Emphasis here is on 'schemes'.
So yeah, we are going to have "carbon trading schemes", "Emissions trading" and all sorts of other fancy words for what basically adds up to a 'pollution tax' - the more you pollute, the more you pay.
Our federal treasurer was on the radio this morning being interviewed, and I was most keen to know the answer to the inevitable question which was - to paraphrase - "What reductions in pollution do you anticipate as a result of the introduction of this scheme"?
He couldn't give one.
He was saying something about the economic gains, and about what this new tax is designed to do, when I turned off the radio in disgust.
He couldn't give an answer because he doesn't have one. We haven't been given a scale yet for how much pollution = how much taxation. It hasn't been quantified. No science or reason has been applied to determine how much Joe Average should pay for his Earth-raping activities.
Fossil-fuelled power is in a horrific position, because the penalties for it are going to be huge - well into the seven, if not the nine, figures - and now that the power companies are private utilities and not state-run resources (which cannot be taxed as a Government cannot tax itself), those costs are going to be passsed on. I fear the hidden implication of that is that unless some sort of rebate scheme is implemented, the very poor (e.g. pensioners, low-income families with several children or a special-needs child) might have to stop taking electricity for granted (so pensioners will freeze in winter and get heatstroke in summer more than they do now - heating and air conditioning are expensive to run constantly), and heaven knows what's going to happen to households that have gas as well.
What else hasn't been discussed yet is what's going to happen with all the money that's raised. What guarantees do we have that it will be used productively? If I had my druthers they'd already have started to look into expanding the pilot scheme for tidal power, or at least be plotting experimental/prototype solar or ocean-thermal stations, so that the 'dirty power' taxation was paying for the introduction of 'clean power'. Even nuclear, for God's sake, just to tide us over for a few decades until we get high-volume clean-energy stuff built and divert the petrochemicals we don't burn into plastics and other industrial uses. But no - deathly silence.
On top of that, in a drought-stricken country whose floods wash into the sea, whose catchments are too small or in the wrong places, and whose left-wing State governments refuse to build dams on "environmental grounds" ("OMFG you're raping the Earth!") and refuse to countenance the use of 'scrubbed' stormwater (even for irrigation); in a nation where we are told our resources are stretched to the limit, and where people aren't even allowed to water their gardens any more in some places; we are anticipating a planned migrant intake of 300,000 people (well up from last year), some at least of whom can be counted on to breed well past basic replacement level. Do the math, people - no extra infrastructure + extra population = Not Good News. Our dams and catchments were constructed to serve a much lower population than they are serving now, and than our immigrant-hungry government plans for them to serve in the future.
Meanwhile, the land is drying up and the farmers - the ones who provide us with our next meal - are going to the wall.
What are you going to do about it, Mr Rudd?