Australian Carbon Tax Shows How Little Enviros Care About the Poor

This post by IER economist Robert Murphy is about an Australian carbon tax proposal but illustrates how little enviros and fractivists care about the poor.

An article last month in the New York Times showcases the futility of climate legislation, regardless of one’s views on the desirability of government measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, Somini Sengupta’s piece explained that the Australian government was toppled because of climate policy, and then drew parallels to the United States and Canada. Whether it was her intention, Sengupta demonstrated that if indeed climate change is a problem, activists should realize that the political process offers a very unreliable “solution.”

Sengupta summarizes what just happened in Australia:

This week, the  failure to pass legislation that would have reined in greenhouse gas emissions precipitated Malcolm Turnbull’s ouster as prime minister. He was elbowed out by  Scott Morrison, an ardent champion of the Australian coal industry who is known for having brought a lump of the stuff to Parliament.

Although the NYT article doesn’t directly discuss it, this episode is similar to the 2013 election of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who ran on a pledge to repeal Australia’s carbon tax. At the time, I discussed the findings of Alex Robson’s study of the Australian carbon tax. Robson found that every one of the standard talking points for a “conservative case” for a carbon tax did not hold true in Australia’s experience.

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