Today, Australia starts the heavy lifting on climate change
WHAT do you do when the world has a problem that can be solved only by global action - but we have no global government to solve it?
...should we try to shield ourselves from the pain until every other nation we want to compare ourselves with has already started the heavy lifting?
...Start charging people for their carbon emissions, and you instantly get them thinking about how to reduce them. Put an economy-wide price on carbon and everyone has an incentive to find ways to avoid emitting carbon.
For households, Treasury forecasts, there will be very little impact on the prices of most things we buy.
The biggest whack will be on power bills. Treasury says the tax will lift them 10 per cent. That will hurt - just as the 70 per cent rise in Melbourne power bills over the past four years has hurt. If that hasn't changed your use of electricity, the carbon tax probably won't either.
But that's the aim of this tax: not so much to raise revenue, as to drive changes in the way we live. Its goal is for us to find ways of living with less. If Treasury is right, most households will actually be made better off, receiving more compensation than they pay in higher prices.