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Friday
Jun172011

Carbon Pricing: It Works, Bitches

A continual question I hear about the carbon pricing scheme is, “What’s the point of taxing us if you’re just going to give the money back as compensation?”  And this is after several years of public debate on carbon pricing *sigh* (The answer, by the way, is that changing relative prices will shift consumption so long as any compensation is not delivered at the point of purchase. In simpler terms: as long as the “taking money” and “giving money” are separate, we will try and avoid the tax – which is the point.)

Anyhow, a variant of this question on Q&A inspired me to create a placard for the recent “Say Yes” rallies. Here’s the design:

For those new to the internet, the title is a play on an XKCD comic. On the back of the placard I’d written

PRO CARBON PRICING

Changing relative prices will
shift consumption so long as
any compensation is not delivered
at the point of purchase.

Pollution is a cost: price it in!

Around 40 people took photos of me and the sign, one woman did a video interview for her blog (the name of which I’ve forgotten), Club Troppo posted about it, and Twitter was, like, “Whooo!“  Which was nice.

So, too, did Andrew Bolt – Bolt, if you’re unfamiliar with him, is one of Australia’s most well-known conservative journalists and climate sceptics. His blog post, A sign of faith in Julia’s tax, featured the following image of me – without identification – and the sign:

Bolt himself was merely snide, but his readers went to town:

  • Combet’s love child [Greg Combet, Federal Minister for Climate Change]
  • Smug superiority evident on the guy’s face
  • My 10 year old daughter has more testosterone than that pathetic dweeb.
  • I wonder if ‘mummy’ also put out his clothes so he can dress himself.  
  • Someone just finished second year economics. No wonder these children are so sure of themselves, they just read a text book. Wait until you have finished third year - you’ll find out more then.  
  • Typical smug know-it-all uni student activist with NO life experience with a theoretical graph to supposedly prove his point  
  • WOW have a look at the smug look on this guy’s face…That’s it the science is settled!! I’M IN!!! And his clothes are more up to date than mine.  
  • Its the way he tilts his head that did it for me. And the grip on that broom handle……he’s done this often……a real pro.  
  • I used to say to my son “Oh to be 19 and know everything” ! 
  • Just another socialist charlatan - this time a microeconomics lackey who thinks plotting imaginary diagrams from his textbook equates to knowing more about the real world than real working Australians do. These tools should all be shipped to Venezuela.  
  • Is that Sheldon? No, he’s super-smart.  
  • Looks to me the homosexual party has hijacked the green party  
  • This reminds me… disturbingly I mite add…of similarities with the hitler youth movement !  Doing as the National Socialists did by brainwashing impressionable fools from a very early age .(climate science taught in schools ) Good to see science graduates could get time off from Mc Donalds to attend.  
  • I bet he’s a lot of fun at dinner parties! 
  • So that’s what stupid looks like 
  • I do like the look of the lad - gormless prat personified. [This is my absolute favourite!]
  • ….it looks like a twit…waddles like a twit….is a twit…ho hum…… 
  • You can tell by his age: all theory, no practice.  
  • Bitches? Who does he think he is? The love child of carbon copy Combet. Or a product of a carbon copy spurn donator..  
  • Ah, yes! The soft smile! The slightly tilted head! The earnest look! The nerdish intensity! The (ho ho ho) graph to ‘prove’ the point! 
  • Must be a Greenie! Or, at least, an undercover member of the GreenHeimeStaatsPolizei!
  • I wounder who’s bitch he is ?  
  • I wonder if this bitch will give the thousands of people out of work a job? I wonder how ‘smart’ he’d look explaining to the families who now have no work, that they are bitches? 
  • He’ll flash his funny sign, jump back into his pollution spluttering Kombi, jump out have a coffee with ‘peers’ who think just like him and tweet his higher state of being using the wireless internet mummy bought him. Then he’ll pay the barista making sure he gets the correct change. After all, when you’re on the dole, you’ve gotta account for every cent.  
  • It’s not even original - http://xkcd.com/54/
  • Hey beta male - got some bad news for you. A sign like that will NOT end your period of abstinence from rumpy pumpy…

At first I was shocked at the vitriol, but after a while it began to get pretty funny. Hence my reply:

Dear Bolters,

As the smug, gormless, homosexual (yet unfashionably dressed), know-it-all, nazi, dole-bludging, sexually-frustrated beta-male prat pictured, let me respond:

First of all, thank you all for underestimating my age and experience by up to a decade; it’s very flattering to know my thrice-daily moisturising regime (organic products, made from happy plants) has shown such effect, even in the harsh sunlight causing me to squint as I faced one of the multitude of cameras immortalising my courageous attempt to educate the unwashed masses (this was a climate rally, after all).

Secondly, to the (very) few who’ve picked the economics of the graph with any degree of rigour: by and large, your criticisms are correct. It would be absurd to try and fit a fully-fledged and nuanced economic justification of a multi-instrument response to anthropogenic climate change on a placard, so I didn’t even try. Instead, I used a simplistic graph (drawn from memory, rather than a textbook, my pseudo-intellectual superiority complex compels me to note) that would be recognisable to those who understand economics and whose principles could be easily explained to those who hadn’t.

Combined with a slogan that slyly references XKCD for all the nerds out there (hold those TI-86s up high!), the phone numbers of impressionable young arts student activists scrawled on the back of my poster in crayon are a testament to my success.

Finally, you’re not my target audience, so basically you can all sod off while I cycle (no Kombi; it got trashed at a bush-doof) to my local café and drink chai (much more ethical than coffee) with my socialist, testosterone-free brethren.

But thanks again for saying I look so young!

 /MJ

To his credit, Bolt lifted the comment and put it ‘above the fold’, identifying me in the process. Comments stopped being moderated soon after, but a few more choice observations came my way:

  • Behold the geek bearing the Tablet of Warmy Wisdom for the multitudes. Bow down and worship Gaia, you unworthy peasants.
  • I think the late Mr Squiggle could have done a more convincing job than this clown. 
  • Martin Jones seems like a good feller even if he is the epitome of your classical greenie nonce with regard to actually having knowledge of anything to do with climate change.
  • He epitomises the sneering, inner city, self-styled progressives who have hijacked the once great Labor Party. [I thought I was a Greenie? But I’m also a fag only there to pick up chicks, so whatever.]
  • Could do with a good steak and an hour in the sun. [Tell me about it.]
  • Being a sceptic, I ponder, could this be the real Martin (looking ten years younger and all), or a non-English speaking backpacker or a wandering art student pulled in as a subterfuge. [All of the above?]
  • Theo (short for Thesaurus as his mate call him) Jones knows that the very best place to pick up chicks is in these gooey “Save the Planet” thingos.

Classy lot, those Bolters. Catallaxy Files were a bit better in their discussion, but I also found a knobhead who wrote 3,400 words in a (highly demeaning) attack based on strawman arguments. The lengths some people will go to make reality fit their preconceptions…

There was a guy at the rally wearing this shirt, btw. I believe he got off scott-free.

« Carbon Pricing: The Big Picture | Main | Simple Visual Guide to Internalising Greenhouse Gas Pollution »

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