Cool reception for Australia carbon tax

2012-07-02 09:26

Sydney - Australia's new carbon tax received a cool reception in a poll on Monday, showing Prime Minister Julia Gillard's mechanism to tackle climate change is unpopular and her government on track to lose office.

Only 33% support the measure introduced on Sunday, according to the Nielsen survey published in the Sydney Morning Herald, with 62% of the 1 400 voters polled opposing it.

The centre-left Labour government has launched a drive to sell the carbon tax, which imposes a levy of A$23 ($23.50) per ton of carbon emissions on about 350 of the country's top polluters.

Gillard's party was well behind the conservative opposition led by Tony Abbott, with percentage support split 42 - 58 between them once minor parties' shares were stripped out.

Australia, one of the world's highest carbon emitters per capita, has long debated taxing such pollution, but the issue remains hugely divisive and has sparked large protests.

Fixed price

The prime minister said it could take months to change opinion.

"There has been a hysterical fear campaign from the doomsday merchants who have tried to convince people over the last 12 months... that we'd see, for example, the coal industry go out of business," Gillard told ABC Radio.

"I think we will see people in the months to come, working out what carbon pricing is meaning for them, and working out what it is meaning for the nation."

Gillard's measure involves a fixed price for the first three years before switching to a market-based emissions trading scheme similar to that of the EU.

The opposition has claimed that businesses will pass on the cost to consumers, raising the cost of living, and argues it will also hurt the booming resources industry.

"The whole point of this carbon tax... is to kill off the coal industry, kill off the gas industry, and over time to switch entirely to renewables," Abbott said.

"Now, the problem with switching entirely to renewables is that they are vastly more expensive."

  • ernst.j.joubert - 2012-07-02 09:57

    Last year world goverments forked out over 500 billion dollars in subsidies to the oil coal and gas industries at the expense of the green economy (which recieved a measly 50 billion dollars in comparison). The fossil feul industry's profits depend on using the atmosphere as a sewer without any acountability. Everytime there is mention of eliminating unfair subsidies or the introduction of a tax, they throw tantrums and threaten consumers with higher prices. They have everybody by balls and the sooner we ditch these fossils the better. That is why I support a carbon tax. Well done Australia!

      ernst.j.joubert - 2012-07-02 10:07

      See the below links just for interest sake: Why does nuclear fusion research get pathetic funding and the fossil feul industry receives 500 billion dollars a year in subsidies? Why do car companies drag their feet with electric vehicles while a silicon valley startup with limited resources delivered a state of the art electric car and working on building a more affordable car?

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-07-02 10:08

    Renewables are not only the most expensive, they are the most unreliable and completely unable to supply base load power. So-called renewables only survive through massive subsidies - and that, dear Ernst, is a fact if you take the trouble to research it. Australia, you have now sunk lower than the lowest on the intelligence scale. As soon as sanity prevails and you elect an intelligent government you need to first sack the scaremongers who are corrupting the minds of your youth. RIP.

      Mark - 2012-07-02 10:25

      The only reason it is currently more expensive is because of the simple economics of supply and demand. In the future when the demand for renewable energy increases the costs will drop. It's that simple. :-)

      ernst.j.joubert - 2012-07-02 13:29

      @Robin: You come from a generation that doesnt give a damn about how resources are used and what effect it has on our life support system. Go back to the stone age you dinosaur. "Renewables are not only the most expensive, they are the most unreliable and completely unable to supply base load power. So-called renewables only..." Have you used renewables before? You seem to think in terms of an all or nothing solution i.e. If renewables cannot produce 100% of our electricity then it is useless. There is no reason why renewables cannot produce 50% (that would make a huge difference) of our electricity needs. And massive subsidies?? I dont think so. Last year world goverments forked out over 500 billion dollars in subsidies to the oil coal and gas industries at the expense of the green economy. And these subsidies have been there for 100 years. So, once again, you are wrong.

  • badballie - 2012-07-02 12:32

    It doesn't matter one way or the other, global warmingh is a natural cycle, any views to the contrary are profit based lies, being used to milk the population for all its worth. That said man does need to stop his virus habits of destroying its host.

      Mark - 2012-07-02 16:25

      @badballie - You say global warming is a natural cycle, then you say man should stop destroying himself. So which is it?

  • badballie - 2012-07-03 10:45

    @MARK, Both. Global warming is a natural cycle that can an has been traced back hundreds of years, any argument otherwise is inherently flawed, but this does not distract from the fact that man must take steps to reduce pollution and waste, as we ARE killing our planet. So a two pronged statement; 1) Man has no control over global warming, even if every single human died today, the cycle will continue unabated, which is why the global leaders were so quick to drop the "climate change" label. 2) Mans pennant for polluting is threatening our water supply and safe food production abilities, not to mention the threat it posses to wild life. What I am trying to say is that I understand the need to start controlling our rates of pollution in terms of recycling and so called "green" initiatives, I just have a problem with governments push to lay blame for a natural cycle on man, as well as the general movement to implement measures that will see the middle and lower classes paying for the pollution caused by the the major corporations. As a point of interest, our current CO2 levels are possibly the lowest they have been in thousands of years, although higher than hundred years ago

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