<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Who supports a carbon price? More people than you'd think!

Lord Stern and a fireman

What do this economist and this fireman have in common?

Credit: World Economic Forum; Wikimedia Commons

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The PM announced our new carbon price recently, and to hear the fussing over it you’d think it was going to doom us all. Younger people are the ones most supportive of it, but polls show that nearly everyone hates the carbon price, although they’re not keen on Abbott’s direct action alternative either.

The proposed carbon price setup isn’t perfect, but it has three key features that really deserve our support: it’ll help encourage international action, it’ll be supervised by independent bodies (not the government that's in at the time), and the details aren’t locked in as they were for Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

I think a lot of the opposition to the carbon price comes from people who are misinformed about it. I had to explain to one person that it wasn’t a tax that would be taken from her pay packet, it was a tax on only 500 big businesses.

So I’ve been linking the following explanations on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, trying to help my friends understand it: GetUp’s Give the facts a head start page, and Clean Energy Future, the government’s own website with the details.

I’ve also been telling people how it has support from some really different groups:

  • The Businesses for a Clean Energy Future group, which includes Ikea, The Body Shop, GE, retailers and all sorts of small businesses. They want a carbon price as an incentive for businesses to choose low-carbon options.
  • Insurance companies who don’t want to have to pay out for the increasing damage we’ll be taking from worse storms, worse bushfires, and rising sea levels.
  • Emergency services workers who don’t want us to have to face the danger and potential tragedy of further devastating storms and fires.
  • The health industry would love to see a carbon price, to reduce the particulate pollution that comes along with the greenhouse gases, heat stress in the elderly, and injuries from severe weather events.
  • Economists support a carbon price, because it puts a price on an ‘externality’ the same as we do for other types of pollution, and for the changes in the personal tax rates to compensate low and middle income earners. They don’t think the changes to the businesses getting taxed are going to wreck everything for the rest of us. And they all think it’s going to do our economy good by making investment in clean energy easier and freeing up money for people who aren’t so well-off.
  • Internationally, people reckon Gillard’s plan is pretty good too.

If you support the tax but know people who don’t, now would probably be a really good time to help them understand it better. I’ve been trying to have low-key conversations, and put info out where people can look at it in their own time with no pressure. Have you spoken about it with anyone? What kind of response did you get?