Why the government’s direct action sideshow is a joke

An infographic showing why the government's direct action sideshow is a joke.

“Direct Action” is nothing more than a sideshow. Do you agree?

Earlier this week Fairfax Media asked 35 top economists what they thought of the Government’s Direct Action policy.

Only two believed direct action was the better policy. Thirty – or 86% – favoured the existing carbon price scheme.

Of the two that backed direct action, one admitted that he backed it because it is, in effect, “no action”.

And that is the crux of it. Direct action is the policy of a government that doesn’t really believe that emissions reductions are necessary. It is a political sideshow that says, “look we are doing something!” without actually doing very much at all. Apart from giving billions to polluters to make their dirty processes more efficient (which means more profitable).

So I thought it was time to show the policy for what it is – in glorious technicolor. With the latest research showing that Australia needs to reduce its emissions by 25% to keep to its carbon budget, and direct action unlikely to even make a 5% cut, I think it is a story that needs to be told.

Please share far and wide, and let Australia and the world know that we don’t agree with these clowns who have called climate change “crap” and use Wikipedia for research when they disagree with their department’s own findings.

(If you want a super high res version of this image to print or share, it’s here.)

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and the founder and CEO of SolarQuotes.com.au. I started SolarQuotes in 2009 and the SolarQuotes blog in 2013 with the belief that it’s more important to be truthful and objective than popular. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. Since 2009, I’ve helped over 700,000 Aussies get quotes for solar from installers I trust. Read my full bio.


  1. Australia is responsible for approx 1.3% of global CO2 emissions. China, USA, India, Japan and Europe are responsible for the bulk of emissions. It really would not matter if Australia shut itself down tomorrow, the increase in China’s emissions alone would compensate for that in about six months. The idea that Australia crippling itself with the World’s largest carbon tax is somehow going to cause the rest of the world to follow suit is naive in the extreme. China’s chief negotiator Mr Xie said recently that China doubts the AGW meme – from the Guardian: “China’s most senior negotiator on climate change said today he was keeping an open mind on whether global warming was man-made or the result of natural cycles. Xie Zhenhua said there was no doubt that warming was taking place, but more and better scientific research was needed to establish the causes.”.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Ah yes. The self-centred freeloader argument:

      “we don’t care what the rest of the world is doing and we can free ride because we are small.”

      Tell me, if you found one of your kids spray-painting a building, would you apply the same logic? Would you say:

      “If you stop doing it, the effect on the appearance of the city as a whole will be minimal. Other people are creating way more graffiti than you. So enjoy yourself until everyone else decides to stop”

      I personally believe Australia should lead by example. “Be the change you want to see in the world” and all that. Radical concept for some folks I know.

      • Colin Spencer says

        Australia often does lead by example. Being a very small population, we tend to adopt technology at a faster rate than many bigger countries. In fact, we are well known for that. We have a high level of very innovative people who actually create solutions and it is not unusual for those ideas and developments to be globalised quickly. When it comes to imposing a very clumsy tax which actually does immense harm to those on the bottom three quarters of the economic ladder, in direct cost of energy, for sure, but also in costs passed on by manufacturers, distributors and all other associated organisations that bring us the goods and services we use on a daily basis. The Carbon Tax was a particularly dumb way of reducing emissions in a small but rapidly growing population. It would have been catastrophic in Europe, the USA and most other large population economies. We will end up with an emissions trading scheme, just as soon as a truly viable version of it can be formulated. That way we can commercialise emissions reduction, and that gets right back to people like your, Finn. There has to be a way to reward organisations establishing certifiable emissions reductions, and solar PV is obviously one of the front runners on that issue. It is economically lethal to stick the emissions tax onto energy producers. Costs them nothing. They add it into their prime cost structure, and in turn their distributors take their increased cost, add their normal gross margins and pass it all on to the retailer, who passes it on to the dear old lady round the corner, who then freezes to death in winter because she can’t afford heating. Worse still, producers have to add the extra cost into their production costs, pass it on to their distributors, and so on. The cost of finished goods on the kitchen table must multiply beyond reason. No one in the supply chain can absorb the cost without passing it on. Whereas, with an emissions trading scheme, clean energy producers and facilitators, along with other clever inventors of energy efficient devices and processes can sell carbon credits which can be traded. Better still, eventually, they can be exported, when other countries get into carbon trading.

        • So please provide your source for your quote
          “When it comes to imposing a very clumsy tax which actually does immense harm to those on the bottom three quarters of the economic ladder… “

  2. Considering that the Earth’s temperatures haven’t noticeably increased over the last 15 years, that our dams are full and that the oceans haven’t risen and flooded the low lying suburbs of Australia regardless of the dire warnings based on the “best science” from our late Climate Change Commissioner and that we as a nation don’t really rate on the scale of 1 to 100 of polluters I saw the Carbon Tax as an excuse for a desperate Government trying to cling to power putting this tax on to appease those who would have toppled them and raise badly needed funds to cover the shortfall for their failed and costly policies.
    Once again we have a post by someone who in all likelihood would profit from over the top Government policies regarding Climate Change, conflict of interests, I think so.

    • Finn Peacock says

      No, it hasn’t been cooling since 1998. Even if we ignore long term trends and just look at the record-breakers, that wasn’t the hottest year ever. Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What’s more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010.

      Very short term dips are a basic statistical concept called “regression to mean”. Look it up.

      The following page shows a graph of long term trends, and is from real scientists. Can you see a trend?

      Here’s the truth about global temperatures from the past 15 years:


  3. In your ‘What else is at risk’ table, you’ve omitted Insurance Premiums, Finn. In the last three years, our premiums have doubled and trebled… and excesses have doubled. None of our homes have suffered theft or vandalism… it’s all down to higher risk: flooding, bushfires, and unseasonal storms.

  4. So you are saying that Direct Action Taxpayers pay companies to not pollute, while Carbon Tax polluters pay the Australian Public if they pollute too much? That is the biggest load of trollop I have heard! Companies where not paying the Australian public if they pollute too much, the Australian public was. Or are you inferring that it was a mere coincidence that my electric and gas company increased all of my tariff rates around the same time Carbon Tax was introduced, and then reneged on their new tariffs, the day after the Carbon Tax was revoked? Come on!
    Only 37% of Australians supported repealing the Carbon Tax? That is a big call without any evidence to back it up. Although I am not doubting you would be able to find some obscure biased survey to prove me wrong but Kevin, KimAlice, and myself seem to be against it, while SV and Finn Peacock seem to be for it that is 67% are against it… on a site called solarquotes, so they are probably greenies… think about that.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Dylan,

      Thanks for the comment. The citations/sources are all at the end of the infographic for you to check out.



      • Hey Finn,

        I’m sorry I overlooked the citations at the bottom of the info-graphic. I am just unsure where the ‘source’ retrieved their information, although they have references many at the bottom they do not specifically reference any information. 37% seems like a very specific number though and I just wonder if they where confused, as I found this article by a research company entitled “Only 37% Of Australians Support the Gillard Government’s Carbon Tax While Clear Majority of Australians (58% – Up 5%) Do Not” – http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/finding-4686-201302150110


        • Finn Peacock says
          • Hey Finn,
            Like I said previously, this article lists a bibliography of 18 different sources, and does not specifically say where any of the information is from. It would take a day to read all those sources, and that is if you can even get your hands on them as some such as number 15 are not even on the Internet. While others such as 16, references another article written by them selves, which once again references… but not specifically, any number of sources. This is a form of propaganda called disinformation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinformation it attempts to mix facts with false claims, and make it too hard to tell which is which. The source I gave in my last comment was from a reputable company who deals in getting statistics like this.


    • Colin Spencer says

      No Dylan. You are making the common “dumb assumption” that is common with many of those who have an emotional interest in the problems of people and pollution. Australia is an innovative country and I am suggesting that there are many solutions to the problem and that workable solutions to reduce emissions should be given all the assistance to develop that they need. Even big industrial emitters can innovate. What if big electricity producers engaged people like Finn to design and install massive PV solar systems on the roofs of huge ware houses, schools or similar buildings, funding the installations and owning the power that they generate during the day? What if there were hundreds of thousands of panels on the roof of “Jeff’s Shed” in Melbourne? There would be massive amounts of renewable energy being generated right inside the areas where daylight consumption of electricity is consumed. A number of the generators using brown coal could be turned off during peak load times. Obviously we would be happy for the generator company to accumulate carbon credits from their investment which they could use themselves, or sell to other polluters. And that is only considering their potential investment in solar. What about encouraging them to exploit other opportunities? That is opposite of a punitive carbon tax in outcome. Instead of raising their costs of operation, we can make it possible for them to invest in on-site generation which would also eliminate massive transmission losses over distance. I am sure that the solar engineers like Finn would love to be involved. So, not only the environment benefits, but also the economy. There are endless reasons to get rid of the carbon tax, and to develop a smarter system.

      • Have you ever heard the phrase “Gadrii Nombor Shulen Jongu”? I am not sure why you have said I am wrong and then said “there are endless reasons to get rid of the carbon tax, and to develop a smarter system”. I never said we should get rid of the Carbon Tax and NOT develop a smarter system. On the contrary, I agree, we should be developing smarter systems. I just don’t think it is smart to increase companies cost of business to the point that it cripples them, so they move to a country with less regulations, taking jobs with them. Or for companies that can not move over seas, such as electricity companies, they just pass their increased costs to the consumers, rather then, as you said implementing solutions such as solar.

    • With a Carbon Tax we ALL pay (the companies just pass on whatever increase or penalty they receive from the Govt). And in the end, what’s the point if it does NOTHING to reduce the world carbon footprint. People who think “Australia” should be a world leader in this field are “delusional” (and probably voted for Kevin Rudd last election). In the meantime there are millions of families in Australia that are turning off their heaters and going cold… but still paying the same high prices for electricity. Bloody stupid idea. Common sense has gone out the window. It has become a fad and a political football and nothing else! As for “climate change” itself… this has been going on for thousands of years… and there isn’t one scientist on this planet that fully understands the established “climate change” – let alone “man made climate change”.

  5. “…SV and Finn Peacock seem to be for it that is 67% are against it… on a site called solarquotes, so they are probably greenies… think about that…”

    Clearly, _you_ haven’t thought about it, Dylan. SV? Swinging Voter.

    I voted Green just once, before they initiated No Go Zones for amateur fisherman. My interest in solar electricity has a twenty-year history. Nothing to do with Green politics… but keep _stereotyping._
    You’re an expert. 😀

    • Hmmm you are right, SV of course must stand for Swinging Voter, how could I be so stupid, in fact when I type SV into Google ‘Sustainability Victoria and Stattkus-Verzeichnis’ are the first two results how could I and billions of other people overlook this fact? The same as you seem to have overlooked the ‘probably’ qualifier, I did not say any one was, I was saying that people interested in solar energy would be more biased towards to creating a greener Australia… but keep insulting people over the Internet._ You’re a coward 😀

    • Haha sustainability Victoria! Sounds like a stupid Greenie to me

      • Greenies stupid, Dylan? I think the Greens are genuinely interested in reducing man’s impact on the environment. I don’t think that’s ‘stupid’. I do believe that they’re a little naive politically, in alienating a very large demographic, recreational fishermen. It’s a huge group of Aussies, who communicate effectively on the internet… to the extent that many of us campaign for recreational fishing rights, online. Yes, I know that you’ve little interest in this. You’re a junior Abbott supporter here to taunt Greenies. We’re onto you, son. 😉

        • Colin Spencer says

          Definition of Stupid: Knowing the truth, seeing the truth, but still believing the Greens.

  6. global warming doesn’t exist… period!

    • Oh ok, you think that 98% of accredited climate scientists are wrong and you’re right? It’s funny how your views are consistent with those of the least educated in society. Do you have a degree in climate science? If not, then you have no authority to say that “global warming doesn’t exist”. Maybe you should stay out of things you don’t understand.

      • Colin Spencer says

        I think that quote is supposed to be 97% Eddie. And a number of those in the sample from which the 97% figure was derived have come out in recent times and stated that their paper did not support the

  7. Few educated people deny climate change, myr. It’s the extent to which _human beings_ exacerbate global warning which is controversial. That factor is almost impossible to calculate, but there’s no denying that climate change, evident in the rapidly accelerated melting of glaciers, is happening. If you, like Dylan, perceive this to be merely a political issue, rather than one which will affect and disrupt weather systems, agriculture, shorelines, industries and business, you might as well remain ostrich-like, head-in-the-sand. If nothing else alerts you to increased risk, the exponential growth in insurance premiums and excesses should warn you that _something_ serious is happening in risk management. When insurance on a family home rockets from $1850 a year to over $4000 a year, in the space of twelve months, you can be certain that those with the most interest in assessing heightened risk are preparing for annually-worsening conditions: unseasonal storms, more extensive bushfires, and increased flooding. You may not be informed about changes in insurance renewals, but do you ever read newspapers or online news reporting these events?

    • Oh, and where did I say that Global Warming was a political issue? Or are you now the one stereotyping people against Carbon Tax? I believe in Global Warming and I believe that something must be done about it, I just believe that Carbon Tax was the wrong way to go about it.

      • Your inference, that we’re Greens, is a classic case of political stereotyping. Those who believe differently are ‘bundled’ into categories… .

        And you see correlation where there is none. Mere coincidence is interpreted as confusion by others. Your ‘37% Theory’ is again a classic case of ‘if this – then that’. Simplistic at best… .

        • I’m sorry if my 37% theory was too simplistic for you. Would you have prefered an infographic? Because that is so in depth. As I said before you are the one who stereotyped me by stating that I believe global warming is only a political issue. But I suppose that your far superior intellect has already forgot that you are a mere hypocrite.

          • “But I suppose that your far superior intellect has already forgot that you are a mere hypocrite.” Uhhh, that’s ‘forgotten’, son.

            Your flawed perceptions aren’t limited to colour-blindness, Dylan. (First I was green, then yellow?)

            Take your delightful comments to Finn, above:

            “It would take a day to read all those sources…”

            OMG, can’t see you ever surviving five years of uni, if you even make it to Year Eleven…

            “…and that is if you can even get your hands on them as some such as number 15 are not even on the Internet.”

            Back before the internet, we consulted these things called ‘books’. And yes, horror-of-horrors, some of them took a day or more to read…

            “This is a form of propaganda called disinformation…”

            This kind of nonsense really isn’t worth comment. I note that Finn (more wisely than I) just ignored it. I suspect you trolled here to stir ‘the greenies’, that group you’ve stereotyped to include anyone with suggestions related to reducing man’s impact on climate.

            Your problem isn’t a lack of intellect. You just speak before thinking.
            It’s not a good recipe for learning, Dylan.

        • Firstly I must apologise for my poor English. It is not my first language, I did not immagrate to Australia until I was 10. Believe it or not I actually have a doctorate, not in English, obviously. The only reason I keep responding to your incessant replies is because I have subscribed to this feed. To which I am unsubscribing now, as I grow weary of battling wits with an unarmed person, so feel free to insult me as much as you like, I will no longer respond. Calling me son is quite rich. You started off by insulting me at the first opportunity before I had said anything about you. If this is not childish behaviour, I don’t know what is. in fact had you not said that you where interested in solar for 20 years I would have pegged your age at about 14, now I am making the assumption that you are just a silly old codger set in your ways. I have a lot of respect for people like finn, they bring constructive arguements to the table you on the other hand bring nothing but insults. So be my guest! Tell the world how great you are and how selfish and childish I am, but the fact remains, Tony Abbott was elected leader for good reason, and if only 30 odd percent agreed with his policies please explain how did he win in a land slide?

  8. Jack Hudson says

    Well done Finn- keep up the good work! Glad to see you don’t let the comments from the “selfies” (only think of themselves) get to you. In relation to the little old lady round the corner freezing to death in winter, Im confident if you checked with her, she would be happy to buy some long-johns, rather than destroy the climate for her great great grand children.

  9. Congratulations, ‘Dr’ Dylan. You got one right! I am an old codger… . Insults? Plenty from you, junior. As for Abbott, he succeeded (temporarily) because of the infighting in Labor’s ranks; the Rudd / Gillard / Rudd debacle. The LNP didn’t win the election. Labor lost it. A pity you’re leaving this forum, which will be much poorer without your ‘doctoral’ wisdom. 😉

    • Have you ever been at the shops, where a child is chucking a tantrum, kicking, screaming, jumping up and down? Have you ever then thought to yourself “gee wiz, that kid is winning that argument”? Just because you jumped up and down louder than Dylan does in no way shape or form mean that you won that argument, it merely means that you where too stupid to realise what he was saying. This is an ‘infographic’ people who read these are limited on time and do not have a day to read resources on the topic, it is not about whether or not he had the time to read them, it was about other people.
      I also suspect that Finn did not reply to the comment about Disinformation because actually being an engineer he would have gone to University, and would realise the implications of incorrectly cited work. I instruct at a higher education institute in Australia so let me tell you again what is wrong with the document Finn cited. Firstly it is what is known as a secondary source, meaning that the writer did not obtain this data him/herself, they merely compiled it from other peoples work. They did put references down, however they cited their own work, this defeats the propose of citing in the first place, and would be an instant fail in my class. Secondly they have a massive bibliography but can not direct you to where any one fact comes from, as an instructor, I do not have time to read through 20 odd documents for 50 odd students. So, if I find a first hand source of information such as Dylan did http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/finding-4686-201302150110 that directly contradicts the information in the students report and the student can not direct me to the first hand source of their information, guess what? Instant fail. The point is, that the accuracy of the rest of this source is thrown into question from this ‘fact’ alone.
      I know you where being sarcastic, but yes it is a shame that you did not seem interested in learning from the doctor. I just hope that any young impressionable minds reading this realises it for what it is, propaganda.

  10. KJ: “… it merely means that you where too stupid…”

    No, Dylan, it means that your ‘were/where’ confusion, evident in many of your posts, means you’ve morphed into a new identity. Your ‘signature’ is your truly laughable illiteracy.

    You probably need to remember that on the internet, doctorates are like ar*eholes… every body has one… .

    But you _have_ learned. You used to post as ‘dylan’. We’ve taught you to capitalise your name, Dylan… a feat most six-year-olds master in their first year at school.* Go back… look at this indication that you too can _learn_. The next step is an awareness that you need to _think_ before posting.

    You may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but you’ve shown you _can_ master simple punctuation.
    Next you need to think before speaking. I accept that’s a quantum leap for a PhD who is discovering resources called ‘books’.

    * Yes, I accept your explanation that English is not your first language. I also accept the possibility that your country of origin does not capitalise first names. Which country IS that, BTW? 😉

  11. The Australian CO2 emission reduction target will almost certainly be met by Australia because of the downturn in the economy which results in a reduction in carbon emission. The Federal Government knows this as well as the fact that their Direct Action plan is flawed but don’t care because they will be able to crow about “they” achieved the target and give credit to themselves and Direct Action. It’s a farce, all smoke and mirrors.

    The Climate Council has publically demonstrated this but gets no publicity of course because the media is in bed with the Federal Government.

    • Colin Spencer says

      That last sentence about the federal government being in bed with the media destroyed your point, Echidna. You should read more and watch a bit more news on telly. The fact that over a million premises have been generating electricity over the past few years, and the number is growing – so fast that the government has been alerted by very worried electricity generators and distributors to the real possibility of an economic disaster if the trend continues. Sure the economy is slow, but not slow enough to achieve a reduction in emissions. It is the people, our population, that is making a difference. All the government can do is reduce subsidies for solar to placate the power people. But, the solar industry now has the upper hand – their product costs them heaps less than it did a few years ago – now they do not rely on subsidies. People want their product. And so they should.

  12. Richard Cole says

    We’ll I was paying $425 for 40watt panels in 1986, now I’m paying $205- for 200watt panels in 2014, I guess something has changed, I know, we discovered China. Can someone tell me if it’s true that the “stanwell” power station in Qld has stopped altogether as opposed to being on standby. The reason for this was reported to be rooftop solar, Just wondering…………..

    • Colin Spencer says

      I heard about that too. My brother is up there and he started out getting about 60cents per kw/hr feedback.. Then the new power station had to go off line, and the word was that peak load was being taken up by daylight generation from the huge take-up of subsidised domestic solar systems. Now, I hear that the current 8 cents feedback is being legislated for elimination at present. Solar must be hurting the big distributors a lot. It seems that in privatised wholesale and network high tension distribution cost of delivery is a big part of their selling price to energy retailers, and when demand drops of by $X,0000000 because of solar generation and feedback, they go into shock because they can see the trend to a point where their gross profit can’t cover overheads and cost of finance. Solar is bad for the big guys. What we have to do, is upgrade to solar and storage, with no feedback to the grid. Battery technology is getting cheaper, faster, and soon we can all disconnect from the big octopus.

    • Finn Peacock says

Speak Your Mind

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