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Abbott's climate plan would strangle economy: -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Prime Minister is heading to Copenhagen later today, but before heading off,
Kevin Rudd took another swipe at the Coalition Leader, Tony Abbott, saying the Opposition's plans
to tackle climate change are expensive and would "strangle" businesses in red tape.

Mr Rudd says Mr Abbott's plan to use only "direct" methods to cut carbon, and not an emissions
trading scheme, would leave the nation poorer.

In Canberra, Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: As the Prime Minister prepares for his Copenhagen trip, he took time out this morning
to visit the O'Connor Cooperative School in Canberra, joining the students for a photo opportunity.

(Children yelling 'Copenhagen')

And Mr Rudd joined in with the school's song.

(Children singing)

SABRA LANE: Mr Rudd told the students, their school's motto of co-operation, was something he was
hoping to see in Copenhagen.

KEVIN RUDD: That is the lesson for the world - to try and cooperate to solve our disagreements on
how we bring down carbon pollution. So what are we going to try and do? Get everyone to agree to do
their fair share to reduce carbon pollution.

SABRA LANE: In the Danish capital, Australia's negotiators are reportedly pushing for a change in
the accounting rules covering land use, under the new carbon emissions deal being nutted out to
replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says it's vindication of the Coalition's new position on
climate change.

TONY ABBOTT: If you go back to the Garnaut Report, Professor Garnaut certainly said that you could
achieve about a 50 per cent reduction in Australia's carbon dioxide emissions by improved land
management techniques.

So there is very strong, very credible, very good scientific evidence that direct action is what is
needed to cut our emissions and that Mr Rudd's great big new tax is about revenue, not the

SABRA LANE: But the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told AM an emissions trading scheme still has to be
at the heart of any plan to cut emissions and he says Mr Abbott's argument of using only "direct
action" measures is flawed.

KEVIN RUDD: He talks loosely about direct action - this is answering your question - direct action
and he cites as his authority Professor Ross Garnaut. Let me read to you what Professor Ross
Garnaut actually had to say about this.

He said "it will be possible to get a strong reduction through regulation" that is direct action as
Mr Abbott recommends "but the cost of doing it will be very much higher" and I quote Professor

"It will mean that Australians will have to have much lower standards of living, we would have to
accept lower wages, lower health and education services, less defence commitment" and he says "of
course it is not impossible that you could use direct action. We would just be much poorer".

So here you have the leader of the Opposition again policy on the run, citing Professor Garnaut as
the authority when in fact, he is recommending the most expensive approach to doing this for the
whole nation, the whole economy and for families.

And by regulation what does he mean? Having some Commonwealth bureaucrat regulating every time you
change a light bulb, regulating what sort of trucks you can drive.

It is simply irresponsible, erratic policy - again made on the run.

SABRA LANE: At the school visit, Mr Rudd went one step further.

KEVIN RUDD: This is effectively strangling the entire Australian economy in red tape, having
Commonwealth bureaucrats dictate to small businesses right across Australia what they can and can't

SABRA LANE: As part of the new carbon accounting measures, Australia's pushing for an exclusion of
extraordinary events, that bushfires and drought for example be excluded.

The Greens say that's like shonky accounting - trying to count the good bits, but excluding the

Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown.

BOB BROWN: Oh, it is making the Australian Government look like a big cheat and it is and of course
it is getting support from other countries that want to cheat likewise like New Zealand, the United
States and Canada.

But it is not going to wash with the rest of the world and it is helping pull the rug from under a
real agreement to deal with climate change.

SABRA LANE: Kevin Rudd admits the Copenhagen talks will be difficult but he's also repeated his
view that China, India and developing nations, have to be a part of any new agreement.

KEVIN RUDD: If we the developed countries became carbon neutral tomorrow let me tell you the
combined impact of China and India into the medium term future would be huge.

That is why both developed and developing countries including China have to be part and parcel of
this deal so whether it is a five per cent target reduction that we achieve in Copenhagen or a 15
per cent or a 25 per cent, we are going to have to see action from developed countries, action from
developing countries as well, but for Australia, we will be doing no more or no less than the rest
of the world.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, speaking just before he headed off to
Copenhagen. That report by Sabra Lane in Canberra.