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August 08th 2009 print

Bob Carter

ETS Forum – ETS are immoral

Comfortably clad, fed and housed, and egged on to view themselves as original sinners, our chattering classes and their media flag-wavers have proved astonishingly susceptible to ecoevangelistic propaganda about dangerous human-caused climate change.


Emissions trading schemes are immoral


Guilt about hypothetical global warming is a social pathology restricted largely to wealthy, middle class, western societies. Comfortably clad, fed and housed, and egged on to view themselves as original sinners, our chattering classes and their media flag-wavers have proved astonishingly susceptible to ecoevangelistic propaganda about dangerous human-caused climate change. 

As for the DDT-ban imposed formerly by the United Nations – which caused tens of millions of unnecessary malarial deaths in third-world countries (memorably termed technological genocide by Art Robinson) – our middle classes choose not to contemplate the effect of their misguided beliefs about global warming on the prospects of those who live in undeveloped countries. 

All routes out of poverty for third world nations traverse paths of development based upon a cheap and reliable energy supply. Yet the precise intention of emissions trading schemes (ETS) is to increase the cost of carbon-based energy sources, and an inevitable collateral development is an increase too in the unreliability of supply. 

As expressed recently by Fiona Kobusingye, a Co-ordinator of the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda:

The real problem isn’t questionable or fake science, hysterical claims and worthless computer models that predict global warming disasters. It’s that they’re being used to justify telling Africans that we shouldn’t build coal or natural gas electrical power plants. It’s that the almost total absence of electricity is keeping us from creating jobs and becoming modern societies. It’s that these policies KILL.

Those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished. Not having electricity also means disease and death. It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires ….. Telling Africans they can’t have electricity and economic development – except what can be produced with some wind turbines or little solar panels – is immoral. It is a crime against humanity. 

It is also the case that the effects of carbon dioxide taxation (which is what ETS represent) are regressive within our own Australian society, for it is the families of the less well off that will bear the brunt of the passed down costs. After all, an initial extra $3,000 a year in extra charges is trivial for the Rudd or Turnbull families, but for those on or below the average wage such a cost will be swingeing. Adding insult to their injury, and even if imposed carbon dioxide charges did result in a reduction in Australian emissions, there will be no measurable effect on future climate. 

The first of the two following recent letters exemplifies why it is that most young people are so attached to the ecosalvationism that drives the introduction of ETS; the second comprises a cry from the heart by one of the average Australian punters that are going to be hurt most by this scientifically indefensible legislation, should it mischance to be passed. 

Letter 1. Signed by a “Generation Y-er” 

Hi, Bob.

I was at the conference you spoke to last Saturday. I was most interested in your talk, mainly because I’m a Gen-Y’er who has never heard an argument mounted against "climate change". 

I should clarify – when I say I’d never heard the other side, I probably meant I’d never heard it through the mainstream media. I’m a journalist, and among my peers almost everything is questionable these days, but I must confess that it’s social suicide to question climate change – more than some other taboo topics, even abortion. 

People can respect you for all manner of views, but no one has time for a climate change "denialist", as the label goes. 

Letter 2. Signed by an “Ordinary citizen of Australia wanting answers”

I am a citizen of Australia, who for some reason has not been overly convinced by the government’s assessment of climate change.

In particular, I do not see any evidence that suggests to me that man is responsible for climate change. I do believe that the earth’s temperature is increasing, but I do not believe that it is because of human activity.

I am concerned for this legislation that the government is pushing through on emissions.

I am concerned for people like myself on a low income who cannot afford to keep the heater on at night time to warm my children, all because we can’t afford the gas and electricity bills.

I wish there were a way I could stop and make people see that this is all a farce. I just want the evidence that suggests that man is responsible for changing the climate of the world in which we live.

The Australian Senate must reject the futile ETS bill (“Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme”) that currently lies on the table. And if the bill is retabled later by the government, it should be rejected again.

For, whether looked at nationally or globally, emissions trading systems are acts of immorality.


Professor Bob Carter, a geologist and environmental scientist, was formerly chairman of the ARC’s Funding Panel on Earth Sciences and the national Marine Science & Technologies Grant Scheme, and director of the Australian Secretariat of the Ocean Drilling Program.