About the only decent timeline in the Rudd Government's white paper Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme: Australia's Low Pollution Future is the one indicating that the main mechanism to reduce national carbon emissions will start in about July 2010.
The white paper's foreword disappointingly states:
The Australian Government has a substantial commitment to reduce our carbon pollution by 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050.
By 2020, we have committed to reduce Australia's carbon pollution by up to 15 per cent below 2000 levels in the context of a global agreement where major economies agree to substantially restrain carbon pollution and advanced economies take on reductions comparable to Australia.
We have also committed to an unconditional 5 per cent reduction in carbon pollution below 2000 levels by 2020, which represents a significant cut of around 27 per cent on a per capita basis.
By harnessing the innovation and efficiency of the market, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will allow Australia to meet these serious targets at the lowest overall cost to our economy.
With a 5% reduction on Australia's total greenhouse gas levels in 2000 as the bench mark, the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Climate Change Minister are literally planning to do so little, and to move so slowly, in mitigating climate change impacts that the very worst of predicted negative effects will inevitably slam into New South Wales coastal communities.
With such low national carbon emissions targets it won't matter how many billions in seed money or compensation Rudd and his ministers throw at industry or business; our Northern Rivers homes will still be swept out to sea in massive storm surges or turned into rubble by increasingly violent East Coast Lows.
At this point in time even the climate change denialist Howard Government (if it had remained in office) would have been setting that 5% target, so it is hypocritical of Rudd, Swann and Wong to present today's white paper as a breakthrough when it is really a capitulation to the interests of big business at the expense of the ordinary citizen.
Summary of 15 December 2008 white paper here.
Volumes 1 & 2 of full white paper downloadable here.