Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Carbon Tax debate

Let me try and untangle some of the hoopla surrounding the 'Carbon Tax', more to identify what's going on in the public discourse then push a particular barrow.  So, the Labor government in concert with the Greens wish to introduce a Carbon tax for these reasons:

1. It will encourage other nations to sign up to the global system of emissions reduction using some sort of mechanism of carbon trading
2. This will also mean Australia will have system in place early in order and so benefit from the introduction of a global system.
3. A carbon tax will reduce (ever so slightly) global carbon emissions.

This is because 

1. A (reliable) global system is rapidly on it's way
2. And reducing global carbon emissions will prevent environmental catastrophes.


It is good to introduce a Carbon Tax now even if it means increasing the cost of living.

However even if anthropomorphic climate change is real, there seems to be three substantial and unresolved problems. Firstly isn't there a cost benefit problem here, the cost of living increase being sought won't seem to have much of an impact on global carbon emissions. Furthermore where are the predictions of environmental catastrophes that will result if carbon emissions aren't reduced by a certain amount within a certain time frame?  Finally for every global system designed to regulate human behaviour, there's one that's failing, why will this system be any quicker or better?


ish said...

Supporting a carbon tax gives grand scale opportunity to give substance to the Aussie response: "I'm good."

So is there a bit of wanting to get the jump on other nations in the secular righteousness stakes?

Jon said...

There's a line from Sir Humphrey in "Yes Prime Minister" that may be relevant.

"We must do something. This is something. Therefore we must do this."

There's not much doubt that we're ruining the planet. We need to stop doing that. Will this help? The problem is we won't know until we try. So perhaps we're better to give it a go than to keep carping about how it might not work therefore lets not do anything.