OPINION

Climate tax can change habits of a lifetime

Climate tax can change habits of a lifetime

Do you smoke? Did you smoke? How many people do you know that used to smoke? Why did they give up?

Was it the cost, or a raft of other factors? Perhaps their health or peer pressure caused them to give it away. Do they/you feel better?

My bet is that the cost became prohibitive, and yes, they/you feel a whole heap better.

The house doesn't stink. The car doesn't stink. They/You don't stink. Everybody feels better.

OK, now let's put that in a much broader scale. Can you imagine what happens if the planet gives up smoking? If you think exhaust fumes won't kill you, or just a few fags won't hurt - are you really serious? Honestly, it is a habit, and we can find a whole heap of excuses not to give up.

Go to the once-smoky bars, nightclubs, or any other such venues. You will find that they are not smoky anymore.

Now, what caused that? Everyone went on a health kick?

More likely it just got too pricey to light up. Tobacco tax = a healthier lifestyle (and a less costly health system).

Taxes can do more than just raise revenue for governments - they can change habits of a lifetime. Sure, there are those that just can't kick the habit, and we have to understand that. However, even they will feel better once temptation wanders away.

Maybe when those around them have long since given it away, then they too, might find it easier to kick the habit (and save burning money).

If the benefits of giving away tobacco have reached far and wide into the community, can you imagine the impact when we give away burning coal/petrol/diesel?

As a tax researcher, a solar farmer of about 17 years and the owner of an electric car, I assure you moving money out of the pockets of fossil-fuel based energy industries - by taxing them - and using that money to build renewable energy based generation and cars - by subsidising them - will cut down toxic gases from coal, petrol and diesel engines.

The final energy product is the same, but with fresh air instead of poisonous fumes.

It doesn't matter if you just have the "odd one, so how will that change the planet?"

It is not your "odd one" that matters - it is the example you set. If you stop the odd one, then your mate might find it easier to give up her 40-a-day habit.

The taxation/subsidisation system makes fresh air cheaper and exhaust fumes dearer. Your call - our planet.

Dr Lex Fullarton is a solar farmer in Western Australia and an adjunct professor at the Curtin Law School