Peter Coleman says the EPA decision goes beyond Australia’s emissions reduction targets. Photo: Attila Csaszar.

Ignoring the issue no answer to climate clash

OPINION: The clash between domestic politics and international climate-change law was on stark display in WA last week as the EPA weighed in with an emissions recommendation.


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Oh, come on, Tim. "[The EPA's emissions offset recommendation] will force the state government to decide whether its for or against resources development"? I hardly think the Adani example (blaming different public service recommendations about it, leaving it in legal limbo) is the point. All business has done is automatically trot out the usual fright tactics and external blame indicators of policy uncertainty; e.g. 'investment will grind to a halt' and the the ever-popular (when it suits) 'we need a national approach'. Does anyone ever just take responsibility for what is emissions-intensive commercial activity? The EPA is suggesting they do (take some responsibility), so how about some reporting on just how much money in tree planting or emissions offset purchasing that would cost for, say, Woodside? And does the offset have to take that form? How about WA Labor requires Woodside fit solar systems on its 38,000 public houses (which Labor's draft platform says it would like to see), or how about Woodside be asked to fund new rail systems (I seem to recall Rio Tinto had to do that, or offered to, in the US). What's the real concern here, to business I mean? That their product will cost more if emissions abatement is included as part of production cost, or that there will be less profit? I can see real benefits for everyone here, and frankly I'm tired of hearing the automatic comeback that this will ruin life as we know it. We know we have to do something - gas still unlocks out in to the atmosphere that which the earth stored safely away for millennia. I have to say, at least with uranium mining there was the call to take back what we issued in the form of spent rods and store them here. But with the lithium battery idea, I'm not seeing any great concerns about what happens to the many dead cells that will eventuate, and now gas emits less so we shouldn't have to take what it does emit in to account? I guess that will apply to fracked gas as well.

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