After yesterday’s uplifting opener, today has been exhausting and emotional for many of us at Australia’s Climate Action Summit.
I spent a lot of time in the policy and politics sessions, looking first at Rudd’s carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS) with Richard Dennis from the Australia Institute.
Dennis asked five volunteers to help demonstrate the fatal flaw built into what he has nicknamed Rudd’s ‘carbon pollution reallocation scheme’.
‘When emissions trading comes in, every tonne of carbon dioxide saved by households will simply free up a tonne that can be used by industry,’ explained Dennis.
What does this mean? That if a homeowner spends money putting a solar panel on their roof, the energy savings will be reflected in a lower price for permits. The pollution cap won’t be changed and emissions won’t reduce beyond the pathetic 5% target locked in until 2020.
‘The absurd thing is,’ Dennis laughed, ‘under Rudd’s scheme you would do more for the planet by buying a tonne of carbon directly from Alcoa and burning it in your backyard than you would by making your home 100% carbon neutral.’
Ha ha, I thought. That might be funny if only the future of our children wasn’t at stake.
Fortunately, Rudd’s abysmal failure on the CPRS is reflected in the national campaign objectives agreed to today at the climate summit. In a packed room, 300 climate campaigners agreed by consensus to three campaign objectives for 2009:
- Prevent the carbon pollution reduction scheme from becoming law.
- Build a community-wide action to demand green jobs, a just transition and 100% renewable energy by 2020.
- Build community support for a goal of stabilisation at 300ppm CO2 and strong international agreement in line with what science and global justice demands. Communicate this position to the Copenhagen Conference of Parties and advocate for the Australian government to adopt this position.
After two days of intense negotiation, these common objectives are testimony to the will of Australians to move in chorus during this crucial year of climate action.
Watch out, Rudd! You hadn’t counted on us.
Hope you can make it to tomorrow’s huge Encircle Parliament day of action!