Monday, June 19, 2017

How Australia's climate policies came to be poisoned by pragmatism

It might seem a million miles from the climate policy debate of today but Australia’s decade-long climate wars arguably began with perfect being the enemy of good.

A coal-fired power station near Muswellbrook. Alan Finkel’s report
recommended a clean energy target, rather than an emissions trading
 scheme or an emissions intensity scheme.
On at least three occasions, the chance for Australia to have relatively strong emissions policies were squandered, leaving many people in politics, industry and the environmental movement today wishing that something weaker – but therefore more politically feasible – had been instituted when it was possible.

That legacy has meant a culture of extreme pragmatism has taken over the climate policy debate in Australia. Second-best policies have become the preferred option, until they’ve been ruled out, and suddenly third-best policies are considered the only feasible option.

This pragmatic turn has infected not only the political parties and some NGOs but also official, independent government offices, and left Australia with virtually no genuinely independent advice in the climate policy space.

Read Michael Slezak’s story on The Guardian - “How Australia's climate policies came to be poisoned by pragmatism.”

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