Language around climate debate and social networking

Hi all,

I’m going to start to by relating some of the conversations being had around the climate change issue in particular about carbon price in Australia. I’m sure there are similar discussions being had in all of your countries at the same time. It would be interesting to hear if the debate is the same, or even if there is a debate?

 Currently there are climate skeptics still getting a large percentage of the media share on the issue, however the debate seems to have shifted away to the whole issue of pricing or ‘taxing’ carbon.

Personally I feel it’s unfortunate that the issue comes down to who can put the best spin on the situation first. By this I mean the way that the word ‘tax’ conjures up negative thoughts as it has been used this way relentlessly in the media by those opposing putting a price on carbon. I believe tax is a good and essential thing, but what I’ve seen is that once a word is viewed in such a way, it is difficult to reverse. In respect to the current government trying to pass a carbon price and convince the Australian public that this tax or price is a good thing has been a lot more difficult than expected.

 There are a number of other groups such as the union movement, environmental groups and social justice groups that are working hard to spread the word, educate and try to activate the public and communities to act aroundAustralia, largely through social networking. One in particular ‘Say Yes to a Price on Pollution’ has been successful with social networking and television advertising (somewhat controversial to some as the civil society group consisting of and funded by unions, environmental groups and other social justice groups used celebrities in their campaign).


Here is the ad (you might recognise at least one person!)

I’ll put in a few of the links, however I’m sure you have similar groups also.

Maybe one of the other Australians might want to comment on groups such as Getup and the use of social networking?

Tagged with:
Posted in climate change, climate sceptics, community, ecological tax reform, government policy
2 comments on “Language around climate debate and social networking
  1. tyep says:

    There has been talk in the US about a carbon tax for awhile but nothing has come of it. Cap and trade systems have also been proposed but again, not a lot has happened – at least on a federal level. The federal government is a long ways away from implementing any policies that would apply nationally. However, in 2006, Boulder, Colorado passed a carbon tax for their city on electricity and residents pay a tax per kilowatt hours used. California was supposed to institute a state-wide cap and trade system in 2012, but it was recently pushed back to 2013.

    I also want to emphasize that there is a difference between a carbon tax and cap and trade. Here’s a website that I found that explains the essentials of a carbon tax and what the differences are from cap and trade.

    Personally, I believe that the United States is a long way off from instituting a carbon tax or a cap and trade system at a federal level. There are a lot of questions that surround each of them.

    For a carbon tax – do you impose a corporate carbon tax only or something that will also affect individuals? How do you ensure that businesses will not move operations to countries with no carbon tax? How do you tax businesses that have operations outside of the US – do those emissions “count”? How far upstream or downstream will the tax be implemented? If individuals will be taxed, how do you ensure that lower-income households are not adversely affected? What will be done with the revenue?

    For cap and trade there are questions regarding the existence of “carbon trading markets” and what the price of carbon should be. The one thing that is problematic on the surface is that cap and trade doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a decrease in emissions since companies that are high emitters of carbon could (essentially) purchase carbon credits from another company that doesn’t need all theirs. There also becomes an issue of currency if carbon trading markets are made international.

    One blog that I read at Grist proposed that a carbon tax could be the answer to the United States’ huge budget deficit issues.

    I think that this is an interesting take on the issue, but not necessarily realistic. As with most things, I highly doubt that the United States will implement a carbon tax or cap and trade system nationally unless it is forced to. There is still too much money on the line for businesses that would be the most affected and most individuals don’t see the value in having to pay more for products or services – especially if it’s just businesses passing the added cost of a carbon tax onto consumers.

    I hope the US can come through and prove me wrong. But I’m not holding my breath. After all, the United States never ratified the original Kyoto Protocol and confirmed that it will not take part in it after it expires next year and new targets are set.

  2. Caroline says:

    I’ve found Get Up to be a really interesting phenomenon – and a fantastic antidote to the elements in Australian society that I consider to be anti-progressive, socially backward and essentially luddite.

    An anti-carbon tax campaign led by conservative voices in the media had not been answered by equivalent voices from the pro environment side. It seems the media in Australia is divided into two spheres, the reactionary, rabble rousing right, and the others, who are desperately trying to remain “balanced”, which seems to mean placing verified and verifiable science up against climate deniers and scaremongers.

    In the midst of this, Get Up has been able to garner the support of people not represented in this media dichotomy, introducing a third voice to the conversation.

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