Coalition MP Malcolm Turnbull: direct action policy on climate change ”short-term”. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Opposition Leader Tony Abbott visited a meat factory in Sydney to discuss his policy of repealing the carbon tax and skilled migration. Photo: Nick Moir
Coalition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has characterised his party’s climate change policy as ”short term” and says he hopes the world moves to a market-based mechanism to reduce emissions.
But Mr Turnbull, who has previously described Tony Abbott’s Direct Action policy as ”a con” and lost his leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009 due to his support for an emissions trading scheme, chose his words carefully while appearing on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night.
”I will support the collective wisdom of the party room,” Mr Turnbull said.
”The big difference between our [climate change] policy … is that it is not designed to go any further than 2020. So it is not a long-term policy.”
On the same program, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was asked whether the new Labor leadership team under Mr Rudd, would, as widely speculated, accelerate the move from a carbon tax to a floating price linked to the European market.
”We will be announcing it, it’s imminent, once we make a decision,” Mr Albanese said.
Mr Albanese also revealed on Monday that he had looked at estimates that showed how much it would cost Labor to shift sooner to an emissions trading scheme. But Mr Albanese would not say how much it would cost or whether he thought Labor could afford it.
Both Mr Albanese and Mr Turnbull agreed that the most efficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the long term was to implement a market-based scheme.
”I hope, I imagine, that is where the world will get to,” Mr Turnbull said.
Asked whether he would join Mr Abbott in campaigning to repeal an emissions trading scheme, Mr Turnbull admitted ”there would be more convincing advocates”.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he thought that Mr Turnbull “did a very very good job on Q&A last night” but he contradicted Mr Turnbull’s view that the world was moving in the direction of carbon pricing.
“As I’ve always said, the world is moving away from carbon taxes and emission trading scheme, not towards it,” Mr Abbott said.
“The world is moving towards the kind of Direct Action measures that the Coalition has long been proposing.”
On Tuesday, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey suggested the Coalition was open to considering an emissions trading scheme if the circumstances were right.
“If the world comes together in pricing carbon across their whole economies, then Australia stands prepared to look at joining them,” Mr Hockey said.
But Mr Hockey rejected the idea that the Coalition were out of step with other countries by pursuing their Direct Action policy.
“This idea that somehow Direct Action stands out by itself is laughable,” Mr Hockey said, adding that US President Barack Obama was following his own version of Direct Action.
Mr Turnbull said it was probably ”harsh” of him to have described Mr Abbott’s Direct Action policy as a ”con” in a 2009 opinion piece for Fairfax Media. In the same article, Mr Turnbull said the Liberal Party was ”currently led by people whose conviction on climate change is that it is ‘crap’ and you don’t need to do anything about it”.
The Direct Action policy, Mr Turnbull said then, was ”an environmental figleaf to cover a determination to do nothing”.
The Coalition’s current policy is to use a range of measures, including a ”Green Army”, to cut emissions by 5 per cent cut from 2000 levels by 2020. Mr Turnbull says he thinks the policy ”will work up to that point”.
The Coalition will ”have a review in 2015, consider what is happening elsewhere in the world and plan our post-2020 policy there”, he said.
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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.