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Carbon Price

Dec 2, 2011

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A new academic report found that coverage of the carbon price legislation in Australian newspapers was overwhelming negative, with only 15% of the article viewing the policy in a positive light.

Tabloids Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph were so biased in their coverage against the carbon tax “it is fair to say they ‘campaigned’ against the policy rather than covered it,” says the report from that the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, led by director Wendy Bacon.

The report examined all the major daily newspapers in Australia; News Limited’s The AustralianHerald SunThe Daily TelegraphThe Courier-MailAdelaide Advertiser; Fairfax’sThe Age and The Sydney Morning Herald and Seven Media’s The West Australian to examine its coverage of climate change policy (specifically the carbon tax).

It found that News Limited papers were far more likely to run articles or opinion pieces against the tax than Fairfax, with 82% of News Limited’s articles deemed negative, compared to Fairfax’s 43%.

The Daily Telegraph was deemed the worst offender, with 58% of negative articles, 35% neutral and 7% positive. When the neutral stories were removed, the negative coverage was a whopping 89%. The Herald Sun was not far behind with its coverage, with 85% of its carbon tax stories deemed negative once the neutral stories were removed.

The ACIJ team analysed 3971 articles –including comment pieces, editorials, features and news stories to reach their findings. Continue reading “News Limited papers ‘campaigned’ against carbon tax”

Carbon Price

Nov 10, 2011

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Considering the largest environmental policy Australia has ever seen was passed into law by government this week, it seems appropriate to write something on Rooted about it. There’s a few articles in the pipeline about the new carbon tax law  — including a clarifier on “what is carbon farming?” — and there will obviously be many more in the months ahead. But first up, let’s check out this clarifier-style article from The Conversation which explains the details of the new carbon price legislation. 

Rosemary Lyster, climate and environmental law professor at the University of Sydney, writes: Australia’s carbon price mechanism has become law. But how does it work? There are six key points:

1. Australia’s emissions trajectory

By 2020, Australia will reduce all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 5% compared with 2000 levels. By 2050, emissions will be reduced by 80% compared with 2000 levels. Continue reading “The carbon price scheme for dummies”

Carbon Price

Oct 6, 2011

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Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus write: As two Americans watching from the sidelines as Australia tears itself apart over a carbon tax, it is impossible not to be reminded of our own country’s self-destructive battle over cap and trade in 2009 and 2010. And little wonder why: the Left and Right partiesin Australia have adopted virtually wholesale the positions taken by Left and Right parties in America.

The Labor Party has borrowed from American Democrats the strategy of giving out money to win over consumers, powerful industries, and unions. The Liberal Party has borrowed from American Republicans the strategy of attacking climate scientists and mobilising a populist backlash.

Of course, the great difference is that while Democrats did not get their cap and trade law, it now seems that the Australian Labor-Green coalition will get its carbon tax. But Australia’s populist backlash against the legislation will, at minimum, slow its implementation and, at most, result in a change of government and its ultimate repeal.

Not that its rapid implementation would have any effect on emissions. Continue reading “Australia’s carbon tax battle: where it fits into the global war”

Carbon Price

Sep 7, 2011

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Leigh Ewbank writes: Throughout 2011, Australia’s best-funded environment organisations have been united in support of the Labor government’s push to establish a carbon price. Not everyone, it seems, thinks this is a good thing.

In a compelling essay published in The MonthlyDr Guy Pearse, the former Liberal party advisor who revealed the “greenhouse mafia’s” influence over national climate and energy policy during the Howard years, challenges the environment groups that uncritically cheer for the government’s flawed climate change policy.

“It’s a far cry from 2009,” notes Pearse, “when the environmental movement split over the so-called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). … Now environmentalists are cheering almost as one, not just for ‘climate action’ but for Gillard’s plan.”

It is true that while the Clean Energy Future legislation is a marginal improvement on its predecessor, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, it still contains many of the flaws that fuelled the split only a few years ago. Continue reading “Green groups fight everything but criticism against them”

Carbon Price

Jul 25, 2011

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Sophie Trevitt from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition writes: This weekend multi-billion dollar vested interest groups launched their $10 million “no campaign” against a price on pollution. Under the banner of the ‘Australian Trade and Industry Alliance’, businesses driven by fear and greed are dispersing misinformation to the public through social media, full page newspaper ads and a just-launched television advertising campaign.

The ATIA are capitalising on a public in confusion. Confusion —  with Abbott calls his own climate policy “crazy”, relentlessly demands another election, practically declares class warfare and blows everyone away with his literary skill in dubbing Julia JuLIAR (see what he did there). Add to that the completely absurd rhetoric of completely ill-qualified individuals like “Lord” Monckton, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and its no surprise that making big businesses pay for their emissions seems almost as completely and utterly insane as making it illegal to dump waste in the ocean (which we did in 1981), or deciding that women should earn equal pay almost a decade earlier (which provoked much of the same hysteria that the economy would collapse and the working Australian family would suffer as the bread winner would have to fight with his missus for a buck).

When the doctor diagnoses you with lung cancer after smoking for 60 years, you don’t trust the tobacco industry who capitalise from your carcinogenic addiction, when they insist that smoking is not bad for your health. Similarly, when scientists worldwide conclude that climate change is an immediate and serious threat, and economists domestically advocate pricing carbon as the best first step; you don’t turn to the billion dollar industries who are crying poor because they might finally have to cough up for the pollutants they dump for free into our skies. Continue reading “$10 million to drive fear and greed on carbon price”

Carbon Price

Jul 15, 2011

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Andrew Glikson, earth and palaeoclimate scientist at the Australian National University, writes: Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, chief climate science advisor of the German government and keynote speaker at the Four Degrees or More? Australia in a hot world conference held this week in Melbourne, made a point on Lateline that even the least-informed should be able to understand: “Our body temperature is about 37 degrees. If you increase it by two degrees, 39, you have fever. If you add four degrees, it is 41 — you are dead, more or less. And you have to think about the body temperature of our planet, which has been brought about through many, many processes over many, many millions of years.”

Global emission reduction targets — ranging from Germany’s 40% aim relative to 1990 to Australia’s 5% aim relative to 2000 — would still allow mean global temperatures to rise to +3 and 4 degrees Celsius later in the century, driving a major shift in climate zones. Schellnhuber emphasizes the non-linear nature of climate change where, once critical temperature thresholds are crossed, warming is amplified by feedbacks from melting ice, opening of water surfaces, release of methane from permafrost and from polar sediments, leading to tipping points. Continue reading “An Orwellian climate: carbon price and the atmosphere”

Carbon Price

Jul 11, 2011

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For a look at how the commentariat are judging Gillard’s carbon price, check out the commentary wrap on the Crikey website. It also contains details of the policy from the cost of carbon ($23 a tonne) to how much compensation industry will get ($9.2 billion).

Ellen Sandell writes: Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph ran a headline about Tim Tams and Weet-Bix — and how Gillard would use them as ‘typical Aussie’ products that would rise only a fraction under the carbon price. Today as I open the newspaper I can see that the headlines are similar: how much will this cost? What will the compensation be? Who will be better off when we introduce a policy to put a price on pollution?

The government even has a calculator on its website where you can work out how much it will cost you (I’ll be $33 better off, in case you were wondering).

But despite the government banging on and on about the fact that Australian families won’t be worse off under a carbon price, people still aren’t listening, because we have forgotten to talk about the ‘why’.

Why are we doing this in the first place? Continue reading “Why a price on pollution is worth it”