announced the long awaited details of the so-called "carbon tax" and the "price on carbon". I know there are certain readers of my blog who will be expecting me to comment so I will make an effort.
First up? The Prime Minister, politicians of all persuasions and the media have the name wrong. It is a tax on carbon dioxide. It is not a tax on carbon.
Second? It will not make one bit of difference to the problem of pollution. It may even add to pollution.
Third? It will make a difference to the economy and the difference will be a negative one.
The whole thing reminds me of "Mixed Biscuits" - a dog which appears in one of Elizabeth Goudge's novels. "...he was not a tidy eater". The tax is gobbling down money and spraying small amounts over the side of the plate for the tax payer to clean up.
It is a desperate attempt to look as if the government is doing something about the environment because they are dependent on the support of the Greens in order to stay in power. The Greens now say they have a "good deal" but that it "could be better". The reality is that they have less than they wanted or could have had if the government had been honest with the electorate and said they were going to introduce the tax at the last election - except of course they may not have won the election. Most of the so-called "independents" are so frightened of losing their seats at an election that they are clinging to power for as long as they can and will do whatever the government asks of them while pretending to negotiate good deals for their electorates.
Now, I am all for looking after the environment. My father and I do not own a car and we try not to use other people's cars or even public transport unless it is really necessary. We try to buy locally and responsibly. We recycle. Our house was built to maximise the use of the natural environment. We try to be responsible in our use of water (including our own rainwater) and electricity. We do not go overboard with any of these things but we are conscious of our impact on the environment and we will put an extra pullover before we think about using heating. No, we do not make ourselves uncomfortable but we do think about what we are doing.
I think that may be the problem. The so-called "carbon" tax has started at the wrong end. It has started with "500 big polluters" - it was to be a thousand but that had to change under pressure. There are all sorts of "exemptions" and "compensation". It is going to be extraordinarily complex. It is going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to administer. There are already indications that there will be economic consequences and that many people who already try to be environmentally responsible will be hit while those who make no effort to be will be rewarded.
The reality is that this tax is nothing more than a means of shifting money around and trying to con people into the belief that the government is being "environmentally responsible". I doubt the Opposition would have done any better either.
The problem is that, if we really want to do something about the environment, then everyone has to change. We have to change the way we live. We need to use motor vehicles less. We need to grow more of our own food. We need to shop locally. We need to turn off the heating or the cooling unless it is extremely cold or hot. We need to dress according to the weather. New housing has to be built in accordance with the climate and not the fashion.
Those sort of things could set an example to the rest of the world. We still would not make a huge impact on the world's carbon dioxide levels but we might be able to say, "We think this is the way we can do it."
As it is now the rest of the world is going to laugh at us. We cannot even get the name right.