There are people who deny the reality of global warming, or climate change, or at least the role that humans play in that scenario. Of course some people have vested interests not to believe and of course some people once denied a spherical Earth or that Earth orbited the Sun (and not vice versa) or that stones could fall from the sky. Wishing or belief, however sincere, doesn’t make things so. The consensus is that global warming is factual and that the human species is largely responsible. We do have to hedge our bets ever so slightly since terrestrial climates have altered due to forces not related to human activities on the grounds that these climate changes happened before humans were created in anyone’s philosophy. https://urthenergy.com.au/
However, it’s probably prudent to err on the side of the argument that accepts Planet Earth is warming up and that humans are largely to blame, especially when most of the experts in this area agree that it is so.
And so, many governments, organizations and individuals try to do what they can to address the issue, though often hindered by factors such as 1) global warming is a future crisis so there’s plenty of time to act and anyway we have enough current crisis situations on our plate to deal with in the here and now, and 2) the economy and jobs and the goods and services we all need are often the very things that contribute to climate change in the first place. It’s called being caught between a rock and a hard place. Still, we mostly all try to do our bit, even if it’s akin to trying to bail out the sinking Titanic with a thimble. At least one is making an effort.
On the other hand, some measures designed to address global warming can be a phony as a $3 bill. Take the case of Australia and the implementation of her carbon tax. The operative word here is “tax”.
Now as we are all aware the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Taxes are a legal instrument of government designed to separate money that’s not already in the grubby hands (coffers) of government, into the grubby hands (coffers) of government. So individuals and any for-profit institutions both private and public have to cough up at regular intervals dough to satisfy the needs and demands of the current powers-that-be. Okay, on average people have little argument against that grubbiness since they want public roads and public education and sewage works and all those sorts of infrastructure and social security safety nets taxes provide (provisions which of course includes regular increases in politician’s pay above and beyond the inflation rate, and of course additional lurks and perks for those powers-that-be that tax us in the first place, but that’s another topic).
That said, increases in taxes are never popular, and so it came to pass that the Prime Minister of Australia, one Ms Julia Gillard (soon to be ex-PM if the opinion polls are any guide), went to the great unwashed at the last Federal election with the election promise that there would be “no carbon tax” introduced and implemented under her government. Let’s repeat that “no” so there will be no misunderstanding of what came to pass.
But then it came to pass that her political party didn’t quite get enough runs (votes) on the (electoral) board to rule the roost in their own right, and so they had to get into bed and between the sheets with one of the minority parties and this form a majority quasi-coalition. That minor party happened to be Australia’s environmental party, known, not surprisingly, as The Greens. However, the price of admission The Greens required for that romp in bed was – you guessed it – a carbon tax. That’s because The Greens like to feel all fuzzy – that feel good all over; nice inner glow sensation – by doing things for Mother Nature first and worry about the truth and consequences of that action on humans later.
And so it came to pass that Ms Gillard and her Green bedmates saw to it that Australia got that carbon tax that she promised we wouldn’t never, ever have while she was chief cook and bottle washer. It’s the same old lesson never learned by the voter – you can’t trust a politician and a political promise, especially just before an election.
Now the introduced and implemented carbon tax doesn’t mean that individuals have to eventually declare on their tax return forms how much carbon [dioxide] they put into the environment in the financial year just begun. Not even politicians with all the hot air they spout out have to make such an entry or declaration – pity. The carbon tax is designed for the big carbon dioxide emitters, large companies and big industries that use a lot of energy to do what they do and in the process emit lots of greenhouse gases. Okay, you’re the CEO of one of these companies and the government has socked it to you. Now what?
Well at first glance you’d think it would be in the best interest of these companies or industries to clean up their act and cut back on their carbon emissions, modernize with new technologies, etc. and thus pay less carbon tax. Of course that means shelling out money up front for such modernization, and even so, it’s a pipedream to think that they can reduce their pollution to zero.
Ah, but there is an easier less costly option. Keep up the status quo. Pollute like hell, pay the carbon tax, and recoup what you pay the government by socking it in turn to the consumer. Most of the products produced by high polluting companies or industries are must-have items the consumer can’t do without – like electricity. When you have the consumer by their short and curly parts – a captive audience – their wallets will follow where you lead them. So, if you fly, expect to pay more because of the carbon tax since the airlines aren’t going to pay extra to the government and cop the loss just because jet aircraft emit carbon dioxide. If you buy anything made of steel and/or aluminum, like a car or an appliance, expect to pay more since it takes a lot of energy to produce metals from raw ores. If the farmer has to pay more for farming, you’ll pay extra at the supermarket.
Release of carbon dioxide is a function of energy production and use. Generating electricity efficiently across an entire continent generates lots of carbon dioxide. In this case the continent in question is Australia. So why not generate carbon free energy via nuclear power? Alas, Australians are paranoid about the use of carbon dioxide free nuclear energy on home soil; though Australia happily exports uranium to other nuclear powered counties. Maybe Australia’s paranoia is because our lords and masters, the British, tested their nuclear weapons on our home turf (not theirs). But then we (Australia) are just a humble and minor colony of the mighty British Empire and so it remains to this very day – but that’s another story. Related, it’s time long overdue to kick the British royal family (legally Australia’s royal family too) in the privates and be done with these parasites who have turned lurks and perks into an art form. Australia needs to declare its own Independence Day and become a Republic, but that too is another topic. Meantime, let’s get back to the carbon tax.
So, carbon dioxide emissions via coal or gas generated electricity is what Australians are willing to accept. And what they now have to accept is that all electricity prices, thanks to the carbon tax, are heading in the direction of outer space – upwards. So any industry that uses electricity and that means all small, medium and big businesses, will have to pass on that extra cost, that carbon tax burden, directly or indirectly, onto the consumer. I mean only a total idiot will believe that they will absorb the carbon tax loss with a fuzzy smile on their face. But wait, the pain doesn’t stop there.
Of course you the home consumer also use electricity directly. When it comes to paying for your own personal domestic electricity supply and usage, the power buck stops with you – unfortunately. You can’t pass on your domestic home electricity price increases on down the line. There is no further on down the line. So, you’re slugged twice by the carbon tax – indirectly as a consumer of goods and services where producers and suppliers and their carbon tax burden has been passed on to you, and directly as a homebody.
So what is the bottom line here? The powers-that-be, the government coffers, gets more revenue. Polluting companies don’t ultimately lose their revenue to the government since they pass on their share of the carbon tax to the consumer. The buck stops with the consumer – that private individual who ultimately absorbs the cost of it all. Oh, and what of the environment which was supposed to be the ultimate beneficiary. Well, in my scenario, there is no benefit. There is no decrease in carbon (dioxide) despite the carbon (dioxide) tax. The result is the status quo; business as usual. Government wins; industry breaks even; consumers lose; the environment loses.
But even against all the odds, what if the carbon tax works to such an extreme degree never originally envisioned, and Australia cuts back on it’s carbon dioxide emissions by 99.99% (people are still allowed to exhale, but that’s about it). We’ve all gone back to the Stone Age, even prior to the discovery of domestic fire. Will that result in an environmentally fuzzier and cooler climate in the lands Down Under? I’m afraid not. There won’t be one solitary jot of temperature decrease for the extremely simple and bloody obvious reason that atmospheric gases do not respect national borders or boundaries. That aside, even the government admits that it will take at least 15 years before there’s any evident and measurable reduction in carbon dioxide levels, even if Australia’s atmosphere stayed put above Australia and Australia thusly received all the benefits of carbon dioxide reductions due to the carbon tax – but that’s assuming those taxed did the hard yards and made an effort to reduce their emissions – not a given.
However, let’s not end on a totally negative note. With post carbon tax electricity prices increasing by an average of 10% (it’s actually 17.3% in my local neck of the woods), people may not be able to afford to fly or buy automobiles or the petrol (gasoline) to power them, or petrol-operated leaf blowers and chainsaws. Maybe carbon dioxide levels really will go down after all – but I wouldn’t bet the family farm on it. So, let’s instead end this on a totally negative note after all.
All up, when it comes to addressing global warming, I have to employ that old hairy chestnut observation that “when all is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done”. That I suspect hits the nail on the head when it comes to real action on climate change. So I feel it is pretty hopeless trying to stop and reverse global warming – there’s just too much vested (economic) interests standing in the way, like your standard of living the good life to which you have become accustomed to and your continued employment.
In the long term it will probably be far easier to just go with the flow and adapt to whatever long term changes are in store in any specific geographical area. If humans can’t achieve that sort of adjustment, something’s seriously amiss. On that theme, the one disquieting thing I find about all the contributing verbal hot air spouted off by those who like to spout off about how nasty climate change is, is that all and sundry assume that everything that comes to pass about global warming is a negative. Warm will be warmer; hot will be hotter; storms will be stormier; dry will be drier; wet will be wetter, etc. Well, some dry areas will become wetter and some wet areas will become drier, and some frigid areas will become milder; even some tropical areas might become slightly cooler. I’m sure there are lots of people in areas prone to very cold winters who would welcome a trend towards an extended autumn and an earlier spring and reduced heating bills and less driving in the snow and ice.