The Rudd Government has browned down its emissions trading plans even further today with $2.2 billion more support to big polluters in the first five years, the Australian Greens said.
The great bulk of today's announcement by the Rudd Government makes the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme friendlier to big polluters, with an almost irrelevant green distraction of a hypothetical 25% target to undermine criticism.
"If you add a little bit of green to brown, you still get brown," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne.
"Today's announcement will give Australia's big old polluters an extra $2.2 billion in support through the massive increase in free permits.
"By delaying the start of the scheme and capping the carbon price at $10 a tonne for the next year, the Government has ensured that there will be essentially no climate action in Australia until July 2012 at the earliest.
"Any action that individuals, companies or state governments take will simply make it cheaper for big polluters to keep polluting. Today's shift supposedly aimed at taking account of voluntary action will actually do nothing of the sort.
"By weakening their scheme even further, the Government has ensured that there will be no new jobs and new industries ready to employ those workers who will lose their jobs.
"Raising the prospect of a 25% cut that the Government has no intention of meeting does not outweigh the huge boost in corporate welfare to big polluters and the delay to the start of the scheme.
"If the world agrees to act in Copenhagen, Australia will have to sign up for 40% cuts by 2020 to play our fair share. We must put 25% on the table as our minimum, unconditional offer if we want the world to take us seriously at all.
"The Greens want to work with the Government to deliver a scheme that will at least point Australia in the right direction.
"The question now is whether the Government wants an effective scheme or whether it wants to work with the party they have consistently labelled climate sceptics to pass this critical piece of climate legislation," Senator Milne said.
The Greens are today launching a television commercial to air nationally criticising the CPRS as it stands and calling on the community to help fix it.