An idea whose time never came

by Richard Denniss in Analysis & Policy Observatory
Originally published in Analysis & Policy Observatory on February 25, 2009

It is often said that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. But it seems that in the case of Minister Wong’s version of emissions trading, the so called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), there is nothing more pitiful than an idea whose time never actually came. The targets are not based on science, 90 per cent of the permits needed by the biggest polluters are being given away and the price is capped rather than set by the market. These shortcomings, together with its destructive impact on the motivation for individual action and the way the targets lock Australia into failure, make it easy to argue for its rejection if the government does not make serious efforts to fix it.

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