Mr Cobb has expressed opposition to the scheme on the basis that it will decrease the competitiveness of Australian agricultural exporters in overseas markets as well as allowing increased access to Australian markets for foreign agricultural imports.
The actual piece in the "Federal View" section went on at great length about how agriculture was going to be affected economically by any plans to mitigate climate change. This continued economic focus is really starting to wear on me, so I penned the following missive and shot it off to the editor. I wonder if they will publish it...
Re: Tue March 31st 2009 - "Carbon tax a burden for exporters" CWD
I should first point out that Mr Rudd's plan is not a carbon tax, it is a cap and trade scheme. That Mr Cobb cannot distinguish between the two shows that he wasn't paying enough attention during the briefings, if indeed he attended them at all.
A carbon tax would be a much better approach to the problem, but given most politicians make their profits from the big end of town we certainly aren't going to see a real solution of that nature. Can we all say "coal industry stranglehold" in unison?
Our economy and our community is going to suffer greatly under the burden of climate change. This is accepted fact as far as the majority of scientists are concerned, the exception being generally the few who are well paid by various heavily polluting industries.
Agriculture, the industry singled out by Mr Cobb, is going to suffer more than any other due to climate change. Will working to preserve exports save the dairy farmers from endless drought? Logic would say not. Our farmers need more than such a spurious claim of support.
We either need to change the way we live, to accept that there are hard limits on our greed, and hard choices to be made, or we need to give up now, and enjoy the party while we can. We need to stop wasting time and money pretending to make plans that we're never going to bother with. An Earth Hour once a year is just not going to get the job done.
If we choose to think about the future we are leaving our children and grandchildren, then we need to tell these politicians that we care more about people than the economy. Yes, it will hurt, but the future is going to hurt a whole lot more if we don't do some hurting now. Are we adults going to bear a bit of hurt, or are we going to leave it to our children to bear it?
A bit of thought might allow our leaders to conclude that if we adopt stringent policies and place taxes on carbon emissions at home, then we should have the right to levy similar taxes on imports where the originating countries do not adhere to such policies. We also set the stage for a real world-wide legal argument over the future of our species, for the exporters in other countries will surely get a bit upset over those taxes.
If we place a large carbon tax on imports from countries that do not have such policies our exporters are protected, our local industries are encouraged, and we work to combat further climate change. We get three advantages where John Cobb is offering us one, and a dubious one at that.