With support for “action” on climate change declining and the carbon tax proving to be immensely unpopular, one must wonder why the Coalition is still proposing their direct action scheme. While denouncing climate alarmism and “action” would generate a very loud backlash from the environmental lobby and present some unwanted grief, it would be unlikely to lose them any votes. I would suggest that the existence of the policy is merely to appease the warmist elements of the Liberal party. It certainly isn’t espoused with any sincerity by Tony Abbott. While the carbon tax has allowed them to present a united front, it seems likely that there is quite a lot of internal disagreement within the Coalition about emissions policy.
If the Coalition is successful in repealing the carbon tax, we will see just how committed they are to their direct action policy. It is unlikely to be a high priority for Tony Abbott and he will have some wriggle room in implementing it. The economic turmoil in Europe and the United States, as well as a slowdown of China, would provide a neat excuse to postpone the policy indefinitely. Also, our domestic fiscal situation might be cause to delay its introduction. After all, we are talking about wasting billions of dollars.
It may well turn out that, like the carbon tax, direct action will turn out to be a broken promise. Of course, there will be a key difference. Promising to do something and not doing it is not nearly as bad as promising not to do something and then doing it.