Emails are flying, submissions are flooding in. It’s a nation in uproar. The implications of what Henry Ergas wrote are setting off a wave of fear and anger. People are using words like “sickening”, “shocking” and describing Gillard’s actions as “vindictive” and a “treacherous spoiler”, and using the word treason. There’s a plea: “God help us!”
Here’s a few samples of what has been CC’d to me.
UPDATE: I should have added that I put the first email up to show just how deep the sense of betrayal runs. I don’t think Gillards actions represent a grand well thought out plot. This is scrabbling desperation to notch up a “success” (the country be damned). Even she advised Rudd to give up the ETS. A weak government is the most dangerous kind.
Please drop everything and listen to this:
Professor Henry Ergas reveals the hidden deadly dangers in the Carbon Tax legislation to Alan Jones.
The vindictive implications for Australia are worse than horrendous.
The shameful and treacherous group (loosely described as the “government” of this country) should be thoroughly exposed as SPOILERS [snip cliche].
PLEASE BRING THIS TO EVERYONE’S ATTENTION!
The second response registers the telling impact this dynamite interview is having on ordinary Australians as they come to grips with the explosive revelations made in this interview. The reaction of people hearing this for the first time is bad enough, however once its insidious message filters through, it becomes overpowering in the utter sense of hopelessness it engenders. The Australian people are just now beginning to feel like the proverbial rabbit caught in the full headlight glare of what is being proposed in the parliament of our beloved country right now, and it is sickening: -
Date: 20 September 2011 6:55:18 AM AEST
Subject: God help us all
This morning I listened again to the exchange between Professor Ergas and Alan Jones.
There can be no mistaking that what is being planned by Julia Gillard is both vengeful and completely treasonous.
Never before has a government legislated the deliberate and permanent destruction of its country’s economic future viability. There is NO other word than “treason” in the English to appropriately describe the intent of the Carbon Dioxide Tax legislation.
This woman, unable to accept that she is now the subject of ridicule and scorn from the majority of Australians appears to have become completely unhinged. So determined is she to punish this country and its people for daring to doubt and mock her, she is planning to the equivalent of a massive “Suicide Bomber” strike.
The Japanese used the word “Kamikaze” to describe its suicide bomber pilots during World War II.
Today, that word applies equally to Australia’s Prime Minister .. although her motives are infinitely more warped and seemingly of a revengeful, personal nature.
The legislative weapon of mass destruction that this red-haired mad woman intends to detonate in the heart of Australia’s parliament has been maliciously designed to destroy immediately, yet it has been constructed to deliver fallout with a deliberate and deadly radio-active half-life of forever!
God help us all as this evil and godless creature of communism seeks the worst for us all.
H/t Jeff Greenwood
Is this legislation unconstitutional?
The blogger BarnabyisRight is calling the legislation “unconstitutional” and canvassing legal routes to seek a High Court injunction. It’s an interesting theme, with great potential to stop the whole Circus dead in it’s tracks.
UPDATE: Barnabyisright has popped in at #4 (and #5):
“Please consider adding your name (and relevant details) to the JSC submission at my blog. Given the debacle and resultant political embarrassment the Government has endured arising from having their Malaysia “Solution” smacked down in the High Court, I believe it is worth our giving them food for thought as to the possibility of having the Constitutionality of their so-called “Clean Energy” legislation likewise challenged in the High Court.
People are trying every angle under the sun
There is also a Petition to The Queen. We can only hope. (No I don’t like the chances but it’s a fair thing to ask).
Other examples of submissions
From Anton Lang about the “clean energy” details
The Joint Select Committee for The Clean Energy Bills,
Stuart Robert MHR,
With the ensuing passage of these Bills through the House and then The Senate, I was wondering if members in favour of these Bills might perhaps be able to bring Australians along with them by explaining how these Bills might facilitate the move to the current Clean Energy options of choice, Wind Power and the two versions of Solar Power, Solar Photovoltaic, and Concentrating Solar.
Perhaps they might be able to point out just one plant in existence on the whole of Planet Earth, or even a plant that is in planning that can produce the same electrical power for consumption that is currently being generated by one large scale coal fired power plant, of which there are many in existence here in Australia.
- Perhaps they might mention how much power will actually be generated for consumption by this one example of any Renewable Plant.
- Perhaps they might mention on what time frame a renewable plant of this nature might be delivering its power.
- Perhaps they might mention the cost of this equivalent Plant.
- Perhaps they might mention how long it will take to construct this plant from the planning stage to the power delivery stage.
- Perhaps they might mention how long a plant of this nature might last.
- Perhaps they might mention how much Government (taxpayers) money will be given to (a) the construction of this plant, and (b) the subsidising of the generated electricity to the grid in an effort to make it somehow competitive with current power generation from coal fired power.
- Perhaps they might mention how much the cost of retail electricity to all consumers will increase with the introduction of a renewable plant of this nature.
There’s really no point in addressing any of the 7 responses mentioned here, because there is no equivalent plant of this nature in existence anywhere in the World, and there is none planned or even contemplated in the near future.
The bills are against our wishes, and don’t make economic or scientific sense
To the persons responsible for the carbon tax bills, after a cursory reading of said bills please receive my submission as follows.
As an Australian citizen by birth, I, [insert your name and address] am deeply concerned that the proposed laws are unsound, unjustified, incomprehensible, or just plain wrong, particularly as:
- An overwhelming majority of Australian voters believed that there would be NO carbon tax (or anything similar) from either major political party at the last federal election.
- They are NOT based on real scientific evidence about climate changes, particularly any that maybe caused by human beings. See Note (*) below.
- The carbon-tax/ETS will have NO discernable impact on the climate, or the world’s temperature. See Note (#) below.
- There is NO economic benefit to Australians in increasing their cost of energy, particularly as we have an abundant, and relatively cheap, source of coal.
- There is NO definition of just what is ‘carbon pollution’, let alone what are the deleterious effects of it on anybody, or anything.
- Carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant but an essential ingredient for all plant life, upon which all animal life rely for survival, omnivorously.
- The need for so-called ‘carbon polluters’ to buy emission-permits will see a massive transfer of Australia’s inherent wealth to other countries with NO benefit for Australians, nor the environment, nor humanity.
- There are NO details on how emission permits will be vouched, guaranteed, or otherwise proved, to be what they really are.
- NO future government will be able to change these laws easily to suit the prevailing conditions without a substantial expense to the Australian taxpayer. See Note (+) below.
- If there is really a need to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels then the proposed laws are NOT rational, NOT logical, and do NOT cover all aspects and users of all of those fuels.
In summary, I submit that the propose laws covered by the carbon tax bills are against the express wishes of a majority of Australian citizens and they do not make any economic sense in any regard whatsoever, especially in today’s global financial uncertainty, and that they should be abandoned, immediately.
[your name and address]
h/t Allan Cox and Peggy
I feel strongly that there should be no Carbon Tax for the following 6 reasons.
If any one of these reasons are correct there should be no Carbon Tax, my investigations have lead me to determine that all of these 6 points are correct.
- Is the earth warming? (How much, how accurate are predictions?) Currently NO
- Is warming dangerous? (3 to 5 Deg C and for who or what) Not Dangerous
- Is CO2 is the cause of warming (how and by how much)? Only a small part of warming.
- Is mankind causing CO2 levels to increase (by how much where’s the evidence)? Only a small part around 3%
- Can we fix it? (Change CO2 levels and by how much?) Australia will have no effect and CO2 production by most of the word will increase
- Is it cost effective? (Could the money be better spent on say adaption) Not cost effective.
An independent Royal Commission needs to be held to prosecute the people who are defrauding the Australian people on this matter.
Subject: Submission – Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Clean energy Future
Please accept my submission to the Committee as follows and attached:
1. Letter to Mr Combet with questions
The Prime Minister promised the Australian people that she and her ministers would go around Australia answering the people’s questions on the need to put a price on ‘Carbon’. The Prime Minister herself promised to wear out her shoe leather making sure her message for a carbon price got to every Australian. To help the Government’s message the published a ‘Towards a Clean Energy Future’ brochure which was to explain ‘What a price on carbon means to you’. This was sent to all households in Australia and we were invited to seek answers to any questions we might have.
On 12th August 2011, I forwarded the attached letter (See ‘Clean Energy Future.doc attached), by email to the Minister for Climate Change, Mr Greg Combet with a total of 61 questions (main questions and sub questions), on the proposed legislation and the justification for the legislation. I also took the opportunity to forward the letter to as many members of Parliament as I could find email addresses for in the hope my questions would be taken seriously and addressed.
To date I have not received any answers to the questions raised.
2. Follow-up Email to Mr Combet requesting response and additional questions
On 27th August 2011, I forwarded a follow up email (see attached ‘Follow up Letter to Mr Combet.doc), requesting a response to my letter and questions which were forwarded to him on 12th August, and adding further questions with regards to how the purchasing of carbon credits would work. Specifically i raised the possibility of penalties, including from the ATO, for businesses who are discovered to have purchased carbon credits which are later found to be fraudulent, (through no fault of the business), but thus leaving that business in breach of it’s emission obligations. Again I copied this to as many members of parliament as I could find email addresses including Greens members, the Government and coalition and independents.
To date I have not received any answers from Mr Combet or his department to any of the questions I have raised.
3. Scientists Continue to release research which does not support the IPCC climate projections
The IPCC climate scenario models are based on a number of assumptions regarding specific climate variables. Each of the models is tweaked by adjusting the assumptions regarding aerosols to have the model output agree to past empirical data as closely as they can. The IPCC has acknowledged that Climate Science has limited understanding of many factors which may effect our climate in the short and long term. This includes areas such as cosmic and solar activity, cloud formation, deep ocean currents, the flow of magma within the earth, changing magnetic fields, volcanic activity, (particularly sub-sea where it is estimated there are millions of volcanoes, tubes and vents which are unknown and unmonitored), the level of climate sensitivity to these and other variables including CO2 and other greenhouse gases and the extent of positive and negative feedback mechanisms. These unknowns and uncertainties make the IPCC models on which our Government is basing the need to take action on climate change virtually meaningless.
I do not dispute that additional CO2 in the atmosphere will, all things being equal, warm the atmosphere by a diminishing (non linear, and non exponential) amount. Science is yet to be able to accurately calculate the level of warming over the past 100 years which can be classified as natural versus anthropogenic. Fortunately the science and our knowledge is increasing. We have seen in recent years some scientific research which has refuted some of the tenets of the IPCC’s AR4 with regards to climate sensitivity to CO2, the earth’s energy budget and the ability to radiate heat into space, the impact of clouds and the possible implication of cosmic rays, the greater correlation between the Sun’s solar activity and the earth’s climate than CO2 and climate. We also know that some of the increase in agricultural productivity around the world has been brought about because of greater atmospheric CO2.
4. No Global Action
It appears to be an uncontentious statement that Australia’s planned action on green house gas emissions will have a negligible impact on global temperatures. The impact is so small as to be unlikely to be able to be measured. Treasury projections which have been supplied assume global action on emissions equal to Australia’s planned action by 2016. Despite this wild assumption, Treasury predict that that the proposed action in the Clean Energy Bills will lead to a perpetual reduction in our GDP. That is, a reduction in Australia’s wealth which will never be recovered. This is with an assumption that the rest of the world take similar action. However we know that the USA, Canada, and Japan have already stated that they will not be renewing their emission reduction obligations when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. The world’s greatest emitter of green house gasses including CO2 will not commit to emission reductions in fact while China does plan to become more energy efficient by replacing old technology power generation plants, they plan to dramatically increase power generation and manufacturing. So while their ‘carbon intensity’ may decline a little, Chinas green house gas emissions by their own admission are set to sky-rocket. It is a similar storey the the world’s next largest developing country India. Other major developing countries such as Indonesia, and the populous countries of Africa and South America, are also not planning green house gas emissions beyond selling carbon credits to the rest of the world.
5. Australia will Never achieve a comparative advantage in renewable energy technology
Australia may well have an abundance of solar rays, wave and tidal motion, geothermal opportunities and maybe even wind energy, but that does not mean we will be in a good position to capitalise on this. Currently virtually all of the wind and solar energy equipment in use in Australia is manufactured overseas and imported into Australia. It is unlikely that under the planned Government Carbon Tax and ETS regime, Australian industry will ever be in a position to establish the carbon intensive industries required to manufacture the renewable energy technology. Countries such as China, India, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, and other developing and emerging economies will not have the emission restrictions Australia will have, they will have access to cheaper labour and greater economies of scale than Australia will ever have. There is no way Australia will ever achieve a position of comparative advantage against our nearest competitors in the area of renewable energy. Moving away from the use of coal, oil and gas, to renewable energy will put what industry we have left in Australia at an even greater disadvantage. This will no doubt lead to further industry closures and greater unemployment and a reduced GDP.
6. Sending Money Overseas will disadvantage all Australians and provide no guarantee of emission reductions.
The Governments plan is to allow a great percentage of emission credits to be purchased by Australian industry from overseas. Without committing to the creation of a massive and expensive emission auditing bureaucracy which would require the full co-operation of provider countries there is no way the Australian Government can guarantee that carbon credits purchased overseas are legitimate. They have no way of providing ongoing monitoring of forests, carbon emission reduction activities or controlling changes in legislation or the issuing of emission permits overseas. In the past oil and gas companies have been granted carbon credits for fixing leaks in their pipelines. In other cases carbon credits have been issued to companies who have closed industry in an EU company, only to open worse emitting factories in non EU countries. Is this what Australian businesses should be paying for in order to buy the right to continue operating in Australia?
7. Money should be spent on achieving recurring benefits which do not rely on CO2 being the problem
As mentioned at point 3. there is enough reason to question taking dramatic action to reduce green house gas emissions and specifically CO2. As mentioned at point 4. because there is no global action to reduce CO2 emissions, Australia’s action is pointless. Therefore if the government insists on pursuing a reduction in CO2 emissions because of it’s belief in the IPCC projections and a desire to take a leadership role in the world, then at the very least, funds raised from a carbon tax/emissions trading scheme should be utilised for the long term recurring benefit of the Australian community without relying on any supposed benefits from CO2 emission reductions. Money raised should not be used to bribe the community as is proposed by giving back to anyone other than the most needy on fixed government incomes. We should not on the one hand be sending billions of dollars overseas to purchase carbon credits while at the same time providing billions of dollars in subsidies to support ‘trade exposed’ industries. There is no reason the Government couldn’t issue carbon credits to raise the funds to subsidise trade exposed industries. By maintaining the industry competitiveness, you stop the industry closing down and production being shifted overseas to countries where there is less stringent environmental controls than in Australia. That itself is an emission reduction strategy.
Funds from the tax should be applied to improving public transport infrastructure around Australia so that every person living within a reasonable distance of a major city has the ability to utilise public transport and to live without owning a car as is the case in many places in the world. This would have an ongoing economic and environmental benefit for Australia.
Funds raised should be put towards setting aside more forests and marine parks by providing transitional finance for affected workers including forestry, fishing, and support industry and services to relocate, re-train or retire.
Funds should be applied to helping establish intensive food production facilities such as aquaculture and hydroponics which will have a much lower impact on the environment.
Funds should be applied to the establishment of government owned renewable power generation facilities. Privatisation of power generation hasn’t worked in Australia because private companies are tied to the short term profit cycles and cannot spend capital which wont achieve a return for many years.
8. The worst time to introduce a drag on the economy.
Government Debt is at a post war record high in Australia and only the wildest of economic optimists believe the Government will spend less than it’s income by 2013. Even if that goal is achieved, by then, and at that projected rate, it will still take about 30 years to repay the debt, not to mention to get to a surplus position which the Rudd Government inherited. Australia currently has the highest interest rates of any OECD country. This is stifling small businesses. Our near record high exchange rate is making our export industries less competitive. We have a reported unemployment rate of nearly 5%. That is, 1 in 20 people who are willing and able to work and are actively seeking employment is not employed. However, because of our relatively generous welfare system our real unemployment rate is much higher. There are people with minor disabilities, or older workers who receive a disability pension. There are single parents on benefits. Many of these people would choose to work part-time, or in a low paying, less taxing position if such positions were available in a stronger economy. Currently these people are part of the ‘hidden’ unemployment. Just because Australia is not near the 100% GDP debt position or 10% some other countries are, it is not a time to become complacent. Debt defaults in the EU, a downturn in Chinese growth, further recession in the USA are all current factors which could pull our economy down even further. It is not the time to be adding a massive tax and handcuffing our industries in Australia.
I do not support the legislation to introduce a ‘Carbon’ tax and later an emissions trading scheme and the associated legislation the Government is currently proposing under the title the ‘Clean Energy Future’ Bills. As evidenced by my own questions to the Government which have gone ignored and unanswered, the Government clearly does not have sufficient confidence in the need for the legislation to answer questions about it despite the Prime Minister’s ardent promise. There are far too many questions yet to be answered about the variables which affect our climate and our climate’s sensitivity to green house gases and CO2 in particular. The uncertainty is buried within the detail of the IPCC AR4 while the summary for policy makers pretends a level of certainty which is not reflected in the science. The importance of many climate variables is yet to be determined. There is no certainty that reducing CO2 emissions will benefit our climate and no guarantee that it will not be detrimental.
Treasury projections used to support the Governments proposed Clean Energy Future Bills predicts a detrimental impact on Australia’s economic growth, and actually demonstrates the Government’s compensation package would not be sufficient to cover the added burden of a carbon price of $131 per ton in 2010 dollars. But even more damning than this is the reliance the Treasury projections make on the rest of the world taking similar action to ‘put a price on carbon’ by 2016 when all the evidence is that the majority of carbon emitters in the world, (somewhere close top 85%) will not make such a commitment. If the Government is insistent on action, then it should only be taken in concert with the rest of the world as all the experts acknowledge Australia’s action alone will have a negligible impact on climate.
Despite the Governments objective to support renewable power generation and low emission technology in Australia and to create hundreds of thousands of ‘clean energy’ jobs, the fact is Australia will never achieve a comparative advantage in the manufacture of renewable energy technology and will be forced to import equipment from overseas while losing manufacturing jobs to countries which will not have the same emission constraints. If Australia is to have a carbon tax then funds raised from the tax should be spent in Australia not sent overseas, and should be used to build long term infrastructure and on environmental projects with a long term benefit to the Australian people rather than being used to ‘bribe’ Australian voters, pay off industry and try to pick winners among private enterprise.
There are many technical reasons why we should not pass the proposed legislation, and many reasons to amend the legislation if we believed a form of this legislation would be beneficial, but even if you ignored those issues, the current economic environment is possibly the worst time we could consider adding a further burden to our economy. For this reason alone at the very least the Government should consider delaying the legislation until the threat of a global financial meltdown and recession has passed no earlier than 2016.
Thank you for your consideration
Initial email with detailed questions about the Government booklet on the Carbon Tax. [PDF]
Follow up letter. [PDF]
Send your submissions to:
Written submissions must be received by next Thursday, 22 September. They can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to the select committee care of Parliament House, Canberra.
Please email your representatives!
See the links to the legislation here.
UPDATE: You can see the official list of submissions [for the draft legislation] at the DCC site. Post was edited shortly after posting to correct a suggestion that submission might be closed. The DCC site says that, but the DCC submissions are from an earlier version which did indeed close on Aug 22. The current submissions are still being taken by the Joint Committee until Thursday 22nd (see this page for details).