MALCOLM TURNBULL will enter climate change talks at a disadvantage after Liberal backbenchers said they would resist a deal, no matter how generous an offer the Government made.He and his spokesman on emissions trading, Ian Macfarlane, pushed ahead with trying to amend Labor’s bill yesterday by meeting Government officials to seek more information about the impact on electricity generators.Mr Macfarlane said the meeting, with officials from the energy and climate change departments, was next to useless.Nonetheless, he would have all the amendments ready to present for approval at Sunday’s partyroom meeting, including one demanding more compensation for power stations. ”We will collect the facts that we have and have a stab at it,” he said.The Opposition will also seek a better deal for agriculture and food processing, an exemption for the coal industry, and 100 per cent free emissions permits for energy-intensive industries such as aluminium and cement.Rebel Liberals told the Herald yesterday they were unlikely to oppose the amendments but there was no way they would allow Mr Turnbull to make a deal with the Government before the international climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.”There will be no deal before Copenhagen, I can almost assure you of that,” a backbencher said.The Australian Conservation Foundation warned yesterday that such demands could add $1.8 billion a year to the budget bottom line.Analysis released by the group found the foreshadowed amendments would blow out the budget deficit, as opposed to Treasury estimates that the scheme would contribute $777 million to the budget in the first year of full operation.The Government has previously stated it wanted to keep the emissions trading scheme budget neutral by compensating industry and households with money raised from the sale of carbon credits. The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, reaffirmed yesterday that Coalition amendments must be financially responsible.The ACF also found that the Opposition’s proposal to hand out 100 per cent of carbon permits free to heavy emitters would equate to $18 billion in free permits for the country’s six largest companies over the next five years.The Australian Industry Group urged the Coalition to agree to a deal before the conference in Copenhagen. Its chief executive, Heather Ridout, said businesses were postponing investments because of the lack of certainty.There were risks for Australia but ”I am doubtful that waiting until after Copenhagen will make all that much difference”.
Nanjing Night Net