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Australia: Historic New Carbon Price Law Divides Nation

The Australian Federal Parliament finally passed the contentious Clean Energy Bill on 8 November 2011. The legislation introduces a carbon price of $A 23 per tonne from July 2012, leading to an emissions trading scheme (cap and trade) after 3 years.

Peter Campbell's blog on the state of the planet congratulated those involved in passing the legislation:

This is wonderful news. It is a shame it has taken so long for us to finally price pollution and provide leadership and and incentives for a clean energy future.

Well done Julia Gillard, The Labor Government, the MPCCC, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott, all the Greens in the senate – particularly Christine Milne and Bob Brown and their advisors – and Adam Bandt in the House of Representatives.

Some opponents were quick to make negative comparisons. @marksharma saw parallels with the far right:

Australia is NOT a democracy anymore.We are now under the ‘occupation’ of Nazis led by Julia Gillard & Hitler Bob Brown! #auspol #CarbonTAX 8 Nov

The No Carbon Tax post Injecting Carbon Tax preferred to use parallels with drug addiction in their attack:

In 2011 Australia started injecting carbon tax into our industry to make some of us feel good about ‘doing something’ against Climate Change. Like crack cocaine, it makes some of us feel good, like crack it it is an addictive source of income to the government, like crack it achieves absolutely nothing and like crack, you don’t feel the harm until some years down the track.

The rest of the world sensibly said NO to the hard drug of Carbon Taxing the whole economy. So Australia, enjoy…

The controversial pressure group @GalileoMovement rounded off the standard attacks with an appeal against the left bogey:

Waste, waste, waste bit.ly/vSLduV A trademark of socialism's central control 12 Nov

@ki_sekiya wondered about the possible contradictions in these ideological attacks, contrasting the Opposition leader’s support of direct funding with the government’s market-based emissions trading scheme:

Funny how the Self-proclaimed “Capitalists”, are supporting Abbott's “Direct Action” Plan and calling a Market-mechanism, Communist. #auspol 8 Nov

In supporting the legislation, Mark Banhisch used a non-emotive style to explore the political aspects at Larvatus Prodeo:

Finally, on the politics: much ink has been spilled, and will no doubt continue to be, over the implications for partisan politics. We need to think less about this, and more about what the ‘debate’ says about the power of unreason in public life, and sheer self-interest on the part of powerful actors. But I derive considerable hope from the fact that it’s been shown that amidst an unprecedented volume of noise, big things can still be done, and from the fact that it’s more than possible that reality may now prevail over irrationalism.

Well known climate skeptic Jennifer Marohasy tried to link the carbon price to the Global Financial Crisis in her post Australia to Become Involved in ‘Subprime’ Carbon Market? :

In addition to buying carbon units in the auction process, secondary markets and derivative markets will likely also develop in Australia also linked in to the international greenhouse-gas trading system.

So does this in effect mean Australia will soon be linked in to a type of ‘subprime’ UN compliant carbon trading scheme?

On ‘My blog for my rants, raves and thoughts!’ carbon tax advocate Alex Schlotzer hoped that vocal opposition is in decline:

There’s already evidence of this with the fervour that existed on the Conservative Action Network’s climate change group easing, and not nearly as rabid as it was during the height of the anti-carbon price ‘movement’.

Judge for yourself. The twitter hash tags #nocarbontax and #carbontax seem to have been less active during the last week than may have had been expected.

However, strong opponents of climate action at Catallaxy Files have not lowered their voices. One of several posts questioned the sources of funding for the new website yourcarbonprice.com.au an online calculator of the carbon price’s impact on individuals:

But an important question is who is paying for the collaboration of CHOICE, ACOSS (who alarmingly seems to be arguing for this package knowing full well that most of the green schemes are extraordinarily regressive – eg. solar feed-in tariffs) and the Climate Institute to produce yourcarbonprice.com.au?

Scientist Alan Marshall of SkepticalScience took A Moment to Savor! before reminding readers about what he believes needs to be done next:

While the Clean Energy Future legislation, and the actions by other nations listed above, are all commendable, international efforts will need to be ramped up if we are to have a chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. At Copenhagen, scientists were seeking a 25% to 40% reduction in emissions from the developed nations, and commitments to date fall well short of that target. In the upcoming COP 17 conference in Durban and beyond, the science needs to set the agenda.

The issue should be a central part of the 2013 Federal election, as Opposition leader Tony Abbott has sworn ‘a pledge in blood’ to overturn the carbon tax.

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