Special interest groups: the enemy within?

5 thoughts on “Special interest groups: the enemy within?”

  1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the same special interests continue to have excessive influence in Australian politics. After hearing coal industry spokespeople on ABC’s 4 corners insisting their industry should get 100% of their ETS permits for free the only surprise is they only got 60% for free. Clearly the argument that short term costs negatively effect short term economics from a sector that contributes lots of royalty revenues is the sort of thing short term thinkers like governments respond to. Meanwhile where are the large scale renewable energy projects we so desperately need? I think we’ll see the coal sector get gov’t propping up way ahead of major clean energy projects getting a leg up.


  2. Thanks Ken. Good points. Some of the dialogue between some industry players and our government begs belief as do their outlandish expectations. Currently, carbon dioxide emissions are only counted where they are burnt … in this respect, by providing a huge percentage of coal used worldwide, Australia is certainly punching above its weight in terms of contributing to the climate crisis. Something to be proud of?


  3. Actually, Guy Pearse (of “High and Dry” fame) has written an excellent essay (Quarry Vision: Quarterly Essays, issue 33, 2009) which outlines the special relationship that the coal industry has had and continues to have with the Australian government … it is worth a read.


  4. I suppose what struck me about Australian Coal’s spokespersons on 4 Corners was that there was no acknowlegement, concession or admission that their industry must be curtailed in any way – quite the contrary, their continued, unhindered operation is treated as essential and in all respects good for Australia. There seemed to be a deliberate effort to sidestep climate issues entirely and to speak and act as if it weren’t worthy of a mention – short term economics and coal industry jobs trumping all. Unfortunately they appear to be judging the arguments Australia’s governments respond to quite well. Now, if they had demonstrated a genuine committment to Carbon Capture and Storage with real plans for it’s widespread introduction I might concede their industry should be allowed a long term future – if I thought CCS was anything more than greenwash that is – but no-one in mainstream politics is willing yet to speak aloud the need for Coal’s demise and, recalling the response from mainstream media to Sen. Brown saying it, we’ve got a long way to go before it becomes what it should be – the acknowledged and planned for biggest essential change necessary to deal with AGW.
    Ove, the little accounting trick that leaves export coal out of Australia’s GHG contributions has been something I’ve commented on before, here and elsewhere. Even if lots of Aussies hold to the fantasy that our contributions are small (and what we do or don’t do has little impact), I don’t expect the rest of the world has failed to notice that we are the world’s no.1 coal exporter.


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