Monday, 21 December 2009

Political implications of Copenhagen in Australia

Abbott and the Greens clearly winners. At least in the short term, Tony Abbott will be a winner from the inconclusive nature of decisions. It makes the position of those who argued against the need for Australia to legislate on an emissions trading scheme before the round of international talks began seem far more sensible. Kevin Rudd must surely now wonder if it is wise to bring his legislation to the Australian Parliament again before there is the likelihood of other nations doing something similar.
Throughout the Copenhagen talks it appears that the Australian tactic was to stick closely to the positions adopted by the United States. It will be prudent of Prime Minister Rudd to continue with that line.
The small minority of extremely concerned environmentalists in Australia will now be in a gnashing of teeth mode that will provide Bob Brown and his Greens with an excellent opportunity to enhance their electoral support. There might not be many such voters but even a couple of per cent will be enough to guarantee that the Greens are the holders of the balance of power in the next Senate.
In the longer term, it is this electoral arithmetic that will determine what Australia finally does about global warming. Those opposed to the modest Rudd model of an emissions trading scheme should remember that before they vote next time.
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