You may not believe in climate change, but you will pay
A Galaxy poll commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs has found that only a third of Australians think the world is warming due to human carbon dioxide emissions.
The poll, taken last weekend, represents no shift in views from those in an identical poll eight months ago. And that's in spite of well-publicised claims by climate activists linking recent floods with man-made global warming.
The Gillard Government must be disappointed. Courtesy of the Australian taxpayer it is vigorously promoting the case that mankind is causing global warming and that Australia must have a carbon tax, people are not buying the message. A vast edifice of publically funded bodies is in place for this task.
The Government has its own politicians and a vast supportive bureaucracy in Government Departments and the CSIRO pressing the case. It has also established a series of "independent" bodies to review the data, then explain that global warming is taking place and to promote its favoured carbon tax.
The latest is the Climate Commission headed by Tim Flannery. This has a budget of $5.6 million and comprises five members who can be relied upon, supported by nine science advisers.
We already have Garnaut's Review of the 2008 Garnaut Review, staffed by personnel seconded from the Department of Climate Change and elsewhere who are committed to the greenhouse cause.
Then there are the expert advisors to Parliament's "multi party committee on climate change" and government subsidised bodies like the Grattan Institute.
The Government's generosity with taxpayers' money means we are being bombarded by material from three greenhouse related directions.
First we are told that thousands of scientists all agree that man-made warming, now renamed climate change, is taking place and that recent hurricanes and, counter-intuitively, cold spells, actually substantiate this. Evidence that the weather anomalies have always been with us are dismissed. So is the fact that the drought has broken and that our rivers are no longer drying and that the data showing the world's climate unexpectedly and inconveniently has not warmed for 15 years.
There are many scientists with views on the debate but in fact few of these are credentialed in the key area of climate physics. Indeed climate change skeptic Richard Lindzen, the world's foremost atmospheric physicist, points out that only a few hundred people in the world have the qualifications appropriate to speak with authority.
Secondly, Australia is depicted as standing alone against a tide of international action to tax carbon. Unstated will be the fact that we already wastefully ensure more electricity than average is produced from politically correct non-carbon sources like wind. Wind produces two per cent of our electricity, a larger share than the US, Japan, China and the UK. Moreover, the US states, like the Obama Administration, are reneging on previous commitments to reducing carbon emissions, a process that has now commenced in Europe where Holland, Spain and the UK are leading the retreat.
Finally, figures have been conjured up to demonstrate that a new carbon tax won't need to be that large, at least initially. A compliant Treasury has modelled the effects of the tax on electricity usage and, by assuming an imminent adoption of new and unproven technologies, argues that electricity prices won't even need to double. We are assured that a radical industrial restructuring that eliminates the energy intensive industries on which we depend, will be painless. The consumer, so it is said can afford the costs and the poorest will be compensated.
Using taxpayers' money to persuade the same taxpayers that they should acquiesce in releasing additional swathes of their incomes the government epitomises a nanny state. The Government is saying that its own wisdom is superior to that of its voters, in understanding the public's real interests.
A confederation of interests supports the proposed tax. For the Government the tax will provide a means of balancing its budget and a war chest to buy votes at the next election. Support is offered by those scientists who want to be listened to and to have access to well-paid positions. Then there are environmentalists who want to change the way people other than themselves behave, consume and interact. Policy makers are also keen to be involved in remodelling the economy in ways that will enhance their own stakes.
The losers are the ordinary citizens who are being coerced into providing funds to promote policies that will lower their living standards.