Neoliberalism cannot and will not solve our climate crisis or save our endangered species from extinction.
Market-based policies have failed spectacularly when it comes to caring for the elderly, caring for the disabled, and saving the Murray River. But despite the disaster list, Earlier this month, Tanya Plibersk said:: “Ultimately, I would like to see the market truly appreciate nature, so that protecting forests is more valuable than destroying them.”
The environment minister went on to suggest that by creating a market for biodiversity, Australia could one day “have its own Green Wall Street: a trusted global financial centre, where the world comes to invest in protecting and restoring the environment”.
Markets don’t value people, platypus, or ecosystems. The only thing the markets “appreciate” is the expected future profits that a company or activity might make. The company’s stock price reflects investors’ expectations of future earnings and profits. It would be great if companies “invested” in biodiversity were doing it just to save koalas or Bogong mitesbut the truth is that no one invests in the goodness of their heart without expecting some kind of return.
While Plibersek has been vague about the exact terminology of the units that will be traded under the proposed scheme, customers most likely to obtain biodiversity certificates or credits Landowners who want to offset the destruction of some of their remaining wildlife habitat will have to build new developments or new mines. The “market price” of such destruction will not be determined by the value of the koala, but by the potential profits for the destruction of a similar piece of habitat elsewhere.
Australia does not need to put in place new ‘market mechanisms’ to preserve our precious environment. We just need to stop agreeing to the new Residential projects where koalas still love to liveor new Mines where platypus live. We need to stop agreeing to 116 coal and gas projects are currently on the books in Australia That will inevitably lead to climate change that threatens all of our unique species.
The problem with such policies is that they work, which is why those caught up in the destruction of what’s left of our home are so determined to avoid certain regulations in favor of complex trade schemes that don’t work.
This is not a new criticism. Auditor General in New South Wales He was recently investigated The state’s biodiversity scheme found that NSW Planning and Environment “did not effectively design the essential elements of the system”.
The auditor general’s report described as “a curse‘I found it “The main concerns related to the transparency, sustainability and integrity of the system have not yet been fully resolved.” and “that biodiversity gains made through the system will not be sufficient to offset losses from development.”
Despite the failures of the NSW Biodiversity Compensation Scheme, the federal government is racing down the same flawed track.
Such as environmental condition The report makes clear that habitat loss is one of the main risks to what remains of Australia’s biodiversity. Even if we could measure all the biodiversity on every hectare of land, put an exchange rate for koalas, platypus, and possums, and then make sure there was no fraud or conflict of interest, the idea that we’d let miners and real estate developers destroy some of what’s left of Our precious home as long as they buy “compensation” from someone else is strange.
If Australia is serious about protecting endangered species, we need to protect what remains of their habitat, not ask the market to set a price for their destruction.
Unfortunately, this obsession with compensation has also become central to climate policy. Instead of insisting that the major polluters reduce their emissions, and instead of preventing the construction of new gas and coal mines, the Albanian government has proposedSafeguards Mechanism“It would likely not impose any binding obligation on big polluters to actually reduce their emissions, and allow them to simply buy carbon offsets instead.
At the heart of the protection mechanism will be another complex commercial scheme, in which both existing and new fossil fuel projects will be allowed Increase their emissions while purchasing shuffle compensation From someone who promised not to cut down a tree they are not likely to cut down at all. Although the investigation of Integrity concerns with such evasive creditNot complete until December, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen plans to draft new carbon trading legislation by November.
Eliminating $11 billion annually in fossil fuel subsidies and banning new coal and gas projects would be great for the budget and climate, and would save a lot of money to save animals.
But instead of doing what is cheap and easy, our government has chosen to do something complex and risky. It’s easy to see why real estate developers and the mining industry are willing to take risks, but it’s hard to tell what koalas contain.