Repealing the carbon price is an act of policy vandalism, according to central west climate action group, Bathurst Community Climate Action Network (BCCAN). The group says the Abbott government is being fiscally irresponsible, economically stupid and showing dreadful ignorance about what is needed for effective climate policy.
BCCAN President Tracey Carpenter says the repeal of the so-called carbon tax represents a dismal policy failure and the government should be condemned for its complete lack of wisdom and vision on this issue.
The world is watching in disbelief, and I quote California’s energy commissioner, David Horschild, “Australia’s starting to actually fight the future and it seems like a mistake to me for a country with such a wealth of natural renewable energy resources,” (ABC Four Corners, Monday 7th July)
Australia is going from leader to laggard, from ‘lifter’ to ‘leaner’ on climate policy. We are looking at the possibility that Australia will become a rogue state, penalised for having no climate policies”, Ms Carpenter said.
“The fact is the price on carbon is working to reduce emissions in the sectors covered, and comes at little cost. About $3 a week in electricity prices, $2 a week in gas prices and another $4 in everything else – less than $10 a week per family, to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions. Half of the revenue raised goes on a compensation package for families”, she said.
“The Government’s promises of savings to families and businesses will amount to little. Power companies will attempt to hold onto price gains they’ve made and other sectors will disguise any savings rather than pass them on. Power price promises will not be met nor will exaggerated claims of job creation, because the actual impact of the carbon price is so small”.
BCCAN sees climate change as not just a challenge, it’s an opportunity. We need the right policies to encourage industry to move into a low emissions economy. This includes a price on carbon to level the playing field with fossil fuels (which are heavily subsidised) and to assist the transition to clean technologies.
“Australia needs to maintain a polluter pays scheme that puts a price and limit on carbon emissions. Many of our trading partners are pricing carbon, or moving in that direction”, Ms Carpenter said.
“We shouldn’t be playing politics when responding to the threat to our economic and environmental security posed by climate change. This is what the Coalition has been doing since 2009, like the Tea Party in the USA. The Coalition has delivered a cynical mix of denial of the science, poor policy, and a lot of misinformation about towns closing down, legs of lamb costing $100, and families feeling the pain… none of which are true”, she said.
“Australia is the sixth largest emitter in the world, when our massive coal exports are included – we have a responsibility to act on climate change. Instead, the government is dancing to the tune of King Coal, ignoring risks to the Australian people from the dangerous impacts of global warming”.
“The government’s childish obsession with ‘axing the tax’ is not shared by a majority of Australians – recent polling shows:
57% think the government should take climate change more seriously.
47% think that carbon pricing is better than taking no action.
34% support the carbon pricing laws, more than those who oppose them.
22% only, support the government’s Direct Action plan.
“Direct Action will not work. It is a costly grant scheme using taxpayers’ money to pick a few winners – it cannot achieve even the 5% emissions reduction target set by the government. A target more like 40% is needed, along with other nations, to stand a 50:50 chance of keeping within the 2°C ‘safe’ limit agreed by all nations”, Ms Carpenter said.
“Fortunately all is not lost from the Clean Energy Future package introduced by the previous government with support from the Greens and Independents like Rob Oakeshott. Clive Palmer is to be congratulated for committing to keep the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority”, she said.