chapter  3
24 Pages

Historical dimensions of the market turn

ByRebecca Pearse

This chapter discusses climate policy in Australia vis-a-vis the national emissions-intensive economy and local/global barriers to climate action. Australia is an affluent nation of 24 million people, spread across a large continent accounting for 5% of the world's landmass. The evolution of Australia's emissions-intensive political economy traces back to colonisation. Developmentalism has evolved alongside laissez-faire elements of the Australian state. The development and governance of the coal-dominated electricity network in Australia mirrors the experience of energy market restructure in the US and EU. The failures of energy governance are written into the law and regulations governing the national electricity market. Federal laws addressing global problems such as biodiversity and eventually climate change have emerged in response to transnational treaties and the arrival of environmental movements. Industry groups enjoyed unprecedented access to the Howard government as it pushed back against emerging international pressures to act on climate change.