– who is paying?

Don’t worry, the carbon tax won’t cost you much is the message.  Then, how is going to lower the growth of carbon dioxide emissions, one could ask? And clearly no one has heard of the Jevons Paradox that predicts that greater energy efficiency will actually lead to higher carbon dioxide emissions.

But an important question is who is paying for the collaboration of CHOICE, ACOSS (who alarmingly seems to be arguing for this package knowing full well that most of the green schemes are extraordinarily regressive – eg. solar feed-in tariffs) and the Climate Institute to produce

With the carbon price now law, households will finally be able to weigh up their own costs, financial support and potential savings with an independent online calculator and website – – launched today by consumer advocate CHOICE, the Australian Council of Social Service (representing low income households) and policy research organisation The Climate Institute.

“After such a ferocious political debate, Australians can be forgiven for feeling confused about what the carbon price will really mean for everyday items such as food and electricity. This confusion also increases the risk of businesses passing on unrelated costs to consumers. That’s why this research is so important, allowing households to work out costs and savings for themselves, with figures and information independently and rigorously researched by the CSIRO and AECOM,” said CHOICE spokesperson Matt Levey.

The CSIRO-AECOM research shows impacts on households are likely to be smaller than anticipated. It calculates Australia’s carbon pollution price will add 0.6% to inflation in 2012-13. This is less of an impact on the economy than estimated by Treasury modelling, and may be even smaller as the modelling assumes a 100% pass-through of costs by businesses to consumers.

The CSIRO-AECOM research underpins the figures used in the new online savings calculator at, as well as a national information program available to councils, schools, faith groups, business groups and other organisations.

“Communities are looking for real information about their day-to-day costs and savings. For example, the carbon pollution price initially translates into 2 cents extra for bread and a litre of milk, 11 cents for a leg of lamb and 14 cents for a weekly spend on fruit and vegetables but once you factor in ongoing government assistance, those weekly costs are largely covered and most people end up with money in their pocket,“ said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.#

“Energy efficiency can put households even further ahead. The latest estimates* show most people could be another $12.75 better off per week ($663 per year) by making just 4 small changes in the home,” said Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

I can’t find any disclosure in relation to the funding provided by the federal government for this exercise.  As supposedly independent associations representing consumers and low income persons, respectively, it is absolutely essential that these groups disclose the funding received.  (CHOICE normally charges for its consumer advice – which is fine, of course.)


Here seems to be the answer along with other green largesse.

  • The Australian Conservation Foundation received $398,000 to fund a series of presentations on climate change from people trained by the movement started by former US vice president Al Gore;
  • The Australian Youth Climate Coalition received $271,000 for two forums in Brisbane and Perth on combating climate change ;
  • The Climate Institute received $250,000 to produce an independent assessment of the impacts of the carbon price on the cost of living. It is working with ACOSS and Choice on the study;
  • Climate Works is negotiating with the Climate Change Department for a $460,000 grant aimed at raising community awareness to cut carbon emissions [very expsensive community awareness raising] and;
  • The CSIRO has received $500,000 as part of a program aimed at cutting energy consumption in low-income households.
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45 Responses to – who is paying?

  1. cohenite says:

    The idea that the carbon TAX will have an insignificant cost is so intuitively stupid I’m glad the government and its proxies are now running with this canard.

    Forget the direct and indirect finacial imposts which will be huge, what is not being considered is the GDP shrinkage. As has been noted the ALP well knows this because they funded modelling in 2009 which showed that GDP would shrink by $2 TRILLION by 2050 with the TAX equivalent which we now have:

    That is $50 BILLION per annum which will not be available to the economy.

    The 2nd thing is the inevitable power shortages which have been predicted by AMEO and will cost at least $13 billion through the the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which will coordinate around $3.2 billion in existing grant funding programs supporting research, development and demonstration of new renewable energy technologies.

    That is $13 billion flushed down a toilet for no return and certainly NO energy production.

    With non-workable green energy being promoted and the closure of coal power in Australia on the books [despite the cowardly disclaimers by members of the ALP that coal’s future is bright] energy shortages will happen. I suppose you can quantify these but that will understate the misery generated.

    Coal exports will probably continue since by 2020 China will own most of Australia’s coal mines [thanks Mr Windsor]; the result will not be a 2 speed economy but an export sector and a scrapheap.

    What price do you put on that?

  2. Tim Curtin says:

    Spot on, cohenite and Judith.

    Just to amplify a little, John Quiggin, John Connor and the other cheerleaders for the CO2 tax tend to focus only on its excise tax effect on consumers, and not at all on its effect on firms’ production decisions. In Economics 101, those decisions can be a mixture of passing on the tax and cutting output, the more of the latter, the less of the former is possible. Under the ETS it gets worse, as firms face the tax effect plus the reward from selling permits for reducing emissions simply by reducing output. In the long run the ETS achieves what Quiggin and co desire, declining GDP, deluded as they are in their belief that renewables will ever be competitive with coal/gas fired electricity.

  3. Jim Rose says:

    a carbon tax cannot reduce emissions, favour less energy intensive indsutries, kick-start low-carbon R&D and not harm output and employment among high energy users that much.

  4. daddy dave says:

    what is not being considered is the GDP shrinkage.

    Bingo. They can shuffle money around and compensate all they like but they can’t escape the fact that it will reduce GDP.

  5. George K says:

    Looking at the website is so general it is basically a government sponsored ad.

    Re the report even if the calculations are correct it still has not included other costs that will go up:
    1. Water Rates
    2. Coucil Rates
    3. Education Costs
    4. Insurance Costs
    5. Banking fees (as every business will be hit with higher electricty costs)
    6. Government Services (there costs will increase dramatically as the governments are significant electricity users)

    In addition all business will also be impacted by these indirect costs which will off course be passed on.

    No account for business closing and the associated costs, for re certainty once an ETS comes no business will know what the price will be next year, so how would you do your forward plans and budget(obviously move offshore)

    And comparison to the GST is so misleading especially when this cost increases every year.

    It is so obvious that these are agencies apeasing to the government (or weanting more funding)

    The saddest thing of all is now that Michael Smith from 2UE has lost his job for saying the truth (remember there would have been no Thomson affair with the HSU without him) all media will criticize Mr Abbott but will be too afraid to criticize the ALP. Even stating such things on A Bolts blog no longer make it through the moderator. ALP primary vote will increase slowly because the only negativity reported will be on the Coallition and all ALP stories will be good only. What a sad day for demcracy.

  6. Samuel J says:

    If Treasury or the RBA started putting out estimates of the efficacy of a chemical compound on the eradication of rabbits it would be considered they had stepped well beyond their expertise. Yet we are supposed to take notice of a CSIRO inflation estimate?

  7. ar says:

    what is not being considered is the GDP shrinkage

    But surely if we are a little bit less greedy, then this is a good thing?

    We might even see a fall in our (human) population which would put less stress on the environment so other populations (our fellow species) can thrive.

  8. val majkus says:

    I’ve stopped listening to Gillard or her apologists
    So far as I recall Treasury did not release their modelling on the Carbon Tax
    and her explanation on why it was instituted is in my view a self serving politicians explanation on what she had to do to stay in power (or get into it)
    Gillard’s constant mantra ‘it’s the right thing to do’ in my view always results in the response ‘yep, in your view’

  9. Feral Abacus says:

    And the all-important question remains: What impact will this have on the planet’s climate?

    A silly question according to the carbonistas, and yet they go on about he we need to “act on climate change” and those extreme weather events that will surely arise in the next few decades. So if this is indeed a scientifically sound way to mitigate this, tell us what it will actually do. Go on, I’m waiting. For as long as they spout nonesense about how “the cost of not acting is higher!” I’ll continue to badger them about how radically different the planet’s climate will be with or without this carbon tax.

  10. Steve says:

    Is the CSIRO now in the business of econometric modelling?

  11. ar says:

    ABC News actually informed its viewers funding was provided by the federal government. That’s a turn up for the books…

  12. daddy dave says:

    But surely if we are a little bit less greedy, then this is a good thing?

    Being poorer is good?

    We might even see a fall in our (human) population which would put less stress on the environment so other populations (our fellow species) can thrive.

    Will they care? Will they be grateful? Would they do the same for us?

  13. Vance says:

    Thanks Judith

    I read Catallaxy regularly but have never commented until now. I saw this report on Channel 7 this morning and questions immediately came to mind. This report stinks in my view and as you’ve said, disclosure is very important. Their reliance on Treasury modelling is curious, since (from what I’ve read) the most important components are unavailable for scrutiny and those that are have been disputed by many experts.

    I hope this report gets more exposure as to its merits or otherwise. If refutable, it’s a disgrace on Choice, ACOSS, the Climate Institute and most importantly CSIRO. If this report turns out to be funded by Government and is discovered to be no more than opinion, rather than fact, heads should roll.

  14. Big Al of Melbourne says:

    It is interesting the article does not factor in the capital cost and opportunity cost of use of the money as well as interest costs, because that dramatically changes the economics. That is why solar panels are such a rip off. Even with all the government subsidies it is impossible to recover those costs over the reasonable working life of the equipment.

  15. cohenite says:

    But surely if we are a little bit less greedy, then this is a good thing?

    We might even see a fall in our (human) population which would put less stress on the environment so other populations (our fellow species) can thrive.

    You are taking the piss, aren’t you?

  16. ar says:

    You are taking the piss, aren’t you?


  17. amcoz says:

    ar; stop getting pissed.

  18. kae says:

    I’ve been receiving a gift subscription to Choice for years.
    I’ve asked for my benefactor to cancel the subscription in the past, but it’s still been arriving.

    I’ve just asked again.

    Choice has become a rip-off in as far as it originally had one mag which you subscribed to, now there are several streams of subscriptions you can pay for and they cover different areas.

  19. kae says:

    And Choice doesn’t care what it’s subscribers want. If you complain they ignore you.

    I complained about the Grocery Choice website farce.

    That went well for them, didn’t it!

  20. daddy dave says:


    My apologies for taking you literally then, ar.

  21. John A says:

    …translates into 2 cents extra for bread and a litre of milk, 11 cents for a leg of lamb and 14 cents for a weekly spend on fruit and vegetables…

    Never mind the GDP shrinkage, tell us about the cash register shrinkage. Since we have to worry about rounding to the nearest five cents, have the calculators become too precise to be of value?

  22. Winston Smith says:

    Your ‘gift’ subscription, kae, allows them to count you as an Associate Member. That’s why it’s given.
    But guess what?
    An Associate Member can’t vote in board elections.
    This scam started off in the late 80’s and it’s the way they get their funding, from Industry and Government. CHOICE was white anted then as part of the Long March Through The Institutions.

  23. John A says:

    “I’ve been receiving a gift subscription to Choice for years.”

    Ask Choice to change the address to a non-existent address in a real street nearby.

  24. kae says:

    John A

    I don’t want them to get the money.

  25. Helen Armstrong says:

    The gas to regas your car and house airconditioners will cost around five times as much as now.

  26. duncan says:

    Har har….

    Much of The Climate Institute’s cash ($2M/year according to wiki) comes from the Poola Foundation, which ironically had its origins in Da Evil Murdochracy. The cash is from Murdoch’s sister, Anne.

    More info at crikey (I need to wash).

    There’s way too much incest going on there: 2009/10 Annual report cites Flanners, Clare Martin, Sharan Burrow.. it goes on. Grants from the dept of climate change, etc.

  27. Johno says:

    When did the CSIRO became the Cwth’s key economic advisor. I know Treasury has gone to the dogs, but I didn’t think the government would completely bypass them. They must have got sooooo bad that even Wayne Swan has given up on them! How humiliating for Treasury.

    Looking forward to the CSIRO bringing down next year’s budget. Should be a real hoot.

  28. Lazlo says:

    Because if it’s from CSIRO then it’s ‘scientific’ and ‘research’. Weren’t you paying attention while ABC News this evening ran the free ad?

  29. Lazlo says:

    Correction: it wasn’t a free ad. We (who pay taxes) paid for it.

  30. Blogstrop says:

    Continuing to use our plentiful coal and gas is the only sensible course.
    Nuclear could become useful, but first there has to be honest discussion of the over-exaggerated waste storage issue, as well as appropriate, properly engineered siting. Solar is actually nuclear!
    Just as David Bernstein reveals the external influences on Israeli NGOs, we should have been keeping an eye on climate change lobbies and questioning their loyalty to Australia and its ongoing prosperity, since it is difficult to discern a rational basis for what we have just been saddled with.
    One suspects that the Greens are working towards a post-human environment.

  31. Judith Sloan says:

    Of course, I knew the money came from us – the taxpayer.

    But I am a bit surprised that CHOICE and ACOSS would not see this as a profound CONFLICT OF INTEREST accepting money from the government to peddle the government line. But then again CHOICE had accepted money to develop the failed and completely flawed GROCERY WATCH.

    It does change the meaning of INDEPENDENT, though.

  32. Pickles says:

    Claire Martin was a B grade ABC hack in the NT (use that as a yardstick) who became Chief Minister and presided over Aboriginal Affairs in the NT with such aplomb and competence that the Feds intervened.

    She then fled to the bosom of ACOSS. A fitting sinecure.

    Having said that, at least she didn’t appoint herself Queen’s Counsel like that other poisoned dwarf Shane Stone.

    Vale Bernie Kilgariff.

  33. Alan Grey says:

    How does ‘Choice’ dare put it’s name to something for which we had no choice?

  34. Isaac says:

    The funding for this work is acknowledged in the CSIRO-AECOM report and The Climate Institute’s “Spotlight Report”: “This report forms part of a project commissioned by The Climate Institute using a research grant from the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency”

  35. Intellectual dishonesty abounds. Judith Sloan wrote:

    “Don’t worry, the carbon tax won’t cost you much is the message.”

    The carbon tax BY ITSELF will cost you. The package of which it is part need not.

    “Then, how is going to lower the growth of carbon dioxide emissions…?”

    By making it more expensive to emit. But the package also makes it less expensive to do other things — like working for a living? How much do Catallaxians expect GDP to “shrink” in consequence of the tax cuts for low income earners?

    “And clearly no one has heard of the Jevons Paradox that predicts that greater energy efficiency will actually lead to higher carbon dioxide emissions.”

    Sloan pretends not to have heard that the Jevons paradox concerns what happens if you FIRST increase efficiency and then see what happens to the price — as in “direct action”! The solution is to increase the price FIRST — as with a carbon tax!

  36. jupes says:

    with figures and information independently and rigorously researched by the CSIRO and AECOM

    We really are living in an Orwellian world.

  37. kae says:


  38. hzhousewife says:

    Solar is actually nuclear!

    OOOh this is why I like reading the cat – another inspired little quote to drop innocently into
    conversation from time to time ! thanks !

  39. Pingback: Australia: Historic New Carbon Price Law Divides Nation · Global Voices

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  41. alan moran says:

    The incestuous links between government and the advocacy agencies it fuels is illustrated by Climateworks.

    It receves a very substantial government grant to parlay the line and has a board which includes the failed former Victorian Environment Minister John Thwaites as its chair and, very handily, Anna Burke MP, the chair of the joint house Committee looking into climate change policy. Howard Bamsey, a former deputy secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change and remains on the government payroll as some sort of adviser is also a board member.

    It has been well resourced and its Executive Director, Anna Skarbek was a former sem=nior staffer in teh Victorian Labor Gvoernmentand “is currently a member of the Australian Government’s NGO Roundtable on Climate Change and a director of the Carbon Market Institute, Sustainable Melbourne Fund, Thermometer Foundation for Social Research on Climate Change and Linking Melbourne Authority”.

  42. Rafe says:

    Interesting report.

    Truly hilarious:)

    In supporting the legislation, Mark Banhisch used a non-emotive style to explore the political aspects at Larvatus Prodeo:

    Finally, on the politics: much ink has been spilled, and will no doubt continue to be, over the implications for partisan politics. We need to think less about this, and more about what the ‘debate’ says about the power of unreason in public life, and sheer self-interest on the part of powerful actors. But I derive considerable hope from the fact that it’s been shown that amidst an unprecedented volume of noise, big things can still be done, and from the fact that it’s more than possible that reality may now prevail over irrationalism.

  43. Jc says:

    Thanks for sharing Alan. The group you mentioned simply could not be incestuous. Any closer and they would all be sharing the same body multiple cojoined twins.

    It’s interesting to see these close links at work. Similar conflicts in the commercial world would have ASIC on the doorstep along with the crimes commission.

  44. . says:

    Gavin – inflation will eat away those reforms and then after the price is capped, the same people who initially benefit will be hit very hard. Don’t you believe in Ricardian equivalence? What do you think will happen to their consumption pattern? In aggregate they are not wealthy enough to increase the savings rate significantly enough but their local economies will suffer from reduced consumption expenditure.

  45. Mundi says:

    Heads should roll over this, the compensation does not even account for inflation. In real terms every one is worse off under the new tax brackets because of bracket creep. The compensation does not even cover inflation let alone the carbon tax. As if grocery watch didn’t raise the flag enough choice are now out of the closet as full blown lobbyists.

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