Australia’s conservative coalition is set to cut more than 90 percent of the funding related to global warming from their budget, from $5.75 billion this year to $500 million, over the next four years.
Environmentalists and leftist politicians in the country protested the move by conservative Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s governing coalition to slash funding for climate programs, arguing such funding for green energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions were necessary to stop global warming.
But Abbott’s government shot back, saying that the country needed to reduce the size of government and improve the economy.
“The coalition government acknowledges the role of renewable energy in Australia’s energy mix,” said Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane. “There is over $1 billion in funding for existing renewable projects to be completed over the coming years.”
“Given the tight fiscal environment as a result of [liberal] Labor’s legacy of debt and deficit, the government considers there is a very significant investment in renewable energy,” MacFarlane added.
Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition won a landslide victory in Australia’s election last fall. One of the main promises of Abbott’s coalition was to repeal the country’s carbon tax and costly environmental agenda.
The Liberal-National’s plan to repeal the carbon tax is stuck in the Senate due to Labor and Green party members joining to block any attempt at repeal. Green and Labor party members have refused to back the carbon tax repeal until Abbott proposed an alternative plan to fight global warming.
“Tony Abbott should now abandon the so-called direct action plan, which is little more than a slogan,” Green leader Christine Milne said in a statement.
But Abbott shows no signs of slowing down in his quest to repeal the country’s environmental laws, which have slowed economic growth, including mining taxes, green energy funding and the carbon tax.
“The carbon tax is an act of economic vandalism,” Abbott said in March. “You can’t trust [Labor] anywhere near an economy.”
The carbon tax was imposed by former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the summer of 2012, and quickly became unpopular as businesses and households began to bear the costs of higher power bills and higher inflation.
“Poor policy processes tend to lead to poor policy outcomes,” wrote Dr. Alex Robson, an economist at Australia’s University of Brisbane, in a study prepared for the Institute for Energy Research, which opposes a carbon tax. “Australia’s carbon tax experience provides a number of important lessons in how not to go about implementing sensible climate change policy.”
After just one year, the carbon tax increased taxes on 2.2 million Australians, according to Robson, and has done nothing to decrease the country’s carbon emissions, which aren’t predicted to fall below current levels until 2043.
Robson also found that a year after being enacted, the carbon tax caused electricity prices to rise 15 percent. The country’s unemployment rate shot up by 10 percent after the carbon tax was implemented.
“The carbon tax is bad for the economy and it doesn’t do any good for the environment,” Abbott told The Washington Post last year. “Despite a carbon tax of $37 a ton by 2020, Australia’s domestic emissions were going up, not down. The carbon tax was basically socialism masquerading as environmentalism, and that’s why it’s going to get abolished.”
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