Friday, June 3, 2011

The climate for change

My Dad always told me, "son when you go out camping, do not take a dump anywhere near your campsite, if you do you will have to live with the smell." Now I am not a climate change fanatic, nor am I a head in the sand sceptic, you could say I am a moderate. I was going to say I was a 'climate change liberal' but that might not go down to well with my greener readers. But i seems to me that we as society have lowered our strides, squatted on our haunches and proceeded to take a big dump over this planet we call home, I don't know about you but I am beginning to get a waft of shite coming my way.
Let my preface the following: I am not a scientist, aligned to any political lobby group/party or am I an actress/actor spruiking the cause, basically I am just a middle age bloke whose thoughts will probably throw up more questions than answers.

Now our current government has suggested a carbon tax, to me the word tax makes me quiver in my jocks. I have three kids, cars and bills, I am being smashed around the head with constant rises in utilities and cost of living increases. Just last week I had to sell a kidney to buy some banana's for the kids lunches, currently I am in negotiations with the Epworth Eye Clinic in regards to the sale of my left cornea so as I can purchase a lamb roast for Sunday lunch when the family comes over. So the possibility of another tax that could impact  my already over taxed existence was probably not the best sell ever by a government, especially when the lead in prior to the last election was "we will not introduce a carbon tax". From the onset this has taken some of the credibility away from a very credible topic that needs urgent attention and action, the further we head down this path of inaction the longer the way back it becomes. The average punter wants to see change but they want certainty in their economic future and the ability to provide for their families. Now I do not want to sound simple here, but we are a supply and demand society. As wealth increases and population growth continues to rocket forward we are going to create  higher demand so business will have to supply greater levels of goods, services and utilities to meet this demand.  This will lead to more revenue being created via the tax on carbon emissions created from the increase in manufacturing needed to supply the extra goods, services and utilities. So what does our current government plan to do with this new found income stream? That's right folks they will compensate families and businesses impacted by the expected increase via the way of income tax breaks, rebates and increases in welfare payments to offset the expected increases, bloody super, I will not have to sell a lung to pay for the next kilogram of banana's I need to buy!

At the risk of sounding like a real simpleton, isn't the purpose of a tax on carbon to reduce our dependence on being a carbon based economy and look at ways of finding/developing alternate energy supplies? Buy compensating families and businesses who are directly affected from the implementation of the carbon tax aren't we only moving money around and not actually creating any longterm solutions? If quoted figures are correct the price on carbon emissions will be $26 per tonne which will create revenue of $11.5 billion, anyone want to take a stab at what percentage the federal government plans on spending on green research and development? A tight fisted 10%, that is all, bloody pathetic isn't it. This is on top of winding back solar rebate schemes and other renewable energy programs/initiatives implemented to try and make us a more energy efficient society. So the other 90% of the raised revenue goes to compensating business and ordinary Australians for the expected cost increases, ever heard of the saying "robbing Peter to pay Paul", prime example people, it just does not make sense.

I did go looking for what our beloved federal opposition had via the way of alternatives to this governments proposals, no great surprises in the fact that I did not find a hell of a lot to write about, fiction is a bit more prevalent than fact it would seem. Also it is hard to determine the identity of our opposition when all you can see is their butts because their collective heads are buried in the sand regarding this issue.

No I am not going to sit here and pretend that I have the answers, but I do have a few thoughts. This issue is beyond party politics and should be tackled in a bi-partisan manner, imaging all out elected representatives working to together on the single biggest common issue affecting not only Australia, but the globe. Maybe our elected representatives could actually expand renewable energy grants, for instance expand the solar energy rebate, not wind it back as will occur at the end of this financial year. How about a true green loan scheme, 0% interest and repayable via income tax or redemption of tax returns for those wishing to utilise  renewable energy sources/technologies. Imagine the reduction in carbon emissions if even 25% Australian homes were solar sustainable efficient? We have the technology people, but do we have a government with the balls to walk away from big business and the power they wield within our supposed democracy? At the end of the day a new tax is not going to change peoples perceptions, it will only harden peoples resolves against expanding their ideologies. Government must take decisive, informed action and remember that it is ordinary Australians that elected them to make important decisions such as action on climate change. But unfortunately it appears that all level of government dances to the tune of powerful lobby groups, remember the mining tax? It is easier for our government to buy off voters with a few shiny income tax breaks than it is to stand up to a lobby group-after all they could not risk losing their funding base. The Garnaut review into climate change has been released, it will be interesting to see how many of the recommendations are adopted by the multi party committee into climate change or will we end up with another outcome like the Henry tax review, pick and choose politics?

Rant over....

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