Protecting electricity generators from the costs of emissions trading would cripple Australia’s efforts to control global warming, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Commenting on a story on page 5 of today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Kaye said: "The Iemma government is calling in favours in Canberra to kneecap the national emissions trading scheme in order to prop up its privatisation of the electricity industry.
"Treasurer Costa, a self-admitted climate sceptic, has joined with the generator lobby to pressure the Rudd government into issuing free emissions permits to the large generators.
"The threat of a properly functioning trading scheme is driving away potential investors in the generators, pushing down the sale price and making the sell-off look even more silly.
"In NSW the electricity industry emits more than 58 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, accounting for 37% of the state greenhouse gas emissions.
"Issuing free permits to power stations would not only be a multi-billion dollar a year gift to the owners but it would make a mockery of the trading scheme.
"There would be no incentives to reduce emissions. The renewable energy industry would be stranded in unfair competition with the coal-burning giants.
"Treasurer Costa and his allies in the electricity lobby are playing for high stakes.
"If the carbon price rises to $65 a tonne as estimated by the European Union, the annual value of emissions permits for NSW generators could be $3.4 billion.
"The Iemma government is arguing for a massive subsidy to the coal-fired power station to prop up their faltering sell-off scheme.
"Treasurer Costa is attempting to disguise the dangers of handing over 37% of the state’s emissions to the private sector.
"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong should ignore their self-serving Labor colleagues in NSW and create a consistent and rigorous trading scheme," Dr Kaye said.