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Repealing the carbon tax: hidden costs and unanswered questions

There are reasons Australia has a price on carbon. Let’s recap. The IPCC has released its Fifth Assessment Report stating that the increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide…

There’s a reason we have a price on carbon. Repealing it may save taxpayers a little money, but it will cause long-term problems. Roxy Chen

There are reasons Australia has a price on carbon. Let’s recap.

The IPCC has released its Fifth Assessment Report stating that the increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide is unprecedented in the last 800,000 years.

Data sets show a globally averaged combined land and ocean surface warming of 0.85C between 1880–2012. There’s a 95-100% probability that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 is human induced.

By 2081-2100, under the IPCC’s best case emissions scenario, temperatures could rise by as much as 1.7C and in the worst case scenario by 4.8C. Our last summer broke 123 extreme weather records in 90 days. Last month was Australia’s hottest ever September on record.

So what are our current emissions?

Australia’s December 2012 National Greenhouse Gas Accounts show that since 1990, emissions from the electricity sector grew 47.3%, the stationary energy sector 44.5%, transport 47.5%, fugitive emissions (including from coal mining) 30.5% and industrial processes 30.8%.

These sectors are all covered by the carbon price mechanism (CPM).

Let’s recap the Abbott government’s agenda to reduce our emissions. The Climate Commission has been abolished. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be abolished. We no longer have a Department of Climate Change. Yesterday, the draft legislation to repeal the carbon price mechanism, to be the first item of business for the 44th Parliament, was revealed.

This means, briefly, that if the legislation passes the following will occur.

There will be no annual cap on Australia’s escalating emissions.

Financial year 2013-14 will be the last year that the carbon price mechanism applies and all charges for non-compliance will be repealed. The government will not extend what it calls the “carbon tax” even if the Parliament does not pass the repeal bills until after 1 July 2014. If the bills are not repealed at all, the government will be in breach of the law if it refuses to apply the carbon price mechanism and other carbon price legislation. Calling a double dissolution is a possibility.

Until then liable entities must comply with the carbon pricing mechanism and reporting obligations, but can use Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) carbon credit units to offset their liability. February 2, 2015 is the final date for compliance before unit shortfall charges apply. An entity has to pay shortfall charges if it does not have enough carbon credit units to surrender to meet its liability.

All carbon levies applying to aviation fuels and synthetic greenhouse gases under separate legislation are abolished but 2013-2014 liabilities must be paid.

Once final commitments are met, refunds will be provided for any auctioned units, existing carbon units will be cancelled and over-surrendered carbon farming carbon credits will be re-credited.

The government denies that the repeal of the carbon price mechanism amounts to an “acquisition of property” other than on just terms under the Constitution. If it does, legislative provisions are included to pay a reasonable amount of compensation.

Industry assistance provided under the Jobs & Competitiveness Program (JCP) for Emissions Intense Trade Exposed Industries, under the Energy Security Fund and all assistance to electricity generators, will continue in 2013-14 but will cease thereafter. Any under-allocation of free units, which is expected, will be rectified while over-allocated units must be relinquished, or a levy will apply as well as a late payment penalty. The Steel Transformation Plan will also cease on 1 July 2014.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will monitor prices and prohibit corporations from making false or misleading claims about the effect of the repeal on prices.

The independent Climate Change Authority will be abolished. Instead, the performance of the Renewable Energy Target, the Carbon Farming Initiative and the National Greenhouse & Energy Reporting Scheme will be reviewed by the government’s own Department of the Environment.

Legislation such as the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 will be retained to support the Coalitions’ direct action policy.

Consequential changes are made to the current regulation of carbon permits as financial instruments and to tax treatment of various charges.

The income tax cuts scheduled for 2015-2016 to compensate Australians for the shift to an emissions trading scheme on July 1 2015 will be abolished.

All this, according to Mr Abbott, just to “save Australians A$550 a year”, or A$45.8 a month.

Yet, the Abbott government conceals so much.

What will the refunds, rectifications and potential compensation payments arising out of repeal cost taxpayers?

What will it cost taxpayers to deal with extreme weather events? So far extreme weather events influenced by climate change have cost Australia billions of dollars. Insurance premiums are rising and areas becoming uninsurable. Before the 2013 floods, Munich Re reported that financial losses from extreme weather events in Australia rose four-fold over the past 30 years

How will Direct Action work? We haven’t even seen independent modelling indicating whether it can deliver our Kyoto Protocol second commitment period obligations. Australia’s emissions reduction targets are likely to increase under a new international agreement expected in 2015.

What we have been told is that if the money for emissions reduction runs out there won’t be any more forthcoming.

At this point, one can only speculate on what the legacy of the Abbott government on climate change will look like when that government is voted out.

Join the conversation

136 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

    1. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Look, if all Australians disappeared tomorrow there would be a negligible impact on climate at best. Australia's contribution to global emissions is a puny 1.5% (and don't cite "per capita" emissions because the planet doesn't care about that). Thus Australia's carbon tax can do absolutely nothing to stop or even discernibly slow climate change or weather extremes. This article is therefore pointless. Only comprehensive multilateral global action can have any impact.

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    2. Gordon Smith

      Private citizen

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      What are our emissions ratings per square kilometer compared to the rest of the world?

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      "Only comprehensive multilateral global action can have any impact." With respect, A/Prof, I disagree that multilateral action is required; what is required is for each nation to act in its own best interests, since this will automatically lead it to cessation of fossil fuel use through whatever means it chooses.

      In another comment to this page, beginning with "Australia's carbon emissions cap was all very well ...", I've set out what I consider to be a superior policy for Australia to adopt. Would you be so good as to comment on my argument and my proposal?

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      So, Australia abandoning its fair share of action won't have any impact on achieving multilateral global action? And, therefore, if we can abandon responsibility it must logically be okay for everyone else to do so? And, when there are roughly 200 nations in the world, what is the magic percentage figure at which significance comes into existence?

      Epic failure of reasoning, Mike.

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    5. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Hi Mike, I was simply stating the physical facts, which are that unilateral action by Australia will not significantly alter the climate. And that is the truth of the matter, like it or not. (As for the assumption held by others here that if we only have a carbon tax the rest of the world will follow Australia's lead, keep on dreaming.)

      I am neither a "skeptic" nor "denier" on this issue so please don't confuse me with such people. I am just a realist.

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    6. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Michael Shand

      It is neither finger pointing, playing the blame game or refusing to accept responsibility, it is simply stating the cold hard facts of the matter.

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    7. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      No Felix, you've got it backward. My point was that Australia taking action alone will have no discernible effect. That's simply the reality of the current situation. I certainly do advocate joining the big emitters in a carbon emission reduction scheme that will have a discernible impact on the climate.

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    8. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      So your argument is that every country should not start reducing its emissions until “comprehensive multilateral global action” starts. So how does “comprehensive multilateral global action” get going? By osmosis.

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    9. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Mike,

      I don't much like your version of "realist", it seems that it involves abandoning our responsibilities to everyone else in the hear and now and in the future.

      The most important question for our kids and grandkids futures that is still not being asked is will the Coalition's climate policies be able to deliver the scale of greenhouse gas emissions that are required for Australia to do its fair share to prevent dangerous climate change?

      The adults of today have to drastically lift their…

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    10. Anna Ross

      Healthcare professional

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      So anyone who disagrees with you is on the "lunatic fringe". How enlightened. How embarrassing it will be for the all the climate nancies when this global warming horseshit is exposed for the fraud it is.

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    11. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      It starts when international meetings like the one in Copenhagen awhile ago produce actual international agreements to take specific actions to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Ken. Not by osmosis.

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    12. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, I concur with your sentiments but the fact is that no Australian government can protect our kids and grandkids from dangerous climate change - unless Australia somehow takes over the world, which is highly unlikely! There simply has to be action on a global scale.

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    13. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Mike,

      I agree that we all have to do our bit, but like I said - As parents we know that we should lead by example rather than engaging in ‘do as I say not as I do’ behaviour. Given our relative wealth and high historical emissions we have an ethical responsibility to be leading the way by doing our fair share to prevent dangerous climate change. How can we ever expect other nations (almost all of whom are poorer than us) to do their fair share if we are not doing ours?

      The very least we should be doing right now is committing to doing our fair share of emission reduction. It is not acceptable for us to stamp our feet and say we won’t be responsible to do the right and necessary thing unless everyone else does. We have an ethical responsibility to be leading the way!

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    14. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, other countries are unlikely to follow our lead. Look at what happened at Copenhagen - Australia made a strong proposal for international action but the other countries rejected it and no binding agreement was reached. Hopefully that will change in future.

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    15. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      And the international meeting in Copenhagen produced what result?

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    16. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Oh Imust have missed it you answerd my question already
      "Australia made a strong proposal for international action but the other countries rejected it and no binding agreement was reached. Hopefully that will change in future"

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    17. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Mike,

      Whether other countries follow our lead is their ethical problem and we should be advocating that they have an ethical duty to do their fair share to prevent dangerous climate change. However, it is very difficult to seriously make this argument when you are not doing the right thing yourself. All the more reason that we should be committing to doing our fair share of emission reduction right now.

      Proposing that we don't do the right thing regarding ghg emissions until everyone else does is to say that, even though we know we are doing harm to others now and in the future, we won't stop doing this harm until everyone else does. I can't think of any other situation where this argument would be acceptable, so why would it be acceptable in this situation?

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    18. In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Comment removed by moderator.

    19. Tristan Croll

      Lecturer

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      How so?

      "All the other kids [countries] in the playground [world] are just tossing [emitting] their rubbish [greenhouse gases] onto the ground [into the atmosphere]. What difference will my [Australia's] little can [greenhouse gas contribution] make?"

      Seems a very straightforward analogy to me. As children we are taught to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, even if it takes effort, and even if nobody else is bothering. I think the littering analogy is particularly apt because…

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    20. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Tristan Croll

      Trish, the analogy fails because the climate only "cares" about the total level of atmospheric CO2, not the miniscule fraction emitted by Australia. To take your analogy to its logical extreme, it suggests you must never again fly in a jet or drive a car, must grow all your own food, and never use artificial lightning - including burning candles! - because your emissions are part of the problem. In other words, you yourself are contributing to the "garbage" too, therefore you must stop even if doing so has no impact whatsoever.

      My point was simply that we can have no impact on our own, that's all. We can set the example but unless the big polluters follow our example - and there is evidence to indicate they won't (e.g., Copenhagen) - we can have no discernible impact on climate no matter how strict our carbon tax is.

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    21. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Tristan Croll

      PS Trish to make the point clearer - even a little garbage is unsightly, whereas the tiny amount of CO2 you emit by exhaling does not bother me or anyone else and has no effect on the climate.

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    22. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      No, the point of legislation is to have some measurable and meaningful effect. Passing laws and employing thousands of people to enforce them, at great expense, when you know those laws won't actually do anything is infantile. It's a Green/Labor thing. The grown ups are in charge now. Get used to it.

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    23. Tristan Croll

      Lecturer

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Who is this "Trish" to whom you speak?

      It might behoove you to pay a little more attention to detail. It may also be worth learning a little more of the basics regarding what you're talking about.

      A typical human emits about 1kg a day of CO2. For the most part, the carbon in this CO2 was itself in CO2 not so long ago, and has spent a very little time (a few months/years) in plant or animal form before being eaten and exhaled. It comes from the biosphere, is returned to the biosphere, and doesn't…

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    24. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, I was referring to the fraction of atmospheric CO2 that comes from Australian anthropogenic emissions. Which is indeed miniscule.

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    25. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Tristan Croll

      Sorry about the name confusion - I was having another discussion with someone named Trish at the time,

      My point (again) is that the amount of CO2 emitted by Australia has no discernible impact on global temperatures. That is a scientific fact. And it renders your litter analogy false, because even a small amount of litter is unsightly whereas if all Australians disappeared tomorrow global warming would not be significantly affected. That's why only a global solution to a global problem will work. I don't understand why this basic and obvious point raises hackles here.

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    26. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      About 1.5% of the global total actually ... not all that miniscule considering our piddling size ... and that is reflected in our 18.3 tonnes per year per capita which was 11th in the world in 2009 .

      The thing is Mikes, if we can't do it who can? More if we can shift away from a carbon addiction (at least domestically) and do so while increasing employment, then we show that it can indeed be done ... as we have done on a few other international issues in our history.

      But if we don't even try - who will listen to our exhortations for change?

      True our efforts will not be very significant in the grand total of emissions, but will be very significant in shifting the do nothing attitudes or the fatalism that pervades many governments around the world.

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    27. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      No, they didn't fight it with "everything they had". More meaningless hyperbole. If they had fought it with "everything they had" then they clearly wouldn't have anything left. But they didn't and they do. They made a few token efforts knowing that the legislation would have a minuscule effect on their sales.

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    28. Tristan Croll

      Lecturer

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Selenium is an essential dietary micronutrient yet, at doses of a couple of milligrams a day is highly toxic. Each day, 1,000 people line up to each put ten micrograms of selenium into your lunch. Each person's contribution is far too small for you to notice (and would in fact be beneficial in isolation) - yet there you are, dying of heavy metal poisoning.

      Just because the effects of your individual contribution cannot be isolated from the overall effect of the aggregate doesn't mean you're absolved of responsibility, and certainly doesn't mean you're justified in refusing to change.

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    29. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike Hansen, it is you who don't understand. Let me put it this way and maybe you will: what percentage of the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere comes from Australian anthropogenic emissions? Clue: It is far less that 1.5%.

      I now see why you and others are so upset about my citing basic scientific facts. It has burst your egocentric bubble of belief that Australia's carbon tax can halt or even slow climate change. It cannot. Sorry, that's a fact. As I stated above, I support global action such as that proposed by Australia at the Copenhagen summit, and which was rejected by the rest of the world. Hopefully in future a similar proposal will be accepted before it is indeed too late.

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    30. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Tristan Croll

      Tristan, you are again missing my point, which is that Australia alone cannot change the climate no matter how much our carbon emissions are taxed and reduced. But if you want to take action individually, go ahead and stop flying, driving, eating supermarket food, watching TV and using computers. After all, your contribution does add up to the total, which is your argument.

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    31. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      So what do we as a nation do? Do we just sit back and wait until some other country/countries start the “comprehensive multilateral global action”? Do we send people along to “international meetings like the one in Copenhagen”. What do we do there?
      If we say we need to get “international agreements to take specific actions to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere” we are going to get the response “And what are you doing?”
      This is the importance of our carbon tax. It establishes our credentials, pays the cost of a seat at the table and gives us a role in developing the international agreements. We are given the opportunity to combine with other nations to drive the world towards an agreement. These are the realities of how things get done in international forums – you have to be involved.

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    32. Tristan Croll

      Lecturer

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      No, I'm not missing your point. I'm saying your point is a cop-out - that of a child looking for an excuse to avoid the effort required to do the right thing.

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    33. In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Comment removed by moderator.

    34. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, my argument isn't bizarre, it is simply factual. The 1.5% is our contribution to global human emissions, which is a small fraction of atmospheric CO2. Thus even eliminating our 1.5% contribution will have a negligible effect on global warming - much less a 5% reduction in our 1.5% contribution to those emissions! I am simply arguing common sense to counter the conviction many here seem to have that Australia's carbon tax can have a significant effect on global temperatures. It cannot. That is all I am saying. If people want this as a symbolic gesture, fine, but don't fool yourselves into thinking it actually has an effect on the climate.

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    35. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      @Mike Lyers

      "The 1.5% is our contribution to global human emissions, which is a small fraction of atmospheric CO2" is simply confused.

      You are confusing the **annual** increase with the long term reservoir of atmospheric CO2. The **annual** increase is small relative to the total but the increase is **annual** i.e. it happens every year and accumulates.

      It is the **annual** emission that is being targeted. We have no technology to reduce the size of the existing CO2 reservoir - i.e. we have no means to take CO2 out of the atmosphere in any significant way.

      As I pointed out above 32.12% of **annual** global emissions are from countries whose **annual** emissions are less than Australia's.

      Eventually we need to get **annual** emissions to zero globally. If we ignore 32% of **annual** emissions, that is not going to happen.

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    36. Jack McCadden

      Analyst

      In reply to Gordon Smith

      "There are reasons Australia has a price on carbon. Let’s recap..."

      The primary reason we have a carbon tax is by electoral fluke we ended up with a hung parliament, gifting the greens disproportionate leverage, who in turn forced Julia Gillard to enact legislation she'd promised not to.

      There was no popular mandate for the tax and low and behold, it's about to abolished.

      I'm not saying we shouldn't have some sort of carbon pricing mechanism but if a minority imposes its will on the people without first winning the hearts and minds, don't be surprise if it gets tossed out at the first subsequent opportunity.

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    37. Mike Lyvers

      Associate Professor

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I'm confused? OK, let's clarify things. Mike Hansen, by how much will global temperature be reduced by our carbon tax leading to a 5% reduction in Australia's emissions? That is the bottom line here.

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    38. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Actually, when we include all the fossil carbon that we dig up (and so enable to be burned), then our total contribution is close to 5% of global emissions. That from a population base of 0.3% of the globe.

      We have a larger share of the international coal market than Saudi Arabia does of the international oil market. If we stopped exporting coal, it would put a large dent in the business plans of scores of proposed coal-fired plants around the world.

      We are no bit player on climate.

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    39. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      The current 2050 target for Australia is 80% reduction from 2000 levels. The current 2020 target (which is 5%, 15% or 25%, depending on certain conditions) is only an interim target. The point is to reduce global emissions. Australia needs to do its bit. Our current targets are basically the least ambitious in the developed world - we need to lift our game even to be the middle of the pack here.

      And remember, as I said above, if we look at the percentage of fossil carbon that we dig up and burn or sell for someone else to burn, we're closer to 5% of the problem (from 0.3% of the global population).

      If we look at fossil fuel reserves, we have almost 10%. If we look at a carbon budget to have an 80% chance of staying below the (already dangerous but) universally agreed upper limit on warming, then Australian fossil carbon extraction can easily burn through 30% of it. From 0.3% of the global population.

      We're no bit player. We are a large part of the problem.

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    40. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Anna Ross

      Anna, how about explaining your viewswith some references to PEER-REVIEWED science. Anything less is just not credible.

      If you think is it "horseshit" that is fine but just back it up.

      Assertions alone are not worth considering.

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    41. In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Comment removed by moderator.

    42. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      It is true that Australia's contribution to global warming is small and any action will only have a small effect on temperatures.

      But is does not logically follow that we therefore do nothing as is the subtext of your view.

      Others have pointed out that we must take action to reduce our own emissions as a good global citizen.

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    43. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      "by how much will global temperature be reduced by our carbon tax leading to a 5% reduction in Australia's emissions? That is the bottom line here."

      No. It is only the bottom line for you, Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt. It is not the first time that argument has been put. Roger Jones has an article here with the calculation if you search.

      The point is that for all the other people here discussing the issue it is the starting point. You simply ignore all the other points put to you. My point which I have made pretty clearly is that if all countries adopted the same attitude that you suggest for Australia, 30% of global annual emissions would be off the table. You pretend that I have not made that point. Very weak argument.

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    44. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Mike, we are a big emitter, and are not entitled to use excuses like 1.5% etc any more. I am sick of arguments like those you have used. Every country on the planet has to commit to cuts, and ensure that others do to. If we stop the mechanisms to cut emissions this is irresponsible for two reasons. The first is that we are not taking responsibility for our own emissions. The second is that we send a bad message to the rest of the world. There also is another, it will be more expensive when we finally have to "grow up" and start it all over again.

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    45. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Anna Ross

      Anna, Belief in no necessity to do anything is either a good example of unreconstructed thinking, or the lunatic fringe. Unless you could prove otherwise, which you can't. Logic dictates that your thoughts are immaterial.

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    46. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I agree with your statement visa-vis Australia's action on AGW: "The point of legislation is not to save the world, but to be accountable, responsible citizens of the world".
      Michael, the problem with your argument is that it shifts action on climate change from a discussion of effectiveness to an argument about what's 'right'. You're not going to sell that.

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    47. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad, I thought we'd established previously that there was two-fifths of bugger-all difference between the effects of either the coalition's or the ALP's (or the greens for that matter) on global emissions. That leaves you arguing from a moral perspective, not one of pragmatic efficacy.

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    48. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Anna Ross

      So Anna as a "healthcare professional" you may be aware that The Lancet has described climate change as the "biggest global health threat of the 21st century". What are your qualifications for dismissing it? And what are your ethical responsibilities?

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    49. Valerie Kay

      PhD candidate, public health

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      I would say you are the one who doesn't understand (probably because you don't want to rather than because you can't). There is a global framework. It's called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under that framework countries make commitments on how much they will reduce their carbon emissions. Countries are using different approaches to achieve this, some are using carbon pricing and some aren't, but there is a global approach and it is steadily becoming more comprehensive. If you're not simply trolling, how about educating yourself?

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    50. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Mike we would not be ahead. We are already way behind. And we will be lucky to catch up for many years. You cannot prove otherwise. If you were to compare our behaviour with the United Kingdom who cut their emissions by 8% from 1992-2010, in the same period we increased ours by 47%. We are simply being irresponsible by continuing to make excuses like we don't want to be ahead of other countries, or we won't make a difference, or we can't afford to.
      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/datablog/2012/jun/21/world-carbon-emissions-league-table-country

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    51. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      "the tiny amount of CO2 you emit by exhaling"

      Why are you dodging the issue? The issue is our total CO2 emissions, not just what we exhale. Your arguments are becoming less than honest.

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    52. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      It happens every now and then John, that we will be be in agreement.

      I think you can only discuss what options are going to be effective once you have decieded to act.

      basically I am taking the serenity pray approach;

      "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time"

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    53. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      You are obviously trolling, what I said was the point of legislation was not to save the world - nothing we introduce into the Australian law can save the world as this is beyond our reach as a soveriegn nation.

      However, we can introduce legislation to deal with our own emmissions and that's the fundamental point you keep missing.

      I'll repeat it again because it really sums it up nicely;

      God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time

      You cannot change America's emmissions through Australian legislation but you can change australia's emmissions

      Accept what you cannot change - have the courage to change the things you can

      what you are suggesting is cowardly

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    54. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,

      This is where you are wrong. There is a massive difference between the current policies and those the Coalition wants to bring in. The difference is that the current policies can be ramped up to deliver our fair share of emission reductions whereas analyses have indicated that the Coalition's policies cannot (we don't have enough money to pay poluters to reduce emissions by 80% - the 2050 target). These analyses indicate that the Coalition's policies won't even meet the inadequate 5% 2020 target without Billions more in funds.

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    55. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad

      This is where you are wrong and don't understand. Labor's policies cannot be ramped up because they are very costly and will not make any difference to global emissions. So they will not be acceptable to the voters, as the last election result demonstrates so clearly. Tha tis the real world. Carbon pricing cannot succeed; see: http://jennifermarohasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Why-the-ETS-will-not-succeed-v0-1.26.pdf

      In the other hand, the Coalition's policy allows great flexibility. It can be adjusted or dumped for little cost. As the world decides how it will approach the issue, Australia can adapt easily and quickly. EU cannot. It is extremely difficult for them to change their ETS.

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    56. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Mike,

      You continue to dodge our ethical responsibilities.

      You say - "The 1.5% is our contribution to global human emissions, which is a small fraction of atmospheric CO2. Thus even eliminating our 1.5% contribution will have a negligible effect on global warming - much less a 5% reduction in our 1.5% contribution to those emissions! I am simply arguing common sense to counter the conviction many here seem to have that Australia's carbon tax can have a significant effect on global temperatures…

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    57. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Then what are you actually saying or suggesting that is of any use?

      I can only reiterate my points as you have faile dto address them, merely repeated the perfectly obvious fact that Australia contributes only a modest percentage of the total an dtherefore unilateral action will not, in and of itself, solve the problem. given that I am not a complete idiot, I was actually able to do the arithmetic. All you have done is point out the bleeding obvious as if it were somehow a revelation.

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    58. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      No, Mike, we can have 1.5% of the possible total impact, not 'no impact'. Given that there are roughly 200 countries in the world, that's far from insignificant.

      And Tristan's analogy does not lead to the logical extreme you suggest - that's a compounding of two fallacies; firstly to confuse the metaphrand with th emetaphier and, secondly, to fall into the slippery slope fallacy. He never suggested, nor has anyone else who has taken issue with your comments, that we had to completely eliminate all our emissions - merely that we make a concerted effort to reduce our emissions at least proportionally to our resposibility.

      Finally, you might like to update your awareness of the evidence a bit beyond the tragedy of Copenhagen - it may not be enough yet, but there is solid evidence that bothe China and the US have at least started to move.

      But I'm sure you'll simply go on, ad nauseam, repeating your very simple but pointless point...

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    59. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Mike, when are you going to wake up and realise that we can all do bloody arithmetic!

      We are not disputing the numbers, merely their implications, so please stop the patronising repitiotion of an incredibly obvious argument.

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    60. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,

      Please point me to an analysis that demonstrates that the Coalition's policies are capable of being ramped up to deliver our fair share of emission reductions? Can you point to a single analysis by a reputable organisation that indicates that the Coalition's policies can achieve the 80% by 2050 target? Is there even a single credible report that indicates that the Coalition's policies can achieve the 5% bt 2020 target that the Coalition has unconditionally committed to?

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    61. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      It raises hackles because you use it to advance politically and psychologically simplistic conclusions that there is no point in Australia taking action.

      Will you please make the effort to understand that everybody else can do basic arithmetic, but we are also capable of a little sophistication in thinking about what is ultimately a political/sociological/psychological problem.

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    62. In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Comment removed by moderator.

    63. In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Comment removed by moderator.

    64. In reply to Mike Lyvers

      Comment removed by moderator.

    65. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Mike Lyvers

      No, Mike, it isn't the 'bottom line' here - unless you are claiming some kind of omnipotence, you don't really get to set and proclaim the supreme bottom line that all others must obey.

      All you are really doing, with tedious repetition, is demonstratinh that the obvious is true. Nobody disputes the obviously necessary goal of total global emissions reductions. Nobody disputes that Australa's contribution is only a modest, if disproprtional, percentage of the total. What we are trying to dispute…

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    66. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Greg North

      Nobody is saying it is only at an individual level; nobody is saying it is only at a national level; nobody (other than Mike Lyvers) is saying that it is only at a global level. what most people are saying is that we need ALL levels working and no single level or single player can possibly solve the problem on its own.

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    67. In reply to Alice Kelly

      Comment removed by moderator.

    68. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to John Phillip

      So, quite apart from the fundamental fallacy in your argument, John, are you suggesting that morality is useless?

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    69. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Well said, Michael. Even if we end up failing as a species - which is sad but genuine possibility - I'd rather go down swinging than whingeing!

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  1. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    Australia's carbon emissions cap was all very well, except that it was never intended to include carbon emissions of imported goods. As a consequence, implementation of such a carbon emissions cap would only serve to drive industry overseas, to the detriment of us all.

    The non-inclusion of imported goods has always been a major flaw of the CPRS and its malformed Clean Energy Futures descendant, and is the major reason that I am not opposed to the repeal of the existing legislation.

    My hope is that whatever government we have after the double dissolution has the good sense to institute border adjustment pricing to the carbon emissions embodied in imported goods; the simplest way to effect this is to forget about emissions capping, and instead use the architecture of the GST for a Fossil Fuel Consumption Tax that is adjusted upwards until the desired carbon emission reduction is achieved.

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    1. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to David Arthur

      Great comment, I had never thought of that.

      That is, not imposing carbon price on imports means imports will always be cheaper than domestic proiducts and hence drive jobs off shore

      That is such a great point, we should impose a carbon price on imports

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Thanks for that, Mr Shand.

      This argument applies to other nations, notably EU and US which import so much embodied carbon emissions from China while their own manufacturing industries and workforces languish; I suggest reading

      1) Oxford Energy Policy Professor Dieter Helm's Nov 2012 article "Forget Kyoto: Putting a Tax on Carbon Consumption" (http://e360.yale.edu/feature/forget_kyoto_putting_a_tax_on_carbon_consumption/2590/), and
      2) Thomas L Friedman's NYT op-ed of 17 March 2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/opinion/sunday/friedman-its-lose-lose-vs-win-win-win-win-win.html

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Michael Shand

      We could, or we could note that many other nations, including China, are moving towards similar schemes. If everyone was trading carbon rationally and equitably, the thing would work internationally. the fact that it isn't yet completely constructed doesn't axiomatically prove that it can't or won't work.

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    4. Monica's wicked step

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to David Arthur

      Exactly how will you measure "the carbon emissions embedded in imported goods"? Some countries use less fossil fuels than others, some companies (even in a high-fossil fuel country) may use renewable energy. You would need to do a carbon audit of EVERY manufacturer and every product that imports into Australia, including those goods that transit through several countries before they reach Australia. Then you need to continually monitor all these products in case the manufacturer changes their energy use. And what about the sourcing of raw materials for the products - how far back in the supply chain do you want to go? The paperwork would be enormous - and to what benefit?

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    5. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to David Arthur

      Great. Let us support the repeal of a carbon price that we actually have in favour of a magic tax that we will never have on the basis of incorrect information about how imports were handled. Generous (over generous) free permits were handed out to import affected industries.

      A lot of the detail has already been removed from govt. web sites but the principle is discussed here.
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/labor-slams-carbon-tariffs/story-fn59niix-1226019386239

      Seriously. Getting your economic advice from Thomas Friedman?

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    6. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to David Arthur

      so instead of using a market mechanism which shifts the polluters towards cleaning up their acts, we make the average person responsible for meeting targets through reduced consumption through price mechanisms?

      So if the polluters have no disincentive to reduce their pollution, the Fossil Fuel Consumption Tax keeps increasing to meet an ever moving and unreachable target, mainly impacting on average jo bloggs, increasing until it strangles economic activity?

      Got a few problems there.

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    7. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      Err, I think you've got the wrong end of the stick: with a level playing field between local manufacturers and importers, there's a market incentive to be able to offer the cheapest product to the consumer.

      When all of a sudden one manufacturer breaks ranks by employing zero fossil fuel in his supply chain, he's no longer paying FFCT - and all the consumers switch to his products.

      All his competitors must follow suit, or go out of business.

      Not only that, but think about what we do with…

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    8. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to David Arthur

      you touch on the very reason why such a scheme is fraught with problems in your first line "with a level playing field"... So are we going to match China in terms of wages we pay our workers, Yuganda in terms of environmental protection etc.

      There will never be a level playing field, point in case, America, FTA, Agricultural Subsidies.

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    9. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      "Generous (over generous) free permits were handed out to import affected industries." whereas the policy I propose is
      NO FREE PERMITS TO ANYONE ... INCLUDING THE EFFECTIVE FREE PERMITS AUTOMATICALLY CEDED TO IMPORTS THAT AREN'T MANUFACTURED (OR SHIPPED) UNDER AUSTRALIA'S CARBON TAX.

      please read the article at this link, http://e360.yale.edu/feature/forget_kyoto_putting_a_tax_on_carbon_consumption/2590/
      and then get back to me.

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    10. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Monica's wicked step

      Exactly how will you measure "the carbon emissions embedded in imported goods"?
      Each nation has its own carbon accounts, and then we also add the carbon used to ship the goods to Australia.

      Where they don't have carbon accounts, we deem a carbon consumption, and if the importer wants to question that deemed rate, then they audit the entire supply chain from raw materials to goods landed at an Australian port. It's not hard.

      This way, we automatically prefer to import from nations that already have low/zero fossil fuel use ... and isn't that what we're trying to do? We're trying to discourage fossil fuel use.

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    11. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to David Arthur

      David.
      Thomas Friedman is to Democrats what Bill O'Reilly is to Republicans. They produce pulp non-fiction by the truck load by following a formula - simple solutions to complex problems. Rob Brooks has a good column on Malcolm Gladwell who follows a similar formula - take the problem and wrap a neat bow around it.

      A Friedmanite book. "In this month's NYT best seller, Chapter 1, I show you how to achieve world peace, in Chapter 2 you learn how to cook the perfect souffle ..."

      There is a…

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    12. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Okay, so Thomas Friedman's a goose: that's no concern of mine.

      I note, on the other hand, that you have made no comment about Dieter Helm's comment. Could you not follow the link? http://e360.yale.edu/feature/forget_kyoto_putting_a_tax_on_carbon_consumption/2590/

      I've no quibble with what Mr Bandt says: I'm talking about just getting something started: the change will be instead of all the usual argy-bargy between fossil fuel corporations and governments, it may well be argy-bargy between…

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    13. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to David Arthur

      Dieter Helm is proposing a carbon tax (not revenue neutral) which is what we have now - which is what you want to repeal. Unusual argument.

      I would be happy with his tax. I do not see the need for an ETS but at the same time because I do not believe in a magic tax, I do not accept that it is a deal breaker. Germany's Energiewende is not part of the ETS. Even the UK has emission targets beyond the ETS.

      Say $45 per tonne CO2. Who says? The Stern review said $80. Are you suggesting that we go to zero carbon overnight. No one but no one is proposing that.

      When you need to refer to "USSR central planners" to bolster your argument, I am pretty sure that you have not thought this through.

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    14. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, whatever hopes you have about a double dissolution are likely to be seriously disappointed.

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    15. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Monica's wicked step

      Monica, don't bother them with details. They're in their playpen building their sand castles.

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    16. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      "Dieter Helm is proposing a carbon tax (not revenue neutral) which is what we have now"

      That's as may be Mr Hansen, but my proposal is not identical to that of Helm. I referred you to Helm because he explains how equal treatment of imported goods with domestic manufactures is an intrinsic part of consumption taxation, but is completely absent from taxation of emissions production.

      For the latter case, it is instead necessary to have the usual ridiculously complex set of backdoor (by definition…

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    17. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to David Arthur

      The trouble with your FFCT is that it would require emissions to be tracked throughout the entire supply chain. It is far simpler to apply the tax at the point of emissions.

      The advantage of your FFCT is that it does not disadvantage the local economy as exports would not be emissions priced and imports would be. However I feel it would be simpler to just apply a border adjustment element to the current system.

      I would probably agree that a fixed price is better - it provides more certainty to investors and allows much deeper cuts to be made without further political actions as you point out.

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    18. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      "The trouble with your FFCT is that it would require emissions to be tracked throughout the entire supply chain." Err, not really; for non-export goods, only until the fossil fuel is burnt.

      For export goods and materials, the exporter has an interest in tracking fossil fuel consumption in order to claim it back, so will do such tracking off their own accord.

      For import goods and materials, my response to "monica's wicked stepmother" above should suffice.

      Note also that we already track GST through the supply chain from point of origin to point of import/export.

      "It is far simpler to apply the tax at the point of emissions." Have you had a look at Adj/Prof John Barker's 2 Dec 2011 TC article "You can’t manage emissions until you can measure them, and it’s harder than you think", https://theconversation.com/you-cant-manage-emissions-until-you-can-measure-them-and-its-harder-than-you-think-4518?

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  2. Comment removed by moderator.

  3. Monica's wicked step

    logged in via Twitter

    "Direct Action" has been costed as costing taxpayers $1300/year on average - and Tony Abbott thinks he is "saving" us $550/year by axing the carbon price?
    The net effect is costing us $750 each?

    Or is "Direct Action" (or, as I prefer to call it "Soil Magic") never going to be legislated? What about the "Green Army" and all the other election commitments?

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      They were added in to arrive at those figures. Ask the professional actuaries at places like Swiss Re or Munich Re. They actually do understand these issues and do the bloody maths you know!

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  4. John Newlands

    tree changer

    While carbon tax gets some credit along with several other factors for a small decrease in power sector emissions it's not steady enough to get where we want. That's 80% less emissions by 2050 according to the former DEE factbox. I agree with David Arthur we are encouraging carbon leakage. The CEO of OneSteel argued for carbon tariffs on Asian steel (probably made with our iron ore and coking coal) instead they got 94.5% carbon tax exemption plus cash. Then we were going to buy billions in dodgy…

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    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Oh come on Peter! Please tell me you aren't expressing cynicism about our fearless leader's ability to deliver on all his promises.

      Anyone would think that you believe that it requires more than slogans to run a government.

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Promises??? Who made promises? They were aspirations, hopes and dreams we could believe in Mike. Until of course we discovered that the evil queen and her snowy prince had left the country even more ruined than even Tony 'TA' Abbott could believe.

      So all bets - sorry slogans - are off ... we won't be turning boats back - never ever said we would... we won't be funding Gonski, or the NDIS... or anything much at all.

      See that hi viz capery confers a super power on TA ... a cloak of incredibility ... or is that incredulity ... anyway if he's donned the vesty vestments he's just shooting the breeze - not making promises ... nothing's written down ... just throwing up the odd slogan to give you a suggestion of what he'd do if he ruled the world. Or not.

      So we've cleared that up I hope. I repent any suggestion of cynicism.

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  5. Geoff Henley

    Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

    The Gillard Government had no right to introduce the Carbon Tax in the first place. This useless tax only came into existence because Gillard reneged on an election promise and grovelled to the Greens who decided that election promises don't mean anything.

    There exists no credible evidence that carbon taxes or ETS's will make any detectable difference to the global temperatures. People need to stop treating IPCC reports as some sort of Gospel. These reports are compromised by the influence of environmental activists and Government bodies with their own agendas. The selection of lead and contributing authors is a process which lacks transparency.

    Previous IPCC reports abandoned years of evidence to spruik the now discredited hockeystick graph. The report relies heavily on climate models that have little predictive ability.

    The ALP and Greens are only delaying the inevitable by blocking the carbon tax which will be repealed when the new senate comes into effect next year.

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    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "...The Gillard Government had no right to introduce the Carbon Tax in the first place...."

      Maybe its just me, but I always thought that the Government had the right to pass legislation. What am I missing Geoff?

      "....There exists no credible evidence that carbon taxes or ETS's will make any detectable difference to the global temperatures..."

      Could that be because we haven't tried it yet?

      ".... People need to stop treating IPCC reports as some sort of Gospel....."

      No-one does. The…

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    2. Jane Rawson

      Editor, Energy & Environment at The Conversation

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Please try and keep this on topic. If you start getting into discussion about hockey sticks and the structure of the IPCC, I'm just going to have to delete this whole thread. No one wants that.

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  6. Ken Alderton

    PhD student, former CEO

    If you want to see the total chaos that the government has got itself with its emission control policy have a look at the Greg Hunt interview on Lateline tonight. The video and transcript are available here. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3870793.htm
    Emma Alberici tried valiantly to get a comprehensible answer from Hunt on two simple questions. Firstly, whether Hunt has advised business not to pay carbon tax after June 2013. Secondly, for an explanation of how the government alternate direct plan worked and what it cost to achieve its emission reduction target.
    He tried to stay with the game book but ducked and dived so much that he even confused himself.
    I’m not sure about other viewers but I couldn’t argue with the government’s plan or budget – because I couldn’t understand it. It was incoherent.

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  7. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    We've been discussing this issue for years. We've been reading these arguments for a carbon price for a long time. But the electorate didn't like it, and they voted in a government that would repeal it.

    So what is the article aiming to do? Is it to pressure the current government to abandon what they promised? Is it getting ready for the next election? What is it?

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    1. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to James Jenkin

      You and I might have been reading about it for ages. The rest of the population has been hearing grossly misleading, cynical misrepresentation of fundamentally good policy (carbon pricing). The article is quite properly asking the questions that the libs never answered and still don't answer.
      The libs are behaving as you would expect if they didn't accept the expert advice of the world's scientific bodies. Their public statements are that they do accept the reality of climate change. If people voted for them believing the libs had a credible and effective policy for emissions reductions (rather than just a getting elected policy) then that policy should be exposed to the light, shown to work or shown to be a grossly cynical sham of misinformation and obfuscation.

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    2. Ian Garradd

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to James Jenkin

      It is simply not true that the Abbott government got voted in to repeal the carbon tax.
      Abbott and his team of vested interest and deniers have been feeding the Murdoch press continuous misinformation which has been gladly passed on to time poor people who don't get the big picture of the major issue confronting the planet and all the living creatures who live here.
      The article is simply keeping an important debate alive

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  8. Ian Garradd

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world by any measure.
    We also have one of the highest emissions per capita.
    We each pay a small amount of money as a penalty to pollute CO2,- as we do with rubbish- landfill and recycling- all entirely reasonable.

    It will likely cost Australia an enormous amount of money to make the retrograde step of dismantling a price on carbon, when the rest of the world is moving towards , or has already got a price on carbon pollution.

    It is simply not worth the trouble to dismantle a good system to transition towards cleaner energy.

    The denial of the problem which is pretty clear with the relabelling of climate related references amongst the coalition seems very foolish in the global context. It is also very short term thinking.

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  9. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    Rosemary Lister,

    >"There are reasons Australia has a price on carbon."

    They are wrong reasons, or more correctly baseless beliefs based on misinformation. If the ETS changed the climate and avoided climate damages by the amounts projected, the ETS would cost Australian's $12 for every $1 of projected damages avoided. The net cost to Australia would be $1,345 billion cumulative to 2050 in today's dollars. If the ETS does not change the climate - which is the case - the costs would be higer…

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    1. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,

      Your argument is almost identical to Lomborg's flawed argument.

      Lomborg argues that “almost all policies for fighting global warming are bad deals…” and that “green energy is not ready…”

      The first fatal flaw in this argument is that it does not acknowledge the huge economic costs that failing to prevent dangerous climate change will inevitably have in the long term. It does not adequately consider the long term implications (50-100 years plus) of unmitigated climate change and downplays…

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    2. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Brad,

      I realise I've tried to discuss this issue with you before and it went nowhere. You have not understanding of the basics. You've said so much wrong in your comment, there is no basis for even getting started. Unfounded beliefs are not a basis for a debate. Did you actually read the link? Do you understand why carbon pricing will not succeed in the real world? Did you understand that, even if all the unrealistic assumptions were actually achieved, the ETS would still cost $12 for every $1 of projected benefits? Do you understand that if something will cost more than the benefit it is bad policy, most people know this and will not support it?

      Try harder.

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    3. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Lang

      "Global carbon pricing is impracticable. It is the wrong approach. It won't succeed. Therefore, schemes likes Australia’s would not succeed either."

      A national emissions trading scheme is still the cheapest way for a particular country to reduce it's emissions. If the rest of the world doesn't get on board with it - then import / export border adjustments would need to be added so that the local economy is not disadvantaged.

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    4. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      Lomborg is indeed wrong (as usual).

      It is commercialisation of renewables that enables the economies of scale that reduces cost.

      It is commercialisation of renewables that sharpens the focus on reducing the cost of technology.

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      "it is not ok ethically for us to transfer the costs of our behaviour onto future generations"

      Perhaps he has the Groucho Marx approach: "what has posterity ever done for me?"

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  10. delphi

    logged in via Twitter

    "Gillard reneged on an election promise"

    That's a Myth ( http://goo.gl/he8kcI ) - as Prof Garnaut, de facto designer of the current ETS and Rudd/Turnbull planned one, recently reconfirmed:

    'In the studio with Ross Garnaut', ABC The Business, 2 July 2013

    ''We don't actually have a Carbon Tax. What we have is an Emissions Trading Scheme with a fixed price for first three years. The original CPRS based on my recommendations back in 2008 had a fixed price for a shorter period.'

    Explainer: ETS vs CT vs DA ( http://goo.gl/9fotFM )

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to delphi

      ""Gillard reneged on an election promise"

      That's a Myth"

      Gillard etc were their own worst enemies when they, too, called it a tax.

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    2. delphi

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Yes...'effectively', when asked (which it, as would Rudd ETS be in the fixed-price permit phase, is) but otherwise sticking to 'carbon price' - it still doesn't make it a Carbon Tax. One has to remember that MSM has 'adopted' Abbott's 'carbon tax' tag soon after 2010 election and well before the actual scheme details were made known in March 2011 - the 'carbon tax' tag was already well entrenched by then.

      But I agree, they could've handled it much better - Peter Brent from The Oz has summed it…

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  11. Ken Alderton

    PhD student, former CEO

    Could one of the "hidden costs" be that we will be going in a different direction to our major trading partners?
    Quote from recently published survey of carbon pricing policy in China:
    “There is strong confidence that China will proceed to introduce national emissions trading, probably in conjunction with a carbon tax. Carbon price levels are expected to rise, in time exceeding those currently prevailing in the EU emissions trading scheme.”
    "China Carbon Pricing Survey 2013," Frank Jotzo & Dimitri de Boer & Hugh Kater, CCEP Working Papers 1305, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. Download here: http://ccep.anu.edu.au/data/2013/pdf/wpaper/CCEP1305.pdf

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