Monday, July 11, 2011

Carbon tax will put the cat among the pigeons

Rupert Murdoch's screamers today - The Tele is totally negative
(they could have said 'What the tax will do for the planet') and
The Australian, which declared last year it would "destroy
The Greens", affirms the end of  Gillard's government. The lead headline
actually read: "Gillard's clean energy crusade", 'crusade' implying
an ideological folly. That's not news, it's propaganda.
Brace yourself for a propaganda battle now Australia has a firm carbon price, modest though it is. I think the package and its compensations go a long way to making a nonsense of the naysayers' predictions of economic disaster. Opposition leader Tony Abbott unsurprisingly declared war on it, urging TV viewers to join him in a campaign to stop it becoming law before it is due to kick in next July.

Personally I'm very happy about the $18,000 tax-free threshhold. It's a good progressive reform that helps every taxpayer but is of proportionately greater benefit to low income earners, unlike the Coalition version which always most-benefited the rich. It will also encourage people to get off welfare and into work as such a move will more likely offer an immediate increase in income.

The commentariat this morning predictably split into their ideological niches but I liked this story from two scientists in the SMH. It concludes with the following paragraphs which I think put it all into perspective:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 indicated that industrialised countries must reduce their aggregate emissions by between minus 25 and minus 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 if we are to have a hope of staying below 2 degrees average warming. The Climate Commission rightly calls this the critical decade for action.

Yesterday's announcement adjusts Australia's long-term emissions reduction target to minus 80 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050. But in the short-term, we still are only pursuing a cut of minus 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020. Despite Australia being the world's 10th biggest aggregate emitter, with the world's highest per capita emissions, our mitigation effort and short-term target are among the weakest among all industrialised and major industrialising nations.

The United Kingdom has already cut its emissions by 23 per cent and aims to halve them by 2025. Germany has cut by 22 per cent and has a target of minus 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. By contrast, we are setting an example that says to others, ''It is OK to go slow''. The science says otherwise. Understood in this larger context, it is clear that the real price of our modest carbon tax will be paid for by our children and by countless future generations.

Associate Professor Peter Christoff teaches climate policy and Professor Robyn Eckersley teaches political science at the University of Melbourne.


J Bar said...

Quite interesting.

xentrix said...

Peoples response to propaganda is here: :)

And yes, now as quick, are we?

Manly said...

Enjoying your blog - keep it up. Watching the propaganda battle from over the bridge re carbon tax. Curious to see what the next election will look like after this.

The Editor said...

Yes, Manly, the next election is completely unpickable. I can only hope the distortions and outright lies of the fossil fuel lobby unravel and things go better for Julia Gillard. For all her faults, the thought of Tony Abbot and his neanderthal mates running the place is intolerable.

Unfortunately with Rupert Murdoch owning 70% of the newspapers in this country, the lies have legs so to speak.