The Australian government has *finally* scrapped its carbon tax, which had seen big companies pay about $25/tonne for emissions.
1. In 1990, Australia’s current Environment Minister Greg Hunt loved carbon pricing so much he wrote his thesis on it!
While studying at the University of Melbourne, 25-year-old Greg Hunt wrote a thesis laying out the academic argument for a carbon tax.
It was aptly called, “A Tax to Make the Polluter Pay”.
It includes the conclusion: “Ultimately it is by harnessing the natural economic forces which drive society that the pollution tax offers us an opportunity to exert greater control over our environment.”
Greg Hunt is now leading the charge to scrap the carbon tax.
2. Then there’s former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who in 2007 committed the Coalition to an Emissions Trading Scheme.
The LNP leader sensed climate change would be an issue at the 2007 election fought against Labor leader Kevin Rudd and announced the Coalition would also embrace an Emissions Trading Scheme:
“I’ll also be announcing a cap and trade emissions trading system that will help Australia substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost.”
The YouTube announcement also happened to be the very first video Mr Howard uploaded to the site.
He’s since supported the government’s decision to scrap the tax.
3. Oh wait… that’s Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in 2009.
Before Mr Abbott started the “Axe the Tax” mantra that tore down the former Labor Government, he suggested a carbon pricing system remarkably similar to Australia’s current system:
“If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax… And then at the end of the year you can take your invoices to the tax office and get a rebate for the carbon tax you paid.”
It’s important to note Mr Abbott also asserted in the very same interview: “I think that climate change science is far from settled.”
4. Then there’s New Zealand’s current conservative Prime Minister John Key holding a kitten.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister stood side-by-side with then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011 and proudly talked-up the Kiwi ETS:
“What I can tell you about the emissions trading scheme in New Zealand is it’s worked. All of the applications for new electricity generation have been in the renewable space.”
5. And the US state of California with former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The sunny west coast state has the eighth largest economy in the world and also oeprates a cap and trade system, which sees companies encouraged to switch to low carbon emitting sources of energy.
The Republican Governor who led the push…. Arnold Schwazeneggar who called for the US Congress to take heed of new climate data:
“The first step for policy makers - and for ordinary citizens too - is to understand the situation we face… It’s our duty to pay attention.”