Labor's carbon price will hit ag

10 Dec, 2015 01:00 AM
Hume MP Angus Taylor.
This is a policy that utterly abandons middle Australia and Australian exporters.
Hume MP Angus Taylor.

OPINION: LABOR’S climate target of a 45 per cent reduction below 2005 levels by 2030 will hit agriculture where it hurts – in the hip pocket.

Desperate to differentiate itself from a resurgent Coalition with a target of 26pc to 28pc, Labor announced huge numbers to coincide with the Paris climate conference without revealing the shocking truth.

The costs of a carbon target depend on two things: the size of the target and the policies chosen to achieve it.

Just before Labor lost office, it commissioned modelling of a new supercharged carbon impost on households, business and families.

With a modelled target of more than 44pc below 2000 levels by 2030, the carbon price (or tax) skyrockets to $209 a tonne.

Remember, we just dispensed with a carbon tax of around $24 a tonne?

The modelling showed income per person would be $4900 lower by 2030.

Real wages growth would be about 6pc lower and GDP would be 2.6pc lower in 2030, losing more than $600bn of activity between now and then.

Investment in Australia would be 2.9pc lower, the equivalent of 28 WestConnex motorways over the next 15 years.

Meanwhile, wholesale electricity prices would be 78pc higher in 2030 than today.

The modelling requires closure of all 37 coal power stations in Australia by 2033 with all brown-coal power stations shut by 2022.

Communities in the Latrobe Valley, the Hunter Valley, the Collie region and throughout central and southern Queensland will be decimated.

Manufacturing, mining and construction industries would face serious declines.

The coal, oil and gas industry (employing 65,000) would be 23pc lower than it otherwise would have been in 2030.

Coalmining output would be 42pc lower.

Our aluminium industry, employing about 17,600, would halve because it would be unprofitable to continue smelting and refining here.

Declines in the construction industry would mean fewer opportunities for trades.

In the real world, we should be encouraging our relatively low emission exporters to aggressively replace dirtier alternatives.

We should be crediting the role they play in reducing global emissions.

Penalising these industries simply pushes the emissions offshore to dirtier industries, with no gain to the planet and at monstrous economic pain for us.

For instance, our rapidly growing gas exports reduce global emissions by replacing higher emission coal in China.

In the agriculture sector, our exports are far less emissions-intensive than our competitors.

The Chinese aluminium sector uses dirty coal, with much higher emissions intensity.

Given the startling costs of Labor's target, are they really necessary to "do our bit" as responsible global citizens?

The answer is clearly no.

With a 45pc target, our absolute commitments would exceed the current commitments of the US, Canada, Japan, the EU and New Zealand by a large margin, leaving countries like China and South Korea for dead.

The differences are even more startling on a per capita basis, because of our strong population growth.

Our reductions would exceed 65pc a person, with the closest of the major developed countries at 44pc (Canada and NZ).

Targets that race ahead of the rest of world might make inner-city Labor MPs feel safer in their Greens-challenged seats - but this is a policy that utterly abandons middle Australia and Australian exporters.

We need a better-paced approach that recognises our strong population growth and our focus on relatively low-emission commodity exports.

It will allow time for the cost of renewable technologies (and crucial storage technologies) to fall while old sectors adjust at a reasonable pace.

It means giving businesses time to find innovative energy efficiency solutions while we improve our understanding of land-use impacts on carbon storage.

Most importantly, it will bring the public on the journey.

Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Chick Olsson
10/12/2015 4:01:01 AM

Angus is correct. Hard to believe that Labor would embark on such destructive folly.
Mabel Peyton-Smyth
10/12/2015 8:36:20 AM

Which is why we should work our guts out to make sure the ALP never sniffs government
Philip Downie
10/12/2015 9:02:34 AM

Floods, droughts and fires are not destructive, thankfully. Ah that's right they happen all the time and there is someone, the taxpayer to help out.
10/12/2015 9:47:15 AM

Mr Downie floods, fires and droughts are going to occur anyway - to pretend that they are going to go away and or not happen is pointless. The question that needs to be answered is how we can implement pollution reduction measures without bankrupting the country
10/12/2015 10:06:18 AM

Interesting that this Liberal politician makes absolutely no mention of the science behind the proposed policy, good or bad. His entire piece is about perceived financial disadvantages linked to the policy. There's a faint hint that he accepts the need for lower emissions, but no hint that he actually understands the issues. This is the purest fact-free polly-speak. You're right, Philip, floods. droughts and fires are not destructive at all. What a relief. We can get on with business-as-usual.
John Carpenter
10/12/2015 10:36:42 AM

LABOR seems determined to do whatever it takes to hand Malcolm a landslide victory at the next election.
Philip Downie
10/12/2015 12:05:23 PM

I think I said that Bob? What wasn't said was they are worse and more intense and paying for recovery will cost more thus by doing nothing we are still bankrupting the country, don't you think?
10/12/2015 1:24:30 PM

Bob the country is already bankrupt just like the rest of the Western World. We kind of gave up our ability to spend money we don't have just after the GFC blew through. When there are no jobs and pensions have been cribbed to barely cover WeetBix, only then will this something for nothing generation realise how they have dealt their futures to the goolags.
11/12/2015 5:10:39 AM

Remember what Kissinger said about oil and food. Schemes such as these and cc agreements are nothing more than ways to control the proles. Be careful what u cheer for, as it may just be the cause of your servitude for generations to come.
15/12/2015 4:32:58 AM

It is an indictment on Turnbull that Angus Taylor in not in Cabinet.


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