The Carbon Tax will not solve anything. It is inadvertent smoke and mirrors. However the impact of the Carbon Tax, whether at $15 a ton or $50 a ton, demonstrates that the current economic management systems are cracking at the seams. These systems cannot ensure affordable living for the poorest among the working classes, our pensioners and the majority of our retirees, and well our economic management systems have already failed the poorest among us. The Carbon Tax will increase the cost of utilities making life more stressful for those already struggling to cope with the cost of living while for others it will dispossess them further of basic rights and disenfranchise them from many of society's objectives. Subsidies such as the various Utilities Hardship Grants Schemes will not offset the financial struggles of the worst affected, as the subsidy is swallowed by the rising costs, nor will such subsidies assist in other objectives such as a transition to nominated energy efficiency options. The subsidies are too miserly too nourish such a transition. To raise these subsidies to such a level as to afford the transition incurs an effect on the profit motive of our incumbent economic management systems. Furthermore to raise the subsidy or create new subsidies to effect energy efficiency transition obliges a financial capacity on everyone to absorb other subsequent costs in preserving and maintaining the new energy systems. Our economic systems need to change if we are to continue with life as affordable for the majority and for increasing numbers of people to avoid hardship rather than accept increasing hardship as staple to life.
The Carbon Tax is not the answer to Global Warming. Global Warming is a fact and sea level rises are self evident however the Carbon Tax is not a fact of life in terms of it being contributive to solving Global Warming. The logical solution is to change our economic management systems to accommodate people and society however this means to put people before profits, and to move away from a profit motive to a people based motive, however there would be enormous resistance from especially multinationals and from those increasingly privatising utilities and the layers of the public sector. The other solution, more palatable to those responsible for our systemic and endemic problems, is to invest like never before in research and development. According to the International Energy Agency, this type of research in alternative fuels, energy efficiency and restorative systems has declined enormously in the last fifty years when we measure research and development expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product.
Some Nobel Laureates have suggested that nations spend at least 0.2% of their GDP on R.& D. on non-carbon emitting technologies. This is a good start and more contributive to real change than a Carbon Tax. The total revenue from any Carbon Tax, whether $15 or $50 a tonne, if implemented and even if diverted 100% to R.&D is grossly inadequate. However I would argue that the OECD countries should spend at least 1%, and preferably 2% or more, of their GDP on this overdue specific R.&D. 0.2% of Australia's GDP is 1.6 billion dollars a year, however we should five fold this amount to 8 billion dollars, and tie in jobs and economic growth to it. If the OECD countries spend at least 1% per annum then this will amount to half a trillion dollars on this warranted and overdue research. We've had so-called economic stimulus packages, what we need now is the courage for hard core research, in effect a global energy efficiency stimulus. I am writing about half a trillion to a trillion each year, however imagine if we had spent some of the trillions from the world's Global Financial Crisis economic stimulus packages, and some of the trillions from the investiture in wars, on this research and development, we'd be moving closer to cutting edge changes.
The world's economic management systems have been averse to implementing real changes to secure temperature reductions, to deal with the effects of rising sea levels and to deal with carbon emissions. Whatever policies have been undertaken by countries around the world to deal with climate change, and the leaders are the European Union, they mean very little because they will achieve very little. For every single step forward they are going twenty steps backwards, swallowed up by the huge carbon emissions and rising temperatures that outpace the efforts. If temperatures were not to rise by a couple of degrees and remained miraculously stagnant for the next 89 years the EU, and others likeminded, may achieve a temperature reduction of 1/10th of a degree by the end of the century. However even if temperatures rise by only one degree well then their efforts achieved very little, did not offset temperatures and therefore did not subsidise change.
The problem is fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the staple of our energy systems. Simply, we have to move away from them. To do this we have two options. Invest, rather than misspend, in research and development and invest like never before or accept that we have to alter our economic management systems to afford the capacity and make cheaper, and affordable, the current high cost, over priced, alternative energy systems that are relatively energy efficient and can genuinely minimise our impact on the planet. Our cries to cut carbon dioxide emissions cannot happen to the extent that we would like them to while the profit motive stands in the way, and many institutions underwritten by the protocols of our contemporary economic maxims would be financially marginalised and collapse. It is a travesty this is the case because it demonstrates the failings of our systems and that they are in fact dangerous if not changed or corrected. These systems have trapped some of our most important decisions which should have been guided only by the reference of what is right and good. People, and in part due to perceptual modifications, are caught up in the contextual short term effect of the promise of jobs and economic growth, and to a human being it is fair enough to consider eternity as limited to their life-span - well then, the trap of having to afford life, and that of their family, appears to matter the most.
Anything raised from any prospective Carbon Tax does need to go 100% into research and development, however real change will only happen, and it will hurt human beings less in terms of their daily living and financial struggles, if our Governments rise to the occasion and dedicate 1 to 2% of our GDP to saving the world. It's not hard to find that 1 or 2%, we could spend less on military spending, less on wars and close Australia's 24 Detention Centres. Now there are some billions that could be better spent.
The Human Rights Alliance