Good politics, good policy

by Richard Denniss in The Australian
Originally published in The Australian on February 25, 2011

Julia Gillard’s multi-party committee on climate change (MPCCC) has achieved what the Rudd government should have relied on its cabinet for – a good political outcome likely to deliver a good policy outcome on that wicked problem of climate change. While there is still plenty of room for negotiations to go off the rails, the architecture announced yesterday stakes out ground that will ensure the various politicians involved will be able to focus on what unites them (support for a carbon price) rather than what divides them (the exact emission reduction targets for 2020). It’s not just good politics though. By focusing on the areas of broad agreement, the MPCCC architecture allows for the pursuit of an ambitious timetable for the introduction of a carbon price in July next year. While the exact carbon price is yet to be negotiated the preferred mechanism, a so-called ‘fixed-price emissions trading scheme’ allows for the introduction of a carbon price which will rise steadily over time while issues such as 2020 targets are being negotiated.

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