Environmentalism

Tumbling Stocks, Protests Greet Australia's Carbon Tax

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Australia has long term plans in place to develop a market-based, carbon credit trading scheme for CO2 

Photo: Leonard John Matthews

emissions by 2015. In the meantime, it's imposing a tax on carbon. Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced yesterday that CO2 emissions would be taxed to the tune of $23 per ton starting in 2012, with a 2.5 percent increase each year until 2015. The tax would affect about 500 companies.

Following the announcement, Australian stocks dropped 1.5 percent today, with steel, coal mining, and transport firms taking the biggest hit.

Gillard who promised before last August's election not to introduce a carbon tax, now claims that "as a nation we need to put a price on carbon." Opposition leader Tony Abbott calls her change of heart "a performance worthy of Walt Disney."

The announcement follows months of protests in Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Participants objected to predicted increases of consumer prices, decreased competitiveness of Australian companies abroad, and job losses at home. Increases in energy bills are of particular concern to voters in the country, which generates 80 percent of its electricity from coal.

Similar plans twice failed to pass Parliament in 2009. The latest polls show roughly 60 percent of Australian voters against the measure. However, unlike Obama's failed efforts to address global warming, it is expected to pass Parliament later this year.

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  1. Off-topic, but the Minnesota state government has been shut down for more than a week and I haven’t noticed a god damn difference.

    1. Don’t expect any media coverage of that non-effect.

      1. Someone will die soon in a car crash as a result of a pothole and it’ll be the lead on every station in the country.

        SOMALIA!!?!ROADZ!!!z!

        1. Ironically, the Twin Cities have a high Somali population.

          1. They’re eating their children.

            1. The major annoyance at the moment (locally, at least) is the inability to get a fishing license. Can’t even go without one, since word on the street is that they found some money to increase DNR patrols in the meantime.

              1. What a waste of time, going after people for not paying for a fishing permission slip…

    2. If only we could experience this on a federal level.

  2. Does this mean that we’ll eventually be taxed on exhalation?

    1. Yes, but it’s an easy tax to avoid.

      1. Perhaps there’s a market in taking exhaled CO?, separating the oxygen from the carbon, then converting the carbon into metallic form, for later launch into the sun.

        1. Dude, totally. Bust out some Sabatier reactors and start making natural gas with your solar cells providing power for reacting hydrogen with carbon dioxide on a iron catalyst bed.

          Between the earned carbon credits and whatever-there’s-got-to-be-some-gimme for the hydrogen, you’d come out ahead in that tax scheme for sure.

          Then sell the natural gas….lol.

    2. How does the 1st Amendment work in this case? What if I just say “Fuck the president” with every waking exhalation? Wouldn’t an exhalation tax be an undue burden on speech?

      1. No, because you have reasonable alternatives to spoken speech. There’s the printed word, of course, but you could also type your words into a voice synthesizer and let it speak for you–without producing the offending carbon dioxide.

        1. Assuming the voice synthesizer is solar powered.

          1. Or powered by any other carbon-neutral energy–I agree.

  3. So we can watch Australia and have some idea what to expect when that shit comes here.

    1. Well, WE can, but the people who make the laws don’t give a damn.

  4. “Gillard who promised before last August’s election not to introduce a carbon tax, now claims that “as a nation we need to put a price on carbon.” Opposition leader Tony Abbott calls her change of heart “a performance worthy of Walt Disney.”

    I’d say more like a perfomance worthy of Obama.

    He is, after all, the current reigning heavyweight champ of flip flops.

    1. Increases in energy bills are of particular concern to voters in the country, which generates 80 percent of its electricity from coal.

      Nuclear. Thank you.

  5. I find it absurd that a natural gaseous compound that we all exhale and the plants (including endangered plants!) love is something some are gullible enough to consider a threat to the environment.

    How much tax will kangaroos have to pay? They exhale carbon dioxide!

    1. The kangaroos have it easy compared to the camels. The camels are to be shot in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Australia.

      1. In North Korea they shoot political oppoents to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

        1. And they banned like 99.2% of the population from motorized transport or other mechanized conveniences. Banned airline travel (almost) too. Shit, they don’t even have tractors for farming it seems.

          I bet the air is nice and clean around Pyongyang. Al Gore should move there and experience the bliss.

        2. I wanna move there!

  6. No, what we need to do is put a price on pollution that damages property.

  7. FUCK!

    I put a lot of money into Australian Index funds to escape U.S. inflation. Somebody has to tell me this shit ahead of time. Fucking liberal taxing fucks.

    1. If you would just send me your profit. I could do good things with it! Very good things!

      1. Ha! The American dollar and market are so shitty I’m still way up with AUSTRALIA INDX and ERDEEN AUSTRALIA EQUITY FD.

        You can’t go wrong betting against America as long as Obama is at the helm.

  8. Is Walt Disney really known for his acting? I would have thought the go to person for his analogy would be Heath Ledger.

    1. Actually, he was the voice of Mickey for decades.

    2. Yeah, that had me scratching my head too.

      1. Restricting emissions for self-gratification – the Michael Hutchence Tax

  9. Isn’t such a carbon tax exactly what Reason’s own Ronald Bailey advocates? You need a new science editor.

    1. If CO2 emissions are harmful, then a revenue-neutral carbon tax, offset by a reduction in other business taxes, doesn’t seem like it would be a horrible option.

      1. A carbon sales tax as to oppose this sort of carbon emission tax.

  10. The only people who are for carbon taxes are rich limousine liberals who don’t care about the price of energy. Just like they know they’ll never had to use government health care, and hence are for that, too.

  11. Another genius government plan, destroy the countries most successful/biggest companies that operate locally and internationally. What could possibly go wrong ?

  12. If you aren’t following Tim Blair’s relentless, brutal, daily savaging of Gillard, the Greens, and Labor on this, you are missing out.

  13. Jesus, until I saw that picture, I didn’t fully comprehend how far the carbon tax had set their economy back.

    1. I looked at the chickenscratch in the picture first without reading the article title/excerpt. Curious to learn what this crudely made sign was supposed to be, I looked at the alt-text. Well played, author, well played.

  14. fyi, the last name of the author of this post (a new writer at Reason?) means “peanut” in Czech.

  15. A price on carbon used as energy?

    The Aussies have been getting FREE oil, coal, and gas for all these years? Who knew?

  16. I hate to have to point this out, but the Dow is down nearly as much today.

    1. And why not? In both countries, the chief executive is pushing as hard as he can for massive new taxes.

  17. YUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    YUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    YUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AMURIKUH, YOO ARRRR NEXTTTTTTTTT

  18. It’s also been a particularly cold winter in southern Australia. I guess it’s a category of the “Al Gore Curse”. If you start wanking about global warming, the tempeture drops 30 degrees.

    Wouldn’t it have been more strategic to introduce this kind of bill during the hellish summers they have – maybe when they have wildfires burning half the continent?

    1. Please. These idiots think strategy is backstabbing your boss at the best possible moment.

  19. Following the announcement, Australian stocks dropped 1.5 percent today, with steel, coal mining, and transport firms taking the biggest hit.

    Now, how on Earth could this have happened? Totally unforeseeable!

    1. When I listen to Rush Limbaugh, I often hear him joke about the use of the word “unexpectedly” by newspaper journalists in the Business section. I can just imagine how the journalists will handle this one.

  20. Tax things like carbon dioxide production and you get less of it.

    Why does that rule not apply to taxing productive economic activity?

  21. Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced yesterday that CO2 emissions would be taxed to the tune of $23 per ton starting in 2012, with a 2.5 percent increase each year until 2015. The tax would affect about 500 companies… Gillard who promised before last August’s election not to introduce a carbon tax, now claims that “as a nation we need to put a price on carbon.”

    That should show the Aussies to never again vote a broad into office again!

    Following the announcement, Australian stocks dropped 1.5 percent today, with steel, coal mining, and transport firms taking the biggest hit.

    Pretty much those required for any of the much vaunted “shovel ready” projects.

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