Friday, June 24, 2011

Carbon Tax-Who benefits? Governments? The Air We Breathe?


John Key has just been to Australia. He is being touted as the first NZ PM to go there and address their parliament. The Aussies, on the other hand, are quick to point out the largesse with which they see New Zealand and its PMs. Good guy, one of them said, but our real issues took a back seat. Julia Gillard, our PM would've been relieved there was no question time. She would have him speak for a week if she had her way.

Julia Gillard, from what I gathered, has taken a nose dive in the popularity polls. Australia is a coal mining country and she wants to introduce a carbon tax. John Key, in his address spoke about the carbon tax that NZ has already introduced bolstering her argument.

Which brings me to my topic - the carbon tax. If I understand correctly, this tax is imposed so that businesses hesitate to release carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Coal and other fossil fuels like petroleum release many polutants when they are burnt. These are very dangerous for human health and the health of anything living. Some of these are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide in huge quantities, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ground level ozone, smog... What exactly they do to us, to plant life, to animals, fish, the plankton in the sea, which industries are responsible - these issues are addressed here on my blog. (

Air pollution by netalloy, open clipart
To reduce carbon dioxide emissions into our atmosphere governments have come up with the carbon tax. Businesses have to pay a tax for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted due to their activities. People always toe the line if it hurts their pockets. Weighing the bottom line against high faluting ideas like saving the atmosphere, saving future generations from ill health like asthma or heart disease, breathing clean air, not having eyes water, guess what wins? More's the pity but that is why a carbon emissions tax is considered a good idea.

What I'd like clarified is what governments will do with all that money. What will they use it for? To clean up the atmosphere? Plant more trees? Educate people to have their buy in? Show them the benefits of recycling? Composting? Terraced gardening? Alternatives to fossil fuels? Where exactly will every penny of the carbon emissions tax be spent? Do let us know.

It somehow reminds me of speeding and drunk driving fines in NZ. The New Zealand police department might always have fined people for drunk driving or speeding but of late, to my mind, collecting that fine had become a very prominent activity in Auckland. If that fine went towards helping to educate these people or towards Alcoholics Anonymous or anything to do with people buy-in to improve speeding and drunk driving, I would feel better about it. I am not arguing the police department doesn't need funds - I hope it always has enough funds to do a good job of protecting people and doesn't need what's collected from speeding and drunk driving fines.

And similarly, the carbon tax could be used to educate people about the dangers of using fossil fuels, research in alternative energies, new technologies and anything that would reduce carbon emissions into the only atmosphere we humans have to sustain life.


No comments:

Post a Comment