exert leadership when it comes to climate change. It’s worse than that though – this time he’s decided to put his own political ambitions ahead of the good of the country.
Rod Oram was on National Radio this morning commenting on the National Party reversal on the emissions trading scheme. I’ve paraphrased Plunket’s questions below (I made the last one up) and quoted portions of Oram’s answers. It makes for a good summary of the facts. The full audio is here (MP3).
Has the scheme been rushed?
“This isn’t rushed, this has been a process now through two different policy frameworks, or attempts at policy over the last six years or so, and, and there has been a lot of good work gone into it.”
What about Key’s suggestion that we should work with the Aussies?
“That’s already going on… [though] Australia’s challenges are completely different from ours”
Do we really need to act now when most of our major polluters, like agriculture, don’t come under the scheme for years and years?
“The moment the scheme is in place and they understand what their obligations are, they will start thinking and managing around that, um, but if that discipline is not in place, they won’t”
Isn’t it true though that National is absolutely committed to an emmisions trading scheme?
“Every single business lobbyist that has walked into the select committee, that is opposed to this emissions trading scheme, sounds just like John Key. They all say we are in favour of the scheme, but it’s unworkable in its current form”
Is there anyone else behind the legislation or is the Government just ramming it through?
“Really good work is being done by business leaders, there are 34 of them in the leaders’ forum, and also through the technical advisory groups. Work has been done to improve the design and compromise in the constructive sense, which is exactly what happens in the Parliamentary process to get a good piece of legislation.”