MARK M ALDRIDGE - "voice of the Community" Community Advocate

  The Carbon Tax explained   

 The Climate change debate continues on like a broken record, first we debated the dubious science, then even whether debate was allowed, then it was the up and coming ineptly named Carbon Tax, the current government promised us we wouldn’t have, souring our already down-trodden system of democracy, now its all about the tax we have to have, and how it will work. 

 At this stage there will be a little debate on the huge tax payer funded campaign to sell us this tax we have to have, with very few people even realizing we are signed to unconditional treaties with the UN to reduce what they are calling Carbon pollution.

 Fact is, it is not about Carbon or even the Co2 they hope to tax, it is about series of issues, a new world wide monitory system, a huge income for the UN who will be on 10% of the net tax take by those countries who come on board the whole carbon trading debacle, and further empowering the UN and world bank towards a one world style complex. It is somewhat expected many will doubt the ideal Co2 drives the climate, but the truth is the government don’t even believe it, it has more so become an issue, about how we measure our reliance on carbon based fuels, which most would agree we must reduce our reliance on. 

 Those promising to jump on board the train wreck called carbon trading, do not have the ability to change the weather, combined those countries backing a tax system are only producing a mere 12% of the Co2 worlds Co2 emissions, even if they all decided to close shop tomorrow, with the likes of China, India and the US, turning their backs on the carbon tax ideal, measures taken by those countries participating will have no affect, with total emissions of Co2 rising around the world. 

 The Say Yes campaign, is simply that say yes to what ever the Labor Gillard government put on the table, they say yes before they knew the details, now they know, when it was 1000 top polluters and now it is 500, in fact, the very same groups like GetUp that fund the Yes campaign, said Yes to Labor, even when Gillard was saying no to a carbon tax. 

 It is issues like the Say yes campaign and the general big money push to sell the new tax agenda, that be little the whole “Climate Change” debate, add to this the UN’s self interest, their lead authors exposure of the biased final reports and the organizations that are set to profit from a Carbon taxes introduction, that have resulted in over 80% of the Australian people remaining skeptical about the whole issue. 

 How much carbon pollution will actually be reduced by the Gillard Government’s carbon tax? If you’ve been following the debate, you’ll have the Prime Minister repeat the figure "160 million tonnes" a number of times, which, she is keen to point out, is the equivalent of taking "45 million cars" off the road, dodgy figures to say the least. The figures come from the sophisticated economic modelling performed by Treasury for the carbon policy. 

The Treasury models suggests that to meet Australia’s target of a 5 per cent (which a few weeks ago was 10%) cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, we’re going to have to emit around 152 million tonnes less carbon dioxide, they label in the report Pollution. lol But it turns out that the majority of this abatement will not come from Australian industry or consumers — or from Australia at all. According to Treasury, 94 million tonnes of that 152 million tonnes will come from "internationally-sourced abatement" we will pay for the stored carbon in trees in other countries, so it is nothing more than a money transfer scheme, so big polluters can to some degree continue business as usual. 

 The Gillard government didn’t even consider Cap and trade, which would have forced the lowering of emissions, preferring to opt for the easiest model to sell, knowing all too well, big business would have stood against such a restrictive measures, which would not be so easily be passed on to an unsuspecting public. 

 At the same time all this trading is going on, the initial cost to polluters will simply be passed on to the Australian public, opening the door to massive increased profits by the very same people in charge both of polluting and estimating how much they emit. The part of the argument least explained is how we measure Co2 emissions, in the most, the figures are supplied by the very polluters themselves, and the fact they have known the tax is done deal for many years now, they wouldn’t fudge the figures would they? 

 Section 5.2.2 of the Treasury modeling document explains why. "While pricing carbon cuts domestic emissions, it is inefficient to meet the whole abatement task through domestic abatement," Treasury writes. "Purchasing recognized international permits leads to real reductions in global emissions, just like reducing our domestic carbon pollution." In other words, buying carbon credits from other countries is cheaper than achieving the same cuts domestically — and the least-cost strategy for reducing carbon emissions is the entire point of putting a price on Carbon dioxide in the first place. 

 In brief, the few countries adopting a carbon based tax scheme, will pay out billions of dollars to poorer nations, while the biggest polluters will continue to raise emissions negating every effort by participating nations. 

 So what is this "internationally-sourced abatement", and how will it work? The Kyoto process has a strategy for achieving this, called the Clean Development Mechanism, which "allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol." 

 It may interest some readers that carbon trading will be an all new monitory scheme, with many names already on board, like Rothschild’s and the Macquarie Bank who are already setting up in Australia, begging the question how many hands will be in the huge tax pie? With neither of these players entering the market for the sole benefit of the environment. The UN also has a scheme in place to prevent deforestation called REDD, which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. In theory, these mechanisms should allow for the orderly and well-regulated international trading of carbon credits, as they are often known, allowing polluting companies in Australia to offset their emissions here by buying up cheap carbon abatement in less industrialized countries. 

 Only a couple of weeks ago, I met a man making a small fortune in Asia, by selling this fact, these poorer nations will make more money protecting their forests than logging them, one of the few benefits of the trading scheme, yet once again, lots of money will still change hands, and even more figures produced to suit an agenda. With huge profits in the estimation of carbon held. 

 So a forest being protected in a poorer nation, will be worth a fortune, for doing nothing, for every tree not cut down, we will be able to continue to pollute on the Co2 guessed to be stored in that tree or forest, so much for cutting down emissions. The reality on the ground will be rather different. Carbon trading is wide open to rorts. 

A 2008 paper by Stanford University academics David Victor and Michael Wara examined more than 3000 projects in the Clean Development Mechanism, and concluded many of them didn’t represent genuine emissions reductions. "It looks like between one and two thirds of all the total CDM offsets do not represent actual emission cuts", Victor told the Guardian back in 2008. For every dodgy CDM created, polluters will be able to continue on their merry way, at the same time value adding, by passing on initial costs to the end users, and making more on the whole trading estimates. 

 The European Union suspended trading just recently, finding billions of dodgy trading permits were being traded, so who will we be buying credits from, and how much will it cost genuine environmental issues? The value of credits has been known to jump up and down dramatically as the big players manipulate the entire trading market.

 The Clean Development Mechanism has also been criticised for the way developing countries can "game" the system. In one case that came to light last year, a number of chemical companies in developing countries appeared to be actually increasing their production of certain greenhouse gases in order to cash in on the lucrative carbon credits available by committing to "reduce" their production at a later date, something I wrote about a few years ago, trust trust trust, but who, a lying government, big polluters, the UN, the world bank? 

 Carbon markets themselves have faced their own issues, with a recent World Bank report on the state of the international carbon market describing a dramatic collapse in volume in the world trade since the global financial crisis. "This bodes very badly for the countries we are trying to help," the World Bank’s envoy for climate change Andrew Steer told reporters. "The carbon market is failing us."

 The decision to include international permits from "credible trading schemes" like the EU and New Zealand may look like the Gillard Government is strictly regulating the matter, but as aforementioned, many of the projects in developing countries financed by the European ETS are of dubious value in actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

As a result, it may well be that carbon credits from Europe that are sourced from fraudulent or misreported emissions reductions sources could flood into the Australian market. It appears no one really knows what will happen. 

 If one investigates the success of those EU countries that adopted the tax system in 2005, the success rates are less than favorable, with most continuing to raise emissions and some are now enduring financial crisis. Lest we forget, Australia will join very few countries enacting the tax on its people, the total committed nations only account for 12% co2 emissions of man made co2 production totaling 3% of the worlds man made emissions, of the 0.0something % speculated to be in the atmosphere, and none of them are about to shut down, with projected reductions of 20% over the next decade, so do the sums. 

 Our ex Prime Minister Mr Howard told ABC's Insiders the global scene has changed and the rest of world is not acting.” The belief was that the rest of the world would follow and would be going in the same direction but they're not," he said. "I mean the Americans - and I've just been in the United States - and there's no chance in the world of the Americans embracing an emissions trading system.” The Indians aren't, the Chinese aren't. We are crazy to be going ahead of the rest of the world." Mr Howard concluded. 

 What we do know is that many Australian banks are already gearing up to arbitrage and speculate on carbon markets, including the Macquarie Group. We also know that Australia’s own emissions will actually increase. As economist Frank Jotzo pointed out this week, Australian domestic emissions will rise by 12 per cent to 2020 on 2000 levels, with all of our greenhouse gas "reductions" coming from the purchase of international credits, so the fact is we will be continuing business as usual, with a huge new cost to our economy, ending up of shore in the hands of big business and foreign interests. 

 Solar rebates, LPG rebates, feedback schemes already proven to be a success are being dumped by the Gillard government, and none of these schemes applied to the biggest power or fuel users in the first place. 

 If any had thought at least the new tax will raise money to help the Gillard government get out of the debt hole they have created in the past few years, are you wrong, with treasury speculating over 4 billion will be lost from treasury in the first year alone, so we pay the new tax now and through lost governmental spending, putting the country even further in debt. 

 I might have a break and go out side and add up all the trees in my forest, so I can sell the stored carbon to a polluter in Australia, or overseas, based on who offers the most, that will cover my added costs for a while, then I can cut a few down in a few years and sell the firewood, and who would notice. 

 Mind you before I get excited by my years of planting trees as an environmentalist, I dare not forget the Peter Spenser case, where he was restricted from clearing his own land, as the commonwealth government had already pledged his stored carbon to the original UN protocols we are a signatory to, so I may not even own the value of my stored carbon. 

 Before the sell of the new carbon tax, I could get a rebate for solar power, I could get money back feeding excess green energy into the grid, I could self invest with support to convert my vehicle to LPG, and even address other measures, but “Not” now the tax is in! So promising not to cut down the trees, I had no intention to cut down, is all I can offer under the new scheme, and I make money for it, this is the new tax in a nut shell. 

 I wonder if I can purport to emitting 10,000 tons a year, then put in a new report saying I no longer do, ahhh even more money for me, 10,000 tons at $23, very nice, but big polluters would never do that, as they care about our planet don’t they. There is no doubt the initial reported price on carbon of $23 is just the start, with many players on the governmental panel (in particular the Greens) demanding a starting price of $50 a ton, but all this is insignificant compared to the devastating impact on the Australian people, once the tax being applied to agriculture and farming after 2015, something I am sure the government and the media will forget to mention. 

 The Nationals own figures confirm, adding the tax to say a smaller family owned wheat farmer, will add an instant $17,000 to their overheads alone, at the lowest rate, either wiping them out or resulting in a huge increase in our cost for our food production. 

 Say Yes, but to open debate and transparency, but not blindly to a new tax, and if you care about the environment, say No, and demand we get back on track with our current system of environmental protections, which placed us as one of the better performing countries, with out the need for new tax. 

 The governments own reports are clear, our current 230 stealth taxes and abatements costing the country $44 a ton, which most have no idea exist, work well, if we go back to the drawing board, lower the cost of the huge management of regulating 230 different systems, we will do more for less, and we can toss the new tax in the bin. 

 The only problem with my ideas is the UN, the World Bank, Macquarie Bank, and the super rich organizations like the Rothschild’s will all loose, and the environment will join the people of Australia as the financial winners, so what is your guess will happen?   

 Mark Aldridge   Independent Candidate &  Proud supporter of the Alliance www.markmaldridge.comwww.australianalliance.orgaldridgemark@bigpond.com  08 82847482 / 0403379500  

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