Just a brief post this one to jot down a few thoughts. First is that this is the first day of the CO2 price legislation hitting parliament in Australia. So quite a big day!
For those who came in late..
For those of you living under a rock there’s been an incredibly nasty, sensationalist and flat-out deceitful campaign by the Liberal/National Parties (and the big polluters that pay their campaign funds). Abbott as leader has staked his reputation on killing this legislation in favour of a scheme that would tax everyone and give extra tax cuts to big polluters while spending tax dollars planting trees to offset emissions that would continue to be free for polluters. Yep, doesn’t make any sense and only a brave economist would be lining up to sing the praises of Abbott’s alternative.
CO2 price Concepts
Anyhow, the basic concept is that CO2 is no longer to be treated as unlimited free pollution as it has been so far throughout history. The first step is a rather small one really (despite the amount of apocalyptic predictions of LNP supporters pissed off that the NBN didn’t kill the country): top 500 polluters will be tracked and made to pay (to varying degrees) $23/tonne of CO2 (Abbott seemed to think that CO2 was weightless, gives you an idea what kind of twit we are but one or two parliamentarians away from running the country).
Handouts.. some needed, others not
The bit that comes with an attempt to soften the impact is a whole bunch of compensation, not only for end consumers (more than compensating majority of households) but also for a bunch of industries that might be impacted by it. This sparked a whole bunch of the Plasma Proletariat and just plain ignorant people thinking that they would be worse off when in fact they would be making money. I’m one of the people who will not be compensated, although as a 100% green power user I’d expect my major costs to have already been taken care of by my energy plan being from wind power. But that didn’t stop a bunch of low income people from insisting they’d be broke when the calculator showed they would be making money. This loud complaining was partnered with a rather scary anti-science climate change denial stance by masses of people.
Cars continue to pollute for free
Petrol was for some insane reason (perhaps thanks to short sighted campaigning by organisations like the NRMA) excluded.. So no end in sight for the rise of the car and petrol fumes on the street. The sooner we get rid of fossil fuels from our vehicle transport the better. Can you imagine how many places would be infinitely more liveable with less traffic noise and fumes? How many respiratory issues would go away. It would certainly be nice to be able to breathe deeply in CBD areas during lunchtime.
Seems likely to work
I think the notion that pollution that was free now costing something will immediately result in businesses looking to reduce costs. Anyone who claims otherwise has no idea whatsoever about how businesses work. Cost is about the only language that you can speak to businesses that have legal obligation to put profit above all else if you expect them to pay attention. End consumers can exercise their choice by taking their money where the lower cost from pollution efficiency results in a competitive advantage. Businesses will start working groups to examine how they can improve efficiency and we take a step toward a leaner, less polluting industry.
Hell, they might even figure out a way to make that snake oil clean coal work?
So let’s hope that it makes it through.. So what if we’re wrong about it all? Well, we all win.