BY AMY STOCKWELL
Want to be smooth, sophisticated and well-informed this election? Want to do it without touching a single policy paper or watching a single episode of Q&A? No problem. I’ve got your back. Welcome to Stox’s 5 minute guide to some of the policy and political issues that will dominate the 2013 Election.
So, let’s start with something easy, eh? How about: “Everything you need to know about the carbon tax and the emissions trading scheme”. [Relax, it’s all about garbage bags on your lawn…]
Tell me in two sentences…
For both the carbon tax and the emissions trading scheme (ETS), it’s about using economics (or the pressure of having to pay for something) to reduce the amount of carbon pollution that is released into the atmosphere. If you are a big polluting company, you have to pay to pollute.
What is a “carbon tax”?
A carbon tax is the price set by government that polluting companies will have to pay to release a certain amount of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere. The current carbon price in Australia is $24.15 for every tonne of carbon emissions that the biggest 500 polluters release.
The carbon price is premised on a simple idea about human behaviour: if you have to pay for something, you’ll be more careful about how you use it.
A quick example: if every bag of garbage that your family generates costs you $24.15 to put out on the curb for collection, you’d pretty quickly be thinking about how you could cut down on the amount of packaging you use, how much stuff you can re-use or how much you could turn into compost. If you take action to reduce your garbage, there is a financial benefit to you (you will pay for fewer bags) – so you are motivated do it.