A collection of quotes from Tony Abbott about climate change and carbon pricing.

There are respectable arguments for an ETS but the one Labor has in mind could easily be expensive and futile. I am wary of a system which creates new vested interests - which an ETS will do. I suspect that a straight carbon tax or charge could be more transparent and easier to change if conditions change or our understanding of the science changes.

Source: Tony Abbott's response to a question in The Daily Telegraph - July 10, 2009

Then there’s the question of the best mechanism for reducing emissions on which an international agreement might be reached. There is much to be said for an emissions trading scheme. It was, after all, the mechanism for emission reduction ultimately chosen by the Howard government. It enables an increasing market price to be set for carbon through capping volumes of emissions. The allocation of permits should mean that more carbon-efficient businesses have a surplus that can be sold to more carbon-intensive ones. At an international level, an emissions trading scheme could mean that rich, energy intensive countries have to buy permits from poor ones. This could be its great appeal for countries like China and India.


If Australia is greatly to reduce its carbon emissions, the price of carbon intensive products should rise. The Coalition has always been instinctively cautious about new or increased taxes. That’s one of the reasons why the former government opted for an emissions trading scheme over a straight-forward carbon tax. Still, a new tax would be the intelligent skeptic’s way to deal with minimising emissions because it would be much easier than a property right to reduce or to abolish should the justification for it change.


The fact that people don’t really understand what an emissions trading scheme entails is actually its key political benefit. Unlike a tax, which people would instinctively question, it’s easy to accept a trading scheme supported by businesses that see it as a money-making opportunity and environmentalists who assure people that it will help to save the planet. Forget the contested science and the dubious economics, an emissions trading scheme is brilliant, if hardly-honest politics because people have come to think that it’s a cost-less way to avoid climate catastrophe.


I mean in the end this whole thing is a question of fact, not faith, or it should be a question of fact not faith and we can discover whether the planet is warming or not by measurement. And it seems that notwithstanding the dramatic increases in man made CO2 emissions over the last decade, the world’s warming has stopped. Now admittedly we are still pretty warm by recent historical standards but there doesn’t appear to have been any appreciable warming since the late 1990s.


I am confident, based on the science we have, that mankind does make a difference to climate, almost certainly the impact of humans on the planet extends to climate.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald - May 27, 2010

...we do not believe in artificially imposing a carbon price on consumers. There will be no carbon price on consumers under a Coalition government.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald - July 19, 2010

Now, we do have policy out there. We've had it out there since February. It basically goes - it involves going to the market and buying abatements through soil carbon, through tree planting, through businesses that are prepared to change their processes to less emitting ones. It will reduce our emissions by five per cent by 2020, so we will achieve our targets. Now, that's our commitment. It's doable. It's deliverable.

Source: Tony Abbott Q&A Appearance - 16 August, 2010

Well, I’ve always thought that climate change was real because I’ve always known about the ice age and other things which indicate that over time climate does change and I’ve long thought that, all things being equal, adding to carbon dioxide concentrations is going to change the climate but that’s why we’ve got a strong policy to deal with climate change, a much better policy than the Government’s new tax.

Source: Interview with Steve Vizard, Radio MTR, Melbourne - March 8, 2011

Yeah look I never said it was a myth. I once used some colourful language describing the so-called settled science of climate change but look, climate change is real, humanity does make a contribution to it and we’ve got to take effective action against it. I mean, that’s my position and that’s always been my position but I’ve never been in favour of a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme...

Source: Interview with Jake and Stampsy, Star FM Gippsland and Latrobe Valley - July, 2011