Almost a year ago, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott won a landslide election with a nearly single-issue campaign: repeal the carbon tax. On July 17, he made good on that promise, as the Australian Senate voted, 39 to 32, to abolish the "world's biggest carbon tax" — a tax that was reported to "do nothing to address global warming, apart from imposing high costs on the local economy."
Australia was one of the first major countries, outside of the European Union, to adopt a carbon price — first suggested in 2007 and passed under Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011.
The Journal reports that when Australia's carbon tax was passed, the Brookings Institute "described Australia as an 'Important laboratory and learning opportunity.'"
So, what do we learn from the "laboratory" the now-failed "model legislation" offered?
First, the Journal states: "The public hates it." The (U.K.) Telegraph calls the tax: "one of the most unsuccessful in history" and points out that it is "unique in that it generated virtually no revenue for the Australian treasury due to its negative impact on productivity; contributed to the rising costs that have taken the gloss off the country's resources boom; and essentially helped to bring down Ms Gillard's former Government."
The Telegraph, in an article titled: "Australia abandons disastrous green tax on emissions," adds that the tax failed in "winning over voters who faced higher costs passed on by the companies that had to pay for it."
The Telegraph offers this summary: "carbon trading mechanisms and green taxes have largely been a failure elsewhere and especially so in Europe where they have dragged on investment and threatened long-term energy security."
These are important lessons in light of the renewed push for a carbon tax in the United States as evidenced by the partnership of President George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who are, together, calling for a climate tax.
According to the Journal, the World Bank called Australia's repeal, "one of the biggest international threats to the rollout of similar programs elsewhere." The climate lobby is concerned as "Australia's vote shows that the real obstacle to their dreams of controlling more of the world's economy is democratic consent."
In the United States, similar efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by increasing costs to emitters, and therefore consumers — in our case, cap and trade — failed to achieve "democratic consent" even when Democrats had control. The people didn't want it. So, the Obama administration now is trying to go around Congress with onerous rules and regulations on emissions.
Jennifer Marohasy, Ph.D., who worked for 12 years as a scientist for the Queensland government, told me: "In short, repeal of the carbon tax is a big symbolic win. But it's mostly just window-dressing: to appease the masses. In the background, proponents of anthropogenic global warming who dominate our political class still very much control the levers of government and intend to continue to terrorize the population with claims of catastrophic global warming, while consolidating their rent-seeking through the (Renewable Energy Target)."
May America learn from the "important laboratory" of Australia's foray into climate schemes.