Benefits-cost analysis of carbon tax

Published in The Drum ABC Online on 20 June 2011 under the title “Carbon tax and evidence-based policy”.

I accept what I see as the mainstream science on climate change. The world has had a warming trend in recent decades, this is partly caused by humans, and I expect it to continue into the future.

I am comfortable with the IPCC range of estimates of warming, which has a mid-point estimate of 2.8 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures (ie 2.1C above today). I hope the sceptical scientists are right and that warming will be lower, but I find the IPCC estimates plausible and an appropriate starting point for analysis.

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Standing up for smokers’ rights

Published in The Drum ABC Online on 1 June 2011 under the title “It’s time to stand up for smokers’ rights”.

Perhaps it is inevitable that people will always need to find a minority to hate. Whether it is based on race, or sex, or sexual preference, or lifestyle choice, or language, or religion, or personal habits… the instinct to discriminate, to distrust “different” people, and to enforce conformity is a constant theme throughout history and throughout the world. If this instinct was purely personal, then it would not be a big issue. People could simply choose to associate with those people they prefer, and we could all live in peace. But sadly, many groups want to use the government to force their bigotry on others.

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Improving Gillard’s carbon tax

Published in The Drum ABC Online on 25 March 2011 under the title “How Julia Gillard could improve the carbon tax”.

The debate about the carbon tax is so passionate and divisive that a compromise is almost certainly out of the question.

That doesn’t mean we can’t consider the thought experiment. I am on the public record as being against Gillard’s carbon tax, but after Ross Garnaut came out recently talking about linking the carbon tax with other tax cuts I started thinking about what else could be done to make the carbon tax “less bad”. The following are the demands I would put to the government if they wanted me to consider supporting their new tax…

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Non-government carbon price

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald on 24 December 2009 under the title “Activists should stop talking about global warming and start acting”. Written in my capacity as Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies.

If climate activists had spent the past 10 years acting instead of wasting time at talkfests such as the one at Copenhagen, we would already have a price signal on greenhouse gas emissions. It is an indication of the sorry state of community groups that when faced with a problem, they spend millions of dollars whinging and asking other people to do something. This is especially true when it comes to climate campaigners. While this group of young ideologues revel in their self-appointed moral superiority, they have so far achieved very little.

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