Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Positions vacant for big-fanged garlic-hating nocturnal haematologists

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-03-16

I’ve had a quick look at the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority Bill 2009 and Commentary/Explanatory Memoranda.

It is one of the bills associated with the other Carbon Polluter Rebate Scheme bills that are currently in committee and open for submissions until 2009-03-25 via email to

At first glance, it doesn’t look too bad… but on second glance, my eyebrows either went up or became furrowed… I cannot figure out which.

First, you have to wade through a lot of administrivial dross, and see that the intent of the new authority is to:

  • Be somewhat independent of the Minister, in so far as the Minister may only give general directions to the Authority (but it is possible to be very specific in general terms… as Sir Humphrey could no doubt tell you, not to put too fine a point on it: how many weasels are crawling through the "trade-exposed carbon emitters" loopholes that Rudd and Wong put in against Garnaut’s advice).
  • Administer the Carbon Polluter Rebate Scheme as well as assume the functions of the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (for reporting renewable energy targets) and the Greenhouse and Energy Data Officer, so that there is a single toothless regulator imposing paperwork rather than three toothless regulators imposing contradictory paperwork.

Yes, I’m sounding more than a bit cynical, because I was just looking at the list of fields that a person must be in to qualify for a position on the Authority… you have to convince the Minister that you don’t fall foul of section 18.2, where something seems to be missing from the list given that this will be the peak Authority for regulating and reporting on climate change:

A person is not eligible for appointment as a member of the Authority unless the Minister is satisfied that the person has:
(a) substantial experience or knowledge; and
(b) significant standing;
in at least one of the following fields:
(c) economics;
(d) industry;
(e) energy production and supply;
(f) energy management and reporting;
(g) greenhouse gas emissions and reporting;
(h) greenhouse gas abatement measures;
(i) financial markets;
(j) trading of environmental instruments.

I can’t help think that it’s pretty hard to find anyone in the financial markets game who has any credible standing given the way the market collapsed… unless you only include those playing Kassandra for the past decade or so, but they are just the ones to look at the new "environmental" instruments as the latest financial market instrument that will be rorted and collapse… a CDS with a thin coat of easily-peeling green varnish if you will.

But those who cause the problem get a guernsey, and a fairly large guernsey it is too: almost anybody who has an interest in loose regulation can get in through "industry", and it can be swamped with coal lobbyists without any stretching.

Are similar general disciplines described for those with an interest in control and assessment of other climate change factors not directly associated with gas in the air?  How about "Earth Scientists", "Climate Modellers", "Environmental Impact Assessment" (for ocean acidification)… the list goes on.

If the purpose is to measure what is happening, audit the books of companies, and ensure the market isn’t skewed with a nother set of dodgy derivatives, to warn that a sequestration will evaporate into thick air like a clathrate in an oven, then you need the sort of people who the energy generation and finance sectors have hated for the the last ten years.

Yes, it’s Dracula in charge of the blood bank, SP bookies in charge of swabbing racehorses, paedophiles in charge of child protection agencies….

What next, drug companies deciding whether drugs get put on the PBS and at what price?  Oh, sorry, that’s already happened.

Lobbyists 5, Governance 0.

Notes/See Also:


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