Image; Baloo cartoons
Curiously, in this day and age of big government economic planning, Australia’s major parties are on a bit of a fetish for what they refer to as market based solutions on climate change. Normally this would not be that much of a problem if any of them had the slightest concept of what a free market is, but that is not the case.
Labor and the Greens believe that a carbon tax is ‘market based’ in that it increases the price of electricity and other forms of energy, along with products made with it. Reductions in CO2 are made by forcing all but the wealthy to cut back on their comforts and shutting down industry. This in turn creates more poor people who have to cut back on their energy usage.
The Liberals and Nationals on the other hand are pro business and believe that subsidies and make work schemes are ‘market based’ according to Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Reductions in CO2 are made by using taxpayer money to subsidise farmers to increase soil carbon, householders to install solar, and establish a 15,000 strong ‘Green Army’ to plant trees.
That rumbling sound is Hayek spinning in his grave.
John Roscam, who heads up the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has come out swinging on the issue of Abbott’s direct action plan:
''I don't think we should have direct action because the Coalition hasn't explained what, if any, changes to the world's temperature it will provide,'' said Mr Roskam, who is the executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs.
Asked whether Mr Abbott's earlier position on the science of climate change - namely, as he notoriously declared in 2009, that it was ''absolute crap'' - suited the PM better than direct action, Mr Roskam agreed.
''Yes, and isn't it interesting how climate change gets people to say things they don't really believe? I've yet to be convinced that Tony Abbott is doing any of this for anything other than political purposes. I think he would be much better off, as any politician would, telling us what he genuinely believed.''
Mr Roskam makes no bones of his scepticism over human-induced climate change, and has campaigned through the IPA against any form of climate action.
Neither side is really into anything market based but rather, are pursuing social engineering schemes based on manipulating market mechanisms in order to skew the economy in a direction that they consider to be socially desirable.
It is doubtful that the Liberals actually believe that this plan is going to achieve anything; they are not that stupid and in any case the aim is to achieve a one fifth reduction of the already miniscule proportion of CO2 emissions produced here, which is pointless. Their real belief is that it is politically expedient to be seen to have some sort of inferred belief in human induced global warming and a need to be thought of as having an intent to be seen to do something about it.