The defeat in the Senate of the Federal Government’s ideologically driven plan to introduce an emissions trading scheme removes, for the moment, the greatest threat to face the steel industry in recent times.Non-government senators yesterday voted down the proposal by the Rudd government to introduce a scheme that would have made industry pay to pollute.The Government had wanted to reduce carbon pollution by up to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020, conditional on global agreements. If these could not be sought, the Government would instead reduce carbon pollution in the range of 5 to 15 per cent, unconditionally.While we all want a greener planet and Mr Rudd could argue he had a mandate for reform having told the electorate prior to election of his general intent, it is difficult to fathom the rush. Indeed, we have to wonder if Mr Rudd appreciates the huge impost such a scheme would place on Australia’s biggest steelmaker, our own BlueScope Steel, and the coal industry, which is receiving very limited concessions.We contend the scheme is a very direct threat to steelmaking in this country. After all, how can placing a huge economic burden on an already-stressed industry – a sector of national importance – be anything but economic madness? China’s steel industry is far from clean, and we expect never will be. And while we penalise our own companies, the Chinese Government dollops out massive subsidies to support its factories.We believe that collectively the world must take action over climate change. But this scheme, in its current form and timing and without any assurances about what will occur in other economies, is unlikely to make any dent on the problem. Hence, a more considered approach would be beneficial before pulverising the Australian steel industry into the ground to merely export a significant part of our region’s and nation’s wealth to countries most responsible for carbon emissions.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.