"Carbon Tax" or not

The Australian government has made no secret of its contempt for the so-called "Carbon Tax". It's not a tax by the way, it is a carbon pricing mechanism. And this is where the federal government is dead wrong. More about that in an upcoming article.

The Emissions Reduction Fund is the pivotal element in the government's response to "climate change" policy.

The ERF has missed a key point entirely. The solution to lasting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is one that most nations have all but given up on. What is it? 

Ending population growth 

I've already stated that there's no way out of the "three fossils", so what us ordinary folk should be focusing on is landscapes, ecosystems, and biodiversity. THAT is where some big differences can be made.

Now, perhaps out of all this we'll find some answers, and maybe, just maybe, some blue sky!

I believe in personal action and collective action, in every conceivable aspect of life. And that goes for household energy sustainability, where technology is available for on-site storage. 

We need massive action on the repair of Australia's degraded landscapes, restitution of ecosystems, and recovery of biodiversity. This has already been looked at in Revegetation and a climate fix.

But let's get back to carbon!

Should carbon in the "three fossils" be priced? 

In national accounting, each of these would be defined as a "good". Sure, there's excise (a tax) on production, and also GST on the consumption side. 

But what about the emissions side?

I back the current science about the emissions from the "three fossils", and the harm that is consequently produced. The latest IPCC report is the main reference with credibility.

Therefore the question then becomes - how can the polluting emissions be limited in order to limit the harm that they produce and to drive behaviour change?

Tax it! THAT is economic rationality. It makes sense. That's what governments do.

If they don't like a particular "behaviour" then the taxation instrument is used to curb it.

Whenever governments through the ages have wanted to invoke behaviour change the one successful and enduring instrument has been taxation.

Half Truths

The reader might think that Australia is (was) at the cutting-edge of "Carbon Tax". It's not. 

The ERF Green Paper is disingenuous when the Ministerial Forward takes a quote from the Productivity Commission report "Carbon Emissions Policies in Key Economics, 2011".

no country currently imposes an economy wide tax on greenhouse emissions or has in place an economy-wide ETS

This is a half truth. No, not even that - a quarter truth? 

The Canadian Province British Columbia (although not a country) has had a Carbon Tax since 2008.

Here's BC's Ministry of Finance statement on the myths of the Carbon Tax.

And the BC Carbon Tax is, or is planning to be, economy-wide.

Another Canadian Province, Quebec, brought in a carbon tax in 2007, the first North American state or province to do so.

Ireland (that's a country) introduced a Carbon Tax in 2010, Finland in 1990, Sweden in 1991.

Great Britain introduced a "climate change levy" in 2001, whilst across the ocean in Boulder (Colorado) a carbon emissions tax was implemented in 2007.

Although not "economy-wide", these emissions tax arrangements do play an important role in behaviour change at the business, government, and personal level.

And speaking of "economy-wide" as written in the ERF Ministerial Forward above, doesn't this suggest a cop-out? 

Even our GST is not "economy-wide" as there are many goods (e.g. essential foods) and services (e.g. medical care) that are exempt. 

Anyway, read this fascinating page --> Where carbon is taxed for more insights.

I can't help but think that political ideology in Australia from whichever side of politics is the destroyer of behaviour change that's so badly needed here and around the world. 

It is informed leadership, knowledge, and commitment to change that are needed. 

What is not needed is political ideology.

What do you think?

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