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Tax Avoidance

solar 98 percent

98% this morning.  That’s the charge on our batteries.  After all day yesterday running a computer, a slow cooker, a washing machine, and the charger for the plug in kit on our Prius, on top of the usual fridge, composting loo fan, and lights and TV for a couple of hours at night.

I can’t be bribed to betray the rest of the world, and my children’s world, by voting to let people dispose of their CO² trash by just chucking it out into the atmosphere.  Not because I’m saintly, but because I pay so little carbon tax that removing a carbon price will give me nothing, except dirty air.

The idea of pricing carbon is that people will put all their buying power into choosing goods and services and methods of production that make the least carbon pollution.  That’s free enterprise folks.  No rules telling you what to buy or how to make it, just a real price that reflects the real cost, the cost that otherwise everybody else has to pay.

I cannot believe that the liberal party is so un-liberal, or that it is getting traction by threatening not just to let people pollute for free, but paying them to do it less!  That’s like removing fines for drink driving, and then paying people who drink drive to only do it on alternate days! Paying them with my taxes! Pricing carbon is a way of harnessing human inventiveness and ingenuity and investment and effort into avoiding paying the price.

Late last year we bought a 4.5 kva solar system.  With the way solar panels have come down in price it was really affordable, and would have been even more so if we had power connected and could go back to grid.  But we have stand-alone power so we had to install batteries as well.

Within a week, we realised that even turning everything we own on at once, we couldn’t make a dint in the power on a sunny day.  “Everything we own at once” is not that huge a power drain.  After 30 years of living with solar power, we’ve just got hygienic about it.  We turn lights off when leaving a room without thinking about it, we have solar hot water with a wetback slow combustion stove to boost it in winter wet weather, a tiny fridge, LED lights, small LED TV.

So “everything we own” got increased. The big major change due to the new power system is that we bought a second hand Prius, again very affordable, and a 4kva plug in kit to allow us to use the excess power on sunny days to charge it.  We thought about a pure electric vehicle, but there just aren’t enough public charging points yet. But it means we are spending so little on petrol it will pay for itself in a few years.  For the first time I can use a slow cooker, again as a soak for shunt power, so I have a cooker of chick peas on at the moment.

And still, yesterday, with everything on at once, we only got the batteries down to 83% at the lowest point.

I picked up a second hand bread machine thinking I may be able to use it to bake my sourdough, and we’re thinking about a new high tank to use excess power to pump water up to a height to get lots of pressure for firefighting.  Human inventiveness and ingenuity and investment, all going towards paying no carbon tax.

Sydney Morning Herald had an article yesterday about how wind farms supplied more power to the  National Electricity Market in the week before than the total from Victoria’s brown-coal fired Hazelwood power plant, and just 10 per cent short of NSW’s giant black-coal Bayswater Power Station.  Serious quantities of clean wind power, and how AGL has stopped  plans for the 300-megawatt first stage of a $550 million wind farm development planned for Silverton, near Broken Hill, because of fears the Coalition will get in.

I really have sincere hope for the future.  I believe humans have an amazing capacity for adaptation.  It is the characteristic that has got us evolved to this point.  But I despair of policy that is so plain dumb the way it discards ingenuity, inventiveness, and investment and rewards craven greed and helplessness.  Not even a genuine reward, just a pea shuffle .

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Jude wright August 28, 2013, 3:23 pm

    I know what you mean; people seem to have no concept of the greater good. My partner works in the solar energy industry, we live on stand alone solar (decadently I might add) and we are a one car family. It is the one car that we need help with…..Kev’ (partner) needs a 4WD large enough to cart his tools around, but the Nissan Pathfinder we have guzzles fuel like a thirsty horse. I sometimes wonder if the carbon he is saving by installing and fixing people’s systems is equal to the amount he releases getting to the jobs. I would love to get him an electric work vehicle, but we have the same problem with range and charging (especially in the bush). When such a vehicle becomes available, we will be first in line I think.

  • Jane Robinson August 30, 2013, 7:22 am

    I agree with you 100%. It is just plain stupid policy to remove the carbon tax. How else can you describe it? What absolutely baffles me is how not looking after the environment can possibly be good for business in the short and the long term. Surely a stable physical environment would provide certainty and lower costs for any business, large or small. No one seems too concerned about the disruption to the economy bushfires, floods, droughts and extreme heat conditions are now causing on an annual basis. How can any business operate successfully in such extreme weather events that are happening so frequently? And what about the costs? Higher insurance, disruptions to production and, not to forget the ‘debt truck’, the cost to government in flood relief, bushfire relief etc. At what point does this political nonsense stop? When will the scales tip and what will it take to tip them?

  • Pavel - Desired World October 13, 2013, 11:12 am

    @ Jude Wright – You said “I sometimes wonder if the carbon he is saving by installing and fixing people’s systems is equal to the amount he releases getting to the jobs.” I think this is a really important question to ask. But you’re right that due to the special nature of your husband’s work, it isn’t just a matter of him going out and buying some electric vehicle.

    I run a green cleaning business with a small fleet of bicycles. When I started the business I had a cargo bike (look up ‘Christiania Bikes’) which allowed me to carry a large amount of equipment around the place – emission-free. Eventually, I realised I could get by with a lighter load – I would use clients’ mops and vacuums – and downsized to your usual two-wheeled bicycle. Due to the nature of my business, this kind of transport was sufficient. Every day my employees and I cycle passed other cleaning business vehicle, some of which make ‘green’ claims, which are vans and wagons and big V6 sedans. Maybe some of them do need to tote around large amounts of equipment, but I know the industry well enough to know that that isn’t always the case for every business, and it is up to the business as to whether this is necessary.

    I am often asked “What happens if you get a job 20km away?” Well, I don’t take it. Instead, I operate in and around my community. Most of my jobs fall within the same municipality. Or the next one over at the very most. By concentrating to a smaller ‘zone’ I concentrate on seeking out the right customers, by which beneficial relationships are more likely.

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