In celebration of World Environment Day, the Queensland Division of the Property Council of Australia convened a breakfast meeting last Friday morning (June 3rd) to debate the topic “Australia needs a carbon tax”.
Leading speaker for the motion was Mr. Matthew Bell (Climate Change & Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young), supported by Ms. Kellie Caught (Acting Head of Climate Change, WWF Australia) and Mr. Kirby Anderson (Policy Leader, Energy Infrastructure, General Electric).
Speaking against the motion were Mr. Michael Matusik (Director, Matusik Property Insights), supported by Mr. John Humphreys (Director, Human Capital Project, University of Queensland) and Professor Bob Carter (James Cook University and Institute of Public Affairs).
The audience of about 150 persons were treated to some pointed exchanges, with the team speaking for the motion concentrating rather more on the science, and their opponents almost exclusively on the economics and cost:benefit analysis of the introduction of a carbon tax.
One compelling argument was the observation that to introduce a carbon tax of $25/tonne of carbon dioxide would cost around $100 billion by 2020, for a notional benefit of 0.0002O C (two ten thousandths of a degree) of warming averted.
The opponents of the tax were awarded a clear win, on rendered applause, by debate Chairman Mr Mark Ludlow (Australian Financial Review).