back to article Aussie carbon tax in actually-makes-sense shocker

So Oz has finally announced the details of its carbon tax plan, and actually, compared to the normal dogs' dinners that come out of the political process, it's not all that bad. Must be something to do with the way that the Green Party only gets to influence it rather than actually write it. emissions For those who want the …


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  1. Charybdis

    Economics be damned...

    As an OZ geek, I don't mind paying a carbon tax (aka a Pollution tax) in order to help clean up the planet. The principle is solid. However this tax is just a cleverly disguised, discriminatory wealth re-distribution package.

    - Low-to-Medium Income earners get other tax breaks to compensate for the Carbon tax.

    - High-to-OMG income earners just get the carbon tax, with no compensation or offsets.

    This combined with other recent government tax changes against higher income earners means that the government is just spruiking votes from the low-to-mid income masses, and what's particularly embarrassing as an OZ is that the masses are falling for it.

    If the government wants to make the carbon tax fair, it should apply to all businesses and all taxable income (even on a sliding scale would be fairer than the current proposal). But leaving out key polluters (including Petrol Companies FFS?!) demonstrates that this isn't actually a Carbon tax. It's just economic slight of hand by a second-rate prestidigitator...

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Taxation = carbon credits?

    Wasn't this what was tried with the carbon trading?

    Ask the power stations to fit flue filters and they will tell you it costs $Bn and you can't prove that it doesn't . Tell them they can pay fit filters and then sell their pollution credits and suddenly the filters are all added - and the real market cost is revealed.

    1. mount analogue

      Let me fix that for you.

      As an OZ geek, and not a wannabee republican, I don't mind paying a carbon tax (aka a Pollution tax) in order to help clean up the planet. The principle is solid. The tax is also cleverly targeted on those whose consumption causes the greatest emissions.

      - Low-to-Medium Income earners get other tax breaks to compensate for the Carbon tax.

      - High-to-OMG income earners just get the carbon tax, with no compensation or offsets.

      This means that people who have very low incomes will receive an enormous boost to their disposable incomes, a boost that will feed directly into deprived local economies out in the bush where it is most needed. Meanwhile, the high income earners will have a little less cash in their enormous property and share portfolios, helping to allay the enormous asset bubble that threatens to cut Australia's economic boom off at the knees.

      If the government wants to make the carbon tax fair, it is quite right to use a sliding scale that assesses the impact of the tax on real household income. After all, if I didn't agree with the principle that people should pay according to their abilities, I'd be better off moving to a country where the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, such as Somalia or the USA.

      I'm enjoying the benefits of being rich in an egalitarian society, so I can't really complain when I take a hit of $10-20 a week in my income so that some poor bugger can still pay his electricity bill.

      1. Charybdis

        You drongo

        Like I said, I don't mind paying a carbon tax. And if it was only going to be $10-20 per week, sign me up!


        A) What massive property and share portfolios? All you need is one dead-average OZ mortgage, two incomes in the house to pay for it, and suddenly you're rich enough to just shut up and bend over? Get bent.

        B) Read the proposal. The flow-on effect is going to be a lot more than initial estimates. Every middle man along the way will raise the price by 1-2%, and suddenly ever item made in Australia is 10% dearer. We're already paying 10% GST... now it's magically 20%?Gee, Fun!

        C) Targets those making the greatest emissions? Really? So my lifestyle of self-sufficient solar power, public transport and veggie garden is higher than some V8 driving hoon on welfare? Don't think so...

        D) What 'boost to disposable incomes'? You mean that extra few hundred per annum? That will disappear with cost of living/inflation faster than you can say 'Where's me smokes?'

        E) I've been that poor bugger who couldn't pay the bills. So I stopped drinking, gave up smokes, got a job, an education and then a family. Now after slogging through, paying my way and my dues, the government (and judgemental prats on technical forums) think I'm on easy street because the household has a combined family income over $120k? Au Contraire mon frere....

        F) And those other buggers I went to school with who are still lazing around getting drunk, stoned and welfare payments every week, can keep their hand out and not care, because the government is making sure this tax won't hurt them nice for them.

        So, where's the incentive to work hard, make a living for yourself and family and stop being a burden to society? It's rapidly disappearing because the government keeps applying more and more taxes on the upper margins, while ensuring that the unwashed masses aren't 'further disadvantaged'. It's insulting, it's bad economics, and it's got a mighty PR machine behind it to convince the simple-minded that it's all in the name of the environment.

        And you, my friend, are buying it hook, line, sinker rod and copy of Angling Times....

        1. Mark 65


          Totally agree.

          1. This is just Socialist wealth redistribution whereby the middle classes just get fucked over.

          2. The pass-through will never be 0.7%, this is just a bullshit marketing ploy.

          3. It will not change a thing. Large emitters are not being suitably punished or are getting a free pass and the general public be damned. We do not waste power as a family (use way less than the average household) but we're going to get fucked over by this.

          4. Watch out for the tax tweaking regarding raising the tax free rate. That money will be coming back down the line.

          5. There is a floor on the market price when it freely trades so you can tell where that's headed. Haven't seen whether the market is open to speculation or not either.

          6. It is being brought in very cynically. People believe it's fantastic that the tax free allowance is being lifted. This is not a altruistic endeavour for the Government it is to make it as hard as possible to repeal the tax.

          7. Talk of clean power without inclusion of modern nuclear (MSR etc) is just crap. If it is sustainability you desire then let the shite that is solar (never recoup the energy cost of production) and wind (just crap full stop) stand on their own feet without subsidising them from my power bill.

          8. Could this be the trigger that gives Australia its own little recession? Nobody else is bothering with this shit - read a piece today stating that China has 800 steel mills and Australia has (had) 2. They must be laughing their arses off.

        2. mount analogue

          pull the other one, you great galah

          Au contraire mate, I think the whole thing's just one more piece of wasteful bureaucracy, adding yet more inefficiencies to what is already a hopelessly complex tax system in need of serious reform.

          The key difference in opinion then:

          You think that the tax is a good idea, but everyone should pay an equal share

          I think the tax is a monstrosity, but at least has the effect of evening out the growing income disparity in Australia.

          Like you, I have the pleasure of paying a lot more tax than the average citizen, but I'm happy to pay it because I believe my prosperity ultimately depends on the health of the society of which I am a part. Having travelled round the States recently, it is clear that a concentration of money in the hands of the few is corrosive, both to the economy and to social fabric.

          If you want to call income redistribution bad economics, then you should provide some evidence for that claim. Income disparity is inversely proportional to just about every indicator of economic, health and social well-being.

          Never let facts get in the way of a good rant eh?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          the "masses" (unwashed or otherwise) have more voting power by definition. Who else would one expect an elected government to pander to?

          As for mortgage prices in Aust., the housing prices have been commonly known to be over-inflated by 160% for several years now, yet all the numpties keep on hocking themselves to the armpits and coughing up the dough anyway. I really have no sympathy at all there.

          1. Guido Brunetti

            "The masses have more voting power"

            But what if the elected people don't do what the voters had in mind? Happens all the time but somehow the voters don't get what they have to do to change this. Do you get it?

        4. Anonymous Coward

          er, yes you bloody well are, you drongo

          " think I'm on easy street because the household has a combined family income over $120k?"

          *cough* yes, you bloody well are on easy street! *cough*

          most of us are trying to do all of that on $80k or less!

          I challenge you to cut $40k out of your budget. Oh, no nice shiny new iphone 5 for you!

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge


            What that in real money? I'm on twelve thousand of your proper English pounds, half of mean household income. Anybody on more than me is by my definition rich.

            1. Charybdis

              Wow, a lot of people really aren't paying attention....

              Whole bunches of people here think that actually paying attention to the taxes you pay makes me 'a douche' to quote from the posts. Well, let's do the math then on a nice hypothetical family with 2.2 kids and two spouses at work to pay for a mortgage that didn't start in the 90's.

              Family income ~AU$120,000

              minus Income Tax ~30% averaged between spouses = ~$30,000 on the sliding scale

              minus child care = $25,000 p.a. (cheap child care is $50 per day per child, so let's be conservative).

              **credit**: Child care rebate (which is on the table to be removed for such a 'high-earning' family) +$10,000

              Family Tax benefit A)...nope not applicable

              Family Tax benefit B)...nope, not applicable

              So, the reward for all the hard work to get to this point is to get to hand over $45,000 in tax. Yup, that hurts...add in 30k in mortgage payments and the family is now on $45,000 a year for food, petrol, rates, after-school-care, electricity, home repairs, insurance and god-forbid a phone bill or a night out...

              However, if this family was to work part-time and just live on $60,000 per year, the tax would be around 10k (with tax offsets and government hand-outs also paying off most of the child care as well), plus rent assistance to pay for someone else's mortgage...

              So, for the half the effort, the reward is 50k and government assistance, but at full effort, the reward is $75k and the government telling you to bend over.

              So, who here thinks that's a fair indication of reward for effort?

              Come on, raise your hand if at the end of the day, your boss says:

              "You worked 40 hours last week, and 80 hours this week, but I'm not going to double your pay"

              and you happily go

              "Fair enough boss, I was too rich anyway...."

              No? Didn't think so....

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Marginal tax rate

                Just give the marginal taxation on income. It's a lot easier.

                Also, you can't just include child care. Child care is only paid for a small number of years relative to working life. Assume somebody is college-educated and in the workforce at 22 and retires at 65 years old. That's 43 years of work. Child care is going to be paid for at most 1/4 of that time.

                Divide the child care costs by 4 and Mr and Mrs Hypothetical now have an additional $12,750 per year, or $244 per week.

              2. somenumber
                Paris Hilton


                @Charybdis: The higher tax-free threshold that's coming will also apply to you, and since you are self sufficient with solar power (massively government subsidized no doubt), you'll probably be better off than you are now - it's not just for the v8 driving, welfare collecting hoons that apparently infest your part of the country.

                1. Charybdis

                  Tax Free huh?

                  I think you'll find the higher tax-free threshold is completely nullified by the proposed increases in the higher non-tax-free brackets.

                  End result. More taxes for a $120k household (which, incidentally is dead average for two full-time working adults in Australia )

                  So, the 'rich' are actually anyone on an average OZ income or higher. Awesome.....

                  1. gratou

                    average income = meaningless

                    The median income is a lot more useful to estimate what a population earns, or who really is "average".

                    The average is too skewed by high earners.

                    Average *is* interesting however when used together with the median: the gap between the 2 shows the inequality (The gini coefficient is a slightly better measure).

                    Median annual houselhold income is $50k in the US, average is $70k, which is a rather large gap (+40%).

                    A few ginis:

                    Slovakia 25

                    OZ 35

                    USA 45

                    Brazil 57

        5. Anonymous Coward

          The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

          E) I've been that poor bugger who couldn't pay the bills. So I stopped drinking, gave up smokes, got a job, an education and then a family. Now after slogging through, paying my way and my dues, the government (and judgemental prats on technical forums) think I'm on easy street because the household has a combined family income over $120k? Au Contraire mon frere...


          My folks live on a combined income somewhere in the 40s. They're still on "easy street" compared to a huge number of people in Australia.

          You are absolutely rolling in dough, and it's utterly disgusting that you think a six-figure income is doing it tough. Twerp.

          1. James 20

            You knew the guy was a twerp

            When he uttered the words:

            'Au contraire, mon frere'. These alone would be enough but in combination with the assertion that he's struggling to survive on 120k a year I'd say the guy should be up for some award.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Too right mate

          As P.J.O'Rourke once noted (recalled and misquoted from memory), socialism is a system based on the idea that social justice is enhanced by ecopnomically "rewarding failure, and punishing success".

          AGW is a crock, this is Labour being "red" and redistributing other people's money.


        7. Annwyn

          We're already paying 10% GST...


          Ahh, makes me homesick - I do miss only paying a 10% sales tax...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Let me fix that for you properly

        Sub Title: Bollocks

        Taxes are wealth redistribution, usually away from the powerful lobbyists and onto the backs of some clueless simpleton who believes government propaganda. These so called green taxes are just manifestation of the whole corrupt Rockefeller/ Rothschild/ GATT/ WHO/ Trilateral Commission/ Bilderberg/ IMF/ World Banc, etc. master plan to turn everything into a commodity or service to be exploited and traded.

        This is how it works:-

        In Ireland, up until about 10 years ago, refuse collection was funded out of general taxation, i.e. bins were free. Then when the corrupt grubberment (just search on Finna Fail scandals) introduced a bin tax, on the principle the “polluter pays”, over the next couple of years the “bin tax”, oops it’s not a tax it’s a “charge”, was subject constant above inflation rate increases, and such patronising announcements as “its only a 50 cent increase, in reality it was a 15% increase and overall there was a 223% increase in bin charges between 1997 and 2003[1]

        As wilh all socially equitable charges, the less fortunate members of society e.g. the unemployed, will not have to pay this tax, sorry charge (or so the politicians said)


        The county council adopted its own criteria for the tax, sorry charge waiver scheme. Naturally the conditions for a bin tax waiver were a lot more onerous that the general social welfare conditions so that more people on welfare would pay the bin tax. It’s nice to receive €186 in welfare knowing that you are going to have to turf up €118 (110 standing charge +8 for a bin tag) just so you house won’t be filled with bluebottles from the decaying waste in your bin! Mind you €118 isn’t too much to pay if you eaning €50K a year. So that’s a good example of how taxes redistribute wealth…. upwards.

        The next step is when the tax, sorry charge, gets to certain threshold, and then it becomes worthwhile for the private operators to enter the market and turn what was a public service into another business at the tax payer’s expense.

        What happens then is that as the private companies start to undercut the public service, then faced with falling income from the so called service, now a revenue stream, is that the public service reacts in the only way it knows to when faced with falling revenues, it increases prices, thereby driving the demand for its service even lower. At that point the county manager commissions an “independent” report to suggest that the service be terminated as it costs the council €7M to run it [2][3] (what about all that taxpayers money you get you b******s). After all if the county council were to spend this taxpayers money on the tax payer how would they afford their “expenses” and conferences in Bermuda [4][5]. In the mean time the bin men are sacked, and are replaced by half the number of Polish immigrant workers on half the rate of pay and the county manager gets a bonus for saving money.

        The Irish green party also introduced a carbon tax in Ireland, and a ban on incandescent bulbs, that’s why all of them failed to get re-elected in the last general election.

        So mount analogue, let me the first to congratulate you, you education [6] is complete.


        [1] Combat Poverty agency






        [6] George Orwell author of “1984” and “Animal Farm”

        BB icon for propaganda, not spying

    2. P Saunders

      Switch to Lithium

      I moved from emitting carbon to emitting lithium and I haven't looked back ever since.

    3. kmitchell3

      You are wrong

      "High-to-OMG income earners" do get a tax break in that their tax thresh-hold obviously also increases to $18,000+

    4. Me Meeson
      Thumb Down


      "This combined with other recent government tax changes against higher income earners means that the government is just spruiking votes from the low-to-mid income masses, and what's particularly embarrassing as an OZ is that the masses are falling for it."

      The "masses" aren't "higher income earners". You douche.

    5. John Hughes

      You're confusing CO2 with SO2

      Flue filters have nothing to do with CO2, they're to prevent/reduce acid rain.

      To reduce CO2 emissions from fossil power stations you'd need to install vastly more complex and expensive CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) systems, which nobody has done so far.

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        OK, he's confused CO2 with SO2...

        but the economics is right. Global warming and acid rain are externalities, so use a mechanism to internalise them and people make personal decisions for their own benefit that also benefit society - if the sums are done right.

  3. Oninoshiko

    And to think

    I thought the general consensus was that elReg was a denialist publication.

    Some of our greener comentards may need to sit down before reading this... smelling salts on hand may be recommended too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually shows good editorial freedom

      While /some/ of the Reg's reporterers are certainly traveling that long Egyption river, I never really got the impression the publication itself was either pro- or anti-, just publishing the voices of various staff.

    2. umacf24

      Even if you are less worried about CO2 than I am...

      (I don't like that word "denial" -- it's working too hard to smear people with a different opinion by borrowing from another sort of denial.)

      ... anyway, even if you don't mind about CO2 at all, you still care, presumably, that tax shouldn't reduce economic efficiency. And on that basis, carbon taxes do OK -- not as good as VAT, perhaps, but a lot better than income tax. Carbon atoms are easy to count, hard to hide and handled in bulk -- pretty much the ideal tax base (perhaps it would be better if they could put a "duty paid" sticker on each one, but you can't have everything.) You could regard CO2 reductions as a benign side effect.

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      No editorial policy

      The Reg is clearly ahead of the game. By maintaining no editorial policy, the editor maintains plausible deniability when it turns out one of the hacks has been reading Richard Stallman's email(*).

      (*) Allegedly.

    4. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      El Reg seems to be mostly fair, actually

      As far as I can see, The Register is fair and even-handed in its treatment of the various climate change stories. It seems skeptical simply because the pro-Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) lot are so biased towards their viewpoint, and so strident in opposition to dissenting viewpoints.

      As a scientist myself, I tend to believe in letting the evidence and a good strong intellectual argument based on that evidence do all the talking for me. If a point of view is so shaky and so unproven as to require me to stoop to emotional arguments, mud-slinging and the assorted straw-man arguments so beloved of the AGW supporters, then that argument is quite clearly not going to stand on the intellectual, evidence-based argument alone. It may not be actually wrong, but the science certainly isn't settled in its favour.

      The pro-AGW crowds also do themselves absolutely no favours with intellectual sloppiness, poor arguments and the pathetic shambles that was the East Anglia "University"'s Climate Research Unit. The Harry-Readme file was truly damning, as were the collections of Fortran code included in the leak. Truly this was Amateur Night for programmers; I haven't seen such bloody abysmal spaghetti code in years (since I was working for an ISP, in fact) and the stuff I encountered differed from this in that it actually worked, predictably, and was vaguely documented too.

      Relying on such utter garbage to provide meaningful results is insanity. No wonder the climate scientists are so very reluctant to participate in code reviews and methods-checking if this is the best they can do; quite frankly anyone standing up and demanding to be taken seriously after demonstrating such gibbering ineptitude deserves nothing but ridicule.

      El Reg is also fairly vocal in documenting the shysterism, fraud and sharp practices of the wind turbine operators. Once again, they are simply doing their job; if the turbine operators truly are operating to these shockingly low standards, then the public deserves to know what the money extorted from them is going to fund. This is what an unbiased press does; it reports things. You might not like what it says, but as long as the press isn't doing anything illegal and isn't making things up, then it is acting as it should.

      1. Some Beggar

        "As a scientist myself"

        You're not a scientist. If you even have an undergraduate degree in a scientific discipline then the education system in this country is knackered.

        "the pathetic shambles that was the East Anglia "University"'s Climate Research Unit."

        The CRU still exists:

        * "the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact" (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee)

        * "we saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit" (Lord Oxburgh Science Assessment Panel)

        * "their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt" (Sir Muir Russell Independent Climate Change Emails Review)

        * "careful examination of the e-mails and their full context shows that the petitioners' claims are exaggerated and are not a material or reliable basis to question the validity and credibility of the body of [climate] science" (US Environmental Protection Agency)

        1. Philip Lewis

          I read them

          Firstly, I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do have an intellectual and professional interest.

          I read a shit load of these CRU emails. Fuck it was hard to digest it all without spending many, many days boning up on the science, learning who the players were, reading the scientific papers referenced etc. etc.

          My opinion, based on a several weeks of my life doing the research, is that

          a) CRU = CRUD (That's an opinion folks, based on some pretty extensive research)

          b) The "careful examination ..." wasn't, and any interested and objective observer (like myself) would reach the opposite conclusion - as many have indeed done.

          c) IMHO, the crux of the problem (aside from the personalities involved, the politics and just plain poor science) is data quality, and lack of respect for it. From poor data come poor results and invalid conclusions. The data has clearly been manipulated to reach desired results, the resulting conclusions are invalid (even were they to be correct by fluke alone). I spend my work life overseeing and manipulating a database with billions of online datapoints, teasing information and new insights from it. As someone whose profession it is to understand and deal with data - as an abstract concept - I can assure you that after reading the climategate emails - I conclude the people involved are absolutely and positively clueless about what this means.

          d) Whatver they do at CRU, it's not "science" - it is some travesty masquerading as such.

          YMMV, as might your opinion, but I at least spent over 100 hours of my life bringing myself up to speed on the science and the details of this matter, and the details leave a very bitter taste, and the science isn't.


          1. Some Beggar

            @Philip Lewis

            "My opinion ..."

            ... is essentially worthless.

            Three separate independent enquiries spent considerably more effort and came to precisely the opposite conclusion.

            And you'll never get those 100 hours of your life back. That's got to sting.

            1. Philip Lewis
              Paris Hilton

              Nor the 90 seconds this took to post

              No, but I can at least talk intelligently on the subject, something few can and even fewer do - you included I should think. Intellectual pursuits are by their nature time consuming and of choice. How I choose to educate my mind is my own choice, therefore it is painless.

              The AGW debate is interesting and topical - few people have any insight. I now have more than I did previously.


              1. Some Beggar

                @Philip Lewis

                Really? Petty namecalling like "CRU=CRUD" is your idea of "talking intelligently"?

                Claiming that somebody else's research is not science and accusing an academic institution of manipulation of data despite the fact that three independent inquiries found no such thing ... that's your idea of "talking intelligently"?

                Couching what are basically slanderous accusations in woolly terms like "YMMV" and "That's an opinion folks" ... that's "talking intelligently"?

                No, pal. That's not intelligent. That's childish, cowardly and (assuming you are the Philip Lewis I think you are) seriously unprofessional.

                Bravo. Your intelligence has made me feel slightly sick.

            2. Denarius Silver badge

              you trust pollies and committees ???


              really old chap, try watching "Yes Minister" sometime. Oldie but goodie. As Will or someone like him said "many a truth is spoken in jest".

        2. Some Beggar

          You can thump the "downvote" button on those quotes as angrily as you like

          it won't change the fact that the CRU has been examined and vindicated and the last crooked arrow in the denialist quiver has clattered feebly to the floor barely a few feet in front of their lazily strung bow.

          Get over it. Find a new angle to frantically frot yourselves over.

        3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

          @Some Beggar

          "* "the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact" (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee)"

          It was not investigated by the committee and the one person on it who could give an opinion thought it rubbish.

          "* "we saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit" (Lord Oxburgh Science Assessment Panel)"

          Stated by a chairman with a vested interest in global warming existing.

          "* "their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt" (Sir Muir Russell Independent Climate Change Emails Review)"

          Funny I rather got the impression the question was not weather their science was in doubt but weather they tried to game the peer review process to suppress papers by people who disagreed with their PoV.

          You take this subject quite personally. I'd suspect your name is either on some of those emails or that of your SO.

          But what really damms the CRU is the *amateur* hour data management and software development revealed in the Harryreadme file.

          I'd be *ashamed* to turn in work of that quality and I'd have been fired within a week of the companies I've worked for if it was found I'd produced it.

          I believe that AGW is real and is a serious problem. The history of CFC's *prove* that human made chemicals can make global climate changes on a human timescale.

          But the shambolic nature of their underlying data and software makes *any* CRU conclusion *highly* suspect.

          There is a way for CRU to silence its real critics.

          Provided a *detailed* map from data files -> conclusions, showing *all* programs used, all fudge factors (and I'm pretty sure there were *plenty* of those) entered and the data flow between the programs (together with any "polishing" procedures used between programs from the output of one to the input of another).

          If the CRU is an *important* research institution and the work it does is *important* that information should be filed as a matter of course, as record for posterity. It's the equivalent of the Shuttle software development team showing you a listing of the final program and all *previous* versions, along with *why* parts are as they are, constants are what they are etc. And yes the team *can* provide that level of detail.

          If it's not the implication is that what they do is simply *irrelevant* to the outside world and hence recording how they got the result was simply a waste of time.

          I believe in AGW, I really do. But their behavior (your behavior?) is nothing like the process of science I am aware of.

          1. Some Beggar
            Thumb Down

            @John Smith 19

            Disingenuous windbaggery. All the reports are available online. Here's a link to the various government reports and responses:


            "I'd suspect your name is either on some of those emails or that of your SO"

            Dreary concern troll tactic number three: accuse the person you are addressing of having some personal involvement that clouds his or her judgement. I have no professional connection with CRU and no personal relationship with anybody involved in the (entirely contrived) controversy. Anybody who continues to bang that drum after the complaints have been repeatedly shown to be fatuous and belligerent is an ignorant and obnoxious bore.

            "I believe in AGW, I really do."

            I couldn't give a toss. I really couldn't.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Me Meeson

        The font of all knowledge...

        Hi Dr Dan,

        I assume as a bio-science type doctory person that you realise that the "media" isn't really qualified to discuss topics that have been so disqualified by unqualified opinion so as to re-qualify them as polluted topics (OOH! GM = EVIL!!!!!) I also assume that you have the standard academic love / hate relationship with that "Font of all knowledge", Wikipedia. (Do they deserve the capital 'W'? Not sure...).

        Feel free to edit, and forward for further editing, these pages:

        Feel free to add your own name to this last list to support the cause.

    5. MrCheese

      @ Oninoshiko

      Don't call me a denialist you evangelist! I'm just well aware of the vested interests nestled deep within both sides of the climate change arguement and equally aware of once-beyond-reproach institutions being uncovered as liars and conmen marking their own work (can you say policy based evidence making?)

      Only a fule would be so naive to think we don't have ANY effect on the planet it's a just a question of what effect and to what extent, but with people like you getting hysterical and branding every nay-sayer (or even the undecided) a backwards denialist simply implies you're not sufficently confident in your own beliefs.

      You may as well be a scientologist or a politician with an attitude like that, and we all know how much we trust those guys don't we...

      1. Oninoshiko

        @ MrCheese

        wow, a little hot today are we?

        If you had actually READ my post rather then one word, you'd have noticed that while I said "denialist" (a derogatory term for anyone who thinks it doesn't happen or (apparently) thinks the jury is still out on the long term effects), I was predominately poking fun of the greenies for getting all frothy-mouthed whenever a not-supporting-AGW article comes up.

        I must say though, you did do a FANTASTIC job of countering my intended message.

  4. Diogenes

    Makes sense ? I call BS !

    Let me count the ways this makes no sense;

    1. source of carbon accounting for 17% NOT taxed - ie petrol for the familiy car, but if you cleaner diesel in the family car is !

    2. it will actually cost the govt 4.3 Bn AUD

    3. sure the tax free threshold has trebled - but the lower 2 rates will increase by 3% negating much of the threshold rise

    4. A family earning less than average wage will be worse off and that is before accounting for the Treasury modelling at $20 a tonne NOT the announced $23 a tonne (and this is the treasury that can't even get the deficit/surplus correct within +- 10% with 6 months of the year already gone!)

    5. Even if Australia were to go completely carbon neutral tomorrow - the INCREASE alone in chinese emissions would make up for our loss in 5 days !!!!!!

    Icon - what I'd like to do to Juliar

  5. Andrew Moore

    Hang on...

    ...won't we need all that CO2 when the Maunder Minimum kicks in?

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Them there Aussie Politicians must have been licking cane toads, how else do we explain them passing sensible laws for once?

    Beer, because they deserve some Amber Nectar and anyway it will hopefully take the edge off all that cane toad venom.

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      oh so trusting aren't we

      and when the brown coal power stations in Vic and SA close, the electricity comes from what ? the wind fairies ? So far, another $3,000,000,000 has to be found in the budget to pay off the private owners of those assets. Since they are owned by non-Australians, taxpayers have to pay again, literally for nothing. so 13 billion down the toilet so far.

  7. Charles Manning

    Severely broken more like!

    The whole idea of carbon taxing is to encourage industry/society to move towards other energy sources or be more efficient. The Oz policy just makes carbon into a general taxing mechanism that defeats any hope of changing carbon usage.

    So if I know the government is going to want to tax me $x, through either carbon or income tax, what's to motivate me to shift off carbon? Might as well just keep polluting.

    Carbon tax should not just be another tax stream. Carvbon taxes should be ring-fenced to support research etc into a carbon light future.

    And then of course CO2 from poor people is special. It is only rich buggers' CO2 that actually creates environmental problems.

    #disclaimer. I think the whole idea of carbon taxing is bollocks. But if they really **must** do it, then do it in a way that is actually is going to put pressure on people to change their behaviour.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Inhale, exhale ... Inhale ...exhale

      Air in ... Air (-O2+CO2) out

      So, when will there be a tax on breathing? I do not understand why no greenturd, sorry greentard, has suggested this. I mean humans create CO2 constantly, and it can pretty easily be measured and it sure as hell cannot be avoided - except of course by expiring.

      What's the problem? Tax breathing and be done with it.

      Bootnote: I believe the IRS now has a mandate to investigate (or was it implement) this idea.


      ps: AGW is a bad science waiting for the dustbin of history

      1. A J Stiles

        CO2 from breath

        Go back and read the chapter of your old O-level chemistry textbook titled "The Carbon Cycle".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why will people never learn that Keynesian economics got the western governments into the financial mess they are in today. Taxing high earners to appear to give to the poor does not work.

    1. bamalam

      Keynes is not the villain

      Keynes is not what is caused recent damage. It was the laissez-faire capitalism of deregulation and cheap money that caused Lehman Bros. etc. We as tax payers are bailing out banks and the likes of AIG to the tune of Billions.

      1. John Angelico

        Sorry, bamalam but are not aware that the capitalists had their arms twisted by governments (see Clinton) to grant housing loans to people who would otherwise not qualify - they were deficient in one or more of the 3 Cs: Character (thriftiness etc), Capacity (to pay back the loan), and Collateral (houses of poor value).

        It was not a failure of free market capitalism, but the chickens coming home to roost after market-distorting government interference.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        This time it's not different

        Read the book.

        Bankers behave consistently ... they know no other way.

    2. John Angelico

      Fizackly, Ivan4!!

      "he was Prof of Economics at Cambridge and the man who got Keynes into the subject."

      That should disqualify him immediately.

    3. PyLETS

      @Ivan 4: Have you ever read Keynes' books ?

      If you had, it's extremely unlikely you'd be blaming him for the financial crisis. If you'd read Keynes very carefully you probably wouldn't be blaming him for the problems resulting from governments spending their way out of this deflationary banking crisis either, because he was arguing in 1936 _against_ continued monetary expansion at a similar point in the cycle to now. (Hint: he was the only knowledgeable person arguing _for_ public-financed monetary expansion following the deflationary 1929 stock market crash). If he did ever write anything similar to what you are alleging about tax policy please quote from which of his writings you are referring to. I'm concerned because having read his books I don't recall him saying anything about tax policy in relation to upon whom taxes should fall, and I think under the circumstances I would have noticed if he had written anything about this.

      If you haven't read Keynes' books, as seems very likely, then why should anyone care what you imagine him to be responsible for ?

  9. Mike VandeVelde

    Tim Worstall

    Do you think the carbon tax we have here in British Columbia is different in some substantial way? Or did you just not know about it?

    1. Tim Worstal

      Didn't know about it

      But it looks, from a quick glance, to be rather good. Starting low and then rising radually, that looks like the Nordhaus idea, rather than the Stern.

      No, I don't know all the rest of the bakground, but that first page on the general description makes it look very sensible.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    The ones who will be hit hardest with this

    are in fact the low-income renters. You see, you can offset your electric bill by installing solar panels - IF you own your house. This means that wealthy homeowners (and believe me if you own a house in this fucking country you are *wealthy*, no matter how much the middle-class yuppies cry poor) are the only ones who can get all the benefits.

    Those who are renting, on the other hand, will be forced to subsidise the fat rich homeowners' solar panels with massively increased electric bills. Why? Because no landlord (read: fat rich homeowner) will install solar panels on a rented property because he/she gets nothing back from the investment. So while the electric companies hike the bills to cover the carbon tax and to compensate for the fat bastards with solar panels who don't pay for electricity any more, it'll be the renters who have to foot the difference. That's right, the ones who can least afford it.

    The Gillard government needs to tax landlords who refuse to install solar panels on rented properties to solve this problem. Make it cost the landlords more money to not have solar panels than to put them on all rented properties. Then we'll see some fair distribution of the carbon tax and its flow-on effects.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good point (as a renter myself*, I am likely biassed, though)

      Heck, before even worrying about PV, I'd like to know what just forcing solar hot water systems for every rented place would do to the nation's electricity needs. Even if it was implemented as a switch-when-replacing-existing-unit, so the costs could be spread out over a decade-or-so.

      Technically, I have (just) enough income to buy in now, but at present local prices it cheaper to keep renting and making 6.1% on my savings (rather give rent to the landlord, than same in interest to the bank, at least the former can pass as a human being).

    2. drengur

      Despite the vitriol....

      Taxing landlords who don't improve properties is not a terrible idea. The amount of places that I've rented that had bled electricity... horrible old water heaters and horribly inefficient lighting has cost me thousands and currently there is no value in doing it to a landlord. Whats more, most are so broke from their two mortgages that they can't afford to fix anything else.

      I would love to see more disincentives to owning more than one property and finally pop this house price bubble.

      1. Adrian Esdaile

        Too bloody right! Minimum upkeep standards NOW!

        " Whats more, most are so broke from their two mortgages that they can't afford to fix anything else."


        Sorry, I had to shout that bit, because it's the thing that every bloody landlord I've ever had seems too not be aware of.

        ANY landlord (especially in Sydney) that whines about how poor they are can cry me a fucking river, and spend a couple of months in one of their fellow rich bastards properties, paying enormous rents and see how they like it.

        Face it; if you own property in Sydney YOU ARE RICH make no mistake about it, "mortage stress" or not.

    3. VoodooForce

      dude did you miss the bit

      about low income earners, whether they be renters or not, getting tax breaks to cover the rise in electricity costs? I agree in part with what your saying but have a look at the bigger picture.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        My appartment block changes hands as quickly as it takes each successive landlord to realise they over-paid for it. The landlord before last did most of his own minor maintenance (in a timely manner) so I got to know him a bit. As I said to him, with $15k I cound turn the dump into a really nice place, but as a tennant I certainly wasn't going to spend that sort of dosh on something I didn't own, and as a non-live-in owner, he certainly wasn't going to just so some future tennant could trash it, or simply let it degrade back to dump-state.

        I know when they started charging real-costs for water around here, they suddenly saved the need for three new major dams/dam-upgrades when people stopped wasting the stuff! I wonder how many new/upgraded power stations could be saved by making rental properties efficient and if a chunk of this fore-saved money could subsidise landlords in the efficiency upgrading?

        Then again, the last time the numpties we choose to have govern us decided to subsidise this sort of thing for live-in owners it was a real pigs ear, so do I really trust them to do it right? :-(

    4. Adrian Esdaile


      "The Gillard government needs to tax landlords who refuse to install solar panels on rented properties to solve this problem. Make it cost the landlords more money to not have solar panels than to put them on all rented properties. Then we'll see some fair distribution of the carbon tax and its flow-on effects."

      Ah, yes, it will do all of that, but it will also draw votes away from the Labor party.

      Let's not forget that the MOST important thing here is NOT tax, NOT the environment, NOT carbon emissions, NOT global [cooling|warming|climate change|climate stays the same];

      the most important thing is VOTES VOTES VOTES.

      Never forget that when dealing with any democracy, especially Australia.

      BTW, lovely to see some decent debate here on el Reg!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Julia could always spin it well

    If she ever makes it through the next election, the pork barrelling the one after will be insane.

    As time goes by who expects Canberra to return all that is raised?

    It always amuses me how a Labour government always ends up helping big business more, and strangling small bussiness. The middle class is their target demographic, gotta get rid of them!!! They're those pesky people who might vote Liberal

    1. Mark 65


      The Antipodean Blair?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I am sure she is a lovely person, and a capable politician. But her accent just really grates - I have to switch over when she starts.

      2. Steven Roper
        Thumb Up

        @Mark 65

        Gillard is more like the Antipodean Brown. Howard was the Antipodean Bliar. ;)

  12. itzman


    carbon tax is a good feed-forward element to encourage away from fossil fuel, IF it were given back to those who are most affected.

    As it is its all cash and grab, and of course spend on renewable energy that no one wants or needs

  13. Concrete Gannet
    Thumb Up

    Tax free threshold increase decades overdue

    The reg reporter has latched on to the significant thing that the mainstream press in Australia seems to have missed.

    The tax free threshold was an egregious fault in our system. It has been a third of what it should be. Fixing it will mean a million low income earners will no longer have to pay tax at all, and will have flow on benefits in simplifying their lives and removing poverty traps, increasing their incentive to find employment. It should have happened years ago, but it costs serious money.

    If it takes a new tax on polluters to fund it, I'm in favour.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Not quite

      At $18000, the tax-free threshold will still be too low to "remove poverty traps". To do that, you'd have to load the displaced tax onto the higher-tier tax rates rather than the lower-tier ones, as the gov't is doing.

      In general, the poverty trap is *caused by* progressive taxation, so the way to eliminate it is to make taxation *less* progressive, not more. The purpose of a tax-free band is to simplify tax collection and record-keeping - if some kid is only earning $60 a week from his paper round or whatever, it's not really worth the time and effort it'll take to collect $9 of it from him. And raising the limit will help with that.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Yes, I imagine the $18k figure wasn't arbitrary.

        The tax man sat down and worked out how much it cost to propess a normal income tax claim and came up with a figure just south of $2k, then multiplied back.

        Which is great, btw. I can think of plenty of things I would rather the govt. be doing with that $1.9k than blowing it extracting $516.90 out of some poor sod getting by on minimum wage!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      CO2 != Pollution

      Increased tax-free base = good

      I should have preferred that the pointless pandering to the Greens by couching this legislation as somehow "green" were avoided.

      Let's face it, if Australia disappeared from the planet tomorrow along with all its industry, people etc, the reduction in global CO2 output would not be measurable and certainly would be without any discerable effect on the climate - even if you believe the AGW crock-o-shit.


      ps: You get a thumbs up, despite the gratuitous last line.

  14. Mark Simon

    Sleight of Hand

    By that logic, high taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and fuel should decrease consumption. As far as I can tell, they don’t; they maek life more expensive, increase government revenue and give them the opportunilty to say that they’re doing some thing good.

  15. David Hicks

    As a high earning single geek

    With a car and no property, this barely affects me or my finances at all as far as I can tell.

    Why all the fuss?

    1. Grumpy Old Fart

      same situation, different result

      Well, this adds a few thousand more pointless Canberran envirocrats to the bureaucracy your taxes support for one. Another vast unaccountable faceless government agency who will require forms in triplicate whenever anyone tries to do anything productive, and who will close a business without hesitation from a single unjustified complaint. We're drowning in red tape already and now there's more.

      For two, if you base your opinion on every single government policy on purely how much it affects your wallet at this point in your life, then you deserve the godawful pollies you get. Get a bigger picture.

      For three, we're committing vast amounts of money to produce exactly zero effect on any CO2 emissions, let alone the climate itself. There are lots and lots of much better uses for this money than attempting to ameliorate less than a hundredth of a degree of warming (even if the worst, most dire predictions of the climate models are right).

  16. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Why do people miss the whole point...

    ...which is that CO2 is NOT a polutant, and does NOT cause Global Warming?

    This makes the whole basis for the tax into a big lie. And it really IS important that leaders tell the truth - it sets the tone for the whole of society. If, as el Reg seems to have done, you just don't care about whether something is true or not, you are encouraging the huge drop in public morality that we have seen over the past twenty years.

    Oh, and also, this is a tax on ANY kind of activity. If this is accepted, then it is accepted that governments no longer need to justify any tax at all - they can effectively say: "You're alive, so pay me your money!"

    Is that what you want? Cos that's what'll happen.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "which is that CO2 is NOT a polutant, and does NOT cause Global Warming?"

      It does cause global warming and so then it can be described as a pollutant.

      1. Philip Lewis
        Thumb Down

        Errr. No, you numpty.

        CO2 is an essentially harmless trace gas, naturally occurring in the Earth's environment. It also happens to be an ESSENTIAL component for life on this planet. Without CO2 in the atmosphere we are dead. Please re-read that last bit several times until you get it.

        pollutant [puh-loot-nt]

        "any substance, as certain chemicals or waste products, that renders the air, soil, water, or other natural resource harmful or unsuitable for a specific purpose."

        The suitability of "air" for it's specific purpose (which I would posit is the sustaining of life on the planet) is not enhanced by CO2's elimination or reduction.

        Numpiess like you should be sent to remedial schooling, along with everyone else who thinks that CO2 is a pollutant in any real or linguistic sense.


        1. NomNomNom


          you ignore the radiative effects of the CO2, and it's effects on ocean pH.

          This is a bit like ignoring the bad effects of raw sewage and arguing that raw sewage is fertilizer == life == great for dumping into rivers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dodgy Geezer

      "CO2 is NOT a polutant, and does NOT cause Global Warming?"

      For the first I would need some very clever convincing that CO2 is not a pollutant - only about a1% concentration of CO2 is enough to cause serious health problems:

      As for the second, even those of us who are firmly in the skeptic camp accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that greenhouse gasses are responsible for a rise in global temperatures of something like 20-30C over what it would be otherwise (what we disagree about is whether human activities are affecting the effect, whether we can do anything about it, whether the steps needed to do anything about it are actually worthwhile and whether there is actually any change from the natural cycle, amongst others)


      which states: "The greenhouse effect is the natural process by which the atmosphere traps some of the Sun's energy, warming the Earth enough to support life" Which seems reasonable to me - failing that just take a look at Venus for a spectacular example of greenhouse gasses at work..

      1. Bernd Felsche

        Serious arithmetic problem

        "only about a1% concentration of CO2 is enough to cause serious health problems"

        The site says: "Symptoms may begin to occur, such as feeling hot and clammy, lack of attention to details, fatigue, anxiety, clumsiness and loss of energy, which is commonly first noticed as a weakness in the knees (jelly legs)." for 1%. Serious health problems? Symptoms are like having 2 pints of beer in half an hour.

        Current CO2 levels are "officially" at about 390 ppm; much, much less than the 10,000 ppm that is 1%.

        Venus is hot at the surface in part because the pressure at the surface of the planet is about 90 times that of what we have on our planet. At the altitude where the pressure is about 1 Bar - one Earth atmosphere, Venus' atmosphere is only slightly warmer than Earth. The rest of the temperature difference is due to proximity to the sun and very slow, retrograde rotation of the planet - it turns, very, very slowly - backwards wrt other planets, with its "day" longer than its year.

        The "greenhouse effect" has no foundation in fact. Heat is not "trapped". CO2 doesn't form a "blanket" or a barrier to outbound radiation.

        Although CO2 absorbs IR radiation, it re-radiates it very quivckly at altitude, and below about 6000 metres above the surface, the incoming IR transforms morereadily to kinetic temperature; which can transfer to surrounding molecules of vastly more O2 and N2. CO2's rate of expansion with heating is greater than that of the rest of dry air, so its bouyant action encourages natural convection, increasing the rate of heat transfer.

        The higher density of CO2 compared to the rest of dry air tends to concentrate the trace of gas that is CO2 to near the surface; i.e. where it's absorbtion properties tend to promote convection and convective cooling of the surface by displaced ("falling", cold) air coming in contact with the warm surface. One would be able to observe that effect in the real world were the concentrations of the gas not so small that any attempt to measure it is lost in the noise of measurement.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Welsh woman turned colonial"

    I think you missed ginger as well in that.

    1. Tim Worstal


      I didn't miss it, no, was in the original. The subeditor thought that it should be missed though......

  18. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Nice idea, but woeful implementation

    So the plan is to ask every medium-to-large company in Oz to estimate their carbon footprint so that the government can work out how much to tax them? Good luck with that.

    What they should have done is followed the principle through. Tax those those import fossil carbon or who extract it locally. That's a *far* lower number of people to keep an eye on and since their whole line of business already revolves around knowing how much they import/extract, there won't be any problems with checking the figures.

    You still get the benefits of internalising the cost of carbon, but you've moved along the food chain to where it is (much) easier to measure. For one thing, you've immediately solved the problem of how to account for biofuels, or for electricity that *might* have been generated by clean methods. Such things don't show up at the dockside or mine and so don't get taxed.

  19. John Burton

    Yeah right

    Good grief there are still people out there who believe in this global warming / CO2 thing?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      seems the news hasn't trickled down under yet.

      There has been no warming, thanks to the Chinese burning lots of coal. So maybe this proposal has worked already before it even begins?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yeah like 97% of scientists who research the issue

      1. Anonymous Coward

        80% of statistics are made up on the spot

        As a working scientist, I can tell you that it is categorically untrue that 97% of scientists think that AGW is a fact, or that human CO2 emmisions are a pollutant.

        There are a large number of "climate scientists" whose belief in AGW is a prerequisite for their funding, who believe in AGW to a greater or lesser extent. There are also a large number of scientists in the same and also related fields (particularly the hard sciences) who have spent considerable effort rebutting the poor "science" coming from the "climate science" community.

        This is how science works.

        Eventually the physicists will figure out how clouds work, and since clouds contribute about 95% of the issue, we will then be in a better position to actually model something that can be measured against solid science, rather than dodgy data.

        Anonymous, obviously

        1. NomNomNom

          so far

          We've had decades of research and experts on the issue are convinced human CO2 emissions will warm the Earth

          Acting suprised that people believe CO2 emissions will warm the planet is bizzare given that's what science is telling us.

  20. Herby Silver badge

    ALL sources of CO2...

    ...should be taxed alike. Including the CO2 that the human body produces.

    Oh, but that would tax everybody. There is a solution, though. It was thought of by Swift a long time ago. He called it a "Modest Proposal".

    I'll let others look the reference up.

    1. A J Stiles

      No they shouldn't

      The carbon in the CO2 in your breath was extracted from the atmosphere by plants about one growing season ago.

      The carbon in the CO2 in fossil fuel emissions was extracted from the atmosphere by plants millions of years ago, and was completely out of the cycle until recently.

      Learn some O-level chemistry, will you?

      1. -tim

        CO2 Cycle Downunder?

        The carbon cycle here is tied very closely to the water cycle. During ice ages and points of high seas, large amounts of the current Aussie desert are covered by largish lakes. Those lakes provide the source for the rain that falls in what is now green areas. When that water goes away at stages between the ice age events, the tress die too. The areas around here turn to desert and about 230 Tons of CO2 per acre are moved from plants to the the atmosphere. If we don't actively flood some of these lakes, the long term drought will get much worse but we do have the ability to store massive amounts of climate if we are willing to flood some salt plains.

  21. amck

    Danger Will Robinson!

    <b>Because the carbon price raises revenue, it provides an opportunity to cut other taxes.</b>

    Yikes. Beware. It doesn't work like that.

    There are two types of taxes: (1) to collect revenue. (2) To change behaviour. Don't confuse them.

    Otherwise, If you actually succeed in changing behaviour then all your revenue disappears ...

    We've had this in Ireland with motor vehicle taxes. They moved from being engine-capacity based to CO2-based. Everyone moved to buying low-tax rate cars and the tax base melted.

    Secondly, if the aim is to change behaviour, then you keep raising the tax until it hurts, and people don't do that anymore. If you do behaviour-changing taxes like carbon taxes you need to be honest about it. It will hurt; its meant to, and we're not going to make it small so that "you won't notice", 'cos that would be to miss the point. Instead spend the money from the tax on helping the poor who don't have a choice : spend carbon tax money on retrofitting the houses of the poor, etc.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tax revenue

      The government can do one of two things with additional tax revenue:

      - More stuff*

      - Cut other taxes/increase welfare payments

      It's the "cut other taxes" option to which Mr Worstall is referring.

      If the government were to distribute all the additional tax back appropriately across business and the public, the end result is that companies and public who become more energy efficient can benefit and those who don't lose out.

      Carbon taxation should actually be really fucking simple, which is why Mr Worstall gets so bent out of shape about how complicated politicians end up making things.

      Tax energy: + lots_of_taxes

      Cut income taxes: -

      * The stuff is often stuffing money into their and their friends' pockets.

  23. George 24

    Simple maths

    Oz gvt will give back 50% of the tax to ordinary Aussies. Since there is no way businesses will absorb the other half, it leaves the compensation around 50% short.

    So cut the political crap and just admit it will cost us to clean the air.

  24. Matthew 17

    Not as scary as the CRC

    The UK's Carbon Reduction Commitment which has been slowly bubbling under the radar of most people is a hugely scary creature that will cost companies and people an absolute fortune. The company I work for has a lovely £60K tax bill next year to look forward to (this is on top of all other climate levies we have to pay on our energy). The efficiency of a company is determined by it's energy usage divided by its turnover, but doesn't take into consideration what the business-type is. Data Centres are going to get walloped

  25. Nigel 11
    Thumb Down

    Outsourcing CO2 emissions

    The obvious problem I see is that the CO2 tax will encourage energy-intensive manufacturing to be outsourced and finished product to be imported. The net result will be a loss of jobs locally, and even higher global CO2 emissions because of the extra shipping involved.

    Adding a CO2-emissions linked import tax would be a bureaucratic hightmare to administer, and would provide an incentive to further relocate manufacturing from a trustworthy regime to one where they'll work dirty and declare greenest.

    Reluctantly, thumbs-down.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's not so much that I don't think that CO2 emissions are a problem, I am just highly skeptical at any claim that tax is the solution. I tend to think that it's more of a case of looking for an excuse for a tax, to make it accepted by the public. If CO2 emissions are a problem then legislate for them properly. To replenish the public kitty then citizens should pay according to how much wealth they were fortunate enough to attract. Manipulating behaviour is not the job of taxation.

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    I've always wondered solar thermal is not more popular in Australia.

    Like Tunisia and Algeria thousands of square Km of not much (Do Aussies really call it the "Great b***er all?)

    Fairly simple well understood technology, with plenty of potential for storage (of the operating fluid). Australian universities have been quite active players in the power transmission /storage field by solar driven chemistry.

    Alternatively their sun rise must be ahead of some massive electricity consuming block which they could sell the excess capacity to, trading storage for a big cable (modern power transmission systems can be pretty efficient).

    So why's it never happened?

  28. pominoz

    Pointless money grab

    Even AGW promoting climate scientists admit this tax will have absolutely no effect on the climate. It is allegedly going to reduce Aus C02 emissions by 5% To put that in perspective, China outputs as much C02 in about 2 days as Aus does in a year, and that is assuming you believe that C02 is a problem. So we're all going to pay more and many will lose their jobs as what is left of Aus manufacturing goes abroad, and perfectly good power stations are shut down before they need to be, and replaced with the biggest white elephant ever i.e. renewable energy. Aus has no nuclear power as the Greens won't allow it, so without base load power we won't be able to read the reg in the future unless someone invents a lentil powered internet.

  29. G R Goslin


    This has all the logic of reducing unemployment by hiring thousands of men to dig holes. Then hiring thousands more to fill them in again. Arranging the work parties in a gigantic circle works wonders for increasing the efficiency of the system, and saving money.

    If you can just state that emissions, or anything else, costs money, without justification. Then there's no limit to the amount of tax you can levy. And of course it's not your fault when your industry is priced out of the markets and your economy collapses

  30. david 12 Bronze badge

    No No No

    The "compensation" announced for next year and the year after is less than the bracket creep due to inflation. If this comes in as announced, You will be paying more tax, (plus higher energy costs).

    The tax-free threshold has moved from 16K to 18K, not tripled, not from 6K to 18K. What has changed is that from 6K to 18K this also applies to some welfare recipients. This is good, very good, but not compensation for higher energy costs.

    I'm in favour of tax reform, in favour of simpler tax returns, in favour of higher tax-free threshold, and I think it's ridiculous that we can think a tax rate of 40% for rich people would damage incentives, but ignore an effective tax rate of 60-103% on welfare recipients.

    So I'm in favour of the minimal tax reforms regardless of the carbon tax. And the amazing thing is, since this "compensation" is actually revenue positive by the next election, it will actually be easy for the Opposition to keep it's promise to maintain the "compensation" while rolling back the carbon tax.

    1. catprog

      16k to 18k?

      @david 12

      the no tax is 6k to 18k

      The 16k you are referring to is due to the low income tax offset which has been reduced but still is there. which brings the actual tax-free to ~20k

      and the 3% increase in some brackets is offset by a reduction in the rate the low income offset is reduced for those brackets.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Taxes are meant to collect money aren't they?

    Hmmm, according to the Govt's details, this 'tax' is actually going to cost the Govt $4B and about 65% or so of the Carbon credits will be coming from overseas.

    So if I understand this right:

    a) If we didn't adopt this tax, we'd all be better off financially and the Govt would save $4B

    b) Australia is paying for OTHER COUNTRIES to clean up their act, not our own.


    I know it isn't all about the money (yeah, right) or votes ('cause they're going down in a blaze of glory for exhibiting Darwenian levels of stupidity), but surely we should at least be trying to reduce our own emissions, not someone elses?

    Nice to see Australia's best and brightest (?!?) shoot another bullet through our collective feet yet again, all whilst being cheered on by our own dear lobotomized ranga dinner lady in-charge.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Total BS

    This will do absolutely NOTHING to reduce CO2 in Australia. Only 500 industries pay and they get so much compo it won't make much difference and it also means that people will still drive around in the massive gas guzzling tanks.

    In all I've never heard so much whining! The aussies always like to point to the wingeing pom, but boy australia as a country as a GOLD medal in whining.

  33. Punksta

    Sensible ?

    Yes. they can spend it any way they like.

    Which is exactly why they did it of course. CAGW is 95% about promoting politics, 5% about science.

    They _could_ cut other taxes...but _wil_ they? esp beyond the short-term.

    (And all this 'makes sense' argument simply _assumes_ CAGW is true, even though the IPCC and climate science 'consensus' is plainly riddled with secrecy, fraud and vested political interest).

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Industries "paying"?


    What happens when you charge a company is that they pass it on to consumers - it's a bit like fining a government - guess who pays!

    It makes no sense to add a tax in order to modify behaviour if it makes no difference to anyone.

    The AUS economy weird. A lot of people have several homes, bought when land was cheap. The other side is that houses are now outrageously expensive. In outer suburbs of Melbourne houses are going for 650k, but incomes are still averaging 75k. It makes no sense to talk of "an average family with two incomes and one mortgage" because that covers a massive range of disposable income, depending on when the house was bought.

    I'm sure there are better ways to help things along. A good start would be look at tax on cars to see if you can encourage most people to pass on the V6 or the V8 engines in favour of something a bit more sensible.

    I'd like to see a tax on the the petrol retailers, payable each time they change the price of fuel. But that's just me. They could stop parking on six-lane roads so that all the traffic doesn't squeeze into two lanes all the time (wasting one lane). Maybe a tax on traffic lights in Melbourne, on the basis that start-stop travel is very inefficient...

  35. Jerry

    @WORSTALL - fatal flaw

    Hello Tim,

    I'm afraid that you've got a fatal flaw in your logic about taxing carbon instead of something else.

    The problem is. What if it works?? Net result is loss of income to the Government. What will they do to make up revenue? Raise taxes!

    Even funnier is if it doesn't work. Net result - an increase in Government revenue. What will they do? Nothing of course. There's plenty of pet projects they can fund.

    So the public will under either scenario end up paying directly or indirectly higher taxes.

    The only win-win outcome is if the tax has precisely zero effect. So why have it in the first place?

    P.S. Despite being a techie, I spent 3 years working as an economics computer modeler and forecaster for the Government. If only you knew as much as I know about how ineffective and how irrational proper economists are. La-La land!

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