A Senate estimates committee has been told that the Opposition’s soil carbon and revegetation projects would achieve little in the way of emission cuts by 2020, less than five per cent in fact. The estimates were delivered by Department of Climate Change official, Shayleen Thompson. The price the Coalition is offering to farmers to store carbon in their soil – between $8 -10 per tonne – is claimed to be too low to make a significant difference.
Michael Kiely, the co-convener of the Carbon Coalition, has claimed that the price offered to farmers for soil carbon abatement should “start at $25 and head north’. The Labor Party is claiming that the Coalition’s scheme would impose a tax impost of $720 a year on each Australian family, without compensation.
A spokesperson for the Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, has been reported as saying that the coalition rejects the criticism of the pricing of its scheme and that it had not stipulated a set allocation of such abatement in its Direct Action Policy.
Read a summary of the discussion at the Sydney Morning Herald website
Confused? I don’t blame you. The Senate estimates hearing on Monday saw a wide range of numbers being thrown around – so how is the ordinary man or woman in the street meant to know what is going on? Surely that’s when we turn to our scientists? But scientists don’t always agree and so the argy bargy over carbon pricing continues – and is likely to do so both before and after the September election.
I’m no scientist, but a couple of points stand out. Firstly, the introduction of the Labor Government’s Clean Energy Policy did not see the sky fall in, nor increased economic hardship for low wage earners or pension recipients. Most of us are slightly better off on a pure calculation. Yes, energy prices have shot up – but they did so well before the carbon impost, and the reasons for these increases have far more to do with state governments, privatisation and investment in infrastructure than any carbon taxing mechanism.
The second point matters more– and that is the drop in emissions already as a result of the introduction of the Clean Energy Bill last year. We have been environmental vandals for too many generations, and this is one small effective step in reducing atmospheric change.
So if the legislation is not broken, why would we fix it?
Pre-elections, many past Opposition leaders have huffed and puffed that they would reverse legislation and then quietly walked away if they got into power. We can only hope on the current carbon pricing Mr. Abbott, too, will leave well alone…
What do you think? Should the current carbon tax stay? Or should the Direct Action Policy replace it?