The Australian Labor Party was elected last year, partly on a promise to drop greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. This was widely viewed as not nearly enough, but it was still substantially better that what the other party was offering (a kick in the testicles if I remember rightly).
Today, our prime minister, Kevin Rudd, stood up in front of the country, and the world, and said that we'd be cutting emissions by 5% of 2000 levels by 2020. Five per cent. I mean, why even bother? It seems to me that its going to hurt big business while infuriating everyone else, and yet doing pretty much nothing to save the world.
And also note the language. What does "5% of 2000 levels" mean? Australia's output of greenhouse gasses has risen by more than that since 2000 already, so are we going to introduce measures to make us slightly dirtier than we were eight years ago?
Mr Rudd has also said that we might go as high as 15% as long as the rest of the world does too. What is this, a Mexican Standoff? Just do the right thing and then worry about getting the others to follow. Note that Europe has already promised 20% cuts in the same period. The amount Mr Rudd originally promised, coincidentally enough.
This is ridiculous. I'd wish for Labor to be booted out on its ear next election, but that would just put their more conservative partners back in power, and they're even worse. I despair, I really do.