I am making the assumption that Australia’s aim is to quickly rid Australia of creating energy from fossil fuels.
Closely related to this were ridding Australia and the globe of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as refrigerants and aerosol propellants.
We could have argued back then that Australia with its small population, and hence very small % of the global use of CFCs was almost insignificant, even though our usage/head was high due to our use of Air Con, etc. In other words the same argument being put up today against Australia taking action today about the broader Climate Change imperative ahead of larger nations. But that argument didn’t hold sway.
When CFC refrigerants and propellants were an issue, ‘Markets’ weren’t seen as the panacea, to bring about commercial change. However, if CFCs were the issue today would you be recommending a ‘Market’ for CFC credits? Do you think a market would have brought about a better outcome for reducing CFCs? Would it have done it faster, more cheaply, with less resistance, etc? My gut feeling is ‘No.
Did taxing CFCs work, would it have worked?
I suspect Taxes haven’t stopped anything? They tend to be a short term deterrent, having a permanent impact on a few. Their pricing implications then require protection for some sectors, eg, the low paid, which only have a sporadic, less than fair impact.
What did work, and worked incredibly quickly, despite all sorts of whinging and lobbying from industry, was rapid innovation. How – establish a deadline for the phasing out of CFCs use, in the two main areas of its use, refrigerants and aerosol propellants. It was that easy!!! During the period of R&D did prices of Refrigerants and Propellants rise to levels where low income earners needed tax rebates? Easy to implement, cheap to implement, fast to resolve, no impact on current prices.
Am I correct in saying it as simple as Ridding Australia from creating energy from fossil fuels? That includes the energy for transport? Is the objective with the use of fossil fuels very different from the use of CFCs? Their use is more widespread, but the sources of supply are small, eg, coal, gas and oil miners.
Markets exist to make money from buying and selling. If my objective is close to the mark, then over time if ‘the Market’ works, the need for carbon credits will fall, as more fossil fuel users switch to other energy sources. With falling demand for the Carbon Credits the market will collapse. In reality it is more likely it will plateau at a point well short of ridding the planet of fossil fuel usage, but at a sustainable level where buyers and sellers can continue in perpetuity to make a profit!
If the Politicians can’t provide an explanation to counter my points that Taxes haven’t worked, and Markets also don’t work where demand constantly falls each year, then how do we get them to review the problem and solution. How can we get them to look at the issue from the perspective of the problem, rather than the politics!
I suspect that both Taxes and Market driven approaches are just delaying the eventual solution, ie, a deadline to phase out fossil fuel use in each sector. So why not bite that bullet at the outset? Why have an interim period of mediocrity, where the big end of town just makes profits instead of rapid innovation. Particularly when speed is of the essence for the planet, and also for the innovators.
Am I wasting my time thinking about this?