Australian journalist Lenore Taylor has been reporting incisive climate stories for a very long time.
In two recent (this and this) ‘must-read’ articles she has explained how the rubbery figures that Tony Abbott and others throw about are simply tosh. Abbott is a tenth (at best) generation photocopy of John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister from 1996 to 2007… There is a fantastic book on this called High and Dry by Guy Pearse I urge you all to read it, it is alarming in the extreme.
The myth that Australia cannot afford deep cuts in emissions is based on cunning and deceptive spin by John Howard. For example, on 16 August 2006, John Howard told parliament; ‘According to ABARE, a 50 per cent cut in Australian emissions by 2050 would lead to a 10 per cent fall in GDP, a 20 per cent fall in real wages, a carbon price equivalent to a doubling of petrol prices, and a staggering 600 per cent rise in electricity and gas prices. They are the calculation of the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.; It was arguably the biggest lie in Howard’s thirty-three year political career and not one journalist picked it up. To give the impression that deep cuts in emissions would mean an economy in 2050 10 per cent smaller than today with 20 per cent lower wages than today, Howard’s numbers cunningly excluded the words,; compared with business as usual.’
ABARE had actually projected a 246 per cent increase in GDP not a 10 per cent fall, it projected an 81 per cent increase in real wages not a 20 per cent drop: and it made no claim about fuel prices doubling or electricity and gas prices rising by 600 per cent (the industry department confirmed to me that it , not ABARE, dreamt this up by ignoring energy efficiency improvements and applying $623 carbon tax today!) The 600 per cent claim in fact overstates by seven-and-a-half times ABARE’s actual projected increase in electricity generation costs, which was 80 per cent by 2050 -just shy of real wages growth in its worst case scenario.
(Pearse, 2007: 377-8)