Today is the second of July 2012 and the much talked about Carbon Tax is now a reality in Australia, being introduced from yesterday.
I was asked recently what I thought of the Carbon Tax and so I thought I would write a blog as an answer. This is not a scientific paper – it’s my musings.
I have some issues with the new Tax.
I have some significant issues with the whole idea of Global Warming. It seems to me that the science that proves Global Warming is definitively happening is muddied. I remember back about 4 years ago when I was researching this – a lot of the material I was reading was talking about “the consensus among scientists” – and I had trouble with this concept. I thought science was quantifiable and not something that relied on consensus. The more I researched and tried to dialogue about my concerns about what I was reading, the more I was labelled an Environmental Terrorist, because I showed doubts. I was also accused of not caring for the environment and was even challenged about my role as a Pastor, in light of the fact that I apparently don’t care about God’s creation. It was actually so bad – that in the end I just shut up about it, as I couldn’t wade through the hysteria surrounding Global Warming. And then the name changed to Climate Change – because some data came out to say that the world was actually cooling. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).
So I am still a Climate Change Skeptic.
But let’s assume for a moment that Climate Change is happening. There is, from what I understand, no proof that man made carbon is actually the cause. If it’s actually happening, there are other things that could be the reason for Climate Change.
If they did prove that Climate Change was happening and that it was man made carbon causing it – I still have a problem with the idea of a Carbon Tax. Australia emits 1.3% of the world’s carbon and the emissions reduction target is set at 5% by 2020. So Australia is going to reduce its 1.3% emissions by 5% by 2020. This to me seems an incredibly small number for the cost that it is going to be to the Australian economy. In terms of Climate Change – it is going to have no impact:- Let’s be honest. And the argument that we are going to lead the world is also laughable and shows an overinflated patriotic ego. The world doesn’t care what an island in the South Pacific, with a population size equivalent of a major US city – is doing.
So now we have a Carbon Tax. A tax levied on the top 500 polluters. They will now pay to emit carbon at the rate of $23 a ton. My first problem with the tax is that it has been introduced after Julia Gillard said that under her Government, a carbon tax would not be introduced. So now that she has introduced it – my issue is that it’s here because she was less than honest. What should have happened was that she announced she would introduce a carbon tax – and let the Australian People decide at the polls. Instead she deceived the nation. I have a problem with that.
Now the Government has worked very hard to convince us that we are not going to be worse off. I have a couple of issues with that. Firstly is the credibility issue. Last year Wayne Swan budgeted for a $22 billion deficit and it finished up being $44 billion. That’s a fair miss and now we are being asked to believe that Swan has got it right and we will be no worse off. The problem is that this tax is meant to hurt us economically so that we change our energy demands and go to cleaner energy sources – which because of the tax – fossil fuels are now more expensive and so the greener options are now competitive. They didn’t get cheaper, the old energy sources got more expensive. If Gillard compensates the Australian population to such a point that we are no worse off, then the Carbon Tax will have failed to change energy consumption. So one of two things can happen. Either we will be no worse off – which means the tax failed, or we will be worse off and be forced to change our consumption and so the tax is successful.
I go back to my original issue though – is Climate Change actually happening? When the Carbon Tax was being advertised and the Government was using celebrities to sell it, the celebrities were filmed standing in front a picture of a power plant spewing filthy pollution into the air. The problem I had with the ad was that the power plant was an old one from London that had closed down 30 years ago. My question is: why the deception and why whip the Australian people into a frenzy using lies and hysteria?
So in Summary here is my opinion:-
1) Not convinced Climate Change is happening
2) Not convinced that if it is happening that its caused by man made carbon
3) Julia Gillard deceived the Australian people
4) Not convinced that the tax is going to actually make a difference
5) Not convinced we won’t be worse off
6) Confused as to why Julia Gillard has to use hysteria and lies when she communicates to the Australian Nation
So there are a few of my thoughts on the Carbon Tax. Like I said at the start, this was not meant to be a scientific paper – just my thoughts.
Excellent, Peter. As a scientist myself I am quite wary when a debate is carried out using mockery, derision and scorn towards opponents. And I’m just talking about the scientists themselves!
There is one thing that I can’t ever recall reading about and I’m surprised at that. Surely the 500 polluters would have been most interested in this aspect. They are going to have to pay to emit carbon at the rate of $23 a ton. How is this going to be measured? How accurate and reliable are the measuring systems (surely there is not a one-size-fits-all device for all those different polluting companies)? Who is going to supervise the measuring? Can the measuring systems be rorted by the polluters? Who will supervise that? How many extra government employees are needed for all this? How many extra non-productive employees will the companies need to employ to manage all this measuring? Who will pay for all that? Well ….. guess who?
Good Questions Neil. I dont have the answers for them.
And the money is going to Al Gore and David Bloods bank to be distributed so do we want to be adding money to Blood and Gore
I was hurt when you wrote that the world does not care about Austraila. I care and I know another yank who cares very much. In Missouri, USA this summer is starting off much hotter and for longer time. The winters have been warmer. But, I don’t know if this is anything other than nature’s own cycle.
My statement on the world doesnt care about Australia, was not talking about individuals. It was a statement about the leaders of the worlds worst poulluting countries, USA, Russia, India, China and the Eurozone, not looking to Australia for leadership on this issue. We are a minnow on the world stage but sometimes our leaders think that we are an economic superpower and act accordingly. It been one of the major arguments for a Carbon Tax – we can lead the world on this. And we are kidding ourselves.
Excellent article Peter. You have eloquently and succinctly stated the exact concerns I have had regarding this entire debate. I firmly believe that the real underlying issue here is one of testing the gullibility of the masses.
Peter: You could have added number 7. Even if it WAS happenning, would it be a total disaster? The world has often been hotter, and humanity was always better off in those times. Higher temps mean more food and less starving or freezing to death.
Ask the Greelanders. If they could reduce that ice cap, they could practice true agriculture again as they did in the Mediaevil Warm Period, and they could drill for oil, up there.