OPINION by George Christensen MPNews Weekly
Climate debate should begin after death of carbon tax
, August 2, 2014
Australia may have killed off the carbon tax in the House of Representatives and given it a red-carpet burial in the Senate, but it’s only a matter of time before Labor digs up its stinking carcass.
George Christensen MP
Bill Shorten has declared that “Labor will always fight for serious, credible climate change policy”; and, apparently, that seriousness and credibility is only to be found in a tax on carbon dioxide that has a floating value, otherwise known as an emissions trading scheme (or ETS).
At the next federal election, we can expect a barrage of global-warming alarmism and a fair smattering of “denier” abuse, all in the name of imposing a tax on carbon dioxide that will once again cost jobs, damage industry and add to household power bills.
Before restoring all of this pain, we need to address the core questions of the impending debate: 1) Is man the main driving force behind so-called dangerous climate change? 2) Can there be any real solution to the problem or is adaptation the best response?
There are some from the political, media and academic elites who sermonise from their lofty moral pulpits about the “irrefutable” evidence of man-made global warming, while damning as anti-science anyone who has the temerity to question their ideological preachings.
Yet, in early July, an array of scientists attended the 9th International Conference on Climate Change in Las Vegas. The event was organised by the pro-free market Heartland Institute which, according to The Economist magazine, is “the world’s most prominent think-tank promoting scepticism about man-made climate change”.
The calibre of presenters at the conference was noteworthy. Eminent scientists with doctorates in meteorology, geology, climatology, solar physics, solar terrestrial physics, mathematics, engineering and atmospheric sciences lined up to share their concerns about the ideology promoting fear of dangerous climate change.
Taking centre stage was Dr Willie Soon, an astrophysicist and geoscientist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the receiving editor in the area of solar and stellar physics for the journal, New Astronomy.
He was joined by Dr Joseph D’Aleo, a professor of meteorology with more than three decades’ experience in his speciality.
Also giving a sceptical take on things was Dr William Gray, who, for more than 40 years, has worked in the observational and theoretical aspects of tropical meteorological research, specialising in the global aspects of tropical cyclones.
The list goes on and on; but one thing which is clearly evident is that the science on climate change is far from settled.
An observation made by many of the scientists at the conference was that there has been no statistically significant increase in temperatures for the past 17 years, something that even the lead agent for dangerous climate change ideology, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), cannot dispute.
The IPCC has run four computer models on the world’s climate, three of which show mild, slow and moderate warming trends, and only one of which shows what it considers to be dangerous rises in global temperatures.
But the only way the IPCC could get that sole computer model to predict dangerous climate change was to use highly unlikely assumptions, such as a world burning 10 times more coal, a lack of innovation and a population boom that even the UN doesn’t expect and that current growth rates can’t produce.
Another observation made by both scientists and policy-makers at the Heartland Institute’s Las Vagas conference was that sceptical scientific viewpoints were being barred from public discussion, with the political, media and academic elites eager to pillory anyone who questions man’s alleged responsibility for driving climate change. A case in point: in recent days, the BBC has issued an edict for its journalists to air only the climate-alarmist side of the debate.
But given the possible policy responses to so-called dangerous climate change, not having a frank and fearless public debate on the issue will undoubtedly lead to either destructive or costly schemes that may have no impact on climate change whatsoever.
Labor’s answer to this alarmism was to introduce a fixed carbon tax that sucked $9 billion out of the economy, causing untold damage to the resources sector, agriculture and manufacturing, not to mention increasing household power bills.
With the carbon tax now gone, it is time to stop and have a serious discussion about the two questions we raised earlier: 1) Is man the main driving force behind so-called dangerous climate change? 2) Can there be any real solution to the problem or is adaptation the best response?
The people rejected a fixed carbon tax because it raised the cost of living and cost jobs without any benefit to the environment.
But now we have the new threat of Bill Shorten’s variable carbon tax (or ETS) that, on Labor’s modelling, will blow out to $350 per tonne. If enacted, that would be the old discredited carbon tax on steroids! What untold damage a $350 per tonne carbon tax would do to the energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries that underpin our nation’s economy!
The other approach is non-punitive, whereby we either spend taxpayers’ dollars or go further into debt to fund incentives for industry to drive down carbon dioxide emissions. A lot of money could end up being spent on a problem that may not be a problem at all, or a problem we cannot solve.
Killing off the carbon tax was a fitting end for such a destructive policy, but it should also be the start of a genuine open debate on climate change, free of elitist censorship and accusations of “denier” and the like. To not debate the matter will cost the nation dearly, one way or the other.
George Christensen MP is the federal member for the Queensland seat of Dawson and chairman of the Liberal-National Coalition’s Backbench Policy Committee on Industry.