What I don't get about the carbon tax

The carbon tax: I still don't get it
A few years ago I was in Florence and visited a museum to see the famed statue of David.

Let’s be clear, I’m not what you would call an ‘art fan’.  In fact, looking at paintings and sculptures is up there with the most boring activities I can think of, right alongside grocery shopping, listening to Missy Higgins and watching the Sydney Swans play football.

However, upon entering the museum and checking out the statue, I couldn’t help but be impressed.

First of all, it’s massive.  It’s way bigger than I thought it was going to be.  Secondly, there were people everywhere along with security guards trying to stop you take photos of it.  And, of course, as soon as someone is trying to stop you doing something, it becomes instantly more entertaining.

In other words, I went in with low expectations but ended up being thoroughly entertained.

It’s the same with the carbon tax… only the exact opposite.

It’s officially a few weeks since the introduction on the carbon tax and, I’ll be honest, I haven’t noticed its effects at all. 

The only tangible evidence I can detect of its introduction is the smorgasbord of political vitriol being hurdled by both sides of the spectrum at one another.

Granted, this isn’t exactly limited to the carbon tax, but other than the sound bites on the evening news, I would barely know Australia had introduced a price on carbon.

Let me stop right here and say: this doesn’t compute.  Surely the reason you introduce a mechanism aimed at reducing pollution would be for it to actually do just that.

So far, almost the entire debate has revolved around how little effect it will have rather than how big an effect it will have.

Surely if you want to sell the benefits of a pollution-reducing mechanism you’d want to talk about, oh I don’t know, how much it will reduce pollution?

Instead you have Government Ministers trotting out, one after the other, saying how little an effect the carbon tax will have on companies’ bottom lines.

Then you have Opposition spokespeople trotting out left, right and centre saying how big an effect it will have on companies’ bottom lines.

It feels like I’m living in an alternate reality. Surely if you’re introducing a tax to encourage companies not to pollute, you’d want it to have an effect?  Yet the Government seems utterly desperate to convince everyone who’ll listen that it won’t have any effect.  All that’s missing is a visit to Biff Tannen’s casino and the alternate reality experience will be complete.

The best example I could come up with (in the 5 seconds thought I devoted to it) is buying a Porsche and then going out of your way to tell everyone how slow it is.  Why the hell would you buy a Porsche only to drive it slowly???  You buy a Prosche to drive fast and you put in place a carbon tax to reduce pollution.

And here’s something I also don’t understand.  According to almost every report I can find from Climate Change committees and institutes is that we’re on the verge of causing irreparable damage to the environment.

So surely, if we’re going to combat dangerous climate change, we need to take some pretty radical steps.

I reckon a carbon tax, which its designers are desperate to convince everyone won’t actually make any difference, isn’t the best way to mitigate dangerous climate change.

Yes – radical reasoning, eh?

So, I’m officially asking for better ideas.  What’s the best way to mitigate climate change if it’s not a carbon tax?

Or, am I totally wrong?  Am I more incorrect than this person?  If so, leave a comment and help a brother out.


Anonymous said…
I dunno about all this Carbon Tax stuff....just bring back the mail bag!