This appeared in The Canberra Times letters on 7 September 2013:

Jenny Goldie, president of Climate Action Monaro, has a crack at Tony Abbott over his climate policies (Letters, September 4). To support her claims she states Monday had a high of 25 degrees – 10 degrees above the average Canberra maximum for September.

Well, I can use statistics, too. It appears Ms Goldie has used stats from only the past few years for Canberra. Looking at the Bureau of Meteorology’s historical data for Queanbeyan, between 1909 and 1956 the mean average for September was 17.4 degrees. This is 1.2 degrees below our mean average for the past few years.

Having lived in Canberra for the past 24 years, I can reassure the Ms Goldie that Canberra enjoys a burst of mid-degree temperatures every September. I suggest she looks at a longer and broader collection of data as opposed to narrowly focusing on the past seven years. In September 1980, we hit 28 degrees. Fortunately, the sky is still above us.

Anyone who thinks the carbon tax is a great idea should research European carbon tax fraud. Billions of dollars are being ripped out of European communities for no tangible benefit.

I am not a sceptic and believe we, as humans, do have an impact on our environment. I simply think taxing people, particularly here in Canberra’s cold climate, for keeping warm is not smart thinking. I look forward to Sunday when, hopefully, commonsense will prevail once again.

C. Crimmins, Turner

I responded with this, which appeared in the 10 September print edition:

C. Crimmins (Letters, September 7) argues against a carbon price because “taxing people for keeping warm is not smart thinking”. I’m afraid I have to take issue with this. The whole point of a carbon price is not to stop people keeping warm, but to shift energy use towards better efficiency and lower-carbon types of energy production.

The speed of the changes we’re seeing now – in terms of CO2 increase, ocean acidification, and global temperature rise – is unprecedented in the entire history of the human race. Clearly many species and whole ecosystems will struggle to cope as these shifts really take hold in the coming decades, undermining human economies, increasing the intensity and frequency of fires and floods, and likely leading to much more conflict and social breakdown than we have now.

The World Health Organisation estimates we already have 150,000 deaths a year due to climate impacts, and a recent report by the Climate Vulnerable forum, commissioned by 20 governments, puts the figure at 400,000.

Economically, the point of a carbon price is to shift the economy forward to a lower carbon basis in an efficient way. As opposed to “Direct Action”, which attempts to reduce emissions at a cost of hundreds of dollars per tonne. Smart thinking.