Tom Switzer attacks “command-and-control” mechanisms as a way of reducing carbon emissions (The Age: 29 Dec 2105). Citing the carbon tax as an example, Switzer claims these mechanisms lack broad public support and impose higher prices. In fact, command-and-control mechanisms, better known as regulations, can reduce emissions while saving people money. And unless they are politicised, as the carbon tax was, the public – and the planet – would quietly reap the benefits.
Consider one regulation: minimum energy performance standards on appliances. The last fridge I bought – “a cheap model” – uses less than half the electricity of my previous fridge, saving me more than $100 per year. According to a 2014 review, minimum energy performance standards reduce Australia’s emissions by about 4 per cent, while saving us $4.60 for every $1 spent.
Making our buildings, equipment and vehicles more energy efficient is probably the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions. But we can only capture these savings by requiring manufacturers and builders to comply with performance standards.
Andrea Bunting, Brunswick
Letter to The Age: 5 Jan 2016
Key Words: Climate Change, transformation
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