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Policy: Environment & Energy

If emissions regulations hurt Australia, why do Democrats want them for America?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Energy and Environment,Australia,Air Pollution,Spencer Brown

Australia and the United States: Two different countries, two different governing political ideologies, and two differing strategies when it comes to energy and the environment.

As President Obama was using colorful graphics to drum up support for his new carbon emission capping agenda, Conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was acting on his promise to repeal his nation's carbon tax.

Australia's tax on emissions was intended to create a disincentive to emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide, but Abbott asserted that the carbon tax was hurting the Australian economy. After successfully getting the regulations repealed, the carbon tax officially ended July 17, retroactive to July 1.

Australia's Department of the Environment reports that compliance with the carbon tax cost businesses around $85 million per year. The legislation for the carbon tax filled more than 1,000 pages with policies and regulations. Abbott's government says ending the tax will "lower costs for Australian businesses and ease cost of living pressures for households."

The repeal will lower the average annual cost of living by about $550 Australian (equal to $381.66 US), lower retail electricity costs by 9 percent and retail gas prices by 7 percent, and reduce liable entities' compliance costs by nearly $90 million annually ($62.45 million US), per the Department of the Environment. These and other benefits were notably absent when the carbon tax was in place.

Why, then, does the Obama administration want to enact regulations to stem carbon emissions and in doing so stifle the American economy? Australia has already gone down the road of carbon restrictions and tax penalties, and has seen that it doesn't work. The connection between strict regulations and higher costs are clearly seen in Australia's experiment in carbon dioxide taxation, as well as the benefits to businesses and families as the rules are rolled back.

This highlights a prime opportunity for Obama to help the businesses and families he incessantly cites as suffering members of our civilization. The real-world example set by Australia shows that lessened environmental and energy regulations promote growth and a lower cost of living. The opposite, the agenda Obama is currently pursuing, will only further injure the American economy.

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Spencer Brown

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner

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