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Australia Repeals Carbon Tax 291

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-keep-it dept.
schwit1 notes that the Australian government has repealed a controversial carbon tax. After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politically divisive carbon emissions price that contributed to the fall from power of three Australian leaders since it was first suggested in 2007.
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Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Taxes are exactly the wrong way to do this.

    It seems like a good idea. Until you realize what exactly do they do with taxes? We see the big ticket items sure. But there are zillions of other ways we are being ripped off.

    http://steshaw.org/economics-i... [steshaw.org]

    We over and over do exactly the wrong thing to save the world. Which ends up doing the opposite.

    I make a grand prediction here. They gain and lose nothing by removing this tax. Other than a cost that their public must shoulder. The producers are not goi

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The entire idea is that businesses will strive to become more efficient such that they produce less pollution so that they'll be taxed less.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScentCone (795499)

        The entire idea is that businesses will strive to become more efficient such that they produce less pollution so that they'll be taxed less.

        But because such penalties impact all businesses in whatever country is collecting them, it won't really change things - because all of those businesses will simply pass along the new government-mandated increase in their overhead along in the form of higher prices. To the businesses in question, it just goes in one door and out the other. You want to use the heavy hand of the tax collector to damage people's behavior in a way that makes them go out less, drive less, spend less, do less? Tax citizens direc

        • by Uecker (1842596)

          A carbon tax does not affect every business equally.

        • by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo AT mac DOT com> on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:26PM (#47479995) Homepage Journal

          But because such penalties impact all businesses in whatever country is collecting them, it won't really change things - because all of those businesses will simply pass along the new government-mandated increase in their overhead along in the form of higher prices.

          However, if you believe in capitalism this creates a space for an aggressive innovator to come in with new reduced-energy practices/processes, and pass those savings onto consumers, causing the existing players to either likewise update their practices/processes to compete, or have them diminish/die. Such changes don't happen overnight however -- it could take many years for the selective pressure to bear.

          Yaz

          • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday July 18, 2014 @07:56AM (#47481375) Homepage

            But because such penalties impact all businesses in whatever country is collecting them, it won't really change things - because all of those businesses will simply pass along the new government-mandated increase in their overhead along in the form of higher prices.

            However, if you believe in capitalism this creates a space for an aggressive innovator to come in with new reduced-energy practices/processes, and pass those savings onto consumers, causing the existing players to either likewise update their practices/processes to compete, or have them diminish/die. Such changes don't happen overnight however -- it could take many years for the selective pressure to bear.

            Yaz

            And here's what the problem is: it's cheaper for the capitalist to simply buy some sort of "exemption" from the government through "campaign donations" or outright bribery. This gives the company a leg up on their competition, then, and the tax simply becomes a barrier to entry into a market that existing players don't have to deal with.

            I'll assume that there were industries that donated heavily to whoever had the previous majority in the parliament and were exempted from the carbon tax. Am I correct?

            Or how about the other side that we see in America where politically connected "green energy" scams rake in millions?

        • by dudpixel (1429789) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:39PM (#47480035)

          It gives companies who pollute less an advantage, and it gives businesses an incentive to look into renewable energy.

          For example:
          Electricity prices would go up but only until it became cheaper to get solar, and at that point the price war resumes. Customers will not pay higher prices if there is a cheaper alternative, and so a carbon tax opens up an advantage for technologies that cause less polution.

          Besides, the stats in Australia show that the carbon tax was working.

        • by itzly (3699663) on Friday July 18, 2014 @01:06AM (#47480263)
          Except that the businesses can decide to change the production process. They could invest in solar energy to power the factory, and because they'll be paying less carbon tax, they can lower the cost of the product, and increase sales and profits.
        • by sjbe (173966) on Friday July 18, 2014 @08:28AM (#47481521)

          But because such penalties impact all businesses in whatever country is collecting them, it won't really change things

          You are talking about tax incidence [wikipedia.org] but you don't have the logic correct. We ALREADY are paying for whatever cost carbon pollution has but it is spread out equally among all people regardless of their use of technologies that rely on carbon emissions. There is no direct incentive for anyone to worry about emitting less carbon. A tax would create a direct economic burden on those who use more carbon which which in turn will motivate those who use more to try to find ways to use less. If you get more benefit from carbon emission (like a power company or a heavy consumer of electricity) then you should have to pay more of the burden. As it stands each of us has to pay for the effects of carbon pollution in an amount unrelated to the amount we generate.

          because all of those businesses will simply pass along the new government-mandated increase in their overhead along in the form of higher prices.

          They already are passing along the cost, just not directly. Instead of paying for it directly, we pay for it through environmental effects. Climate and the resulting weather changes affect crop yields, business patterns, healthcare, etc all of which have very real and measurable costs. But the cause of those costs has zero incentive to mitigate the effects of carbon pollution because they do not have a direct economic cost of their actions. It's basically the Tragedy of the Commons, writ large.

      • by Sarius64 (880298)
        ...and when the tax fails to maintain a revenue stream, it will be increased. Much like water in California. Use less of it and they raise the price because of lost revenue. Conserving Regulated Water: Revenue Decoupling, Incentives, and Equity [policymattersjournal.org].
      • Haha, the stupidity. What happens in practice? Off-shoring and job losses. Same thing in Europe.
    • by WillKemp (1338605)

      We over and over do exactly the wrong thing to save the world. Which ends up doing the opposite.

      I'm not sure who the "we" is that you're referring to, but you sound like you know what you're talking about. How do you recommend governments act to reduce carbon emissions?

      • How do you recommend governments act to reduce carbon emissions?

        If I were the government, I would do it by mandated carbon emission levels per watt of power generated by power companies. The idea is similar to the way that fuel efficiency standards were mandated for automobiles and led to vastly more fuel efficient cars.

        This is something that a government can mandate, because the technology is here, and power plants can already make a profit from a mix of renewables (solar/hydro/wind/etc), it just isn't as profitable in the short term as coal because renewables tend to

        • by Uecker (1842596)

          How do you recommend governments act to reduce carbon emissions?

          If I were the government, I would do it by mandated carbon emission levels per watt of power generated by power companies. The idea is similar to the way that fuel efficiency standards were mandated for automobiles and led to vastly more fuel efficient cars.

          This is something that a government can mandate, because the technology is here, and power plants can already make a profit from a mix of renewables (solar/hydro/wind/etc), it just isn't as profitable in the short term as coal because renewables tend to have a longer ROI period than fossil fuels. But if the government mandates the mix the power supplier must have, then the power companies will have to comply. The power companies will still make sufficient profit in the long term.

          I am a firm believer in climate change, but I think a tax designed to reduce power consumption is wrong-headed. The progress of civilization is related to the power usage of that civilization. Individuals in first world countries now use more power in a day than people 1000 years ago would use in several months. In the future to continue to progress, our civilization will use more power.

          It is usually expected that highly-developed countries will use less power in the future, because of more efficient technology.

      • The best way to do it is to participate in a multi-country ETS. The ETS was to be price fixed against the European ETS Market but it was not substitutable. If there was a real function for Australia to buy or sell carbon permits with the European market then it might have worked over the long term.

        Essentially what is required is for there to be a global market for carbon emissions. The European one is by far the largest and if over time you can add countries to it you can cap global carbon emmissions. T

      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday July 18, 2014 @01:51AM (#47480403) Journal

        How do you recommend governments act to reduce carbon emissions?

        The same way Ronald Regan and the Iron Lady acted to reduce sulphur emmissions that cause acid rain, international cap and trade treaty. Cap and trade is a market solution proposed and implemented by the founders of the neo-conservative movement, that has actually worked as advertised. The problem today is that influential "conservatives" are sitting on coal mines that could easily become stranded assests ten years from now. Funny how the politics turns itself upside down if you watch for long enough.

    • by alexibu (1071218) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:07PM (#47479915)
      As part of the carbon tax package, income tax was reduced, particularly for low income earners as a kind of compensation for the increase in cost of living caused by the carbon tax. The new government is raising those income taxes again, despite promising not to raise taxes.

      If a goverment needs to have tax, It is better to tax things that you want to discourage. The carbon tax was discouraging the emission of greenhouse gasses, an unnecessary and dangerous activity, simultaneously providing necessary revenue. Income tax discourages the earning of income.
      • by Harlequin80 (1671040) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:32PM (#47480011)

        Lets make sure that you tell the whole story here. The current government has increased taxes on the HIGHEST EARNERS in the country by 2% for income generated over $250,000. And this is for a period of 2 years. So your statement of "The new government is raising those income taxes again" is a complete and utter fallacy.

        • by alexibu (1071218)
          No fallacy. The CPRS 'package of legislation' included income tax cuts mostly targeted at lower income earners - raising tax free threshold etc.
          When Abbott stated that he would not be raising taxes, I had assumed that this meant he would still compensate people for the carbon tax after it was removed, and that this was part of his 'budget problem'. However the legislation passed by the senate included removal of the tax cuts associated with the CPRS, i.e raising income tax.
          Yours is an entirely different
          • Why would you assume he would compensate people for something that was being removed? I'm going to take your car and I will compensate you by paying you for it. Actually I'm not going to take your car, but you still want to be compensated as if I was?

            • by alexibu (1071218)
              I agree it was not wise for me to assume such things.
              I agree that if you are going to abolish the carbon tax it makes no sense to keep the income tax cuts.
              I do not agree that it was obvious that the government planned to raise income taxes when it abolished the carbon tax.
              I do not believe that voters, including those in favour of 'axeing the tax', understood that they were in effect voting to have personal income taxes raised by a similar amount to their gain from the removal of the carbon tax (for the a
              • by dbIII (701233)

                by a similar amount to their gain from the removal of the carbon tax (for the average person who chooses to buy coal fired electricity)

                That gain is just an assumption and I think is going to be an incorrect one. Over the next few years I predict that there are going to be a long string of excuses as to why the price of electricity is not going to fall instead of an actual cost reduction. The lower expense of reduced taxes will not be passed on to the consumers because there is no actual competition and no

            • by ras (84108)

              Why would you assume he would compensate people for something that was being removed?

              Maybe because before the election, Abbott promised to keep those tax cuts [australian...vative.com] after repealing the carbon tax?

              But you are right, I didn't assume it would stay. At time Abbott was making a whole pile of promises and he could not keep then all - balance the budget, reduce taxes, keep all the benefits those taxes paid for. But by that time hearing him make promises he could not keep was no surprise. It was clear by then the man would say anything, do anything, prostitute anything (including the sexuality of his

        • by aybiss (876862)

          That's right, it is if you're rich. You just pay your levy and enjoy your fucking private health insurance.

          The rest of us will be paying GP copayments, increased HECS, and all those other things that probably don't affect you, forever.

      • by Kris_J (10111) *

        If a goverment needs to have tax, It is better to tax things that you want to discourage.

        To be fair, Australia's current government would like to discourage poor people.

    • by arpad1 (458649)

      We over and over do exactly the wrong thing to save the world.

      In view of the fact the world hasn't ended perhaps it isn't quite as desperately in need of saving as you seem to believe?

      Alternatively, perhaps what you believe to be the wrong thing to do is, in view of the continued existance of the world, the right thing?

    • by tezbobobo (879983)
      The tax itself is not the solution. The tax is a necessary step towards an emissions trading scheme.
    • by jonwil (467024)

      I am an Aussie, dont like Tony Abbot or most of his policies and didn't vote for him or his party but I believe that a carbon tax is NOT the right solution to climate change. The RIGHT solution is a trading scheme, one designed in a way that will cap the total amount of carbon pollution allowed at a number smaller than it is now to force emitters to reduce their emissions. One that doesn't allow the purchase of cheap carbon permits from overseas, the use of carbon offsets (e.g. tree planting) or the use of

      • but I believe that a carbon tax is NOT the right solution to climate change. The RIGHT solution is a trading scheme

        Wind back a few years and think about the negotiation between the parties - where a trading scheme was proposed but the Libs rejected it and said they would compromise with a carbon tax. Thus the carbon tax was pushed as better than nothing but then the Libs kicked Turbull out and backflipped on their own idea. The ALP pushed it through anyway instead of taking the time to do something better

  • Dissappointed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dcrisp (267918) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:21PM (#47479713)

    As an Australian, I am bitterly disappointed in my Government. Whilst the rest of the world is ramping up their climate protection measures, our government is ramping up their BIG Industry protection measures. This is the same government that believes that wind farms are an ugly blight on the landscape (and attempting to block many new farms) whilst allowing large coal mines to go ahead. Because a very quiet white propeller on a pole making no pollution is much more horrible to look at that a giant hole in the ground with dozens of house sized trucks dragging out overburden and dumping it in a giant dirty pile.

    If you are worried about your access to coal is going to be reduced because your own Government is closing coal mines, don't worry! you can just come and buy a freighter load of coal for less than it costs to remove it from the ground!. And again, don't worry! the trucks used to extract the coal will have all the modern pollution preventing technologies applied to them.. so the environment will be protected.

    Outside of the government there is an enormous ground swell of alternative energy research and technologies being installed by Joe Average in their own house.. Much to the governments disgust

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You realize that already, AGL announced they are going to make $200 million less profit this year, because they won't be getting government carbon tax assistance?

      This wasn't hurting big business, it was just hurting the consumers. The big guys all had exemptions or 'assistance'.

    • by mykro76 (1137341)
      As a political moderate, I'm not thrilled that we rolled back the carbon tax. But we did vote this government in legitimately and I can understand some of the economic and financial motivations behind the repeal. I would like to see us try again with a different strategy (eg. emissions trading scheme). But I have to say that some of the far-left ranting, slander and vitriol I've seen flung about the internet is really putting me off these arguments. I think a little less exaggeration and hyperbole woul
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We didn't vote this government in, we voted the last one out. I'm so sick of hearing the government talk about how they have a mandate to scrap the carbon tax, and a mandate to gut the NBN (national internet rollout), and a mandate to screw with asylum seeker policy. It's like if I gave you $10 to spend as you please, so you go buy a $10 thing, because I gave you $10. Then the next day you buy another $10 thing, because I still gave you $10. The only mandate Tony Abbott (the current PM) has is to not be Kev

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        An emissions trading scheme is a different strategy? Do you *know* what was just abolished?

        1 - From 1st July 2012: a carbon tax priced at $23 per tonne of carbon with a 2.5% increase each year, until

        2 - From 1st July 2014 (was 2015 but brought forward a year in 2013) it changes to an *Emissions Trading Scheme*, which was trading at $6 per tonne as per the EU ETS 2014-15.

        So what you wanted was ready to go, at a quarter of the impost of the carbon tax, in alignment with other countries ETS either already in

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tailhook (98486)

      I am bitterly disappointed in my Government.

      Catch the cop-out in that sentence?

      Let me help; the government that you're so disappointed with campaigned on and was democratically elected on exactly this platform. They left not one shred of doubt about what they would do with the carbon tax when elected.

      The people of Australia have no interest in adopting your energy poverty agenda and it is upon them that your "disappointment" belongs. Take it up with them and stop copping out; either you sell energy poverty to your fellow citizens and make them want

      • Re:Dissappointed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aybiss (876862) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:49PM (#47480057) Homepage

        Do you happen to work at the Australia Institute?

        I'm so sick of being told that because one party has a majority at one election they have 'a mandate' to follow through on every horrible plan they conceive.

        1 - Not everybody voted for them.
        2 - They aren't the only party sitting in parliament.
        3 - Even if you DID vote for them AND live in one of their electorates you are still entitled to disagree with them on any issue you choose.

        Let's not even go down the path of trying to separate the rhetoric of 'power poverty' from all the other contributing factors in power prices.

        Did you get your $550 yet? Didn't think so.

        • by dbIII (701233)

          I'm so sick of being told that because one party has a majority at one election they have 'a mandate'

          Don't worry people, Tony Abbott can easily get his man date with Alan Jones if he wants. Just think of that every time the "mandate" word comes up and it's less annoying.
          And no, I'm not having a go at homosexuality, I'm having a go at those who say one thing and do exactly the opposite. They say "conservative" but are foaming at the mouth reactionary with a wrecking ball. Unless there was a referendum que

      • Re:Dissappointed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HJED (1304957) on Friday July 18, 2014 @12:28AM (#47480163)
        Take a look at the first preference vote, Labor lost significantly more than the Liberals gained. To me that would imply that they won due to people voting out the previous government rather than voting for the current. (Anecdotally a large number of people I've spoken to have also said that they voted for this reason, and were to scared to vote for minor parties incase we got a hung parliment)
      • Never underestimate the power of advertising and lobbyists.
        • Never underestimate the power of advertising and lobbyists.

          Advertising (i.e. money) has limited power, the true power, the true currency of politics is votes.

          A motivated and well informed voter is not swayed by advertising. Only the indifferent or disinterested are swayed by advertising.

          In the U.S. recently an upstart college professor spent $100,000 in an election and defeated a power incumbent who spent $5,000,000. The professor had motivated voters, the incumbent had money.

          As for lobbyists in the U.S, the most powerful are those who deliver motivated vo

          • You are right, but do you think that Australian voters are not swayed by advertising and media.. or that Australia voters are well informed politically or otherwise? As some other commenters have already pointed out, really the previous government got themselves voted out for so much ridiculous infighting, it was painful to watch.. not so much that the current conservative government was voted in.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Two points.

        Firstly, the Conservatives didn't campaign (& weren't elected) on repealing the carbon tax alone - there were a number of other issues (border protection, National Broadband Network, etc) in the mix. Reputable polls of Australian voters currently put support for clime change action, and an emissions trading scheme specifically in the range of 60-70%. On the topic of an RET (Renewable Energy Target) specifically, support is at 71% (tai.org.au). So in that context, I don't think it's fair to

      • Re:Dissappointed (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mjwx (966435) on Friday July 18, 2014 @03:33AM (#47480699)

        Let me help; the government that you're so disappointed with campaigned on and was democratically elected on exactly this platform. They left not one shred of doubt about what they would do with the carbon tax when elected.

        LoL,

        You are either a crusty old Liberal with their head so far up their arse that lump in your throat is your nose or have no idea how elections are run in Australia.

        The Liberal government got in on the narrowest of margins due entirely to a series of dodgy preference deals.

        Above that, they didn't advertise their polices, their entire campaign was based on "hate Labor". The Libs didn't even release a fiscal policy until after the election. Thats how bad they were. Their entire campaign was based on flinging shit at Rudd... Nothing more.

        Since their election, they've become more unpopular than Labor ever was, it's so bad not even Newscorp can spin it into positive news. Just 9 months into his term and Opposition leader Bill Shorten is preferred prime minister by 10% (Abbot 34%, Shorten 44%) and if Tony Abbott were to call a double dissolution now (as many Australians wish he would) it would be a white wash for the LNP (Liberal-National Party).

        Australians feel deceived by the Liberal government for good reasons, mainly because they've continued with several extremely unpopular policies that were either not spelled out before the election or are a complete reversal of what they promised before the election (which wasn't much). The media gagging over asylum seekers, Abbott's constant attacks on the ABC because they told the truth about Operation Sovereign Borders... Why is it any supprise to you that Australians are thinking of Tony Abbot as Australias worst ever prime minister.

        The people of Australia

        As a "person of Australia" (BTW, in Australia we just refer to ourselves as "Australians" not "the people of Australia", keep that in mind the next time you want to impersonate one) I want a sustainable energy policy, the Labor government had several good ideas including the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which was actually making money that Abbott is determined to axe for no reason other than it was Labors idea.

        Please stop pretending you know anything about the current government in Australia, Australians or anything about Australia in General.

        BTW, your "statism" quip shows just how out of touch with reality you are considering that is the best attack you could come up with.

      • by bug1 (96678)

        the government that you're so disappointed with campaigned on and was democratically elected on exactly this platform. They left not one shred of doubt about what they would do with the carbon tax when elected.

        What they said they would do bears little resemblence to what they have tried to do.

        Elections are fought on many topics, its naive to think the winning party has popular support for every policy they took to the election.

        The Government did not win a majority in the senate, the people chose not to give them a mandate.

        The people of Australia have no interest in adopting your energy poverty agenda

        A recent essentila poll showed that 38% of people think Australia (and others) shoudl oppose a price on carbon, 39 opposed the idea, others dont know.

        Never mind, revenge is a sweet dish in polit

    • Re:Dissappointed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Harlequin80 (1671040) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:17PM (#47479955)

      As an Australia I sit completely on the opposite side to you then. Personally I am happy the carbon tax is gone and I will be even happier when the MRRT goes as well.

      The thing I am disappointed about is that as a result of having a cross bench holding the balance of power in the senate all the spending associated with the carbon tax and the MRRT are not being repealed with them. So the tax base is now lower but the expenditure remains the same. That is more than disappointing, it's stupid.

      Don't get me wrong. I am all for renewable energy and sustainable development. But the implementation of the ETS was fundamentally flawed as Australia is too small a market to operate effectively on its own. The sheer number of tax credits and handouts associated with the carbon tax meant it was broken before it even started. If it had been integrated (as opposed to price tied) to the European market there could be been some significant benefits but it wasn't.

      And finally what are you talking about the cost of coal being lower than the cost of production? That is just so obviously stupid it's not worth commenting on. Glencore, BMA, BMC, & Rio are not charities! Do you seriously think they are going to produce coal at a loss? There are some mines where cost of production may be higher than a spot price at a given time. But that is because sometimes spot prices tank and mining is done on 20+year time horizons. While the price today may be marginally lower than cost of production it won't be over the effective life of mine.

      • This government does not need to reduce spending. A blind goal of imposing austerity will cripple us. While the economy is currently recovering, this will be short lived. When the next crisis hits, we need a government willing to spend.

        The government is not like a company or a household. When governments run a deficit, or banks lend money, they add to the money supply the rest of us use. I would much prefer the government to give us money instead of relying on greedy banks for it. But during a crisis, the

        • Sorry not with you on this one. In principal your comment about money supply is absolutely correct but we are not talking about a government that saves during the good times and spends during the bad. We are talking about a government that just spends all the time. And I absolutely extend this to the Howard era government as well.

          Much of the MRRT and Carbon tax takes were allocated to recurrent spending and this is where the problem lies. If this money was used for one off investments, ie Future fund or

          • by dbIII (701233)

            We are talking about a government that just spends all the time

            For the entire life of the last one interest rates were rock bottom so they borrowed to build stuff to improve the place. Isn't that what businesses do as well?

            Tying the MRRT and carbon tax to the NBN

            We're in the phase where any trace of the previous government is being carefully removed and Ziggy has returned to ensure the NBN is never heard from again. Sadly "infrastructure spending" is seen as roads because the people in charge are still st

    • by Kjella (173770)

      As an Australian, I am bitterly disappointed in my Government. Whilst the rest of the world is ramping up their climate protection measures

      And yet each year we set a new record on total emissions because there's a bigger population who wants a higher standard of living. Looking at Trends in global CO2 emissions 2013 report (pdf) [europa.eu] on page 50 you can see that the emissions in industrialized nations are down around 20-25% per capita from 1990-2012 through greener technology but a lot of that is lost in population growth and the low hanging fruit is gone. For developing countries all the arrows point upwards, even if we assume China will level out

    • I don't understand why you Aussies think this even matters. Do you know how much carbon you guys produce next to China or India? A laughably small amount. You could start building factories tomorrow in the outback that did nothing but spew raw CO2 into the atmosphere and it would take you hundreds of years to catch up to China alone.

      If CO2 is to really be reduced the effort falls squarely on large semi-developed countries like China or India. Even the US has already cut back as much as they can, and tha

      • by thephydes (727739)
        "Do you know how much carbon you guys produce next to China or India? A laughably small amount." But you don't have the full picture. A lot of the coal they use comes from us. So we may not actually burn it, but we sell it to burn - making us one of the highest per-capita carbon polluters on the planet.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        I think we've got a couple of open cut coal mines about as big as some of your east coast states.
    • by Tom (822)

      As an Australian, I am bitterly disappointed in my Government. Whilst the rest of the world is ramping up their climate protection measures, our government is ramping up their BIG Industry protection measures.

      You think you're alone?

      I live in Germany, a country that has spearheaded the move to renewable energy with a law (EEG [wikipedia.org]) so good that 65 countries have copied it.

      Our latest government has been busy dismantling it, because the large energy companies cry wolf. They've destroyed thousands of jobs in the solar industry, and we've lost our world leadership in it as a direct result.

      Oh yes, they've also given new licenses to build new fucking coal power plants, as if we lived in the 19th century.

  • Pwned (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:23PM (#47479733) Homepage

    Unfortunately, the Australian federal government is a 100% owned subsidiary of the mining companies. Although the prime minister is a moron in his own right, he's only doing what his bosses tell him to do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not 100% owned. I am fairly sure News Corp have a significant shareholding.

  • by Rigel47 (2991727) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:24PM (#47479735)
    People will vote themselves entitlements at the expense of future generations. It's the fatal flaw of democracy.

    I'm not sure it matters much anyways. Barring a total miracle like Rossi's unicorn reactor it seems we've already passed the point of no return. If you haven't had kids -- don't. As painful as that sounds.
    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      Couldn't agree more on the kids thing, I've been following that way of thought for many years.

      This quote from The Matrix is unfortunately sadly on point.
      I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every n

    • by timholman (71886)

      Barring a total miracle like Rossi's unicorn reactor it seems we've already passed the point of no return.

      If there are any miracles to be had, I can assure you they won't be coming from a pseudoscientific scam artist like Rossi.

      It's not like we don't have the technology to tackle AGW. We know how to build nuclear power plants right now, and we also know how to deal with the waste. All we lack is the political will to do it. We don't need "miracles" from snake-oil salesmen like Rossi.

    • by mvdwege (243851)

      And yet people keep voting for governments promising more austerity. The facts do not bear out your hypothesis.

  • Is this an Aussie no to Kyoto, then?

    No surprise, really...just one of many more to come, I think.
    • by HJED (1304957)
      No that wouldn't be politicly viable, instead we get "direct action" which by all independent projections will achieve approximately 0% of our emission target.
  • by aXis100 (690904) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:31PM (#47479757)

    Voters love the environment until it costs them money.

    The Australian economy is having some troubles, but by world standard we are doing OK. Some poeple are genuinely doing it tough and struggle to afford the higher prices caused by the carbon tax, so they want it repealed. More poeple still *think* they are doing it tough, but can still afford ciggies and pay TV. These are a prime demographic for swinging votes, so the government loves to give them a price cut too.

    Fearmongering and a brutal budget this year have made things worse, we are going into Austerity mode (when it is arguably not required) so poeple think that doing something responsible for the environment like the carbon tax is just a "nice to have" and easily discarded.

    Makes me sad to be an Aussie sometimes. The current government has agressively wound back the clock on science and social responsibility:
    - Abolished Australian Renewables Energy Agency, worth $1.3 billion.
    - Stretched $2.5 Billion Emmisions Reduction Fund over 10 years instead of 4
    - Cut $460 million from Carbon Capture and Storage
    - Scrapped the National Water Comission and the Standing Council on Enviroment and Water
    - Cut $110 milliion from CSIRO (the research group that developed WiFi and lots of other cool things)
    - Cut $75 million from the Australian Research Council
    - Cut $80 million from the Cooperative Research Centres program
    - Cut $8 million from the Australian Institute of Marine Science
    - Cut $120 million from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation
    - Cut $28 million from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
    - Cut $36 million from Geoscience Australia

    • by aXis100 (690904) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:34PM (#47479789)

      Oh, I forgot to add - they *didnt* cut the $222 million school chaplaincy program. The agenda is clear, they are just religious luddites.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:03PM (#47479899)

        Oh, I forgot to add - they *didnt* cut the $222 million school chaplaincy program. The agenda is clear, they are just religious luddites.

        Cheer up and take heart in the fact that even in these tough times of austerity they did at least commit to buying 58 more Joint Strike Fighters for $12.4 billion. Cut down on sicence and buy more flying lemons, at least they have a sound strategy.

        • by bentcd (690786)

          Cheer up and take heart in the fact that even in these tough times of austerity they did at least commit to buying 58 more Joint Strike Fighters for $12.4 billion. Cut down on sicence and buy more flying lemons, at least they have a sound strategy.

          That $12.4 billion buys them the continued good will of the world's strongest military power. It's not really about the Australian air force, it's simply cheap insurance.

          My country does the same but only half heartedly tries to claim it's all about strengthening the air force. Hell, if we're really lucky there might actually be some decent jet fighters in it for us in the end. That's not the main point though.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Oh, I forgot to add - they *didnt* cut the $222 million school chaplaincy program. The agenda is clear, they are just religious luddites.

        Hmm, so the current Liberal PM, Tony Abbot is a "religious nutter" for supporting the chaplaincy program.

        Wheres the previous Labor PM, Kevin Rudd (his political opponent)'s position was :

        “I have always been a strong supporter of the role of chaplains in our schools — because they make a difference. They provide an additional adult role model in the school. They help connect the school community, including parents and teachers as well as children themselves. They can arrange expert help with spec

  • 1) No tax on breathing
    2) One less revenue stream for government
    3) More freedom for emitters of CO2
    4) Happier plants since they need CO2
    • by Kittenman (971447)

      1) No tax on breathing
      2) One less revenue stream for government
      3) More freedom for emitters of CO2
      4) Happier plants since they need CO2

      But plants don't vote. Correct me if wrong (just waiting for the first "I, for one, welcome our new vegetable overlords")...

      • by rossdee (243626)

        "4) Happier plants since they need CO2

        But plants don't vote. "

        And I am sure plants in Australia don't want it any hotter. Neither do the animals living there. But they don't get to vote either.

        But the Antarctic area claimed by aussie will become habitable eventually
         

      • by itzly (3699663)
        Most plants need water more than they need CO2.
  • Would having nuclear power as an option be better?
  • by The Evil Atheist (2484676) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:44PM (#47479827) Homepage
    Aussies have this imagined persona of the "Aussie battler".

    I guess that is until it comes to do any real battling, like reducing carbon emissions and settling refugees.
  • Whoo Hoo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:45PM (#47479829) Homepage Journal
    Time to put a big pot of carbon on the barbie!
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Friday July 18, 2014 @01:35AM (#47480363) Journal
    In terms of the "global warming problem", at least. The population of Australia is a rounding error. (7,050M global population - 23M Australians = still over 7B people; Australia is about 3/10th of 1%). The entire population is less than the city of Shanghai, or Karachi, or Beijing... The top 20 cities in the world have 10 X as many people of the Australian continent.

    Good on them that they are voting not to piss in the wind. Specifically, this wind [thegwpf.org].

    Even if humans can significantly affect the rate of change of global warming, taxing the most advanced economies is not going to help as much as doing [insert magic policy here] to change the course of the emerging economies which are going down the path that the 1st world traveled half a century ago.
  • their strategy.

    Forcing people to comply is failing.

    I could suggest consentual systems that would have a big impact on our global carbon debt. The politicians won't like them because it won't give them any power.

    It will help the environment though.

    So... at some level, people are going to have to decide which matters more to them. Power and money or real change?

    If you want real change now is the time drop these stupid programs and go with something consensual that will have a real impact.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I could suggest consentual systems that would have a big impact on our global carbon debt.

      Why don't you, then? Instead of simply waving your hands and expecting us to accept your claims?

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Friday July 18, 2014 @04:42AM (#47480899) Journal
    • I do not like this Abbott twit,
    • I do not like him just one bit,
    • I do not like his marriage stance,
    • Leaving gays without a chance.
    • I do not like his 50s views,
    • About a womans right to choose.
    • I do not like that he thinks strange,
    • Science facts on climate change.
    • I do not like the way he speaks,
    • And fumbles talking on his feets.
    • I do not like his lies and tricks.
    • I do not like his head of bricks.
    • I think we need to vote again.
    • I do not want him as PM

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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