While much of the debate about Julia Gillard’s $23-a-tonne tax has focused on its effect on Australian firms and consumers, Mr Rudd used an interview with The Australian to warn that the developed world could not expect high-polluting developing nations, including China and India, to reduce their emissions if it refused to do the same.
“The inherent inequity of that is made plain at every single global negotiation,” Mr Rudd said.
Mr Rudd said action by the developed world was “an important pre-condition” for leveraging global action.
Asked about the opposition’s argument that the Gillard carbon plan went too far when compared with action in other nations, Mr Rudd said there was an expectation across the developed world that all developed nations were moving to price emissions.
“We cannot afford to be one out,” he said. “And it would be one out if you look at the extensive reach of the scheme in the European Union, although there is still the open question of what will be done in North America. This is not seen as Robinson Crusoe territory by us at all.”
Asked whether the Prime Minister’s warnings that a failure to act could expose exports to carbon tariffs applied by nations where local companies did face carbon taxes, Mr Rudd said he was worried about European nations.
“I don’t think that is an idle threat,” he said. “There are multiple statements across the European Union and by the French to this effect.”