By Tracey Carpenter

It’s a ‘hoary old chestnut’ of a claim still bandied about from either ignorance or malice that climate science is ‘unclear’, or ‘bad science’. How much clearer does it get than this? The University of Queensland study which examined over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science articles published over the last two decades and found that, of those that stated a position, over 97 per cent endorsed the view that climate change is being driven by human activities.

Anyway it’s nearly a year since Australia took a responsible step of introducing a price on carbon to curb its emissions. One-year on what has been the result:

  • Emissions in the National Electricity Market are down 7.4 per cent;
  • Renewable energy generation is up almost 30 per cent;
  • the economy is growing –real GDP has grown at a rate of 2.5 per cent since the carbon price was introduced
  • more than 150,000 new jobs have been created;
  • inflation is contained;
  • millions of households have been assisted with tax cuts, increases in Family Tax Benefits and higher pensions and allowances;
  • and the impact on the cost of living has been lower than expected

Rather than cripple our economy – over 1200 clean energy projects have been funded. Right on our doorstep in Bathurst we have a good example of the benefits flowing from the carbon price. The new Mars factory in Raglan gets a subsidy of $4,433,000 from the revenue collected from the 350 biggest carbon polluters. This financial support from the Clean Technology Food Investment Program will go towards installing new equipment that is so much more energy efficient that it will save Mars up to $2 million in energy costs per year.

Australia has the 12th largest economy and is the 15th largest polluter out of 190 nations, as well as being the largest polluter per capita amongst the advanced economies. We cannot expect a free ride in the international efforts to tackle climate change. The world is moving to tackle emissions, this includes China which has announced a price on its carbon. Even the future competitiveness and our trading relationships will inevitably depend on what efforts we make to reduce the emissions intensity of our economy.

And as for driving up electricity prices even the retailers admit the price of power is mostly poles and wires…. And the sum impact of the carbon tax on your power bill is around 10%. But reason is the first thing lost in election season.

Tracey Carpenter is the chairperson of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network
10 June 2013