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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

crying in the wind « Previous | |Next »
October 10, 2011

The Gillard Government's carbon price legislation should pass the House of Representative this week. The the die is cast. Australia has set out on a low carbon, renewable energy path. However, Big Business---eg., Manufacturing Australia ---and its publicists and their allies in News Ltd's media are still out in the public sphere actively campaigning against it.

These anti-science "Luddites" are proud to be old-fashioned and out-of-touch with millions of informed Australians. They are determined to continue with their phony public debate about climate science, when in fact that debate is absent from the one arena where our scientific knowledge is formed.

The reform blockers are now calling for the introduction of pricing this greenhouse gas market externality (it is to be priced at $23 a tonne for three years from next July) to be deferred. This pricing mechanism, which distorts the market to make carbon-based products relatively more expensive, is premised on the ‘‘polluter pays principle’’; and it aims to internalise into the market as many of the negative externalities of power generation as possible.

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The harmful environmental consequences of economic production based on using energy from coal-fired power stations continues to be downplayed--the 'science is not settled' talking point. This is then is used by News Ltd to obscure the issue of market externality and the failure of the free market to deal with the greenhouse pollution issue. News Ltd's distortions and deceptions on this issue are an example of how the Australian media has failed Australian citizens.

The implication of the negative position is that because certain environmental costs of production are not reflected in the market cost of energy, then the externalities are not priced into the marketplace. Consequently, the associated environmental degradation will also be ‘‘locked- in’’ and, as a consequence, more environmentally benign technologies could be ‘‘locked-out’’.

The manufacturing sector is not talking about the opportunities present to it from the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, or the growth that will come from the need to build markets for new energy technologies. Their whole case is primarily based on energy from coal exhibiting a clear absolute cost advantage. They want to keep that advantage (the 'international competitiveness' talking point) and to hell with the costs resulting from the impact of climate change attributable to the emissions of greenhouse gases.

They have been able to block reform because of the large role for emissions-intensive industries in the political process. The political reality is that the carbon pricing legislation will be passed. Next in line is the closure of the most polluting of the coal-fired power plants (eg., Hazelwood in the La Trobe Valley and the Port Augusta power stations in South Australia) and to provide replacement energy capacity. This is part of the carbon pricing package--Clean Energy Future Package-- and the energy transformation needs to be done in a way that protects communities and workers.

The Coalition continues to be in a wrecking mode on climate policy with Abbott spending his usual week spreading doom and gloom about the carbon tax and working up his smart lines for media grabs. The Coalition's policy cupboard is looks to be very threadbare (its reduce taxes, make big spending cuts, have a big budget surplus and fund all promises).

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:56 AM | | Comments (12)
Comments

Comments

Gary,
You seem not to care that people are hurting. People that are already on or under the line of their budgets.
You seem to put all your effort into blaming the opposition and denialists and place no value on the opinions of the ordinary people that have x amount of dollars a week and must make it work.
You probably need to get out more Gary and talk to people that are beneath your social circles. Try some volunteering maybe. It would be good for you.

Les
the last lines of the post says that the next step in the energy policy is to provide, replacement energy capacity; that this part of the carbon pricing package; and that the transformation needs to be done in a way that protects communities and workers.

How do you interpret that as me seeming not to care that people are hurting?

My understanding is that "ordinary people" people will be compensated for any price increases. In part, the compensation will come in the form of tax cuts. That's right, isn't it?

Les, he did add the qualifying remark in the final sentence, secondly people are "hurting"on the Horn of Africa at the moment, far worse than any Ausralain could imagine.
If no one gives a F-ck for them in their extremity, why would they pity aussies faced with the choice of learning how to make hamburgers out of a pound of mince rather than squandering ten or twenty bucks at a macs or even more some where else.

Green technology is the new frontier. It represents our future

Manufacturing Australia, which is the voice of political attack for big manufacturers, consists of Bluescope, Amcor, Boral, CSR, Rheem and Sugar Australia. It supports the Coalition policy of of repealing the carbon tax.

The driving force behind the formation of Manufacturing Australia was the chairman of Bluescope, Graeme Kraehe, who said that the carbon pricing would have ''huge economic consequences''.

The Gillard government recently announced a $300 million steel plan, Bluescope paid its executives $3 million in cash bonuses and then sacked 1000 workers.

Nobody knows what the cost of the scheme will be to households. Estimates are only estimates. Nobody knows what those big polluters will do in response, and whatever it is, they're not all going to do the same thing.

The price of energy has already increased, which can't be blamed on the scheme. And we have no way of knowing whether future increases will be the result of the scheme itself or some other reason.

Either way, we can reasonably expect that, like the mining companies screaming poor then announcing profits in the bazillions, polluters will try to get away with as much misinformation as possible.

We'll just have to wait and see, but no government is going to deliberately drive the entire population into poverty, regardless of what Tony Abbott says.

The Coalition's strategy was to blame all the cost of living increases on the carbon tax. It is a big scare campaign about how we will all be ruined.

So they rarely mentioned that the money raised from increasing the price of carbon would be given back in compensation and to investing in renewable energy.

Les,
you didn't mention the Gillard Government planning to spend $31bn on carbon tax compensation and industry assistance.

Lyn,
the cost of even household mitigation may well be much lower than now thought---eg., lower electricity bills through increased energy efficiency.

The federal opposition is attempting to defer the government's carbon tax by insisting voters have a say on the issue.

Talk about whistling in the wind.

The community adoption of solar PV indicates that average citizen is no fool and understands where things are headed--- to a low carbon future. The solar panels and other energy equipment indicate that these users are beginning to take things into their own hands, at a grassroots level.

The Opposition says that the reforms are all bad and it will undo it all as soon as it’s elected. Will Abbott stick to his promises to repeal or change most of what the Labor government is currently doing? Will he roll back the subsidised feed-in tariffs?