You are here

Carbon tax, households and jobs

If the reason for a carbon tax is primarily to change behaviour, what is the behaviour that households can change to reduce their carbon tax payments?

Curiously, the same behaviour will reduce waste of resources as well as cut emissions. We will have a User’s economy, not a Consumers’ economy.

But everyone’s job cannot be kept. Many are wasteful. New jobs are waiting in plenty, if only they are funded. And we certainly do not need more population to do the wasteful jobs. More population means the need for more resources to keep them alive. It means that farmland will be sacrificed for towns.

An individual’s behaviour seems puny. All one person can do is save money by not spending on wasting resources and costing unnecessary carbon emissions. And setting an example that more individuals can follow. And can at last reach the Movers and Shakers who make the great difference. Jobs will be lost; jobs will be made.

How can you cut your budget by half or even a quarter?

Cut use of petrol. Replace using the big family car for all one-person journeys with a minicar or public transport for commuting, walking, and cycling. (Minicars? Australian-made?) Only use a power-mower for vast expanses and civic ‘English’ lawns. Households save petrol, fertiliser, and water by mowing ‘Australian’ lawns with a good hand-mower, not a power mower. (Resurrect the good Australian hand-mower – present ones on sale are hopeless.) Australian lawns that die down in summer and don’t worry about flatweeds, Nature strips are ‘no-mow’ tough plants, rather than lawns.

Cut use of power. Reduce use of air-conditioning and central heating by sensible building practices, curtains, blinds and passages, and by heating or cooling only the rooms you are in, and dressing for the weather.

Use electric household appliances only when necessary. Half the time the big appliances are not necessary; exercise with manual appliances is just as good.

Throw less out into landfill or energy-intensive recycling. You save money when you buy for quality that lasts and refuse to buy goods that quickly obsolesce or fall to bits. All those ads that cry ‘Cheap!’ are misleading.

Cut your bills by knowing what is in your frig, and have recipes to use food that is not used.

Only buy furniture that can be repaired. Rubber latex mattresses are recommended rather than inner-springs, except for the obese who would wear them out; twenty year’s use, and then the rubber can be re-used.

Cut the loss of resources and carbon emissions in buying clothes you will not love, or cannot stand washing. Love your clothes and renovate them with accessories rather than throwing them out. Children can learn to love and be proud of the clothes they get handed down in the family as well as their new gear. Sewing and mending while listening to the radio or conversation are arts worth learning.

Hot water bills can be cut. Shampoo your hair weekly rather than daily; it will enjoy that, it is better for it, and it cuts your electricity and water bills. It’s amazing how much is saved if a kettle is filled only one cup more than you need. Go further , and get solar panels.

Gardens can stop using fertilisers and water unnecessarily; tanks, compost and worm farms are cost savers.

Many of these practices mean less carbon tax for the economy, not just yourselves.

If you think this is being told what to do - you can easily work out how to save carbon emissions and wasting resources yourselves. All those stand-by lights - -

It may seem a drop in the scheme of things, when the MacMansion building opposite you is contributing to the GDP by pulling down a beautiful single story home and employing about a dozen men for a year building the 90-square monster over almost an entire block.

But what good does this really do to the country, in the long run? You and your other neighbours can cut the value of such Conspicuous Consumption when you turn the goal of householders to Conspicuous Saving.

And what of the jobs that will go if you do not spend as much on waste? Think of all the jobs that are needed when the cry is ‘We need more population to do all the jobs’! If all the jobs that need to be done were being done, there would be no unemployment, and much less waste.

Image icon house-smoking-chimney.jpg4.26 KB


Households are a soft target to pay the price of carbon emissions. The 500 "big polluters" too is a start, but it ignores so many ways of sequestering and storing carbon. Using the free market to punish the "polluters" means that ways of protecting and storing carbon are overlooked. There is no talk yet of stopping logging of native forests, land clearing, revegetation programs, or of more public transport. Our diets are a main source of emissions, yet swapping to a veg*n diet would go a long way to cutting personal and net emissions. By being the largest exporter of coal, we are sending the "carbon pollution" overseas, where consumers are likely to find it cheaper than we in Australia do.

Population growth again is the "elephant in the room". Populations grow and prospered due to cheap power and engineering/medical advances, and winding back the clock won't come without pain. However, it is ignored in the equation and the efforts to cut emissions. Householders and families are the easy targets, and will be punished for their use of energy, while those pushing for perpetual growth and consumption will be able to afford to pay.