"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Please Explain Julia.

As Gillard desperately tours Australia trying to find gullible voters Janet Albrechtsen asks some pertinent questions on behalf of  the people of Australia .. The key questions are how will the carbon policy affect world temperatures(zilch) and what difference will cutting 160 million tons of CO2 by 2020 make when the Chinese emissions increased in the last year by 50 times that figure.

First, well done on the tax cuts, PM. Raising the tax liability threshold from $6000 to $18,200 will encourage more people into work. But let's do the rational thing here and separate income tax policy and carbon tax policy. One question still left unanswered, PM, is this: how will your carbon policy affect global temperatures?
You have cut the reach of your policy from "1000 of the biggest polluters" to 500. You have cut petrol from the policy. You are over-compensating about four million low-income families and compensating millions more with tax cuts and welfare payments to pay for the costs of a carbon tax.
We understand you're watching polls showing dwindling voter support for tough action on climate change. But if you accept that human behaviour is responsible for warming the planet, you have to fundamentally change human behaviour - not just from 500 companies - to reduce global warming. Can one be serious about global warming if one is not serious about changing human behaviour beyond 500 companies?
Looking forward, your policy involves Australia adopting an emissions trading scheme in 2015. The European Union operates one of the world's oldest carbon markets yet its ETS has recently been denounced as "dodgy" by the Hartwell Group of international economists, historians and climate scientists. The group's spokesman, Gwyn Prins, from the London School of Economics, said: "There's not credible evidence that it's had any affect in accelerating reductions in carbon dioxide in Europe." The recession, not the ETS, has reduced emissions in Europe. Are you really so clever in Canberra that you can feel confident about reducing emissions when the EU has failed?
Staying on environmental benefits, Australia is responsible for less than 2 per cent of global emissions. Isn't it the height of political hubris to imagine that anything 22 million people - in a world of almost seven billion - do will lead to less global warming? After all, your Climate Change Commissioner, Tim Flannery, told us in March that "if the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow . . . the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop for several hundred years, perhaps over 1000 years".
On Monday night you said that your policy will cut 160 million tonnes of carbon a year by 2020, the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road. Nice imagery, but here's the reality. China's annual emissions last year were 8.33 billion tonnes, up 10.4 per cent and growing. Treasury can work out how many millions of cars that is. Doesn't this mean that your tax is environmental symbolism?
And why are you confident about a global agreement on climate change? Remember you and the Rudd government were wrong about an agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. The US, under a Democrat President, has rejected a cap and trade policy. Chinese factories continue to churn out solar panels for guilt-ridden Westerners: there is no sign of real action to reduce its emissions. Canadians recently elected a government opposed to a carbon tax. And even Greens deputy leader Christine Milne was pessimistic last week about action at the UN Climate Change Summit in Durban in December. Do you know something the rest of the world doesn't?
Please explain why no other comparable country with resource-rich and trade-exposed industries is imposing an economy-wide carbon tax? Richard Branson is a climate change action man. He set up a climate change war room about two years ago to battle what you regard as the new enemy: carbon. He has offered a $US25 million ($23.6 million) prize to scientists to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Yet, in Australia last week, Branson said that a carbon tax made no sense because any tax needs to be global so you don't disadvantage individual countries and companies.Why do you assume this will not hurt the Australian economy?
Another question, PM. Your backbenchers may be asking you this one in private. We would like a public answer. Why should Australian voters - let alone your backbenchers - believe that you can deliver good policy here? Your past record is scant. As a member of Kevin Rudd's kitchen cabinet, you were closely associated with the mistakes of the former government. Think pink batts, wasteful school buildings program. The Computers in Schools policy you promoted as education minister was a good idea but many schools couldn't set up the computers because they didn't get funding to install and run them.
Your East Timor immigration policy didn't go anywhere. We're still waiting to see whether the Malaysian solution works. And the recent ban on live exports made previous failures look like hiccups. Given the capriciousness evident from your previous policies, why should Australian voters, not to mention Labor backbenchers, believe you can deliver this massive climate change policy? The jobs of plenty of Australians, including backbench MPs, are riding on a sensible policy.
On the related issue of credibility, PM, are voters and backbenchers right to be concerned that yours is in tatters for three simple reasons?
First, the way you came to power by politically knifing Rudd when voters prefer to choose their leaders. Second, for recommending Rudd ditch his emissions trading scheme, which only fast-tracked his end. Third, you promised us at last year's election there would be no carbon tax. We now have a carbon tax.
Just one final question. On Sunday we listened to you begin the big sell for your carbon tax. But is this really your carbon tax or is it the Bob Brown tax? Forgive us for being worried by the sight of Milne smiling more than she has ever smiled on camera before. Is the senator smiling because she and the Greens have secured $10 billion from taxpayers to fund their pet renewable projects even after the Productivity Commission recently found that existing renewable abatement policies were expensive and achieved little? Or could the senator's grin signal that you, who promised there would be no carbon tax under a government you lead, have been demoted to the climate change minister in a Brown government? After all, Milne is smiling about something. Just a question, PM.

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