There has been much debate recently concerning the Labor Government’s proposed implementation of a carbon tax. But how much effect, in real terms, will this tax have on curbing CO2 emissions, let alone corporate Australia’s propensity to pollute our environment and atmosphere with gasses and substances that are immediately more toxic and harmful than CO2? The answer to these questions is, none.
The imposition of a carbon tax would have as much effect on our atmosphere as its non-imposition. So, why are we doing it? To set an example for other nations? That’s what we are being told. But this is not really supported by evidence and is a rather hypocritical statement, particularly when you consider that the health of Australia’s economy is fundamentally reliant on some of the biggest CO2 and pollution emitting countries in the world!
Whilst our government assures us the imposition of a carbon tax would give us some sort of ‘moral authority’, it simultaneously sanctions and supports the sale of our minerals and resources to those very countries, whose use of them massively contributes to CO2 emissions and the emission of air, land and water pollutants. Our coal exports alone go almost exclusively to our regions five worst polluters and CO2 emitters: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and India, whose economic and urban development rely heavily on Australia’s export contributions.
I suspect these countries would not take Australia’s claim to be some sort of moral crusader in the battle against climate change too seriously. As the 2011 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Report stated: ‘China’s demand for Australian resources is rapidly increasing: China is a major export destination for iron ore and pellets, lead concentrates, LNG and LPG. Exports to India have been increasing since 1989–90, with a sharp increase of 207 per cent…’
In China alone, coal makes up the bulk, nearly 62%, of China’s primary energy consumption, and China is both the largest consumer and producer of coal in the world. China’s coal consumption in 1999 was 1.08 billion short tons, or about 23% of the world total. According to figures published by the Chinese government, China’s net coal exports for 2000 were a record 59 million short tons!
In booming China, vehicle ownership of all kinds is soaring. Since 2000, the total stock of cars, trucks, and buses has more than quadrupled, from 13.5 million to over 60 million, and the number of motorcycles has tripled, from 68 million to over 200 million, and by 2050 these numbers are expected to again quadruple! The costs: dangerously worsened air quality and skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions; rising incidence of asthma, lung cancer, and other chronic and acute health problems; decreasing energy security through increasing reliance on imported oil; massive gridlock and urban congestion.
China suffers from major energy-related environmental problems. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), seven of the world’s ten most polluted cities are in China. The country’s heavy use of unwashed coal leads to large emissions of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter and is projected to experience the largest absolute growth in carbon dioxide emissions between now and the year 2020.
Australia is also under pressure from the UN to implement a carbon tax. In a recent visit to Australia, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki- moon, expressed, with a sense of urgency, his belief that climate change was one of the greatest threats to the security, wellbeing and livelihood of the people of the region, citing the rising sea levels around the low lying island nation of Kiribati as an example. However, Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, former head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden, and past president of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, had this to say about sea level rises in
the South Pacific: ‘Ban Ki Moon and the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum have recently claimed that serious sea level rise problems occur both in Tuvalu and Kiribati. This is what two misguided politicians may say. But what is the reality, we must ask. The answer is clear and straight forward: their is no sea level rise going on – at least for the last 18 years – either in Tuvalu or in Kiribati.’ These facts were also reported on TVNZ last year (June 3, 2010) by Geographer Associate Professor Paul Kench who measured 27 islands where local sea levels have risen 120mm – an average of 2mm a year – over the past 60 years, and found that just four had diminished in size. ‘Working with Arthur Webb at the Fiji-based South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission, Kench used historical aerial photographs and high-resolution satellite images to study changes in the land area of the islands. They found that the remaining 23 had either stayed the same or grown bigger, according to the research published in a scientific journal, Global and Planetary Change. One wonders just how informed Ban Ki-moon really is? Is this the best he could come up with?
What has all this to do with Australia’s carbon tax? Everything! Australia is being asked to give up a lot, to downsize our industrial base, to work towards creating cleaner technologies and to ‘subsidize’ developing nations along with every other affluent nation. We are told that this is what the carbon tax will be used for. But does this really make sense? How exactly are we expected to subsidize them? Give them money to develop cleaner technologies? And how exactly are the poorer nations of the world going to develop? How will they be able to feed their populations and provide them with the amenities enjoyed by first world countries? By building wind turbines? I don’t think so.
You may be surprised to learn that the World Bank ( the financial arm of the United Nations ) will be in receipt of a great percentage of our carbon tax money, which they will then redirect to the poorer nations, where, it seems Ban Ki-Moon’s concern for climate change is not such a big issue. Lets look at the UN’s plan for the development of Afghanistan. Consider, for example, the Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO Policy Paper): Afghanistan’s Power Sector: Pipedreams or Workable Solutions. August 2007. It seems climate change isn’t even a factor: The emergence of an industrial sector in Afghanistan is contingent on how the country manages to tap into its own energy and non-energy mineral resources as a major part of the reconstruction process. Recognizing this, the Government has taken a series of steps to formalize mineral extraction. These include Article 9 of the Constitution and Article 6 of the Environment Act. Mines and sub-soil resources are declared as the properties of the State which is charged with the responsibility to regulate, protect and govern the use, management, and mode of utilization of these public properties. In addition, Article 10 of the Constitution commits the Government firmly and explicitly to a private sector-led growth strategy (World Bank 2005, ANDS 2005). A key component of this strategy, implemented through the Ministry of Mines, is to create an enabling environment, conducive to increased capacity in the private sector to develop the country’s abundant mineral resources including hydrocarbons. The passing of the Hydrocarbons Law and the Minerals Law have set the stage for a series of regulations aimed at opening up the mining sector to private investment. To date the Ministry has awarded a number of mine licenses and quarry authorizations and sold off state-owned coal mines such as Karkar to private interests. The Ministry has also been in negotiations with international interests over rights to develop the large Aynak copper deposits…
Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Ki-moon that CO2 emission and toxic waste pollution doesn’t recognize national boarders, that these are global problems. And so we have the scenario developing where our carbon tax dollars will flow into the coffers of the World Bank who will then pass them on to poorer countries – with interest – to develop those same industries that have caused climate change and pollution in affluent nations!
As reported in the Los Angeles Times ( December 16, 2009) ‘Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he expects a final treaty to be signed by mid-2010. He also defends the U.N.’s role as ‘ the overseer of funding from developed to developing nations.’ How, exactly, will this scenario lead to a reduction in CO2 emission and address pollution? It won’t! Mr. Ki-moon would like nothing more than to bring the affluent nations to their knees; to bring them all under the control of the United Nations, to establish a New World Order. But lets have no illusions about what kind of ‘order’ this
will be. What it won’t be is democratic, and that’s OK with Mr. Ki-Moon, who told The Los Angeles Times that ‘we will establish a global governance structure to monitor and manage the implementation of this…’ Will the people be asked to vote on the establishment of this structure? Not likely. I suspect, like the UN’s brainchild, The European Union, all the major decisions that have a direct impact on national economies will be made by an unelected bureaucratic elite, to which national governments will be subserviant.
Whilst CO2 emission and pollution may be very real problems, in retrospect, will Australia’s carbon tax serve to address these problems? Absolutely not! If we were serious about tackling these issues, a far more effective way of reducing long term pollution and CO2 emissions would be to stop selling our resources to China and encourage others to do likewise. Nor do we need the junk they sell back to us with the resources we supply. We could create and rely on our own industries; create full employment by utilizing our physical economy ( as opposed to bank created credit ) and step by step, devote our efforts to developing clean technologies, then, pass on this knowledge to other countries in our region.
It’s also Mr. Ki-moon’s belief that ‘China should take a leadership roll in this campaign against climate change’, because ‘China has pledged to reduce its carbon pollution by up to 45 percent in the next decade…’ http://english.cri.cn/6909/2011/09/09/2021s657529.htm. Ten years? Ha! Is this bloke for real? In real terms – not the computer models Mr. Ki-moon relies on for his information – China’s economic development devotes little, if any resources to tackling climate change and pollution. Nevertheless, it’s understandable why he thinks so highly of China: as well as being one of the world’s worst carbon emitters and polluters, it demonstrates little or no consideration for human rights and is founded on a totalitarian system of government.
Its obvious, that a carbon tax will do nothing to address the problems, and will, ironically, if the UN and the Australian Government have their way – make them worse!