Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been widely criticized (including by the author) for his comprehensive attack on environmental protections in Australia from stripping pristine areas of protection to his selection of pro-development environmental officials to his endangering of the Great Barrier Reef. However, even when others change the subject, Abbott returns to one of his most controversial measures. When asked on the country’s leading morning show what he thought was his biggest achievement as Australia’s Minister for Women, Abbott said . . . repealing the carbon tax.
Here is the most remarkable twist since Nadia Elena Comăneci received her perfect 10 at the 1976 Summer Olympics: “Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households. As many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the average family.”
Of course, women are known to value the health of themselves and their families as well as the environment even more highly. Indeed, they probably value those issues a bit more than a few hundred bucks, even if that is the true benefit of blowing away carbon limits. Moreover, Abbott’s estimate has been widely challenged. The increase in energy prices was attributed to increased infrastructure costs. There is not an expectation of a large reduction in costs associated with the lifting of the carbon limits.
Indeed, scientists in Australia have described an “environmental train wreck” created by Abbott’s policies. Moreover, his critics have noted that his past claims of economic benefits have not panned out. For example, he cited jobs as a benefit of allowing the logging of pristine forests in Tasmania but only one percent of jobs come from such cutting while fifteen percent come from tourism.
Polls shows an steady increase of concern over carbon in the environment in Australia, particularly among younger and more educated Australians. In the meantime, scientists have issued a new set of disturbing reports over climate change and its potentially disastrous impact on the planet.