RESOURCES: by Gina RinehartNews Weekly
Building a better future without a carbon tax
, December 24, 2011
Sometimes I think we as a nation forget important fundamentals. Natural resources and people on the land and in our north contribute a major portion of the inherent wealth of our country.
This was recognised as a key factor which helped Australia avoid the previous global economic crisis. We have another global economic crisis approaching, led by both Europe’s and the USA’s big-spending governments and resultant debts and economic downturns.
We hence need to maintain the success of our resource industry.
The positive news is that Australia has been able to withstand the global economic crisis of 2008/2009 due to its fundamental strength in natural resources. Caution and restraint are now needed against policies that will undermine the competitiveness of our resource industry, when Australia already has high debt, and dependency on huge external borrowings, and an increasingly elderly population which will require increasing support.
The recent proposals and legislation for new taxes, especially on the mining industry, coupled with Australia’s already very high costs and labour shortages in the north and reducing productivity, do not auger well for this country, particularly combined with a very rocky time ahead for the world’s economy.
Investors are already focusing on the continent of Africa which has a great abundance of natural resources and offers a low-cost workforce, enabling them to offer their mineral resources at a more competitive price. Not just a few, but hundreds of Australian companies are investing in Africa instead of choosing to invest these funds and focus in Australia. We need to turn this around, or we will suffer the consequences of failing to do so for many, many decades.
A recent article in The Australian reported that globetrotting Ukrainian billionaire and head of CML, Mr Ginnadiy Bogolyubov has said that “investing in Australia is very expensive, but until recently it was at least viewed as a relatively stable investment destination”.
He was quoted as saying: “Up to now I felt [it was stable]. But now everyone is talking about the new [mining and carbon] taxes and about big changes. How can you talk about stability if you don’t know the financial situation? Australia is a good country, but production has become more expensive. So my investments will concentrate more to Africa. Maybe capital will move from here to there.’’
The growing uncertainty that is clouding Europe and the USA will affect other countries, and should be at the forefront of our thoughts for Australia’s own economy. Australia should seize the moment and position itself to be at the forefront of welcoming investment and continuing to make that investment welcome. It can only do this through sound economic policies that allow an investor to consider Australia a compelling destination to invest and provide ongoing proof that this is a good place in which to invest.
Countries like Singapore or Monaco attract substantial investments despite not having the benefit of huge resources like ours. Singapore and Monaco do, however, offer low taxes (or less tax!) and investor-friendly policies — let’s learn from them!
Look, for instance, at the costs of accommodation in Singapore and Monaco, so much higher than Australia’s as more and more people choose to pay to move to Singapore and Monaco and are attracted by their sound economic policies, without the burdens of excessive government expenditures and resultant debts. And, yes, people are also attracted to being able to pay less tax!
Australia can, if it chooses, actively take a more positive direction and, in so doing, continue to lift the standards of living of Australians. The spreading economic crisis in Europe and USA makes it imperative that our policies need to be pro-actively addressed to grow investment and development, in order to mitigate the coming recession.
By all means, tax cigarettes, cigars and alcohol more (products whose consumption adds to health-care expenditure), but don’t tax production more as this will make Australia less competitive and see us lose out. Now, as a recession approaches, is not the time to burden the country with carbon (dioxide) tax and the new mineral resources rent tax (MRRT), and nor is a carbon (dioxide) tax necessary in any event.
Please consider the following scientific evidence:
1) The atmosphere currently has less than 0.04 per cent carbon dioxide (CO2); in former times it was up to 30 per cent. Six of the six great ice ages formed at a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide was far higher than now. Clearly, this did not drive warming.
2) For 80 per cent of past geological time, planet Earth has been warmer than today, with far more CO2 in the atmosphere. Clearly, this warming was neither irreversible nor catastrophic.
3) At times in the past (Carboniferous, Cretaceous, Eocene), the Earth experienced sudden injections of CO2 into the atmosphere. In response, the planet warmed slightly but by less than the daily changes we experience now and not in an irreversible or catastrophic way.
4) Ice cores from Antarctica show that atmospheric CO2 increases around 800 years after natural events of warming, i.e., natural warming drives carbon dioxide emissions, not the reverse.
5) Over the last 120,000 years, there have been 25 periods of warming when temperature rose by up to 8 degrees Celsius. These were not driven by human emissions, were natural and were neither irreversible nor catastrophic.
6) Sea levels rose 130 metres between 12,000 and 6,000 years ago, and temperatures were at a maximum 6,000 years ago. For the last 6,000 years, we have been cooling with intermittent warm periods (Minoan, Roman, Medieval, Modern). In the first three warming periods, it was far warmer than now, sea levels did not rise, and such warmings clearly were not a result of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases. The Modern Warming commenced 300 years ago. It has not been demonstrated which part of this warming is natural and which part is of human origin, and since 1998 the Earth has been cooling despite a rapid rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
7) Since thermometer measurements were first being taken, the Earth has warmed (1860-1880), cooled (1880-1910), warmed (1910-1940), cooled (1940-1977), warmed (1977-1998) and cooled (1998-present). Humans really started to emit carbon dioxide from 1940, and the two earlier warmings were at the same rate as the 1977-1998 warming. Hence it has not been shown that there is a human influence on warming. At present, carbon dioxide emissions are increasing, yet we are cooling.
8) The IPCC states that 97 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions are natural and only 3 per cent are human. It has not been scientifically shown how the 3 per cent contribution can drive global warming when the 97 per cent does not.
9) There is no science-based argument for CO2 being the dominant greenhouse gas; instead, CO2 is a minor greenhouse component whose effect is greatly overshadowed by that of water vapour.
10) To get carbon dioxide, a plant food, into perspective, for every one carbon dioxide molecule of human origin there are 32 of natural origin in a total of 88,000 other molecules. It has yet to be shown that this one molecule in 88,000 drives climate change, and there is only information to the contrary because no past climate changes (which were larger and more rapid than anything we measure today) were driven by carbon dioxide, certainly not human-induced, and what we measure today is within variability.
Further you may wish to consider the scientist and mathematician Dr David Evans’s view in an article titled “Evidence speaks — it’s a scam” (September 2011).
He has recently provided four other evidential tests against which global warming can be assessed, which have been independently confirmed by others.
The four key pieces of evidence that Evans presents, and the graphs which relate to each, are available at http://sciencespeak.com/evidence.pdf.
They concern the complex computer climate models that provide the main basis for warming alarmism and, in summary, assert:
1) That the climate models used by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to promote warming alarm are fundamentally flawed, and exaggerate measured atmospheric temperature increases.
2) That the climate models predict the oceans should be warming. We’ve only been measuring ocean temperature properly since 2003, using the Argo observation system, and now 3,000 Argo buoys patrol and measure ocean temperature constantly. They say that the ocean temperature since 2003 has been basically flat. Again, reality is very different from the climate models.
3) That the climate models predict a particular pattern of atmospheric warming during periods of global warming, which is the presence of a so-called hotspot of warming at about 10 km height in the tropics. But we have been measuring atmospheric temperatures by weather balloons since the 1960s, and millions of weather balloon measurements show that there was no such hotspot during the last phase of warming between 1975 and 2001.
4) And, satellites are now able to measure the outgoing radiation from the earth, and have established that the earth gives off more heat when the surface is warmer, and less heat in months when the earth’s surface is cooler. But again the climate models say the opposite, and predict that the Earth will give off less heat when the surface is warmer.
What good will adding a carbon (dioxide) tax do in Australia?
• Will a tax in Australia bring down carbon dioxide emissions elsewhere? No.
• Will a carbon (dioxide) tax drive up our costs, add expense to those who can least afford it, add costs to production with resulting loss of competitiveness and loss of employment opportunities? Yes.
There’s talk that the government will subsidise this cost for some of us — look at what’s happening in Europe and USA where governments became too big, overstretched themselves and their expenditures, created extensive debt problems, with the obvious consequences of pressure to raise taxes, and the result, recession. What happens in recession? The rich have less discretionary expenditure, but those who are most hurt by recession are those on limited fixed incomes, pensioners, those on low to middle incomes, and households on middle incomes especially where only one adult is in the work force.
Those who work hard and are able to invest in Australia, and who then get endlessly criticised and torn down for so doing, should not be blamed for rushing off to live in Singapore or Monaco or even Africa.
But before even more of us invest our time and money overseas, let’s take heart from the progress that Australians for Northern Development & Economic Vision (ANDEV) are making across northern Australia and elsewhere, calling for special economic zones in our north, to entice investment and promote growth.
We all know we are fortunate to call Australia home, even though it has faults. Let’s do what we can to prepare against the northern hemisphere’s recession and secure our economy, and make Australia an even better place in which to live.
Gina Rinehart’s above article was originally submitted to Australian Resources & Investment.