The COAG meeting today, notable for its coincidence with an increased scepticism about the clean energy industry among the conservative premiers of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, coincides with Campbell Newman’s battering ram impersonation.

“Get out of the way”, Campbell Newman proclaims to the Prime Minister.

It’s something of a case study in how environmental protection can go backwards. Queensland and New South Wales have been withdrawing support from clean energy, arguing that this is redudant given the federal government’s climate mitigation agenda. Of course, the irony is that Campbell Newman and Barry O’Farrell want to see the climate price repealed.

At the same time, the press has been full of business denunciations of ‘Green Tape’. The Gillard government, apparently sensitive to criticisms that it is out of touch with the corporate sector, appears to agree, putting the blame on the states and calling for ‘harmonisation’. So we have the politics of inter-governmental relations combined with a business push, and the states also want a win over the weakened Prime Minister.

The end result of this cycle is likely to be a significant reduction in the robustness of environmental regulation, as it applies to the mining and coal seam gas industries.

Cross-posted at The Pirate Queen’s Panopticon.

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