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: www.stopgillardscarbontax.com/