We all became a part of Australian history on July 1st, 2012, the date that the Carbon Tax was implemented.
The sky didn’t fall, and the economy didn’t grind to a halt, Jesus didn’t come back, although Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott has sworn a ‘pledge in blood’ to repeal the Carbon Tax should he ever hold the reigns of power.
Abbott’s own ‘direct-action carbon reduction scheme’ is, on paper, said to cost double the currently rolling out ‘Clean Energy Plan’, and is so dodgy, no serious economist has offered to touch it with a ten foot pole.
For all the rhetoric on the floors of Parliament, talk-back radio and the reams of bluster online and in print, Australia’s Carbon Tax is modest, perhaps too modest to even warrant such reactions.
Any and all mainstream media outlets in Australia have offered up pieces on how the Carbon Tax will affect people’s lives, from the increase in weekly grocery bills, to higher electricity costs (which haven’t needed an ‘evil’ carbon tax to help drive up prices 50% in the last 3 years), to tax breaks and compensation paid out by the government to effectively cancel out these costs to the average Australian.
Some, they claim, will even be better off by $1 or two a week. A small amount it seems, but a dollar more is a dollar more.
With the seemingly small impact on every day Australians, and the non-stop talk about the Carbon Tax in the media, The Labour Government has also backed itself into an ideological corner.
One of the keenest arguments set forth by Climate Change Deniers, is that the tax does too little. Returning our carbon emissions to year 2000 levels by 2020, while the rest of the world does nothing makes the tax itself seem pointless. At the same time this point of view gives ammunition to a small but vocal minority, and makes the rest barely feel a pinch in their lives, all the while they are being told they are helping to save the planet. This runs the danger of increasing public complacency and adding fuel to the ‘Denier’ fire.
But Australia is not the only country in the world implementing a carbon price, something a lot of the local media tends to leave out.
Chief Climate Change Commissioner Tim Flannery recently told the Australian Associated Press that the Australian public had been ‘misled’ about the carbon tax, in that we were acting alone.
According to the just released ‘The Critical Decade: International Action On Climate Change’, 33 countries will have a carbon tax by the middle of next year, with a view to be moving towards a carbon trading scheme, much like Australia.
From the report:
“These schemes could be expected to cover around 850 million people, around 30% of the global economy and around 20% of global emissions.”
And though our Carbon tax may seem modest at the moment, it is the first building block towards a less carbon dependent economy, one which even the big boys (Shell, BHP Billiton, Caltex), are excited to come and play in.
But that doesn’t mean we can sit back and watch the world change around us. Try some steps to reduce ecological foot print; buy local, plant a garden, try to be less reliant on technology, walk, ride a bike, get involved with your community and encourage others to do so.
By Chard Core