Gavin’s 2008 Budget Review – Climate Change

The Treasurer of Australia, the Hon. Wayne Swan, just handed down the Federal budget, which included A$2.3 billion over four years towards climate change. It is a start mostly in the right direction, and from what I can tell from reading the press and having just watched the live TV coverage of the budget, here is the breakdown of the climate change part;
  • $1.7 billion to support scientists, researchers and industry to develop clean energy options, with over $500 million to be spent on researching “Clean Coal”, and $500 million on renewable research,
  • $37 million to develop an emissions trading scheme (it should have been implemented by now!)
  • $300 million for Green Loans, which are low interest loans available for installation of solar, water and energy efficient production in Australian homes (I can’t tell if this is means tested)
The categories are a bit of a mixed bag, and I think the majority will be effective, but I am angry that the Government are giving the coal industry more money to develop a clean coal technology that they should have already developed (if it actually could be achieved on a large scale) from all of the profits from selling coal to China. Why give them a bonus for a bogus technology? Regular readers will already know my opinion regarding the so called clean coal.

Furthermore, to make the recent announcement of Victoria’s ineffective feed-in tariff an even bitter pill to swallow, the Federal Government have announced that from midnight tonight, the Photovoltaic Rebate Programme will now be means tested. That means that the $8000 PV rebate will only be available to households with an annual taxable income of $100,000. That is bloody ludicrous! It is the higher earning families with more disposable income that would be more likely to install Solar PV on their houses. I wouldn’t expect struggling families to fork out the large amounts of cash to install this technology, when they have other priorities, especially with rising commodity prices. I may be wrong, and happy to be proven otherwise.

Why are these Federal and State governments further lining the already massive pockets of big coal companies? This change may kill the residential PV industry in Australia, at a time when we should be investing much more in preventing climate change by spending up big on current renewable technologies, and not spending it on pie in the sky technologies which try and dampen the effects of the inevitable outcomes of our own polluting, and climate changing stupidity.

All I can say, is thank goodness that I got my system in late last year, and I am sorry for those of my fellow Australians who are no longer eligible for the rebate.

Another important item that I believe was missing from the budget, was the lack of talk about Peak Oil, and policies to help cure our addiction to the black stuff. I did hear mention of an Infrastructure Fund for Roads, Rail, Ports and Broadband, but nothing of the details. We can only hope that maybe there is something to expand the public transport systems, so desperately required in a post Peak Oil world. I believe that the horse industry will boom again, and we will have great roads to drive our horse and buggy’s on! Once again, I may be wrong, and happy to be proven otherwise.

I can only hope, that the money spent on implementing the emissions trading scheme is well spent, and actually reduces emissions quickly. We are not looking good at reaching our 60% cuts in emissions by 2050 with these policies, when a larger cut (90%) is probably warranted to avoid a permanent change in our weather pattens. Some days (like today) I feel like everyone has rolled over, and given up, and simply accepted the inevitability of climate change. Not I though, because as long as there is breath in my lungs, I will continue to lead by example, spread the word about sustainable living, and attempt, in my own humble way to make a better future for the children of the world.

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  1. says

    Thanks for the rundown on the budget – I could’t even be bothered listening to it or reading it. I have had it with governments. We have to get ourselves out of this Gavin, one tiny step at atime but at least we are doing it and not still talking about starting some time in the future! Give you and I a couple of billion dollars and see what we could do with it by this time next week, is my suggestion!

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