Carbon Tax Madness

Julia Gillard’s announcement of a carbon tax tells us at least three things about her: she does not know much about truth-telling; she does not know much about economics and business; and she does not know much about science. In all three areas she has let the nation down big time.

Consider her ability to tell the truth. Before the election she promised us she would not introduce a carbon tax. Now she has introduced a carbon tax. Can anyone think of a word for that sort of behaviour beginning with ‘li’ and ending with ‘ar’?

I suppose we expect politicians to play fast and loose with the truth. But just as bad is Ms Gillard’s complete lack of understanding of the economics of all this, as well as the science. Consider first how this will impact us all financially, and how it will negatively impact business.

Economist Terry McCrann begins a column on this with these sobering words: “Julia Gillard’s planned carbon tax is deliberately intended to hurt every Australian. Indeed that is its precise point. To force us to pay much higher prices for electricity – so that otherwise unviable forms of generation such as wind and solar and gas can ‘compete’ with and then replace our longstanding cheap coal-fired power.

“That’s much higher prices, it is worth noting, that will come on top of the big increases in electricity prices that consumers around Australia have already been hit with in recent years. In short, it is the ‘extra GST we have to have, but without any offsetting personal tax cuts’. What has not been recognised, far less understood, is that the ‘Julia tax’ – the tax you have after an election that you promised before the election not to have – will also be devastating for small and medium businesses.

“So those hundreds of thousands of Australians will be screwed over twice by their Government. First as ordinary consumers having to pay more for their electricity. And then when their businesses are hit by higher costs. That in turn will mean that the rest of us will also be screwed over twice. Again as everyday consumers. And then as ‘collateral damage’ when the SME sector that provides most of the jobs in the economy, is made less profitable and less viable.”

But ruining an economy because of pseudo-science makes this whole debacle even more appalling. This is not the place to rehearse all the arguments against such a scheme, but let me offer the words of one scientist who is quite aware of the insanity of all this.

Bob Carter says, “It is difficult to decide whether to be more astonished by the scientific ignorance or the political stupidity inherent in today’s announcement by the Prime Minister and her Multi-party Climate Change Committee (MCCC) that a tax on carbon dioxide emissions will be introduced on July 1st, 2012.

“The ignorance is displayed in the continual reference to a ‘carbon’ tax in a situation where carbon (as opposed to carbon dioxide) has nothing to do with the issue at hand; plus the continual reference to ‘pollution’, when carbon dioxide is actually an environmentally beneficial trace gas.

“The political stupidity is manifest in the reality that the great majority of the Australian public – being fed up to the back teeth with continual and naked lobby group and government propagandizing on the issue – have long ago decided that dangerous global warming is a scam.”

And he looks more closely at this climate change issue: “Instead of analysing the global warming issue – about which, more below – press commentary continues to endlessly recycle tired, stale, sanctimonious and entirely misleading clichés about carbon pollution, climate change and energy efficiency. Everyone, it seems, has a strong opinion, yet almost none of these opinions are grounded in the empirical science facts that society used to view as the essential basis for good public policy decisions.

“So what about the famous global warming which occurred in the late 20th century, whatever happened to that? Well, not only did the gentle warming terminate in 1998, but in accord with natural climate cycling that warming has been followed by a gentle cooling since about 2001. That’s ten years of no temperature increase, let alone dangerous increase, over the same time period that atmospheric carbon dioxide increased by about 5%.”

He is not very impressed with government statements on this either: “For instance, the Prime Minister says: ‘I also want to be very clear with Australians about what pricing carbon does. It has price impacts. It’s meant to. That’s the whole point.’

“No, Prime Minister, that is not the point at all. The point is supposed to be attaining a meaningful reduction in future warming, which a carbon dioxide taxation policy will not achieve – even were it to successfully close down the entire industrial economy of Australia.

“Climate Minister Mr Combet believes that reducing ‘carbon pollution’ to ‘drive investment in clean energy …. is fundamentally what a carbon price is about’. No, Greg, the matter has nothing to do with either carbon or pollution, for the alleged dangerous warming is supposed to be produced by the atmospheric trace gas carbon dioxide. To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is an abuse of logic, language and science, given its pivotal role in the photosynthetic processes that underpin most of our planetary ecosystems. In essence, carbon dioxide is the very staff of life, and increasing it in the atmosphere helps most plants to grow better and to use water more efficiently.

“And, so far as energy efficiency is concerned, the market itself will drive any needed changes in future energy supply, as hydrocarbon resources run down, without your wasting more billions of dollars of taxpayers funds in picking white elephant ‘winners’. If you want to encourage alternative energy then by all means subsidize the introduction of clean, green nuclear power in Australia rather than frittering away scarce public resources on uneconomic eco-bling like windmills and solar farms.

“Minister Combet is also prone to saying: ‘We are committed to tackling climate change’. No, Minister, you are not. Instead, you are playing with ghosts in trying to ‘stop’ a chimerical dangerous global warming, and that for entirely political reasons. Meanwhile, you are offering nothing by way of policy initiatives to deal with the actual and very real hazards that are associated with NATURAL climate events and change in Australia.”

He concludes, “In the interest of good governance and sound environmental stewardship, I urge readers to reject this costly, inefficient, ineffectual, inequitable and unnecessary tax.”

Quite so, and for those interested in taking action against all this madness, for starters, an online petition can be signed here:

[1115 words]

28 Replies to “Carbon Tax Madness”

  1. Global warming … True/False?
    Carbon price … Good/Bad?

    These are for me not issues I will take into account when discerning our Prime Minister’s character.

    But brazenly speaking untruth, being unwilling to keep her word?

    That *is* an issue of importance when I vote, particularly as it now means nothing she has said or will say can be relied on if it is not politically expedient.

    We don’t have a minority Labor government any more, it is a Green Labor coalition. Watch out, this country’s wealth and freedoms are about to get frittered away!

    Dale Flannery

  2. Thanks Dale

    Yes you are exactly right about this country being run by a Labor/Green machine, particularly two arrogant atheists, Gillard and Brown.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. Look on the bright side! Ju-liar’s plan will transform Australia into a third world country, but at least it will stop the influx of asylum seeker boats. 🙂

    Mansel Rogerson

  4. “Clean green nuclear power”? Doesn’t that make it easier for nuclear material to leak into the black-market for terrorism? If terrorists take over a coal-fire electricity plant – so what. But what if terrorists take over a nuclear power-plant? Clearly we will need Big Brother’s absolute incorruptible power to protect us against such dangers. Hmmm – give me coal and small government any day!
    Peter Newland

  5. Thanks Peter

    Sorry but I am not with you on this one. There are around 440 nuclear power plants operating in over 30 nations. They have been around for over half a century now. Unless I have missed something, no terrorist attack has ever occurred at any of them. Indeed, there won’t likely occur such an attack either. They are built to withstand any falling (intentional or accidental) aircraft. And even if they did land on a nuclear reactor, no radiation would be released. It is actually the radical Greens who have longed cried Chicken Little about such plants as being “sitting ducks for terrorists”.

    And it is a clean, reliable, efficient and reasonably priced energy source, one which we all should be in favour of.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  6. Bill, nuclear is much dearer than coal, we don’t need it. Nuclear material is already on the black-market despite the safeguards. More nuclear power stations will make it easier for terrorists etc to get material for dirty bombs. The risk of a suicide team inside a nuclear reactor plant deliberately bypassing the safeguards poses an unacceptable risk. Time will tell.
    Peter Newland

  7. Spoken like a real greenie Peter! Sorry, but I am still not with you, and you are still incorrect in your assertions. Actually nuclear energy is on a par with or even cheaper than coal when all factors are taken into account. And you are wrong about nuclear energy produced for electricity generation being turned into nuclear weapons. Not only has it never happened in over half a century, but it would be exceedingly difficult and inefficient to even attempt to do so. Also, by your reasoning, we should now ban all airplanes. After all, while no terrorist has made use of nuclear energy, they have made use of airplanes.

    So we will have to agree to disagree here big time I suggest.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  8. Bill,

    I am amazed that you would rely on Bob Carter for scientific credibility on this issue. His claim that the world has cooled since 1998 runs counter to the actual evidence. The last decade has been the warmest on record according to NASA and other research bodies. Carter must be aware that it is the trend line that is important, not the spikes of individual years. 1998 was an El Nino maximum, and Carter knows it. To cherry-pick one year that was elevated above the trend and use that as a reference point is quite simply unscientific. The trend line continues relentlessly upward, as does the CO2 concentration, and there is mounting visual evidence of warming, from retreating glaciers to melting sea ice in the Arctic.

    It is legitimate to argue about the appropriate political and economic response, but to deny global warming is actually happening is the stuff of fantasy.

    John Marshall, Townsville

  9. Thanks John

    Sorry but I am just not a true believer like you are. And given that this topic has been covered plenty of times here, I am not about to again rehash it all here. Suffice it to say, the truth is this:
    -there is no unanimity at all on whether global warming is in fact now occurring;
    -the climate has always changed as long as this planet has existed, and if it is now warming, it has in fact been warmer in the past;
    -There is no compelling reason to believe human activity is responsible for such warming periods – it certainly could not have been in the past;
    -Even if we conceded every point of the true believers (but especially after Climategate we should not), there is no reason to believe a carbon tax would make the slightest bit of difference.

    Given all this, I will leave it to my readers to decide just who is living in fantasyland.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. Thanks Bill.
    I’m with you all the way on this one.
    On the big lie, both Julia and Greg Combet are now running the line that Tony Abbott told a similar “porkie” in regard to the Medicare levy back in 2004, although I can’t remember the details. Whatever, let us suppose for argument’s sake that what Tony Abbott did was of the same degree as Julia last week. Where I come from I always believed that two wrongs don’t make a right! But this Labor crowd is arguing that they do.
    This type of line is a standard logical fallacy called tu quoque – the irrelevant counter-charge (“You do/did it too!”). It is a form of ad hominem: if you can’t refute the argument blow dust in the eyes by attacking the man. It saves you from considering the argument!

    Then there’s the science. I have argued for a long time that the whole ‘global warming’ scam is a violation of basic high school science. I posted the following on Tim Blair’s site this morning:
    What appalls me about this whole business, and has for sometime, is the ignorance and corruption of basic, high school science:
    1. “carbon” is NOT a gas; it is an amorphous solid, otherwise called lampblack. It has allotropes in the form of graphite, and diamond (do we want also to demonise the latter??).

    2. carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant; it is essential to life. Plants need it for photosynthesis or they will die. Carbon MONoxide is indeed a pollutant – and toxic, but I suspect that large numbers of people are too ignorant to know the difference.

    3. carbon dioxide is invisible, colorless and odorless. So when we see the familiar video footage of factory chimneys spewing out what the media intend us to believe is carbon dioxide it is for the most part STEAM! If you can see it, it ain’t carbon dioxide!

    4. NO science is ever “settled”. If it were we would still be talking about phlogiston in relation to combustion, or spontaneous generation in relation to reproduction.

    5. “climate change” is always happening, and has been for millennia, long before the advent of modern industry. Hence man-produced carbon dioxide has nothing to do with it.

    I ask, what has happened to science education that this massive scare campaign can get up, and go on for so long, when a knowledge of basic science would have killed it at the outset??

    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  11. John Marshall seems to think warming is bad. The fact is – even if one accepted his doomsday scenario of slightly warmer climate – ask yourself where more diversity of life is on the planet – the Amazon, or the Antarctic?

    The one thing not mentioned so far is that Gillard’s carbon tax will kill people. There are already people who sit under blankets in the cold of winter scared to turn on the heater for any length of time. Not too bad if you’re healthy – not so good if you’re old, frail and/or sick. And compensating them is not much better as all it does is set up more unnecessary government bureaucracy that has to be funded by the Australian taxpayer. But I guess the Greens and Labor can have that nice warm fuzzy sanctimonious feeling inside, because that’s what matters…

    Did ‘Climategate’ happen or not? The scientists from the IPCC have tarnished their credibility. And have we not already seen how in love with totalitarianism many of these elitists are? How is anyone in the world still believing in this disgraceful scam?

    Mark Rabich

  12. Bill, Is the total extraction to decommissioning costs of coal v nuclear mines and power stations in nuclear’s favour despite the severity and long-lasting effects and risks of nuclear pollution? I doubt it. After all, carbon and CO2 are NOT pollutants and do not need a strong enforcement agency. In contrast nuclear needs management for many decades after decommissioning.
    So we disagree.

    Murray – I agree fully, but forgive my high-school-science pedantry: if you can see it, it ain’t carbon dioxide BUT IT AIN’T STEAM either – steam is invisible – it is most probably a cloud of water vapour condensate rather than condensed steam.

    Peter Newland

  13. A tax on carbon, the building block of all life, both plant and animal sounds a little extreme. I assume she means a carbon dioxide tax (sorry price). Can I get a rebate if I plant some trees?

    I do believe we should look after God’s creation. We worm farm, we recycle, we try not to waste, we had reusable shopping bags years before they became popular but I am not convinced by this ‘climate change’ argument.

    If we tax Australian products so they become much more expensive than imported products we will be shutting down primary and secondary business in Australia while outsourcing to countries that don’t reduce carbon emissions and paying extra for transport as well (not to mention more CO2 emissions caused while transporting goods).

    Kylie Anderson

  14. John, if you think that Prof. Bob Carter has no credibility on this issue, and by comparison you are so wise, then why don’t you take up the matter with him directly? A simple Google search will readily bring up up his contact details. He has written a book recently (“Climate: the Counter-consensus”), so if you think that this book is so riddled with errors, then approach him directly and put him straight. Don’t waste time talking to us scientific illiterates!
    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  15. John Marshall, you said:
    “The trend line continues relentlessly upward, as does the CO2 concentration,…”

    Sorry but “relentlessly” is a prediction about the future, and even the scientists concede that prediction is notoriously difficult – especially about the future.

    That trend line depends upon a number of unstated assumptions. Unless you are able to lay out the assumptions, you can’t make any statements about the probable future path of the trend.

    Finally, the CO2 concentration in Venus atmosphere is 96% and the mean atmospheric temperature is 460C. The CO2 concentration on Mars is 95% and the average winter temperature is minus 140C with a “mean” of around -63C. Earth’s CO2 is 280 parts per million meaning 0.028% – do we REALLY have a problem?

    John Angelico

  16. John Marshall is just mimicking the global alarmist propogandists. The high temperatures of the last decade are merely continuing the temperature trend of the last 260 years. The process that began before the automobile.

    Its also been common knowledge since 1999 – thanks to the Vostok Ice Cores – that carbon dioxide increases have trailed increased warming by several hundred years. CO2 increases are the effect not the cause.

    And recent evidence from climatologist Dr Roy Spencer – using the AMSR-E temperature measurement – has debunked the myth of the ‘amplification effect’ of cloud cover. This completely decimates the already creditless climate models.

    But the AGW faithful don’t let facts upset them.

    Damien Spillane

  17. Bill,
    The many trees and pasture grasses on my 42 acres need all the carbon dioxide they can get.
    Greg Brien

  18. The carbon tax always reminded my of this tax: Here
    Like many English monarchs, William III was short of money, which he attempted to rectify by the introduction of the much-despised Window Tax……
    Taxes are rarely popular, but the Window Tax, which was considered to tax the very stuff of life, i.e. light and air, was singled out for particular loathing

    Yes, Jul-iar, your new Carbon tax is nothing short of Daylight robbery. Whats next? an Oxygen tax? a nitrogen tax? how about a hot air tax to make it fair, seeing that the pollies are full of it, the tax coffers will be full in no time.

    If you notice the language that they use when they spruk their mischief, .. we will be left behind… everyone else is doing it..etc. Nothing more than propaganda 101.

    Jeffrey Carl

  19. John Angelico,

    I was making a statement about the trend in global temperature averages over the last decade, to counter Bob Carter’s false claim that the world stopped warming in 1998. These are observable facts. I made no predictions about the future.

    Temperatures on other planets are the result of 3 main factors:
    – distance from the sun
    – atmospheric composition
    – atmospheric pressure

    Venus is an example of runaway Greenhouse Effect (it is even so stated on the website you quoted). That is why it is much hotter than Mercury, even though it is further from the Sun.

    Mars is 50% further from the Sun than Earth and has only 1% of the atmospheric pressure. It is warmer than would otherwise be predicted precisely because of the radiative forcing effect of CO2.

    Current CO2 concentration on Earth is 390ppm and rising at 2ppm per year. Your figure of 280 is way out of date.


    You claimed:
    there is no unanimity at all on whether global warming is in fact now occurring..

    Even most contrarians accept that warming is occurring. It is only the cause they are disputing.

    John Marshall

  20. Thanks again John

    In reply, let me simply and slightly reword one of your earlier comments: ‘To cherry-pick one decade that was elevated above the trend and use that as a reference point is quite simply unscientific.’ The weather is constantly changing, and we have had far warmer periods well before this, and none of it would have had anything to do with human activity.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  21. It is estimated that Australia emits 1.5% of the world’s carbon dioxide. This tax is supposed to help bring down our emission by 5%. That equals a reduction .075% of the world’s emission of carbon dioxide. Will this minuscule reduction really affect so called global warming? I don’t think so.
    Des Morris

  22. Actually, Jeffrey Carl, since CO2 is comprised of two atoms of oxygen and one of carbon, and oxygen comprises about 67% of the carbon dioxide molecule by weight, Gillard’s tax is much more of an “Oxygen Tax” than a “Carbon Tax”.

    Now I wonder how that would go down with the masses!

    Hugh Henry

  23. John Marshall, you quite rightly point out that the temperatures on the other planets vary because of various factors.

    Venus has an atmosphere whilst Mercury doesn’t. Mars atmosphere may be creating a warming effect, but it hasn’t created a “runaway effect” as Venus. The major difference seems to relate to distance from the Sun, and the decay in radiative effect.

    You seem to have missed my point that none of the factors is human-induced.

    Yes, I may be out of date with 280 vs 390ppm but to what extent does it make a difference – from 0.028 to 0.04% – get real! And of all that increase of 110ppm, only 4.4ppm is human-induced – the rest is natural.

    I repeat – what exactly is the problem?

    My point about predictions is that you skated over the word “relentless” which necessarily includes the unstated claim that the trend cannot be altered.

    If we accept that, as you do, then all this huffing and puffing on both sides is of no value – the trend is relentless.

    But I restate that this is based on a set of assumptions – trending under what conditions? Within what limitations?

    It’s time to declare those assumptions and limiting conditions.

    John Angelico

  24. Why is everyone being so unkind to poor Juliar – sorry Julia. After all her original promise of “no carbon tax” was obviously not a ‘Core Promise’, otherwise she would not have broken it. (Although on the other hand it definitely appeared to be ‘Scripted’.)

    Re “And you are wrong about nuclear energy produced for electricity generation being turned into nuclear weapons. Not only has it never happened in over half a century, but it would be exceedingly difficult and inefficient to even attempt to do so.”

    Technically not quite true; depleted uranium fuel rods are used as ammunition in the US’s Abrahms tank (possibly others as well, I’m not sure) But I think you are refering to fission or dirty bombs used by terrorists so pardon my pedantry.

    Back to a more lighthearted vein, and for a bit of amusement, try asking people what they think of the danger of a compound known as Di-hydrogen monoxide. If they give you a stupid look, point out that it is a chief component of things like acid rain, and ask if they think it should be banned.

    David Williams

  25. Dear Bill
    If you are in Perth can you please let us know if you spot any of those 1,000’s of dead fish that are apparently littering countless shores in WA because the ocean temperature has risen to cooking point????! Only I live here and haven’t seen a single one!

    Also, isn’t it an amazing coincidence that TV viewing this weekend includes that masterpiece “An Inconvenient Truth”???!

    Sorry for the sarcasm. I just wish they’d be as keen to show a documentary starring Lord Monkton and/or some of his colleagues.
    God bless you.
    Mandy Varley

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