By Greg Jericho
10 December 2016
(The Guardian) – This week was a prime example of how economics and, by extension, politics doesn’t cope very well with the issue of climate change.
The news that Australia economy went backwards in the September quarter was greeted with alarm by politicians and then used as a reason to push their policy barrow. And most of the barrows were piled high with coal.
The treasurer and the prime minister in their press conferences on Wednesday made great mention of the need to keep electricity prices low for the economy to grow.
Malcolm Turnbull especially was in full Tony Abbott 2010 mode out of a desire to cover the silly back flip on the issue of investigating whether or not to introduce an emissions intensity trading scheme.
When asked about the prospect of GDP growth going backwards he immediately responded by suggesting the issue was for Bill Shorten to “explain why he is proposing to increase the price of electricity”.
Never mind that such a scheme would more efficiently price emissions than does the current system, for now we remained trapped in an idiotic netherworld where any mention of pricing carbon (no matter how oblique) must be greeted with shrieks of horror, with the prime minister leading the chorus. [more]