Ian MacFarlane is the Howard Government minister that represents the forward-thinking town of Toowoomba, that has just voted itself out of water.
He's also the one that told the fossil fuel companies that renewable energy was "too successful" and had to be stopped...
KERRY BREWSTER: No-one denies the success of the Mandatory Target for Renewable Energy target. It was virtually met last year, five years ahead of schedule. In fact, it was too successful. According to the leaked notes of a senior executive of Rio Tinto, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane told a secret gathering of the CEOs of major fossil fuel companies in 2004 that the scheme "worked too well", that "investment in renewables was running ahead of the original planning", and that the "very vocal" renewables industry had taken the agenda from them. Ian Macfarlane declined to be interviewed for this story.Transcript | Video
This week the states have announced they're going to go it alone on a carbon trading scheme: States band together on pollution plan
KAREN BARLOW: The states and territories say they want to follow Europe and individual states in America in setting up a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme.
The South Australian Premier Mike Rann says manmade climate change is the world's greatest menace.
MIKE RANN: I mean, it's a bigger threat ultimately to our planet, to our way of life to our economy than even terrorism.
KAREN BARLOW: Under the scheme there would be a set national target of emissions of the three main greenhouse polluting gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
Greenhouse gas-emitting companies, such as electricity generators, would receive a limited number of permits each year to cover their emissions.
Companies that emit too much would face stiff fines, while the New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma says companies that achieve their targets can make money by selling their excess permits on the open market.
MORRIS IEMMA: It's capping the emissions and establishing a trading mechanism whereby certificates or credits can be traded in the marketplace with the overall objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generators, who are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, some 35 per cent.
A positive move you might think, but not according to Mr MacFarlane....
Fed Govt dismisses states' carbon trading plan
It is a carbon tax, it will increase the cost of electricity to consumers, it will increase the cost of petrol to motorists, and the reality is, the way to solve the greenhouse gas problem is through introducing new technology, getting involved and collaborating with other countries, and that's what Australia is doing, bearing in mind that Australia is one of only three or four countries who will reach it's Kyoto target.Easy if you negotiate a Kyoto target that is 8% higher than 1990 levels and is largely met by reduced land clearing. Not that you'd actually ratify Kyoto anyway...
The way to reduce greenhouse gas, particularly from stationary generators like power stations, is to find ways to capture the carbon dioxide and store it underground in geosequestration.Ummm ... yeah, geosequestration sounds like a really good idea not!
Well, there are all sorts of figures being bandied around by the states, but can I just say one thing, that one of the models that they're proposing is a reduction of greenhouse gases by 50 per cent.Well we know how the Howard government spins ABARE's modelling. AFAICT there is no ABARE document that says electricity prices will rise six-fold or petrol prices will double. Chances are a staffer just made it up.
That was actually costed by ABARE, the Agricultural and Resource Bureau of Agricultural Economics. That bureau costed that at an increase in electricity prices of almost six-fold and a doubling of petrol prices.