Simon Corbell is trying to drum up some enthusiasm for the new, staggeringly ambitious, greenhouse targets he’s legislating today with no real strategy to achieve them:
The ACT can take the lead in creating a low carbon future with the debate of the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bill 2010, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Simon Corbell said today…
The legislation commits the ACT to making a 40 per cent cut in emissions, based on 1990 levels, by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.
“The Government has also set a peaking target for greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, which recognises that immediate action must be taken to reverse the trend of carbon emissions in the Territory,” Mr Corbell said.
In addition the Bill:
— mandates regular reporting to the Legislative Assembly on the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions trends;
— establishes a Climate Change Council to provide independent advice on climate change issues as they effect business and the wider community;
— and encourages private organisations and industries to take action through voluntary sector agreements with Government.
With all due cynicism we note that this puts the peaking target safely after the 2012 election. At which point the Labor Government no doubt hopes they’ll have their Assembly majority restored and not have to suck up to those pesky greens until 2016 at which point one can hope there’s finally some certainty about global and national greenhouse action.
But I can think of one way this could be made to work, in a nasty, technical sense.
Firstly let’s assume that we’re going to have to end building and construction in the ACT in order to get these massive cuts.
With the continued growth of the Australian Public Service, and the ancillary services that surround it, house prices will then skyrocket lining the government pockets with stamp duties.
The lowly in Canberra society (like website editors) will then be forced over the border into low-sustainability tract housing.
The increasingly gentrifying Canberra proper will have the spare income to invest in solar panels and double glazing at a higher rate than they can now.
With the little people and their polluting lifestyles swept over the border the lucky few able to afford to live in Canberra will be able to feel wonderful about their low-polluting ways without having to account for the smoking donut city surrounding the emerald city.
The net impact on the planet and the nation would be horrendous.
But it would look good on paper. AND get rid of the riff raff.
One can only hope that isn’t the plan.
In fact the best possible outcome is that this is more “aspirational” target setting (remember “No Waste 2010”?) to cripple the Green vote in 2012.
It’s a hell of a way to run a railroad.