A clean energy future for whom?

Greenhouse gas mitigation Environment Economics Carbon pricing Australia

THE federal government wants to convince us that its new carbon price package creates a “clean energy future” for Australia. If you’re wading through Sunday’s avalanche of announcements in search of a clear policy signal to this effect, though, you won’t find it. The incentives in the package pull the economy in contradictory directions. But searching for policy coherence is a misguided exercise. It’s better to think of the package as the chaotic aftermath of the first real battle in a long war over the future composition of Australia’s economy and environment in a warming world.

I say the first real battle because, although various political parties and social groups have always held visions for our collective future that differ fundamentally from the political mainstream, the negotiations over the carbon package mark the first occasion in which such an alternative vision has been expressed through a political party with sufficient power to influence a major economic and environmental reform, at least at the federal level…


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