Q: I can’t afford an increased price of living so I’m scared of a big new tax on everything.
A: The carbon price will affect 1000 of Australia’s biggest polluters - individuals will not be taxed. Some of the costs will be passed on to consumers so there will be an increase in some of our lifestyle choices. However millions of households will in fact be better off financially through compensation.
Q: Compensation removes the incentive to reduce consumption of electricity.
A: The incentive to reduce consumption will still exist because households will be able to save money through reduced consumption and still keep the compensation in form of a tax cut or direct payment. The package will ease cost of living pressures, while simultaneously providing an incentive to reduce consumption.
Q: The Coalition’s direct action plan will achieve the same targets as a carbon price, without the increased cost of living.
A: The Coalition’s Direct Action Policy will spend a truckload of taxpayer’s money in the hope that the government will select the right investments rather than letting investors make their own decisions. It will do nothing to reduce Australia’s emissions, or modernise our economy in low carbon jobs.
The Department of Climate Change has estimated that rather than reducing emissions, the Coalition’s policy would actually see emissions rise by 13% above 2000 levels, while still costing the Australian people between $10.5 and $30 billion dollars.
Q: The earth isn’t warming anymore – climate change isn’t real.
A: The climate is most certainly getting hotter. The earth has warmed at a rate of about 0.17 degrees per decade over the past 30 years. The last decade was the warmest on record.
The number of days with record hot temperatures has increased each decade over the past 50 years according to recent work by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. And there have been fewer record cold days.
Q: The climate has heated and cooled throughout history – human activity has no impact on global warming.
A: The climate doesn't just change for no reason. Something must cause it to change. For example, the cycle of ice ages and warm inter-glacial periods were caused by altered patterns of absorbed sunlight due to small variations in the Earth's orbit – but the warming of the past 50 years cannot be explained by such natural factors. This warming can only be explained by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
Q: It makes no sense for Australia to act alone – we are too small to make a difference.
A: We are not acting alone – major emitters, including the European Union and China have or are moving towards systems similar to an emissions trading scheme.
We cannot influence the global debate until we show we are serious about reducing global emissions. Australia makes up 0.3% of the world’s population yet we are responsible for 1.5% of global emissions. It is time to make a positive contribution. Acting early before a global system is in place will help ensure the Australian economy is at the forefront, and not left behind in the global race for clean energy industries.
Finally, to say that our emissions are not significant enough on a global scale to act is like saying Australia shouldn’t engage in global finance or peacekeeping missions because our contribution wouldn’t be significant enough.