Palmer is offering to vote for Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan as long as he gets “his” Emissions Trading Scheme as well (the one he didn’t want eight weeks ago, to solve a problem he didn’t believe existed).
None of it makes sense on its face. Clive Palmer, the coal miner and die-hard unbeliever, appears to “want” an ETS, the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and direct action to reduce CO2 as well as the RET. (And some say that Gore lost?)
Is Palmer just playing games with both the Coalition and the media, holding cards for negotiation-sake, and messing with journalist’s heads? It could be. But until we see the fine print on the legislation (and all the other deals), we can assume the loser of the Gore-Palmer paradox was neither Gore nor Palmer, but the Australian taxpayer.
Abbott will find it hard to knock back a deal to bring in “Direct Action”, after having campaigned for so long to get it working. Especially if the ETS is sold as a dead duck at zero dollars and only on the condition that Japan, South Korea, China, Australian and the US all start emissions trading. How could he turn that down?
It could be a painful squeeze: he said he wants Direct Action, but he won his position as leader of the Coalition by opposing an ETS in 2009, and Coalition voters hate the carbon imposts in every guise. An ETS is just a carbon tax in a form where the bankers scoop up the cream, instead of it being “redistributed” to special interests and marginal seats. The brokerage fees on a 2 Trillion dollar market greases a lot of wheels. The Money-Go-Round that market powers, sets up an Industry of industries clamouring for green gravy.
For Gore, being able to claim that Australia had legislated an ETS (however meaningless) is a momentum win in the public relations campaign. It would also be a sweet lever to use on Canada and Japan and everywhere elsewhere. Gore would love to turn up to the UNFCCC in Paris in 2015 with conditional agreements from a range of countries. Could he get away with it? If the Australian ETS was a joke (down to the fine print) and known to be a joke, it would not be worth a thing. But given how patsy the media are, dutiful journalists will report that “even Australia’s conservative government has signed up to an ETS” as if it means something. Do we want to rely on investigative impartial reporting? Exactly.
Clive is playing hard ball every which way, and seemingly getting away with it. But his facade of ploys would turn around and bite him if the media would only do their job and portray him as the fake man he is who transparently believes in nothing but games. His voters didn’t vote for him to keep the RET, the Climate Change Authority, or an Emissions Trading Scheme. But the Love Media are enjoying watching him play Abbott, and have no problem with the insincerity as he panders to their green religion.
When will someone pin Clive down and ask him to explain his “climate beliefs”? We’d need a real media…