THE CARBON TAX THAT WILL DOOM US ALL

Well, today’s the day. The day we learn without doubt that Tony Abbott’s wild predictions about the carbon price tax were entirely accurate and this country is STUFFED.

There will undoubtedly be price increases to energy to encourage us to use less of it. So how are we supposed to afford that, short of reducing our energy consumption? I don’t want to reduce my energy consumption! Why can’t we have action on climate change that does not encourage me to stop wasting electricity unnecessarily? What, I’m supposed to turn off one of the heaters and put on a jumper? WHY SHOULD I? Why can’t I wait till all the people in China using a tiny fraction of the energy that I use cut theirs further first?

And how are poor people, who can’t reduce their energy consumption much at all, and are therefore being overcompensated, supposed to carry on with all the guilt of receiving assistance from the taxes paid by big polluters?

Worst of all, how unfair is it for the government to finally release the details of the carbon price package and undermine Tony Abbott’s ability to completely make stuff up about it?

It is a dark day for the country, my friends.

PS: The Greens are responsible for everything bad about the package and nothing good. If you’re scared of the carbon tax, everything that makes life difficult is their fault because BOB BROWN IS PRIME MINISTER NOW. If you want action on climate change, they were completely ineffective in getting Labor to agree to anything substantial. (If you have trouble holding these completely contradictory beliefs in your head simultaneously, just pick one and only read the News Ltd articles that run that particular line.)

ELSEWHERE: Heathen Scripture calls out the bullshit:

So, no big deal, I said to myself when the details were announced. Surely this’ll all blow over. And then, found myself more than a little surprised when a Herald-Sun commenter (one step above YouTube on the food-chain, I’ll admit) said “Somebody needs to assassinate Julia Gillard NOW before she totally destroys our way of life.”

Just… hold up a minute. Ten bucks a week? Our way of life?

The hysteria is insane.

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67 responses to “THE CARBON TAX THAT WILL DOOM US ALL

  1. Doom and gloom explained here: http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/

  2. Didn’t realise the Footy Show had suddenly turned into Insiders-lite. Seems everybody needs to have their very public say on the carbon tax now.

  3. I was thinking it was over for Gillard. The media conference this morning has squashed that idea, I think the penny has finally dropped for this women on how to handle Abbott’s friends in the media. Even the biased journalists from Rupert’s stable couldn’t get the P.M. to stumble. Of course with the rider that Gillard goes full term. They may have to resort to tapping her telephone.Poor Tones what will he do?

  4. I for one am shocked, shocked I say, that people on higher incomes who can afford to absorb the cost won’t be compensated! What’s the world coming to?

  5. And it’s just a thinly veiled attempt to introduce the Govt’s real agenda – “socialism”.

    Abbott is a moron.

  6. I think you forgot to mention it’s a huge conspiracy for the UN to tax all of us (I’ve read that multiple times today). I’m also pretty sure that Bob Brown is president of the world now, too.

  7. Splatterbottom

    Where are ow witnessing the phase where the boiled sweets are being handed out. After the lollies run out Gillard will tear off her raincoat and get down to business. On seeing the jolly green strap-on underneath, the public will gape in horror as they comprehend the full “ramifications” of her powerful pile-driving posterior.

  8. What? No red-baiting over totalitarian socialist governments? The best you can do is project your own crude fantasies?

  9. narcoticmusing

    Isn’t the reality ‘after the lollies run out…’ the (temporary) ‘tax’ is replaced by a proper market mechanism because by then the sector will have adjusted to the price on carbon and then be able to properly buy/sell via a market mechanism… ?? Are you suggesting SB that, if you assume there will be a carbon price/tax, that the market is not the best mechansim?

  10. Splatterbottom

    Unique, everybody knows this tax is more red than green. It can’t possibly change the climate. It is just another re-distributive tax, a chunk of which will go overseas to fund jet-setting bureaucrats. Even more of it will be pissed against the wall in wasted expenditure, something this government has developed into a world’s-best-practice art-form.

    Narcotic, I’m not suggesting that one form of stupidity is better than another. Oh, and the Greens must be very proud of themselves having got far less with this tax than what they walked away from last time with the ETS.

  11. “…Bob Brown is president of the world now, too”

    Did I miss a meeting?

  12. “Oh, and the Greens must be very proud of themselves having got far less with this tax than what they walked away from last time with the ETS.”

    I am amused by this line from the far-right. THIS CARBON TAX IS THE MOST EXTREME THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED. Also, it’s weaker than the Turnbull/Rudd one.

  13. I am amused by the BUT WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL IT MAKE TO TEMPERATURE question, as if you should never do anything unless you’re a significant part of it.

    You know what? I don’t think I’ll pay tax, ‘cos it’s such a small proportion of the total tax take.

    You know what? I don’t think I’ll pay for goods, since my money’s such a small proportion of the total profits of the chain stores.

    Etc etc. It’s moronic.

  14. Pingback: Australia Unveils Carbon Pricing Package · Global Voices

  15. That’s better, SB. Barely made a line playing wingnut bingo with your first response, but well on the way to full house with your second.

  16. It’s not as hard as you make out to accept the necessity of making sacrifices. I myself found no difficulty at all in accepting the necessity of your making sacrifices.

  17. The astroturf (fake grassroots campaigning) is pretty thick on the ground on the news web site comments sections, both ABC and Murdoch. The wingnuts are going to town on the tax restructuring, looking for tiny $10 a week discrepancies, while completely ignoring the investment in clean energy, which is the real pay-off here not the hand-outs. Must be Monday – the liars are still lying, and tiny distracting things are blown out of proportion to hide the lack of a sound Coalition policy.

  18. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “I am amused by this line from the far-right. THIS CARBON TAX IS THE MOST EXTREME THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED. Also, it’s weaker than the Turnbull/Rudd one.”

    That was exactly my point. The Greens have really screwed the pooch on this one. Now they have a totally ineffective tax which is much weaker than the one they walked away from last time.

  19. Don’t agree. It’s a lot more effective than the Turnbull/Rudd ETS. Sure, it’s not perfect – it’s a compromise with the ALP, after all – but it’s a step in the right direction.

    My point, which you missed, is the ludicrousness of the contradictory lines, one saying it’s too extreme, and the other saying it’s too weak. You can’t have it both ways.

  20. narcoticmusing

    You can’t have it both ways

    Consider the Herald Sun’s slogan: stories start here cf news starts where the news is and is reported by a newspaper. The Hun instead starts stories – no promise of accuracy there!

  21. Tony Abbotts mentality would dictate that his policy on smoking would be all non-smokers pay to provide financial incentives for smokers to quit.
    Time will show the coalitions stance to be monumentally stupid and will damage them for a long time……..

  22. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “the ludicrousness of the contradictory lines, one saying it’s too extreme, and the other saying it’s too weak. You can’t have it both ways”

    Now pay attention: It does damage to the economy and absolutely nothing to the climate.

  23. If it’s going to damage the economy – how? By encouraging the development of less carbon-intensive technologies?

    In which case doesn’t it help tackle climate change?

    And of course if Australians stop polluting higher than other people per capita it’ll help. We’ll no longer be part of the problem, for a start.

  24. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “If it’s going to damage the economy – how?”

    By making industry uncompetitive.

    By forcing industries offshore.

    By increasing the price of everything.

    By spending billions subsidising “green jobs”. The track record on that is that it will cost at least a couple of hundred thousand dollars per job as it has in Europe. The money would be better spent farming unicorns!

    “And of course if Australians stop polluting higher than other people per capita it’ll help. We’ll no longer be part of the problem, for a start.”

    It won’t help at all. You’ll just export the “problem” to less self-righteous countries.

    “We’ll no longer be part of the problem, for a start”
    The effect will be miniscule. Immeasurable in fact. Tell you what – we can solve the world’s over-population problem by committing suicide. You go first. It won’t do much but at least you won’t be part of the problem.

  25. narcoticmusing

    The flipside is that not investing sufficiently in less carbon-intensive technologies does significant harm to the economy. It forces reliance on fossil fuels with nations that perhaps we’d not necessarily trade with otherwise. It forces reliance on activities that create massive harm, not just in terms of carbon pollution. It places us at the ransom of a single source of energy from a handful of providers (think of the price changes at the petrol station, does this in any way reflect the price paid for the fuel? Or the cost of the fuel?)

    The most powerful tool for participation in a capitalistic democratic society is the choice of purchase. We do not have that atm. We are reliant on one source because there is only one source.

  26. If it’s going to damage the economy – how?

    I’m far from being as bullish as SB in relation to the potential downside of this new tax, but the obvious risk is that it takes working capital away from some of Australia’s largest businesses, thus preventing investment in new initiatives. It also operates as a potential incentive to move operations offshore in order to keep prices down.

    It is a tinkering with the Australian economy as a whole: wealth will be redistributed under this plan in an attempt to manipulate market behaviour – which is a fundamnetally dangerous practice. The big hand of government is shoving its fingers into the machinery of the free market – history alone should be enough reason for us to doubt that this initiative is guaranteed to succeed.

    Also Lefty – isn’t it incumbent on you, as an obvious advocate of this new tax, to do your own investigation into the potential downsides? Obviously there are potential upsides too, but it seems to me that many advocates are deliberately narrowing their focus so that upside is the only thing in their field of vision.

    It worries me to see you so glibly asserting that this tax is a winner when the undisputable truth is that the verdict is far from being in – and could in fact be a lot harsher than you would like.

  27. Most of the ‘damage to the economy’ argument ignores the fact that pretty much every decision of Govt and every pertubation in the global economy causes ‘damage to the economy’ in some way, as long as you just focus on limited part of the economy and only look at the elements that suffer a negative effect.

    The term is used in such a broad and vague way as to be meaningless.

  28. “By making industry uncompetitive. By forcing industries offshore. By increasing the price of everything.”

    Which is what the big business propagandists say every single time the government does anything, good or bad. Without providing a single scrap of evidence for their claims. Whiners, the lot of them. Polluting whiners in this case. Why are you helping the polluters make this world unliveable?

  29. narcoticmusing

    The big hand of government is shoving its fingers into the machinery of the free market – history alone should be enough reason for us to doubt that this initiative is guaranteed to succeed

    Really? Your arguments are usually a lot better thought out than that Mondo.

    I seem to recall the opposite occurring, like when we de-regulated banks. That wasn’t necessarily great for everyone, particularly ‘families’ as the fear campaigns are targeted. Or perhaps when we backed the banks risks – they were all for the ‘big hand of the government’ then.

    The market assumes we are all self-interested atoms interacting in prudent arms length bargains. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Thus it is the role of government to intervene and remind the market we are all connected and what we do now impacts future generations.

    History alone tells us that the market is not responsible. Exxon-Valdez anyone? Do you really think oil industries would do the right thing if they weren’t forced? The market isn’t compassionate. The market does not care about the environment or workers. The market only cares about profit. Thus, a market mechanism is ideal to entice the market to do the right thing. Make it worth their while whilst simultaneously gaining an advantage for a future market (that if the anti-climate change brigade had their way they would cripple us from developing new technology that the future is willing to use).

  30. FDR called mondo. Something about the Great Depression being fixed when the machinery of government stopped listening to free market ideologues and stuck in the fingers of the New Deal. We’ve done this kind of economy restructuring thing before – and it worked – no thanks to the ideologues who opposed it every step of the way.

  31. We’ll all be rooned I tell ya rooned.

    The 40 hour week was going to ruin the country Yawn!

    The workers compensation act was going to ruin the country Yawn!!!

    Consumer protection laws were going to ruin the country Yawn!!!

    The guaranteed super levy was going to ruin the country Yawn!!!

    The introduction of Medicare was going to ruin the country Yawn!!!
    Oh BTW as an aside, I think about three hundred dedicated Doctors got caught fiddling it the first three weeks it was in. Yawn.

    Yep the carbon tax we’ll all be rooooned.

    Onymous lefty ummm, which one I wonder.

  32. “History alone tells us that the market is not responsible. Exxon-Valdez anyone? Do you really think oil industries would do the right thing if they weren’t forced? The market isn’t compassionate. The market does not care about the environment or workers. ”

    Steady on bud, no facts here please.

  33. “The big hand of government is shoving its fingers into the machinery of the free market – history alone should be enough reason for us to doubt that this initiative is guaranteed to succeed.” – Mondo

    Are you kidding with this?

    This is a market-based mechanism. The interfering ‘big govt’ seems an odd argument to make.

  34. (has uncomfortable mental image about what fingers are getting shoved into where)

    SB
    … boiled sweets are being handed out… tear off her raincoat … jolly green strap-on … “ramifications” … powerful pile-driving posterior…

    What? No talk of long hard things being rammed down throats?
    You’re slipping.

    Jeremy
    You can’t have it both ways

    Given his initial splurk, I don’t want to HEAR what he would have “both ways”!

    mondo
    …potential incentive to move operations offshore

    Yes, the coal, iron, aluminium and uranium firms could all just pull up stakes and bugger off to South Africa – taking the mineral reserves (discovered or not) with them.

    They wouldn’t scream so plaintively for more rent if they didn’t KNOW that they were a captive audience, and that the whole planet KNOWS that they’re telling their investors a very different story.

    AND I’M STILL WAITING FOR STORIES ABOUT DEATH PANELS AND THINGS BEING RAMMED DOWN THROATS!

  35. OK – to be clear – I am not arguing that the Carbon Tax will be a disaster or failure, nor am I asserting that government interference with the market is necessarily bad. I am only noting the potential for negative consequences, and asking why so many here seem determined to behave as though that potential does not exist.

    This ought to have been clear from what I wrote above – surely an appreciation of how a plan could potentially go wrong is a necessary part of any rational evaluation of that plan?

    Yes the conservative media is running a myopic scare campaign around this initiative – of course they are – but why do so many here seem to assume that the appropriate response is to run an equally myopic promotional campaign?

  36. Splatterbottom

    Lykurgus: Death Panels.

  37. Splatterbottom

    Sorry: Death Panels.

  38. Yes, I too prefer it when the death panels are run by private industry instead of the government: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2008/08/25/how-crafty-health-insurers-are-denying-care

  39. Mondo,

    What “promotional campaign”?

    It’s mostly just taking the piss out of chicken little’s and their hysterical hyperbole.

  40. Splatterbottom

    Nawagadj: “chicken little’s and their hysterical hyperbole”

    You must mean the climate alarmists here or is it a direct reference to tim Flannery.

  41. I’m starting to think that maybe SB isn’t trolling – maybe he actually does believe that the atmosphere is magically impermeable to whatever we throw at it. That we Australians should refuse to do anything about our carbon emissions because China with 59 times more people produces more in total, although of course far less per person. That putting a price on carbon is genuinely going to “destroy” the economy.

    In which case – where to begin?

  42. Splatterbottom

    Begin with a cost-benefit analysis.

    The benefit of our carbon (dioxide) tax is immeasurably small. The cost is greater than this. QED.

  43. narcoticmusing

    SB, unlike some here, I understand that you are not suggesting that climate change itself and/or reliance on fossil fuels are not issues to be addressed, rather that you’d address them in a different way to the proposed carbon price/tax.

    I don’t agree with the cost benefit argument provided – because it is not a legitmate cost benefit analysis, you are talking in subjective terms about the value you place on its benefits vis-a-vis the cost that the market bitches about that we know is just as distorted from reality as the subjective benefits.

    The real cost benefit analysis is, and should be, what is the policy objective? The policy objective is not to decrease global temperature, if it were, you would be correct. Nevertheless, being small doesn’t make us insignificant nor does it make us unanswerable to our global responsibilities. Australia uses disproportionate amounts of pollution (in general and in terms of carbon). We cannot be excused just because of a small population.

    I know you hate it when I branch into comparable analogies, but humour me. Some immams are calling for loans to be interest free for muslims – do you agree with that? That muslims should be excused from interest payments on the grounds of their religion? It is an insignificant amount of money that won’t impact the overall profit margin of the bank – so why not? Their rationale is good too – they believe that interest is slavery. So based on that hysterical approach, either you advocate slavery or you should give them interest free loans. This is the same sort of argument being used against a market mechanism for pricing/taxing carbon.

    I think many would disagree about the benefit SB. There is significant benefit in forcing a realignment of priority in the market. Currently there is no incentive nor impediment to drive private R&D because fossil fuels still produce such a huge profit margin. This places us at a significant disadvantage in the future when we then have to purchase all of these technologies from others because we were too busy sitting on our asses arguing about it.

    Mondo – there is no need to bash the carbon price/tax. News Corp are doing that for us, hence the only way to balance the arguement is to consider the other side. The flaws are being massively distorted – we’d all be fine with the coverage if it showed the pros and cons propotionally. There is rarely a policy instrument without pros and cons.

  44. This places us at a significant disadvantage in the future when we then have to purchase all of these technologies from others because we were too busy sitting on our asses arguing about it.

    Narc this, to my mind, is the only coherent argument in favour of the carbon tax – i.e. that unless we interfere with the market to make newer low emission technologies more competitive they will founder, and we will thus miss an opportunity to become market leaders in ‘the next big thing’ in power generation. This argument, whilst a bit pie in the sky, at least makes sense from both an economic and environmental perspective.

    On the other hand arguing that we will effectively address global warming by using less emissions-producing power in Australia, thereby encouraging others to join us, is total and utter fantasy. The developing world (and probably much of the developed world) will continue to use coal to fire their power stations until a cheaper alternative is found – what we do to our economy is completely irrelevant to them, and thus completely irrelevant to the environment.

    As Narc has said – the real question here is not whether something should be done to address AGW: it’s whether a complicated tax administered by the Australian public service is the right policy to do it.

    I don’t believe that it is. I think a day will come when we all realise that this was a stupid policy driven more by political opportunism than by any real consideration of what is in Australia’s best interests (both economic and environmental).

  45. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “The real cost benefit analysis is, and should be, what is the policy objective?”

    No the way to judge a policy is to weigh the costs and benefits.

    As to “immams are calling for loans to be interest free for muslims”. The proposed alternatives include things like murabaha, istisn’a and ijara. What is it with all the greasy islamophobes implying Muslims always want something for nothing?

    Currently there is no incentive nor impediment to drive private R&D because fossil fuels still produce such a huge profit margin.”

    The Chinese have this right – they build mainly coal power stations for themselves, and windmills to sell to gullible westerners. It’s not that we can’t build windmills, but that we can’t build them cheaply enough. We do already invest in clean coal R&D. Of course governments don’t have a great track record in picking winners, do they?

  46. “The developing world (and probably much of the developed world) will continue to use coal to fire their power stations until a cheaper alternative is found”

    I think the point is that if we start now, there will eventually be a cheaper alternative – which we invented.

    We have unique conditions with our long distances that favour local generation rather than centralized. Very similar to problems faced by the developing world. I was very interested in the plans to replace diesel generators in remote communities with solar – just what we need for kick-starting parts of Africa – let’s help leapfrog them straight past coal.

    And if we de-coal our economy one day we can say: sorry, we don’t mine that here any more – get your pollution elsewhere or here’s some solar station technology we’ll be happy to sell you instead. Or paint-on solar panels. Or more efficient wind and tidal turbines. Or whatever.

  47. “…we interfere with the market….. ” – Mondo

    You’ve made similiar statements to this several times, which have me bemused.

    You don’t strike me as a market fundamentalist, but such sentiments come straight from the neo-liberal POV.

    The market is not a force of nature, it’s a human construct. The idea that our actions in regards to it are ‘interference’ make no sense.

  48. “The Chinese have this right – they build mainly coal power stations for themselves, and windmills to sell to gullible westerners.” – SB

    Wrong.

    The developing world is in fact leading the way, as of this year, in investment in renewable energy.

    China is still building coal power stations, but it’s also putting more into renewables than anyone else. Anyone. China is positioning itself for the future.

    Over-reliance on fossil fuels will eventually lead to fossilised economies.

  49. narcoticmusing

    No the way to judge a policy is to weigh the costs and benefits.

    Of course, but within the context of the policy objective. Not with reference to vested interests exaggerations of costs, nor subjective minimalisation of benefits for the single purpose of removing any real justification.

  50. For those of you with short memories…….

    Tony Abbott denies climate change and advocates carbon tax

  51. jordanrastrick

    Maybe I can comment from this computer, since all my other recent attempts on this thread have failed….

    On the other hand arguing that we will effectively address global warming by using less emissions-producing power in Australia, thereby encouraging others to join us, is total and utter fantasy

    Mondo, do you think when Tony Abbott et al point to China and the U.S. federal government as not taking enough action on climate change, that has zero influence on the domestic debate here?

    Do you think the collapse of Copenhagen aided the Coalition’s reversal on the original CPRS?

    Conversely, do you think the actions of some U.S. states, the U.K. and the E.U. more broadly etc, have added any weight to the political case here for a carbon price?

    I think its clear that the actions of other countries have been and will continue to be a substantial influence on our decisions about action; so I think its pretty absurd if you’re trying to argue our actions have no influence overseas.

    Of course this argument doesn’t stand on it own; it combines with the direct benefits of our own reductions, and the spur to private capital to invest in the technologies that will help the world get to zero net emissions.

  52. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, what do you mean by “in the context of the policy objective”? If the policy behind the carbon (dioxide) tax is to impose a re-distributive tax then it is a great success. If the policy is to affect climate it has no measurable benefit.

    ‘Gadj the fact is that China gets sfa energy from solar and wind. Most of their windmills are not connected to the grid. They are there for show, as marketing tools to sell them to gullible tools. How many more coal-fired power stations is Australia going to build? China is opening one a week or thereabouts.

    Jordan: “I think its clear that the actions of other countries have been and will continue to be a substantial influence on our decisions about action;”

    AKA a global circle jerk. Why are one of the first to eat the soggy Sao?

    And why are the our power elite so fixated on avoiding alternatives like carbon-capture, nuclear and hydro? the dam-busters have already cost this country enough masquerading their naive politics as science.

  53. Hydro…. Already got it and more is not exactly off th table.

    Nuclear…. Never built unless underwittten by government. To borrow a right wing phrase “That’s socialism”.

    Carbon capture…..Decades away and regarded as never to be cost effective.

    The biggest problem with renewables is the loss of profits to those already rich from mineral energy revenues. It’s all about maintaining the status quo.
    That’s the Liberal position. Protect the rich mates. It has NOTHING to do with what’s best for the country.

  54. I think the point is that if we start now, there will eventually be a cheaper alternative – which we invented.

    Unique – that’s pretty much the exact argument I made above, i.e. if we don’t start seriously investing in alternative energy research right now then we may “miss an opportunity to become market leaders in ‘the next big thing’ in power generation.” I completely agree with you in that regard.

    Where we (apparently) don’t agree is how we should pursue this goal. A carbon tax is obviously not the only way we can pursue this goal, and in fact I would argue that it’s not the ideal.

    Gadj You don’t strike me as a market fundamentalist, but such sentiments come straight from the neo-liberal POV.

    Don’t be an arsehole – I’m not arguing the ‘sanctity’ of markets or any other fundamentalist libertarian nonsese, I am merely pointing out that interfering with them to try to engineer a policy outcome is risky. That’s a fairly bland observation really, but it’s one that many here seem reluctant to accept.

    Lefty asked SB above if he thought we could just throw anything we want at our atmosphere without damaging it – well the same observation applies to our economy. Do people here think we can just throw a carbon tax into the mix without risking consequences, possibly even profound consequences?

  55. “Do people here think we can just throw a carbon tax into the mix without risking consequences, possibly even profound consequences?”

    Um, no, but you could say that about any government policy. YOU NEVER KNOW IF THIS ONE WILL DESTROY THE COUNTRY.

    It’s just ridiculously unlikely that the carbon price will. It’s not really the massive change that both sides are selling it as.

    But it’s a step in the right direction.

  56. Jeremy
    I’m starting to think that maybe SB isn’t trolling – maybe he actually does believe that the atmosphere is magically impermeable to whatever we throw at it.

    A very common belief in fact. Similar views persist about oceans.

    A Certain Demographic* has considerable investment in both those things being true.

    mondo
    Do people here think we can just throw a carbon tax into the mix without risking consequences, possibly even profound consequences?

    You mean like we did with the GST, baby bonuses, first-home grants, auto-factory subsidies, private-school largesse, health-insurer grants, tariffs, and assorted bribes to A Certain Demographic*… the net result being more of A Certain Demographic*?

    Oh, and McMansions.

    But slug A Certain Demographic* for numerous cents a week just for having an off-the-plan that calls for heaters and air-con units in every room?
    SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!!

    *(guess)

  57. jordanrastrick

    @SB,

    AKA a global circle jerk. Why are one of the first to eat the soggy Sao?

    Obviously you don’t find the fact that we’re the highest per capita emitters in the developed world a remotely persuasive reason?

    I’ve argued here in the past that because the “technology leadership” and “direct cuts” benefits are maximised by moving early but the “politically pressure other states” benefit is maximised by moving late, its probably ideal to move somewhere around the 50% mark. We’re admittedly a little ahead of the curve now, with this measure, given that only the 25% of global GDP in the EU and NZ currently have a comparably strong scheme with only a portion of U.S. states [California, the RGGI members] and Chinese provinces scheduled or likely to join the party any time soon. If the current plan is killed, it seems pretty likely we’ll end up a long way behind the 50% mark.

    And why are the our power elite so fixated on avoiding alternatives like carbon-capture, nuclear and hydro? the dam-busters have already cost this country enough masquerading their naive politics as science.

    CC&S is currently more speculative and less economic than most renewables, and that’s saying something. That’s not to say we shouldn’t research it, and we are (including with government funding.)

    As for the other two, you know that I’m an outspoken advocate for hydro and nuclear. I’ll take a carbon price with or without them, because it’ll help cut emissions at the lowest cost possible under whatever our regulatory and political environment on energy sources happens to be.

    I’ll say of hydro that even if you overlook the environmental consequences, both real and imagined, we’re geographically constrained in Australia; hydro will never realistically be a dominant source of our supply, except possibly if we link our grid to NZ and Indonesia via HVDC.

    I’ll also note in the past you’ve said current gen nuclear is too risky, and we should hold out for fourth gen. On current trends we’ll be buying that off the Chinese along with all the solar panels and wind turbines you hate so much…..

  58. “I’m not arguing the ‘sanctity’ of markets or any other fundamentalist libertarian nonsese, I am merely pointing out that interfering with them to try to engineer a policy outcome is risky. That’s a fairly bland observation really, but it’s one that many here seem reluctant to accept.” – Mondo

    Well, I wasn’t trying to be an “arsehole”, just pointing out that the very idea of ‘interference’ in the market is pretty much meaningless, but a favoured rhetorical tool of the neo-liberal crowd who use it argue against limits to laissez-fair capitalism.

    IIRC correctly, you prefer a more direct action policy, which could be decried, more correctly, as ‘interfering with the market’.

    Just to be clear, I think that ‘interfering with the market’ can mean anything, and hence, means nothing.

  59. narcoticmusing

    I am merely pointing out that interfering with them to try to engineer a policy outcome is risky.

    And I’d argue that not interfering with markets to try to engineer a policy outcome can be equally risky. Indeed the market (read large multi-nationals) argued this post Gambotto . As did the banks in the GFC. Funny that it is all good when the rich get richer…

    In other words, we shouldn’t shy from a tough call just because vested interests on either side are screaming for or against it. They aren’t irrelevant, but we should take what they say within the context of their bias. A market mechanism will enable the market itself to divert its own resources to develop new and innovative solutions.

    You suggested there are alternatives. Of course there are, but they will not be as effective and will cost the tax payer more proportionally because the full cost will be a tax burden, rather than there being a distribution of costs. In addition a carbon price also creates the quick win of reducing current output, as per our international obligations. Other solutions might divert resources but they probably don’t achieve both diversion of resources and reduction of carbon output.

    An alternative might be a grants scheme but that means the public service are picking the projects. This might not be so bad but these decisions will be filtered and directed by the government of the day and can often be inefficient (especially if it is done via a submissions process and thus the company makes a profit off the grant rather than the full investment going into the R&D). The market can, generally, be trusted to find more efficient solutions than government providing the solution isn’t funded by government (in which the market tends to hold govt over a barrel and uses other corporate blackmail techniques to make ridiculous profits at our expense).

  60. You know what – there’s probably some truth to the idea that I’ve allowed my perception of the risks associated with this initiative to ‘overblow’ a little.

    It’s undoubtedly a function of both my distaste for the politics behind the tax’s implementation and some osmotic absorbtion of the News Ltd scare campaign. The reality is that this is hardly the biggest change to our economy that’s ever happened (thanks Lykurgus) and that there are a lot of far cleverer economists than I who have backed the tax as sound policy – the majority by the looks of things. On that basis alsone I suspect that my perspective has become a little warped.

    Anyway I hope that’s the case. It would certainly benefit both my country and my preferred political parties if the tax was a success.

  61. It is a good point about the overall effect of this carbon tax.

    The GST had a far greater impact, and if you look at the rising price of oil over the last few years, it dwarfs the impact of the carbon tax..

    But this leads to a legitmate concern over the objectives of the policy – is it sufficient to send the ‘price signal’ that it needs to send, to have the effect that is is meant to have?

  62. Here’s a post that puts the $10 a week in perspective that needs to go viral, stat:

    http://heathenscripture.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/you-shut-your-goddamn-carbon-taxin%E2%80%99-mouth/

  63. Splatterbottom

    I would gladly pay $10 a week just to stop the scare-mongering and whining from the chicken-little alarmists, even if all the money raised is used to fertislise solar green unicorn farms. The problem is that it is not going to stop there, is it? And that doesn’t take account of the jobs, businesses and industries destroyed or driven offshore.

  64. I would gladly pay $10 a week just to stop the scare-mongering and whining from the chicken-little alarmists

    Ironic, considering you are doing a fair bit of yourself.

  65. If the polluting businesses and industries are destroyed and driven offshore, then good riddance to bad rubbish. But that isn’t what is being proposed and you know it. Instead, it is a phase-out of polluting industry and replacing it with something else. The workers can be easily retrained to build wind and solar farms instead – same people, better jobs. The only “chicken-little alarmists” here are the polluters.

  66. Splatterbottom

    Unique, George Orwell would recognise the linguistic chicanery going on here: “pollute”, “deniers” “carbon”. At first I thought it was stupidity but it is clearly a sad attempt at “newspeak”.

    As for the wind and solar farms, it would be cheaper and more productive to pay people to sit in a corner and wank. The European experience is that it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to create one “green” job.

  67. Wouldn’t you think that people who present themselves as being concerned about things going ‘offshore’ would be delighted at the prospect of rewable energy intitiatves that will be ‘on-shore’ energy generation thereby reducing our dependency on imported oil?…….well they might be, if they weren’t just hot air and horse-shit, that is.

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