Once again, we are going to an election with the Coalition running a deceitful scare campaign about “a big thumping electricity tax”.
A report published by the ACCC in July last year showed that consumers saved between $103 and $198 on their electricity bills, depending where you live, in the year after the carbon tax was removed. That’s less than $4 a week to take meaningful action on climate change.
The budget for Direct Action, which most agree will skyrocket if we are to achieve our emission reduction targets, was $3.5 billion. That is about $380 per household we are paying instead of collecting about $7 billion a year in revenue.
After carbon pricing was abolished, emissions went up for the first time in a decade and, according to Reputex, will continue to do so until 2030 under current policies.
While this ridiculous debate continues, the global average temperature for 2015 was 0.90°C above the 20th century average, eclipsing the previous record set in 2014 by 0.16°C. Nine months in 2015 broke global heat records with July 2015 the hottest month ever on Earth since records began in 1850. Australia recorded its hottest ever October in 2015.
And the records keep tumbling.
Information released by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) indicated we just had the hottest March on record, reaching 1.7 degrees Celsius above the long-term average. March 2 became Australia’s hottest day on record. Averaged across the country, it reached a top of 38 degrees Celsius. There was no relief overnight either with minimum overnight temperatures the warmest ever, smashing the 1983 record by 0.83 degrees. The hot March came on the back of the hottest February globally.
We have the farcical position of the Bestest Ever Minister in the Whole Wide World, so lauded because of his fierce protection of the Great Barrier Reef as a highway for coal tankers, telling us that the coral bleaching isn’t too bad and that an ETS would put up our electricity bills by 78% – a claim John Hewson called a bald-faced lie.
Research from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science shows that, if greenhouse gases keep rising, then mass coral bleaching events, like the one currently gripping the reef, will happen every two years by the mid-2030s. That spells death for large parts of the reef because corals won’t get the 15-year break they need to recover.
According to government-commissioned research by Delloites, the total Australia-wide value-added economic contribution generated in the Reef catchment in 2012 was $5.7 billion with employment (as measured in full-time equivalent workers) of just below 69,000.
In June last year, a court in The Hague ruled that the Dutch government’s modest emission reduction targets were unlawful given the scale of the threat posed by climate change. They ordered the government to cut its emissions by at least 25% within five years.
So why are we still arguing?
In November last year, the CSIRO published a report showing that gender, age and education mattered little in a person’s opinion on climate change, but a person’s voting behaviour was found to have a strong correlation. Just 28% of Liberal voters believe climate change is human-induced, and that figure is 22% for Nationals voters.
Our Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, is a sceptic. In May last year he told Andrew Bolt:
“I’m just always sceptical of the idea that the way that anybody’s going to change the climate – and I’m just driving in this morning and we’re driving through a frost – is with bureaucrats and taxes. All this does is … it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I make you feel guilty so I can get your money and put it in my pocket and send reports backwards and forth to one another.”
Cory Bernardi said on Q&A in 2013:
“I don’t, and I have never bought the alarmist hysteria attached to carbon dioxide as driving climate change. There’s no consensus of scientists, I’m afraid. There’s literally tens of thousands of scientists who have a different view on this. Over the course of time, a lot of the alarmists predictions and forecasts have been proved wrong.”
George Christensen, addressing a Heartland Institute conference in 2014, said:
“It’s hard to tell the difference between an alarmist claim about global effects and the basic premise of a disaster movie plot. The weather and climate in Australia has not changed in the last century but a new religious interpretation has arisen since then. When we are in a flood, they tell us ‘too much rain is a sign, more hurricanes is a sign, fewer hurricanes is a sign, the sky is blue – it’s a sign. Gravity – it’s a sign’.”
The reason this is so much worse this time around is that Malcolm Turnbull knows his climate change policy is “bullshit” but he is willing to sacrifice the whole damn planet to appease those who would keep him in power.
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