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Europe isn’t exactly a poster child for climate change

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Those who support the idea of a carbon tax on Australians are quick to point to Europe as a model.

From my experience, these people often talk about the “success” of a carbon tax in Sweden or somewhere – and then suggest that such taxes or carbon trading systems are inevitable everywhere.

Without wishing to dimish the exploits of a country with less than 10 million people and a history of high taxes and big bureaucracies,  the overall European picture does not exactly make it the poster child for climate change.

Among the engine-room economies, France abruptly ditched its carbon tax plan in the past year after the punters hammered the government at the polls; Germany is trying to untangle a mess of carbon trading fraud and abuse;  and in other countries including Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland, more than 100 people have been arrested as fraud and profiteering emerged in carbon trading — for the fourth time.

The Telegraph in Britain reported that last  March it emerged that some governments, in particular Hungary, had started “recycling” credits, or selling on old ones that had already been used for financial gain.

By the end of last year, criminals had stolen credits from Romania in a hacking attack, prompting the closure of its national registry, and allowances were also reported missing in Switzerland.  Then credits taken in another cyber attack bounced from the Czech Republic to Poland, Estonia and Liechtenstein before disappearing.

After the Czech fiasco, the European Commission finally moved to close the entire spot-trading market indefinitely.

In Britain, identity checks were said to be carried out on everyone who registered as a carbon trader.  However,  The Sunday Telegraph reported that the register contained  dozens of companies with addresses in suburban residential streets, sometimes unreachable addresses and Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo email accounts.

Carbon tax supporters in Australia are quick to claim that, for every incident of farce and crime, there have also been success stories. But, it’s impossible to deny that its history of carbon taxing and trading makes Europe anything but  some squeaky clean Green utopia.

In fact, its credibility generally is so poor that the European experience is hardly something to which Australia should aspire.

Earth to Julia Gillard, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott!!


Written by ianandsue

May 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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