Carbon Tax environmental train wreck

By Eco Guy 12:53am 17th July 2011
The carbon tax in Australia is going to do zip to improve the environment.

Well, the figures are in, it looks like we are going to have a Carbon Tax set at $23 per tonne and the top 500 (opps now 400..)  'polluters' are going to be paying...

The trouble is, this tax will achieve very little for the environment. For instance, do you know exactly how much this tax will change the temperature in the environment? Can you find the 'results' of this action anywhere in the PR spin from the government? There is a very good reason for this, its vanishingly small - somewhere around 0.00007 degrees, which is well below the threshold of accuracy of measurement of change on the global climate; i.e. even if we did this, we would have no way of knowing what the end result actually was! Not too much of a surprise then that such information is not volunteered anywhere in the literature. A great tax isn't it? Gives the government an excuse to tax the 500 largest businesses in our economy some more, yet it does not have to deliver anything in return...

Well, what about the money from the Carbon Tax that is going to be spent on renewable and 'green' projects. There is a big assumption here and it goes like this - the assumption is that we have the technology base to benefit directly from this money. The sad truth is we don't. Australia as a green market for R&D funded business is tiny; the real money is to be made elsewhere. As demonstrated by one of two remaining solar panel manufacturers moving their business to the USA (see this news report, with $8 million of government funding none the less!)- reason given, it could not overcome the geographical disadvantage of being based in Australia and trying to compete on the global stage - i.e. the home market is not big enough to allow them to gain economies of scale to compete internationally.

But won't the money coming in from the Carbon Tax generate more R&D?  No, it won't really. Certainly more R&D will occur, but will it be sufficient R&D spend to catch up with the existing competition from other countries like China, USA and Germany - I think not. Also they have the advantage of being in market already and I doubt they will just lie back and give us market share. Also with this amount of government money available, they will be quite able to cry 'anti competitive behavior' and put trade embargoes in place - we are not big enough to fight that... Also, just to underline this point, a Solar panel manufacturer called Evergreen has just filled for bankruptcy in the US, see this article - reason cited: competition from China. Now, if a business in the US cannot compete wit China - what hope does an Australian based business have???

So if we don't have a real green from the ground up industry base, what would the money from the Carbon Tax get spent on?  Yes, you have guessed it - more solar panel and green tech imports. Plus I bet the majority of the imports would come from China.. Did you know that an area about 100km's square is a toxic wasteland due to Rare Earth extraction in China. Also about 12,000km's of their coast line is declared polluted? So every solar panel and wind generator (which use rare earths) we import from China is adding to this mess...  Sounds like a net fail to me.

Then if you add in the fact that China power generation for manufacturing is mostly done by burning coal, coal which we export to China, which gives off Co2 - the very thing this tax is meant to reduce - you then see the Carbon Tax for what is really is - an excuse to do a money grab and is actually nothing about caring about the environment.

Oh, did I forget to mention that 10% of revenue raised from the Carbon Tax is going right into the hands of the UN to spend on their pet green projects? Where exactly did you get to vote for that?

Basically, all this talk of being more Green and caring about the environment by having the Carbon Tax is a basic sham - the environment will actually end up worse off!

Myself, I think we need to get back to basic environmentalism and grab it out of the hands of the Greens and major political parties and stop it being the political scare football that it has become. This lack of focus on real, provable and visible environmental issues is what is really killing the plant wholesale.

For instance ask the parties what they are doing about:

  • Soil erosion
  • Better water management on the land
  • None native plant invasions
  • Habitat management and planning
  • Plastic's in the environment pollution
  • Mercury pollution
  • Energy efficiency standards
  • Manufacturing standards to reduce cross product wastage and increase product lifetimes
I suspect you will mostly get back a blank response - they are so 'off tune' to what is really important.


We need to get back to real balanced sustainable environmentalism which recognizes that man is an integral part of the environment and not just a problem for the environment. It is quite possible, with careful planning and analysis, to create ways of interacting with the environment that are green, clean and sustainable; but this needs to done through proper analysis and not just a 'knee jerk' reaction - the 'all or nothing' pure green blinkered approach taken by the Green party is ill conceived and likely to cause net damage to the environment. What we do needs to be considered in the bigger picture of cause and effect and return on investment, not only for us but for the environment. The Greens do not stand for this, they want to forestall development and industry as an evil blight on the land; whereas if it is done properly both can thrive - see this article, it explains the Green policies and position in painful detail - would you want to vote for that?

In essence the approach I would like to see taken is that described by Dr Patrick Moore (founder of Greenpeace) in his book Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist . He describes a very pragmatic approach to caring about the environment, whilst still considering the role humans play within the environmental system and how the two can work together to their mutual benefit.

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Related Content Tags: climate change, global warming, environment, atmosphere, carbon dioxide, carbon tax

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