WELL-KNOWN home renovator Ross Garnaut dropped his carbon-trading report the other day, and in a rare example of Gillard government competence the talking points reached their intended stooges in a timely fashion. Tim Colebatch certainly visited his mail box, because the Phage economics editor’s adulatory advocacy of the great man’s plan to rob Peter to pay Sir Humphrey (who will give a bit of what’s left to an impoverished Paul), touched all the bases: China is going green. Obama is a green inspiration. Cancun and Copenhagen weren’t failures, but coherent roadmaps to a global green future. We cannot expect originality from The Phage, but surely Colebatch could have done one of those “quality journalism” checks before parroting the party line’s biggest clanger – “California … will become the 11th US state with emissions trading.”
Actually, it could almost have been the twelfth state, because eleven states in the north east corner of the country had come to an agreement about taxing, directly or indirectly, just about everything. Then, two weeks ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pulled his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Paraphrasing those talking points and picturing China as a green paradise, a reverie that requires a very energetic imagination, must have let Colebatch just a tad weary, as a little googling would have brought up Christie’s thoughts on the matter. They are worth repeating.
"RGGI allowances were never expensive enough to change behavior as they were intended to and ultimately fuel different choices," Christie said. "In other words, the whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It's a failure.
"RGGI does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernible or measurable impact upon our environment," he continued.
Christie’s admirers keep urging him to contest the presidency in 2012, overtures he has rejected. That will be America’s loss. Melbourne’s loss will be The Phage, done in by people like Colebatch, who disdain facts and research in order to peddle the fantasies they find ideologically congenial.