“The Rudd government’s offer to exclude agriculture emissions from the ETS hasn’t cost the government anything since those emissions were not even in the CPRS to start with,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell.
“If this is all the government’s got to offer after weeks of negotiating then it bodes ill for the other eight specific issues laid down by the Coalition that must be addressed.”
“Agriculture emissions were not locked into the government’s CPRS, they were just a possibility after 2015. This is not a big concession from the government at all.”
“Farmers are concentrating now on the cost rises that will come from an ETS regardless of whether their emissions are counted or not. The issue of paying for emissions is not their immediate concern.”
Senator Boswell said that farmers were really worried about the higher costs of electricity, fuel, chemicals, fertiliser and processing that would accompany an ETS, squeezing business margins by thousands of dollars.
“The Joint Party room is expecting a full report on Tuesday on the negotiated amendments on the nine specific issues that were laid down on 24 July.”
“Agriculture emissions is just one of those. Without a negotiated outcome that delivers general increases in electricity prices no greater than comparable countries, then there is no chance that the Coalition’s longstanding concerns will be met.”
Senator Boswell said that the Coalition’s position was that Australian industry be offered no less protection than the US. “At this stage, we don’t even know what level of protection will be offered in the US, so it will be very difficult to meet that provision.”
“That is one of the reasons why it is Coalition policy to not pass any CPRS legislation before Copenhagen.”
“The best way to give farmers the certainty they need and the relief from high electricity prices is to not pass the CPRS.”
“This does not mean that Australia does not lower its emissions but it means we avoid a tremendously costly restructuring that serves only to make the government and money brokers rich while doing nothing for global warming.”
Senator Boswell said that he expected the CPRS cheerleaders like the BCA and other rentseekers and campfollowers to lay on the pressure this week to pass the ETS.
“But it will take more than a hollow gesture over agriculture emissions to win the confidence of the Joint Party room.”