From the Age

ETS will leave millions better off: Labor

December 30, 2009

THE Federal Government has hit back at claims its emissions trading scheme will drive up the cost of living, revealing new figures that show the scheme's household compensation package will leave low-income households an average of $190 a year better off.


But how can that be? The ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) needs to change behaviour by pricing carbon more realistically. Since carbon pollution is not being paid for, a more realistic carbon price is a higher carbon price. If the costs are not passed on to consumers, then where are they? I am losing my remaining enthusiasm for Labor's ETS. Even if "you'll be better off" is a lie, it is a disastrous way to sell an ETS. The right way to sell it is that completely unchecked climate change is going to be incredibly expensive, but we're going to minimise future costs by changing behaviour now, which is not for free.

The situation is beginning to feel like the constitutional referendum, where it was better to keep the status quo than vote for a badly broken reform attempt.