10/07/2014 - 05:18

Is Palmer a real climate convert?

10/07/2014 - 05:18


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The appearance of mining magnate Clive Palmer with climate campaigner Al Gore in federal parliament’s great hall still has many scratching their heads.

Is Palmer a real climate convert?
HARD TO READ: Clive Palmer’s climate policy, and his conditions for supporting government plans, is causing headaches for the coalition.

Just days before the three Palmer United Party candidates became senators, their party's multi-millionaire founder and financier, Clive Palmer, appeared in federal parliament's great hall with long-time global climatic crusader, former US vice-president Al Gore.Mr Palmer generously provided Mr Gore with air travel assistance between east coast capitals during his Australian lecture tour.

The men's appearance together was significant for several reasons.

Firstly, Mr Gore repaid Mr Palmer's generosity, by making their great hall appearance a mutual back-scratching exercise.

Secondly, since multi-millionaire Mr Gore remains the face of the global climate change campaign, Mr Palmer publicly sidelined Greens leader, Senator Christine Milne.

But since journalists were not allowed to ask questions after Mr Palmer's short address, we're left to guess precisely what they'd discussed and decided.

What the announcement did make clear, however, was that Mr Gore reluctantly acknowledged he could not dissuade the PUP leader from voting with the government to scrap the carbon tax.

He did have a 'win', however, in that Mr Palmer said he and his senators would not support the government's plan to scrap the taxpayer-funded Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

According to one-time Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Don Henry, who helped initiate the Gore-Palmer negotiations: "Mr Gore did his best to convince Mr Palmer of the importance of holding onto an emissions trading scheme."

That's pivotal because if Mr Palmer agreed to the Gore proposal it would mean Canberra could revive CO2 taxing, but via a stock exchange mechanism called cap-and-trade rather than Labor's direct tax mechanism.

Although leftist politicians claim emissions trading schemes offer a range of benefits, they never explain who the money-for-jam reapers are under cap-and-trade.

Thankfully, however, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat like Mr Gore, lifted the veil in a Wall Street Journal feature article in October 2009.

Headlined, 'Cap and Trade Could Be a Boon to New York', New York is described as being "uniquely positioned to benefit from a global market in carbon [dioxide] emissions."

She reminded readers that the financial crisis of 2008 "devastated the financial services industry that fuelled New York's boom years.

"In this turmoil, it may seem hard to imagine a financial market poised to deliver significant growth," she wrote.

"However, a rising number of investors and financiers see one in the trading and reduction of carbon [dioxide].

"According to financial experts, carbon [dioxide] permits could quickly become the world's largest commodities market, growing to as much as $3 trillion by 2020 from just over $100 billion today [2009].

"With thousands of firms and energy producers buying and selling permits to emit carbon, transaction fees for exchanges and clearing alone could top nearly half a billion dollars.

"Lastly, it is essential to the long-term success of climate-change legislation and the ultimate benefit for New York that the market for carbon-emissions permits is internationally integrated," Senator Gillibrand concluded.


For Wall Street's dealers to reap maximum benefit it's essential "the market for carbon [dioxide]-emissions permits is internationally integrated".

That fits snugly into Mr Gore having done his best to convince Mr Palmer of the importance of holding onto an emissions trading scheme.


If this eventuates, all Australian consumers will be paying more for all locally produced goods since they'll be embedded in their production cost, and thus price.

Businesses that emit CO2 would be compelled to purchase certificates, possibly issued by a revamped Climate Change Authority, with Wall Street dealers ultimately reaping huge commissions.

Australian workers and consumers would thus carry added cost burdens that would boost Wall Street dealers' pay packets.

We know Mr Gore "did his best to convince Mr Palmer of the importance of holding onto an emissions trading scheme".

Will Mr Palmer and PUP senators bow to Mr Gore's urgings?

Hard to say, but we do know Mr Palmer is a big fan of all things American.

He's immensely proud of his directorship of the John F Kennedy Library Foundation, a position he has held for four years and to which he donated $5 million from 2000 to 2010.

"The Kennedy family's relationship with Mr Palmer has been especially lucrative," (The Australian, May 28 2014).

"So much so that Mr Palmer's regular donations often exceed those by major US corporations and wealthy individuals for specific initiatives.

"Mr Palmer is also a member of the President's Council, which mostly includes companies and foundations, who each contribute at least $US25,000 every year.

"Mr Palmer was unanimously elected to the board in May 2010 by the existing board members.

"The honorary board president is Caroline Kennedy, the late president's daughter."

Let's watch Mr Palmer's and PUP senators' stance on cap-and-trade over coming years.


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