Manufactured opposition to carbon price against our best interests

March 12, 2011
 Liberal party Tony Abbott called for a "people's revolt" against a price on carbon.
Liberal party Tony Abbott called for a "people's revolt" against a price on carbon.

The Australian proclaimed a “war over the carbon tax” and the leader of federal Liberal party Tony Abbott called for a "people's revolt" against a price on carbon.

What are they thinking denouncing such a positive step forward for action on climate change? What’s wrong with wanting to transition to renewable energy? Why would you want to try to divide people?

Tim Badrick, in an article published in Independent Australia, believes that a carbon tax “con job” will do nothing to reduce environmental damage. I couldn't disagree more.

The only “con job” is the one being disseminated against a price on carbon pollution, against the best interests of us all.

A price on carbon signals the beginning of one of the most significant positive steps forward for Australia for a long time.

By putting a price on carbon pollution we are saying as a people that we want to stop the emission of carbon dioxide to mitigate the effects it has on our lives: polluted air, climate change, unsustainable and insecure energy sources, and unsustainable economics.

If the free market was truly self-regulating, it would have made the transition to renewables decades ago. But it isn't, and it didn't, and we have to act — it's already long overdue.

The Liberals are trying to manufacture opposition to a carbon price, using buzzwords like “people's revolt” to get people all riled up against their best interests.

Papers like The Australian propagate this senseless rhetoric and people who don't fully understand the issue buy into it.

Opposition to a price on carbon relies on people's lack of information and knowledge.

This type of propaganda is terribly damaging to our political system. This opposition-for-the-sake-of-opposition reveals a severe lack of leadership and an inability to partake in intelligent dialogue and discussion.

Simple calculations reveal that at $26 a ton it would actually cost the average four-person family $100 a year more (not $300 more as circulated by the federal Liberals).

And with the average cost of Green power at around $40 a ton of CO2 saved, a carbon price of anything below this will actually save tens of thousands of households money.

If the Liberals really wanted to pick a fight, why not try and stop energy retailers passing the carbon price on to end users? Surely the polluters should take responsibility for their own actions.

The exact price is something we can all discuss and negotiate over the next year or so. I don't know about you, but as a very low-income earner I don't mind paying to transition to renewables, just as I wouldn't mind paying to help rebuild infrastructure in flood-affected Queensland.

We can use the funds collected to help homes and businesses use energy more efficiently, provide grants to help with the transition to renewables, facilitate upskilling and allocate funds for the construction of baseload concentrated solar thermal, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources.

Australians no longer want to go down the coal-fired (and other fossil fuel) energy pathway. That’s social, economic and environmental suicide.

Don't care about the environment? Well let's look at the economics.

The simple fact is that if we head down the same fossil fuel path it will cost us three times more than it would to transition to 100% renewables.

Economically speaking, business-as-usual is a total waste of money, a missed opportunity and neglectful to a generation of energy industry workers.

Reports like Zero Carbon Australia, published by the University of Melbourne’s Energy Institute and Beyond Zero Emissions last year, show us how easy it is to power Australia with 100% renewables within 10 years at a cost of 3-3.5% of GDP.

This would be a fantastic nation-building program, economic stimulator and job creator. By the end, we would have free energy from the sun, wind and other renewable sources, more jobs and economic stability in a clean and sustainable industry.

A carbon price is only part of this transition; we also need a feed-in-tariff (so households and businesses supplying themselves with renewable energy can be paid for any excess energy they input back into the grid) and a proper target for renewables, among other things.

We already know we can get to 100% within 10 years with commercially available technologies, so why not skip a laughable 5% emissions cut target, jump right over a 60% target, cut right to the chase and get on with transitioning to 100% renewables.

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

[Nick Carson is a musician, volunteer and student from Melbourne, Australia.]


well said...we're just delaying the inevitable...and given Australia's relatively strong economic position at the moment, we should be acting now.
It just doesnt exist. I read just today if every roof in Australia had solar panels it would cost $500Million. If it isnt windy then wing turbines stop. Gas fired electricity generation is 3 to 4 times the cost of coal. In short Renewable Green Energy is not available with sufficient base load power to meet our needs. The other issue of cutting emissions it should be an all or nothing approach. India China and the USA just to name some of the big emitters are doing bugger all and the EEC as you would know have increased emissions under their trading schemes. In the overall scheme of things you know that our contribution is negligble and some in the Green movement are akin to the boogie man running round scareing children. Shame on you and we look forward to the next election when you and yours will get your come uppance. Lies and Deception and there should ne no carbon (dioxide) tax unless the whole world participates.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.