[LINK] change in the rhetoric: carbon dioxide tax [was: Re: Nuclear power stations.

Greg Taylor gtefa at internode.on.net
Mon Mar 21 02:15:05 AEDT 2011

On 2011/03/20 5:48 PM, Jan Whitaker wrote:
> This morning on Insiders, Piers Ackerman consistently referred to the
> government program as a 'carbon dioxide tax' instead of a carbon tax.
> What is going on with that? He may be accurate, but he's also a
> climate-change sceptic. What is this code change about?

Alan Jones, Bob Carter, Andrew Bolt, Tony Abbott, Greg Hunt and other 
contrarians have been banging on about this distinction for a few weeks 
now, because they can confuse the public by claiming the government must 
be scientifically ignorant. But the term "carbon price" is the 
internationally used shorthand term for "carbon dioxide equivalent 
price" which is too much of a mouthful for most journalists, shock jocks 
and politicians (except for Kevin Rudd who would probably invent his own 
term with several more adjectives inserted between "equivalent" and 

But the contrarians are even more ignorant when they call it a "carbon 
dioxide tax". The carbon price is typically expressed as "x$ per tonne 
carbon dioxide equivalent", because it is not just a tax on carbon 
dioxide emissions, but on all greenhouse gases, including methane, 
perfluorocarbons and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide equivalent is a 
convenient unit that represents, for any particular quantity of 
greenhouse gas, the amount of carbon dioxide that would have the same 
global warming potential (or radiative forcing).

Easiest to just call it a carbon tax/price. Most sensible folk 
understand what it means.


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