I’m not sure whether to put this one under ‘You have to admire their balls’ or ‘How our media sucks’. Oh I have just worked out I can do both. Hey you learning something new everyday! In the end though I did neither. 🙂 But I digress. As you hopefully know we have just has a piece of legislation pass the lower house of the federal government that will set up a carbon pricing scheme. As you will probably also have heard, this is going to single-handedly destroy the Australian economy and take us back to the dark ages. This is because we are the only major economy that is doing this, apparently. And the argument goes something along the lines of ‘why should we do it when no-one else is and it isn’t going to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions? After-all we only contribute a small amount to the total carbon emissions anyway ‘.
Now you can address this argument on a couple of fronts. The first is on the ‘where did you learn to argue? In Grade 5?’ front. Just because no-one else is doing it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, if it is the right thing to do. This is the reverse of the glib question most mums ask when their child does something stupid because a mate did…’would you would jump off a bridge just because Kevin did? 🙂 And the latest report on global warming says it is the right thing to do, as does the fact that we are right up there among the leading emitters on a per capita basis. We are responsible for 5% of the worlds CO2 but only make up .33% of the worlds population. And isn’t the logical extension to the argument of not acting unless others are that if someone else is doing it then we should be? I mean, you can’t have it both ways, we won’t do it if you don’t but we might not do it even if you do. That’s a ten year old’s argument. Hmmm, so maybe the Opposition can make it. 🙂 But on the basis of the ‘we won’t do it until the rest of the world does’ argument we are a long way behind the rest of the world on both maternity leave and the number of asylum seekers we take. For god-sake we have a worse maternity leave system than Albania and take less refugees than Belgium, a country with half our population, an economy half the size of ours and a landmass so much smaller than ours I can’t even be bother doing the calculation (30,000 square km’s to 7,617,930 square km’s, you do the maths. 🙂 ). If it is good enough for them then surely we should be doing the same? And while we are on the subject, lots of other countries have over-all tax systems including specific taxes on excess profits from mining companies that would make the tax burden on our mining companies pretty much similar if we taxed their super-profits. So why don’t we just do these things in the same way others are doing them? Cos the argument sucks. You should do, or not do, things because it is the right thing to do, morally, financially etc and it takes into account your situation. In other words, after rational thought, not because of mass hysteria.
The second way to address this argument in on the ‘you are speaking complete bollocks’ front. So no-one else has a price on carbon hey? Well Europe has and has had since 2005, and this is the biggest economy in the world. And California introduced one last week and this, if it were a separate country, would be between the 8th and the 11th biggest economy in the world. To be balanced about it, the European scheme has had some teething problems, at one point the price of carbon dropped to 30 euro cents, but it is has been continually developed and seems to be a functioning system now. And really, do we expect to make changes of this magnitude and not have a few hiccups along the way?
And as for the ‘it isn’t going to reduce CO2 level anyway’ bit, well I’m going to answer that with a question. Does it have to? If you go to the doctor and say ‘it hurts when I do this’ what is the doctor going to say? Stop doing that then! It makes logical sense to me that before you can solve a problem you have to stop doing whatever it is you are doing that is exacerbating it. If your leg hurts when you run, stop running. If smoking is affecting your lung capacity, stop smoking. Or, if you can’t do that, then sure as shit don’t smoke even more! That’s the problem we are facing, our emissions are increasing as we continually chase economic growth (don’t get me started on our mindless pursuit of economic growth! 🙂 ). So if our Carbon Tax does nothing other than keep us at our current levels of emissions it will have served a purpose. It will have bought us time to find other solutions.
Btw, if you are curious whether the carbon tax is going to affect you, visit here and have a look. From what I can gather the reality is most of us will be compensated from the money raised by the tax. And a question for the Western Australians out there. How much have your power bills gone up in the last couple of years without even an attempt to reduce emissions?
But sorry to have taken up your time with this. It is probably keeping you from what seem to count as the real news.:-)