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December 2016

As the year is drawing to a close, I reflect on one of the final political frictions of the year in Canberra, which was across the headlines in early December. It started by the environment minister announcing a review within his Department to do with possible alternatives for Australia to meet its GHG emission commitments. A possibility of proposing an emissions trading scheme (of sorts) for the electricity sector was flagged.

This created massive disdain within Government’s own ranks leading the prime minister to publicly reject any notion of ‘carbon pricing’ or a ‘carbon tax’.

It is just another reminder of how politically dangerous these words have become in Australia, making it practically impossible to use two of the most valuable economic instruments of environmental policy. It is like shooting oneself in a foot! We know that those policy instruments work, but we can’t use them because we made them a political anathema!

In the meantime, Australian GHG emissions kept increasing. A final letdown in a year to forget for the Government on all fronts, and certainty on environmental front!

And, yes: Happy New Year! Hopefully a better one!