Our Prime Minister has been like an obnoxious kid in a supermarket constantly nagging for chips & soft drink. His parent knows it’s not healthy and to give in is not in the interests of the child. The only way you can shut the brat up though is by giving in and hoping that there will be no long-term damage to your authority and the health of the child. I think we all know that we have done something very silly here and undermined our integrity, lost the respect of our peers and given in to a bully.
But we’ll be $550 better off. Right? Well, unlikely, particularly in NSW where electricity prices are set to rise again and by nearly double the amount that the carbon price actually added to bills. So too, gas prices which are set to rise significantly. When it comes to grocery items the predicted $100 leg of lamb never eventuated and in fact the biggest supermarkets admitted that the carbon price had only increased the cost of 5 out of 40,000 items. Good luck finding that saving on your grocery docket.
But these home economics measures don’t give you any estimate of the true cost of upending the climate mitigation trolley. Food producers, like most other sectors, already recognize the cost impacts of climate change, be it extreme weather events, damage to infrastructure, loss of productivity or the rising cost of insurance. Then there’s the reality of loss of market share to the more competitive, more efficient, less dirty alternatives which our major trading partners are increasingly choosing.
Well, the carbon price didn’t cut emissions anyway, I hear some say. Well, yes it did. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions had been climbing for decades and the introduction of carbon pricing achieved the first few small falls in emissions recorded – including a 0.8% reduction in 2013. The biggest fall was in our heavily polluting electricity sector, where emissions fell 5%.
The government now appears completely uncommitted to meet even the paltry pledge to reduce overall emissions by 5%. It claimed that it could achieve this reduction by paying $2.55 billion to polluters to adopt less dirty practices, called the Emissions Reduction Fund. But that ERF venture has taken a massive hit in the budget and is now set to cost $1.146 billion.
Even for our budget balancing betters the repeal of the carbon tax makes no sense in the real world beyond the smoke and mirror election hype. Billions in direct revenue from major polluters have now been lost from the Government’s accounts. The Fin. Review estimates this alone will leave a A$7.2 billion whole in the budget.
All in all, a very costly tantrum.
Tracey Carpenter is the President of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network