Howard blows hot and cold on emissions:
THE Federal Government was on the brink of introducing emissions trading in Australia three years ago as the centrepiece of a major new climate change strategy — until the Prime Minister stepped in.Via John Quiggin, who expects Howard to introduce some form of emissions trading as a pre-election rabbit from the hat.
In 2003, a government committee representing the Treasury, Environment and Industry departments was told to come up with an affordable, long-term plan to cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions over coming decades.
A key part of the strategy was to support emissions trading: to make companies pay for producing greenhouse gases while allowing those that cleaned up their act to profit by trading unused credits to pollute.
Government sources have told The Age that the plan won the backing of virtually every department, including the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, as well as the support of Treasurer Peter Costello, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and then environment minister David Kemp.
In July 2003, the strategy was taken to the Coalition cabinet room. A month later, after meeting the chief executives of minerals, aluminium, power, paper and chemicals companies, the Prime Minister dumped the strategy, arguing it would cost industry too much.