Comments on Gerard Henderson “Look to Canada for a good carbon copy”, 10/05/2011, http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/look-to-canada-for-a-good-carbon-copy-20110509-1efp1.html
While Canada might be an example to look at, it is unwise to set the lowest denominator and to race to the bottom in terms of the order of international citizenship.
There are better examples, there are worse examples than Canada in terms of climate change policies.
Arguably Australia should aim at an effective and efficient climate change policy that not only fulfil its international obligations as one of the heaviest emitters to contribute to the reductions of carbon greenhouse gases emissions, but also do so that does not unnecessarily disadvantage its own economy much in the process.
It is not an unattainable goal or an unachievable task.
For example, to have a broad based, simple, broadly trade neutral and explicit carbon tax, and also to have it revenue neutral by returning all the revenue from the carbon tax to residents who have the rights to better environment in terms of collective ownership to the environment.
Of course, to be fair internationally, the trade neutrality principle should be supplemented with appropriate regime of international compensation or reimbursement by country (as opposed to individual firms) according to the level of their emissions per capita.
To conclude, I would urge our commentators to think more broadly and strategically than just simply seek an easy solution of non-actions. Non-action is unlikely to be in Australia’s own interest, given that even the Kyoto allowed Australia to have an increase in emission levels while most other OECD countries had a target of reduction in emissions. Australia should recognise the international goodwill shown to it at Kyoto and don’t spoil it by unwiseness.