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Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

samzenpus posted about two weeks ago | from the you-keep-it dept.

Earth 291

schwit1 notes that the Australian government has repealed a controversial carbon tax.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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291 comments

Australia rocks (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about two weeks ago | (#47479697)

we eat carbon for breakfast and fart CO2 all day long

Re:Australia rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479773)

we eat carbon for breakfast and fart CO2 all day long

If you ate CO2 and shat carbon, I would adopt an Aussie.

it is the wrong way... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479703)

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 going to eat the cost that is for sure.

Re:it is the wrong way... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479723)

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:it is the wrong way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479891)

The reality however is that making the gains to produce less pollution are far more expensive than the carbon tax itself, all it did in Australia was create a heap of bureaucracy (at the expense of tax payers) and more revenue for the government which they then continue to waste. combine that with the idiotic compensation schemes that were in place which directly removed the incentive to be more efficient and all it amounted to was another wealth redistribution tax. If you want to fix the environment then everybody needs to contribute, everybody needs to be openly aware of the costs and contributing and the funds should be channelled directly into improving the situation not as just another tax.

Re: it is the wrong way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479927)

If your government isn't producing an effective bureaucracy and spending money judiciously, you should see about fixing that.

Unfortunately, the more strident calls for such actions come from those who see advantage from it for themselves than real gain.

Just like the impeachment calls for Obama. Too much crying wolf. Except the little boy got himself a sheep funded wolf spotting chair.

Re: it is the wrong way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479983)

Uhh, the aussies did exactly what you suggest; Abbot's campaign promised to repeal the carbon tax, which appears to be the only campaign promise he kept.

You're mistaken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480149)

No, the Aussies did not do what I suggested, but suffered from what I expected would happen, that the ones making the more strident calls for such actions would see advantage from it for themselves, rather than real gain.

At no point did they undertake creating an effective bureaucracy or fix their other spending problems. Instead they bought into those who cried wolf.

Re:it is the wrong way... (3, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | about two weeks ago | (#47479901)

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 directly, with a very special line item they can't miss, that says "carbon tax, because you exist" - and they'll act. Well, mostly they'll act to elect people who will undo that tax, but they'll act.

Re:it is the wrong way... (2)

Uecker (1842596) | about two weeks ago | (#47479971)

A carbon tax does not affect every business equally.

Re:it is the wrong way... (5, Insightful)

Yaztromo (655250) | about two weeks ago | (#47479995)

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

Re:it is the wrong way... (5, Informative)

dudpixel (1429789) | about two weeks ago | (#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.

Re:it is the wrong way... (4, Informative)

itzly (3699663) | about two weeks ago | (#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.

Re:it is the wrong way... (1)

Mr307 (49185) | about two weeks ago | (#47479957)

Its my impression that in some cases exactly the opposite will happen where instead companies will simply put $$$ into carbon offsets and not pay any extra taxes or even less taxes via the cost of a competitive offset market.

So its possible that the richest biggest polluters will not curtail their output but instead pay a potentially voluntary tax possibly even a lesser amount.

But I haven't looked into that too much and I'm prepared to be updated corrected and informed now.

Re:it is the wrong way... (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about two weeks ago | (#47480025)

...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] .

Re:it is the wrong way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480173)

That's part of why a well-designed carbon tax is revenue neutral. Any money the government collects from a carbon tax should be paid back to the people in the form of a smaller income tax, which should balance out the increased price of goods due to the carbon tax.

Re:it is the wrong way... (2)

WillKemp (1338605) | about two weeks ago | (#47479745)

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?

Re:it is the wrong way... (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about two weeks ago | (#47479965)

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.

Re:it is the wrong way... (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about two weeks ago | (#47480001)

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.

Re: it is the wrong way... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480039)

Along with flying cars and hover boards...

Re: it is the wrong way... (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about two weeks ago | (#47480091)

Energy use in highly-developed countries such as Germany or United States has been more or less stable for the last decades with a slight downwards trend. This is expected to continue.

Re:it is the wrong way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479969)

Oh the idea has merit. It is why it keeps coming up. However, who eats the cost? We do. We as end consumers eat it.

If every company ends up paying the tax to get energy then there is no arbitrage so no profit in not passing the cost onto the customer instead of trying to out do your competitor. So you end up raising costs in general and no one does anything other than pay another tax.

It is an assumption that taxes will lower consumption because magically better tech because magically better tech is cheaper. They only lower it as a side effect that you can not buy as much. Not because people will magically get better at something. This is a reduction in production not because of better tech but because there is more cost. But what if the tech does not show up? What if the newer tech costs more? What if the new tech just has a different type of pollution?

How do you recommend governments act to reduce carbon emissions?
The better way is thru better tech. For example car emissions are down by 50% since 1960. Thru the use of standards. Coal usage is way down due to the use of natural gas instead. Better tech. Instead we want to take money away from everyone to give to the government to do what with? They are going to take it and put it into research? They clearly can not balance their checkbook much less decide we need better research. Why would we give them more money? I do not give crack addicts more crack.

I'm not sure who the "we" is that you're referring to
I mean all of us. These platitudes people come up with sound good. But many times end up hurting the very people they try to help. If you look at taxes thru the lens of the broken window fallacy you see how it is not a good idea. If the gov really wanted to clean things up they would come up with standards and make our businesses stick to them. Instead we have coal plants built in the 1920s that have been grandfathered in for generations. We have toxic dumps laying around in peoples backyards because our gov can not be assed to even enforce the rules it has now.

Tax and credit is a scheme to create an fake distortion to the market. Mark my words everything else will go up in price. Including the profits of energy companies. As they can count the tax as part of their gross profits then bury it in the net. Just like every cigarette company out there does. I have started investing in energy companies exactly because of this. I am putting my money where my mouth is. Look no further than what Obama did a few weeks ago. He picked winners and losers. The winners are nuke plants. Look to what stocks his cabinet owns.

Re:it is the wrong way... (2, Insightful)

WillKemp (1338605) | about two weeks ago | (#47480121)

Oh the idea has merit. It is why it keeps coming up. However, who eats the cost? We do. We as end consumers eat it.

Who do you think will eat the cost of rising sea levels and dried up water supplies? It certainly won't be the companies that caused the problems in the first place. It will be us again. But those costs will be astronomically higher than a tiny little carbon tax.

Re:it is the wrong way... (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about two weeks ago | (#47479987)

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. There then becomes an incentive both ways to improve your efficiency. The first is you don't have to by permits, so you have a cost focussed incentive. The second is you get carbon credits through doing carbon trapping businesses, so agribusiness and carbon sequestration projects have an income stream.

Re:it is the wrong way... (4, Insightful)

alexibu (1071218) | about two weeks ago | (#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.

Re:it is the wrong way... (4, Insightful)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about two weeks ago | (#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.

Re:it is the wrong way... (1)

alexibu (1071218) | about two weeks ago | (#47480137)

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 example of the current government raising taxes, and is unrelated to the present discussion about the carbon tax.

Re:it is the wrong way... (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about two weeks ago | (#47480185)

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?

Re:it is the wrong way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480117)

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.

Not true. Income tax was not reduced under the previous Labor government -- Labor had already "deferred" the tax cuts past the election meaning they never actually happened. But that hasn't stopped them trying the dishonest tactic of claiming the new government is "raising taxes" when they don't implement a cut that the previous government had already knowingly deferred until they wouldn't be in office. It was clear for years before the election the ALP was going to be kicked out. It seems they've tried the political shenanigans of "after the election the government will be giving everyone a million bucks!" knowing they wouldn't have to implement it, and then shouting "the bastard next government is taking away your million bucks!" when the next government doesn't implement their landmine.

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

Unfortunately, for the previous government "things you want to discourage" was apparently "poor people being able to afford to heat and light their homes".

Re:it is the wrong way... (1)

arpad1 (458649) | about two weeks ago | (#47480053)

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?

Dissappointed (5, Interesting)

dcrisp (267918) | about two weeks ago | (#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:Dissappointed (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479743)

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'.

Re:Dissappointed (2)

mykro76 (1137341) | about two weeks ago | (#47479765)

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 would serve you well.

Re:Dissappointed (0, Troll)

Tailhook (98486) | about two weeks ago | (#47479865)

I think a little less exaggeration and hyperbole would serve you well

That's probably true, however the people you have in mind have been filled with so much contempt and hate they can't contain it. They're self image is `tolerance' and noble intentions, but look around and some of these responses; you'll find rage and rationalization of anti-democratic `solutions' to the `problem' of `short-sighted' voters. Give them unfettered power and there will be no bottom to the well of anti-human tyranny.

It's not about environment. It's about the power to enforce a world view.

Re:Dissappointed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479889)

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 Kevin Rudd (the previous one).

You'd think with all his talk of "mandates" that he'd be more supportive of gay rights.

Re:Dissappointed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479903)

In spite of the hyperbole you wish to see less of, the legislation just repealed was an emissions trading scheme. The pricing mechanism was still being phased in, with a fixed price until 1 July 2015, after which the price per unit was set by auction (i.e. market forces). The emissions units were property and could be sold and transferred, i.e. traded. The irony of PUP voting to repeal the "tax" but only on the guarantee of a future trading scheme is outstanding.

Re:Dissappointed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480101)

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 place or bringing them online.

here [carbonneutral.com.au]
  and here [google.com.au] [PDF].

Re:Dissappointed (3, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about two weeks ago | (#47479795)

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 decline or quiver in rage while they vote for prosperity.

The other option is to nullify the voters with statism, which I'm sure you'll have no trouble rationalizing.

Re:Dissappointed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479945)

As mentioned earlier, this government was not voted in, the previous one was voted out.
You're a fucking idiot.

Re:Dissappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480037)

aka i dont agree with you so you must be a fucking idiot

Re:Dissappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480051)

I disagree with you both, so you should all kill yourselves because I'm right.

Re:Dissappointed (5, Insightful)

aybiss (876862) | about two weeks ago | (#47480057)

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.

Re:Dissappointed (0)

Tailhook (98486) | about two weeks ago | (#47480235)

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

I suspect you're over-generalizing there. More likely it's one particular parties' mandate you've grown sick of. When the pendulum swings the other way you probably have a great deal of tolerance for supposed electoral mandates.

1 ... 2 ... 3 ....

The moral certitude you indulge has you reaching for some thread that would grant immunity to your agenda despite election results. I think the president of the United States did particularly well at disabusing folks of this mentality. When confronted with minority party survivors and the litany of policies they expected to be honored, he said;

"We won."

Anything else you need clarified?

Re:Dissappointed (4, Insightful)

HJED (1304957) | about two weeks ago | (#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)

Re:Dissappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480205)

Yeah, don't blame the government. Blame the dumbasses who elected them.

Re:Dissappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479837)

As an Australian, I think you're a fuckwit. Amongst other things, you clearly have no idea about the difference between what the Federal govt is responsible for, compared to what the states are responsible for.

Secondly, the government is not disgusted at what people are installing in their own homes. Where the fuck did you get that from?

"Outside of the government there is an enormous ground swell of alternative energy research". That's great, because all of the government funded ones don't seem to be getting anywhere, whether they be wavepower units that sink off the coast of South Australia (taking millions of dollars with them) or geothermal energy companies that blow $100 million of government funding with nothing to show for it.

Don't get me wrong, "alternative energy" is a great goal, but as soon as governments begin waving free money around, out come the shysters and thieves and out goes accountability. I've been waiting for this for a long time. And waiting...

Re:Dissappointed (4, Insightful)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about two weeks ago | (#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.

Re:Dissappointed (1)

complete loony (663508) | about two weeks ago | (#47480267)

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 banking sector will reduce the flow of new money. If the government attempts to do the same, we'll end up like Greece.

Re:Dissappointed (1)

LukeWebber (117950) | about two weeks ago | (#47480007)

Relax. Tony Abbott will tell you that "climate change is crap". And Tony is a widely-respected climate scientist. Right?
What? His degrees are in Arts and Boxing, you say? Well, give the guy a chance, OK? He knows what he's doing. He told us so.

Re:Dissappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480237)

As an American, I am envious of Australia as they aren't falling for the climate change conspiracy theory.

Pwned (5, Insightful)

WillKemp (1338605) | about two weeks ago | (#47479733)

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:Pwned (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479749)

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

Re:Pwned (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479855)

Awww, sadface sadface.

Re:Pwned (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479863)

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.

"Conservative" and "Ignorant" are synonyms. So what's next on the forward-into-the-past agenda? Are they going to rectify their past mistakes by bringing back the "White Australia" policy?

Re:Pwned (2)

Trepidity (597) | about two weeks ago | (#47479993)

When it comes to Tone Abbott it's hard to limit yourself to just one or two examples of stupidity, but one of the more impressive fuckups was that he's so rabidly supportive of Sri Lanka's questionable government, that even the UK and USA are getting annoyed [smh.com.au] .

Re:Pwned (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about two weeks ago | (#47480017)

No I don't think so. I think the plan is to stop spending more than we earn. Though if that is considered forward-into-the-past I'm all for it.

Hardly surprising.. (4, Insightful)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about two weeks ago | (#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.

Re:Hardly surprising.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479793)

The concept of democracy does not dictate an implementation strategy.
Simple majority rule with no substantive qualification on citizenship is a road to extinction.

Inhale and exhale successfully for the specified number of years and you get the same say as everyone else.
An idiotologically perfect concept that is perfectly idiotic.

Re: Hardly surprising.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479841)

Brilliant

Re:Hardly surprising.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479833)

I see you've been drinking the alarmist koolaid.

Damn, it's almost not even a figure of speech with you.

Re:Hardly surprising.. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | about two weeks ago | (#47479961)

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 natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.

Re:Hardly surprising.. (1)

timholman (71886) | about two weeks ago | (#47479963)

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.

Wait what? (1)

djupedal (584558) | about two weeks ago | (#47479737)

Is this an Aussie no to Kyoto, then?

No surprise, really...just one of many more to come, I think.

Canada already rejected Kyoto (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479799)

Canada was the first country to withdraw from the Kyoto treaty after signing it.

The fad has passed, the UN bureaucrats missed their window, now the earth is in a cooling phase, people won't buy the BS anymore...though they will try and scare people with weather and make scary talk of climate disruption.

Re:Wait what? (1)

HJED (1304957) | about two weeks ago | (#47480177)

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.

Swapping Mr. Pigou for Mr. Magoo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479751)

The $100 lamb roast predicted by Barnaby Joyce never came to pass. And a cow costing as much as a house? Excuse me as I laugh harder, since there has been no rise in food prices attributable to the tax, and the price of food won't fall because of its repeal. The only thing that will happen is that more coal will be burned and more pollution, since the costs of externalities won't be internalized.

So good job, I guess, and buy stock in coal companies.

Re:Swapping Mr. Pigou for Mr. Magoo (3, Informative)

bane2571 (1024309) | about two weeks ago | (#47479803)

AGL are reporting that their most polluting coal fired electricity plant(s) is now $186M less profitable due to loss of government funding provided entirely by the carbon tax. Essentially it was funding pollution, not penalising it. PEr the AFR: http://www.afr.com/p/business/... [afr.com] (paywalled, but the summary say it all) The carbon tax never did anything due to a ridiculous number of exemptions and pay-back subsidies designed to protect labour voting areas - one of which the above coal fired plant is in.

Re:Swapping Mr. Pigou for Mr. Magoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479919)

Coal electricity plants were actually being compensated under the carbon tax to the extent that they were even more profitable to run. removal of the tax has made them less profitable not more so. If you are concerned about coal fire plants than the removal of the carbon tax is a good thing. The tax was so badly put together it was making such polluting industries even more profitable.

Govt panders to short-sighted voters, news at 11 (5, Informative)

aXis100 (690904) | about two weeks ago | (#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

Re:Govt panders to short-sighted voters, news at 1 (5, Informative)

aXis100 (690904) | about two weeks ago | (#47479789)

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

Re:Govt panders to short-sighted voters, news at 1 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#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.

Re:Govt panders to short-sighted voters, news at 1 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480207)

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 specific challenges, such as dealing with family breakdown, bullying, self-esteem, drugs, grief and behavioural management problems.”

Oh. Ok, let's try his predecessor, Julia Gillard who is famously an atheist, surely she'd think it was terrible. She had this to say to an ABC reporter in 2010:

"I think it's a great program... I believe it's a great program" (And that $222 million figure is from when she increased the funding to it.)

However much you might dislike churches, governments of both persuasions have consistently found the chaplaincy program to be a good thing. And the problems they have faced in court have been around how the federal government funds local programs (rather than going through the states), not actually around what the chaplains do.

Re:Govt panders to short-sighted voters, news at 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479943)

You've already decided that you don't like them, it looks like now you know why. Fact of the matter is, if things keep on going the way they are, then there will be a budget emergency. Can't have spending growth while income is reducing. While Alan Jones can be a real arse, he's right when he says "rob peter to pay paul, and paul will vote for you". I think the level of government funded non-productivity is blowing all of our largess. If we keep on heading that way, the whole country will end up like Tasmania!

I think Australia is going through a transition, where the modern era is finally catching up to. We've fallen way behind on that front, relying on minerals and mining to fund our lifestyles, while we haven't capitalised and built on it. We literally got a large windfall and promptly blew it. I think we're heading the way of Chile and Argentina.

Re:Govt panders to short-sighted voters, news at 1 (2)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480143)

Why do you assume things will continue to go the way they are indefinitely until some emergency occurs? The argument is that austerity at this time is unnecessary, and that other measures could lead to things improving in the future without adversely affecting us now.

As for the minerals boom, it's not really going anywhere (people will still need massive quantities of iron and such in the future) and we haven't capitalised on it because passing taxes to distribute the wealth from the minerals apparently isn't possible with our current political parties. Minerals aren't a renewable resource, it seems entirely daft that the overwhelming majority of the value from extracting them goes to a couple of people; it's not like anyone could come along and do the same thing in the future, they're destroying that resource permanently. It's not "robbing peter to pay paul", it's Peter destroying the town water supply so Paul can't have any in the future, and the government wanting to preserve that supply.

Check yourself, anyway; unlike the person you accuse of making up their mind then finding facts to support it, you have made up your mind and found no facts, just empty rhetoric, to support it.

thank goodness because (1, Troll)

rcb1974 (654474) | about two weeks ago | (#47479763)

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

Re:thank goodness because (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about two weeks ago | (#47479821)

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")...

Re:thank goodness because (1)

rossdee (243626) | about two weeks ago | (#47479881)

"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
 

Re:thank goodness because (1)

linearz69 (3473163) | about two weeks ago | (#47480257)

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

Yup. And who needed those polar ice caps anyway?

The "big footprints" graph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479801)

I kind of wonder where they get their data for that "big footprints" graph. In places like Mexico and India they burn more wood. It's not like the woods have a meter on them. Also, in these other countries people literally live on top of their own shit. I'm not kidding. Ask why you're not supposed to flush toilet paper in Mexico. So of course you burn a lot less carbon when you don't provide a modern infrastructure--operating sewage treatment plants, building and maintaining sewer lines burns a lot of fuel. That's just one example. Whatever...

Where does this leave the nuclear option? (2)

ceview (2857765) | about two weeks ago | (#47479819)

Would having nuclear power as an option be better?

Re:Where does this leave the nuclear option? (0)

thebes (663586) | about two weeks ago | (#47479867)

It's pronounced "nookular".

Re:Where does this leave the nuclear option? (1)

Harlequin80 (1671040) | about two weeks ago | (#47479967)

Yes it would but the Australian population as a whole is terrified of the Nuclear bogeyman.

Re:Where does this leave the nuclear option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479973)

Nuclear is often better. The problems come after the time for the reactor has ran out. Then we start with seeing how much longer we can run that piece of shit (because not in my backyard prevents new ones and of course corporate greed wants old ones as long as possible). And then problems start to develop. And then suddenly nuclear energy is fucking horrible.

Re:Where does this leave the nuclear option? (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about two weeks ago | (#47480079)

Because dumbasses like you think nuclear technology stopped advancing in 1970. Yeah.

Re:Where does this leave the nuclear option? (1)

aybiss (876862) | about two weeks ago | (#47480069)

We're sitting on the largest known deposits of radioactive materials in the world I believe. But in a country where racism is still rampant under the title of "Operation Sovereign Borders", how accepting do you think the population will be of nookular power?

Re:Where does this leave the nuclear option? (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about two weeks ago | (#47480131)

We also have a crapload of land which is doing nothing except letting sunlight fall on it and letting wind pass unimpeded across it.

We don't have a lack of sources of energy in Australia. More to the point, we don't have a lack of produced energy, either; we are producing far more power than we use, but thanks to distorted incentives (and not the carbon tax!), we are paying more for it than ever before [abc.net.au] . Where are you when we need you, o invisible hand?

Australia is unlikely to use nuclear power in the forseeable future for the simple reason that there's no need to. We have precisely the number of nuclear power plants that we need for our own research purposes. As for all that radioactive material, we're better off exporting it to countries that don't have any other realistic options.

Battler (2)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about two weeks ago | (#47479827)

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.

Re:Battler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479897)

Here in Australia, we are part of Asia. Our method of treating refugees is by far the best in Asia. Perhaps you'd like to go to Japan and see how THEY treat foreigners? Like dirt, and that is not unique to them. By far the norm in pretty much any Asian country is "fear anyone different than you". I'm pretty interested in what kind of problem you have with Australia since the rest of Asia is far worse than us when it comes to their commitments to UNHCR, yet you ignore them and focus on Australia....whatsa matter....did an Aussie steal your girlfriend or beat you up? As far as emissions go, we produce less than 1% of world emissions....even if we cut all emissions nothing would change. Likewise we could double them and it would barely register on a world scale.

Re:Battler (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about two weeks ago | (#47479999)

How come your neighbor New Zealand can do better?

Re:Battler (2)

dudpixel (1429789) | about two weeks ago | (#47480063)

Saying that other people are worse than is not a valid argument. It doesn't improve our score one bit. It just adds to the list of people we should be disappointed in.

Our treatment of refugees is disgusting. I don't care who does it even worse. It doesn't make what we do any better. It most definitely doesn't make it acceptable.

Re:Battler (1)

HJED (1304957) | about two weeks ago | (#47480193)

And most other countries can say that same, but all those 1%s add up.
Anyone with a moral compass should be terribly ashamed of how the government we elected is treating refugees.

Re:Battler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480265)

And most other countries can say that same, but all those 1%s add up.
  Anyone with a moral compass should be terribly ashamed of how the government we elected is treating refugees.

What are they doing, in your view, that is so egregious? Machine gunning them in their boats? Repatriating them from 30,000 feet over their home countries? Oh no, wait. They are being diverted to Indonesia. Isn't that an Islamic paradise? I heard that people pay a lot of money to visit Bali. Send them there. When did this notion arise that it is the duty of a nation-state to accept any unpapered, uninvited and unwelcome asshole that shows up with a sad story. If that's the case, there is a shit pot of sad stories just waiting to be told to a credulous, bleeding heart jackass like you.

Re:Battler (2)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about two weeks ago | (#47480243)

I focus on Australia because that's where I live. I don't care what other countries are doing. I care about what MY country is doing. Maybe you like to live according to standards set by other people, but I'd prefer living to the standards we set ourselves.

The Australian standard is the "Aussie battler". Yet one little fight and people like you run away like pansies. If you can't live up to your own standards, you are nothing. Stop pretending you have it tough when you really don't.

Whoo Hoo! (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about two weeks ago | (#47479829)

Time to put a big pot of carbon on the barbie!

hahahahaha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47479935)

Look at all the global warming cultists squirm over their dying religion. Fuck all of you idiots.

Fuck them! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480023)

I can't put how I feel in words on any other site, so here goes:

FUCK FUCK FUCKING FUCKITY CLUSTERFUCK!

Fuck them and the lying cunts who bribe them!

Fuck them and the fucktards who voted for them!

Fuck them and the stupid shitheads who bleat about "warmists" on the internet (even here on Slashdot)!

And finally, FUCK EVERYONE who voted to repeal the tiny bit of sensible legislation passed in the last fucking decade. You are beneath contempt.

Thank you Slashdot, for having no profanity filter (apart from all you caring moderators, of course, all of whom I personally love and respect).

Re:Fuck them! (0, Troll)

Swampash (1131503) | about two weeks ago | (#47480045)

I can't put how I feel in words on any other site, so here goes:

FUCK FUCK FUCKING FUCKITY CLUSTERFUCK!

Fuck them and the lying cunts who bribe them!

Fuck them and the fucktards who voted for them!

Fuck them and the stupid shitheads who bleat about "warmists" on the internet (even here on Slashdot)!

And finally, FUCK EVERYONE who voted to repeal the tiny bit of sensible legislation passed in the last fucking decade. You are beneath contempt.

Thank you Slashdot, for having no profanity filter (apart from all you caring moderators, of course, all of whom I personally love and respect).

Quoted because this AC post deserves to be above the filter.

Fuck them all.

Good for Australia! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480127)

They are not fooled by the lies that Obumbles and his cronies are pushing.

20 million Australians can celebrate today and I hope they all go out and drive around and enjoy the air of freedom from ridiculous and pointless taxation.

You can be damn sure the Hindoo and the Chinee won't be paying any Carbon Taxes. The Hindoo and the Chinee won't be cutting back on so-called Greenhouse Gas emissions, either.

Now if only the American Congresscritters can see the bright light of reason that is shining forth from Australia and recognize the total and abject futility of the Kyoto treaty and do something to restrain the American EPA from bankrupting the American energy companies and all of the citizens of America with their ridiculous overreach of their authority under the Clean Air act.

Good luck America!

Ashamed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480133)

I'm ashamed to be an Australian today.

people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47480191)

Guess people over there realized the only thing was a big scam to make a new tax stream. I bet the people thought "This will make businesses pay more taxes, but it will not effect me." Then get mad when this tax affect the price.

This should be a warning for Democrats if they keep wanting to put a Co2 tax to have save the world from an imaginary threat.

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