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Australian PM warns no 'magic pudding' on climate change
Thu, Dec 03, 2009
AFP

SYDNEY - Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned there was no "magic pudding" solution to climate change on Thursday as he lashed out over the defeat of his flagship carbon-trading scheme.

Rudd mocked the opposition Liberal Party's reported plan to slash pollution with energy efficiency measures as a "bit of fairy dust" and called for "wiser heads" to pass the bill at the third attempt.

The defeat of the legislation, aiming to cut carbon emissions by between five and 25 percent of 2000 levels by 2020, leaves Rudd empty-handed as he heads to next week's UN climate talks in Copenhagen.

"For the Liberals now to say that there is a magic pudding solution on climate change, that somehow if you throw a bit of fairy dust at it and say that bang, it all happens, without any adjustment challenges, I don't think that's being fair dinkum," he told reporters.

Rudd's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) was voted down 41-33 on Wednesday in the upper-house Senate, where neither the government or opposition Coalition holds a majority.

The prime minister, who passed up the chance to call snap polls after the bill's second defeat, said he had "always" wanted to serve a full three-year term and urged an opposition re-think over the Christmas break.

"What I have said all along is that I believe that governments should serve their full term. That's always been our intention," he said.

"That is why the government... will re-introduce the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation (so) that over this long summer cooler heads, calmer heads, more responsible heads within the Liberal Party may prevail."

Rudd warned the opposition had now taken a more "extreme" position on global warming than their ex-leader and former prime minister John Howard, who famously failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

"It seems that the Liberal Party are now saying they don't want an ETS (emissions trading scheme) at all, which would put them into a more extreme position than Mr. Howard," he told reporters.

Climate change sceptic Tony Abbott, who ousted Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal Party leader during the turbulent ETS debate, has said he will oppose the third reading of the bill, which he describes as a "great big new tax".

Rudd also took a humorous swipe at his new sparring partner's choice of swimwear, after Abbott was pictured wearing only "budgie-smuggler" Speedo trunks and a lifesaver's cap in Monday's newspapers.

'If there was a referendum tomorrow between budgie-smugglers and boardies (board shorts), I think I would be voting for boardies," he smiled.

"There should be certain things the Australian people are protected from, and that's national political leaders so attired."

Rudd, who will be a "friend of chair" at the December 7-18 Copenhagen talks, campaigned on a strong environmental platform and ratified Kyoto as one of his first acts after taking office in late 2007

The meeting, under the 192-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is aimed at thrashing out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

 
 
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