Was Australia's Federal election a referendum on the carbon price and Australia's policies on climate change? Prime Minister Tony Abbott would have us believe that it was. Indeed, he campaigned strongly to 'axe the carbon tax'.
On September 7 Australia elected the Liberal National parties - the Coalition - to Federal Government, with Tony Abbott as our new Prime Minister. It is a Government firmly in climate denial, intent on winding back carbon pricing; undermining renewables; and closing down the Climate Commission setup to communicate and engage the public on climate science and its impacts.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott made a frosty mistake in visiting the Adelaide Ice Service factory today, arguing the business was a victim of the carbon tax. At the same time Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and local Labor MP Mark Butler announced a grant of nearly $90,000 to the company from the carbon price funded Clean Technology Food and Foundries Program to install a 87.5 kilowatt photovoltaic solar system at its ice manufacturing plant in Regency Park.
The visit continues Abbott's attempt to beat up the carbon price as a negative, but it shows just how shallow and loose with the truth his own campaign is, especially regarding climate change policy. The carbon price hasn't brought economic ruin. Indeed, there are strong arguments by Environment Victoria that the compensation package to carbon intense energy providers is overly generous. Victoria's brown coal generators are being subsidised to continue polluting to maintain healthy profits.
The Carbon Price at work. Mackay Sugar has officially brought online its new biomass cogeneration power station which has received funding from the Queensland Government and the Federal Government's Clean Technology Investment Program funded by the Carbon Tax. The plant is expected to produce about 38 megawatts of power: 11 megawatts to supply the Racecourse sugar mill and refinery and another 27 megawatts into the State Electricity grid, enough to supply about a third of Mackay's electricity requirements.
New research on energy demand in the National Energy Market (NEM) by Pitt and Sherry's carbon emissions Index (CEDEX) shows demand for power for electricity has been falling since late 2010. Power generation from black coal (mainly in NSW) has been falling since the start of 2009, while there has been a fall in generation from (Victorian) brown coal since July 2012.
Almost certainly the Federal Governments Renewable Energy Target (RET) driving construction of wind farms, and now the Carbon Tax increasing the cost of coal fired power, as well as energy efficiency programs and drop in electricity demand from consumers, has been driving these trends.
By Patrick O’Connor, SEP candidate for Melbourne: 6 July 2012 Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax finally came into effect on July 1. The Labor government and its de facto coalition partner, the Greens, marked the occasion by again boasting of the measure’s environmental and social credentials.
Delta Electricity this afternoon announced the closure of the 45 year old Munmorah coal fired power station at least partly due to the introduction of the carbon tax. The power station is located on the shores of Lake Munmorah on the central coast of NSW between Sydney and Newcastle.
Reasons for the closure being cited by Delta Energy include the reduction in energy demand in NSW resulting in an excess in electrictiy supply, the aging nature of the infrastructure and the high cost of maintenance, and that "the carbon tax further erodes its viability."
Did you miss the action over the weekend? Thousands of people around the world from Cairo to Canberra participated in events to move the planet beyond fossil fuels. There were over 2000 events in more than 175 countries with more than 40 Moving Planet events taking place across Australia from the Blue Mountains, Hobart, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Sydney and Melbourne joining the thousands of events taking place around the globe.
The mainstream press is prosecuting a farce of a carbon tax “debate”. In the one corner opposing the tax you have climate denialists, middle class welfare recipients complaining about their lack of “compensation” and billionaires such as Twiggy Forest and Gerry Harvery masquerading as “ordinary” Australians. In the other corner are the ALP and the Green’s arguing that the carbon tax is a bold step towards solving climate change and anyone who opposes them is a selfish climate denialist.