Punch survey: 15% of us know what the ETS is
Don’t worry if you don’t understand what the ETS is supposed to do or what the letters even stand for. You’re not alone.
Peter had no idea what the letters E, T and S stood for when we asked him, but did manage his own summary of the policy: ‘It’s gonna cost extra. You don’t get anything for free. Soon they will be taxing the air that we breathe.” Well they kinda are actually Pete, at least what we put into it.
With all the debate about Climate Change and the focus very much on the ETS, here at The Punch we decided it would be a good idea to go out and see what people actually knew about it.
Over two beautiful Sydney days, we asked one hundred people for answers to the following in a bid to gauge understanding of the Emmissions Trading Scheme:
1 The Federal Government plans to introduce something called the ETS. Do you know what this stands for? (Correct Answer was: Emissions Trading Scheme)
2. When is it expected to start? (Correct Answer was: 2011)
3. How much is it expected to add to household bills for
a. Gas (Correct Answer was: $2 a week)
b. Electricity (Correct Answer was: $4 a week)
A total of 15 out of 100 people surveyed by the Punch got question one right, with lots coming close and figuring that it had to be an environmental/economic trading/technical strategy/system.
There was, nonetheless, a wide variety of answers including this one from Liam of Mooney who thought it would serve as a useful part of the engine: “Is it the electronic transmission system?”
Four people managed to answer question two correctly, with everyone else guessing somewhere between tomorrow and 2015. (For the record lots of people mentioned the Copenhagen talks and Labor’s eagerness to have something lined up before December but management at The Punch decided we couldn’t give out partial credit…)
Question three, and undoubtedly the hardest, had lots of people guessing anywhere between 0.4% to 40%, $2 a week to $300 a month.
They more commonly knew that the ETS would impact on food prices, increasing them by 1% to 6%.
One out of a hundred got part of question three right: the amazing Ashwin from Quakers Hill … but he just guessed right.
So what do we learn from all this?
Well, at least from our sample, we can say that most people are completely unaware of the impact one of the most important political debates in years will have on both their wallets and their lives.
It also illustrates one of the flaws in the current polling and political debate generally, which tends to ask people whether or not they support an ETS under the assumption that they actually know what an ETS is and what it will do.
Ignorance of the ETS is not an argument against its introduction but it does beg the question as to how Australians can have an informed debate on the issue the Prime Minister calls “the great challenge of our time”.
Below are the highlights:
1. The Federal Government plans to introduce something called the ETS. Do you know what this stands for?
Ian and Julie, Maitland: “To do with Climate Change it’s the Economic, Economic… something…”
Adam, Sutherland: “Early Tax System”
Liam, Mooney: “Is it the Electronic Transmission System?”
Louise, Redfern: “It’s the Environmental Trading Scheme isn’t it?”
Peter, Wentworthville: “No, I don’t know anything.”
Heath, Dubbo: “It’s something to do with the environment, but no idea what it stands for.”
Duncan, Leichhardt: “No I don’t – if I were to guess Electronic Transfer Scheme…”
Clare, Summer Hill: “No… hang on is this the Global Emissions Trading Scheme?”
Helen, Annandale: “Electronic something something. It’s Kevin Rudd’s new baby.”
Kehani, Surry Hills: “I forget, I know something about it. It’s a scheme. Electrical Tax Scheme?”
Chris, Cremorne: “Never heard of it. Is it that carbon thing?”
Huntley, Double Bay: “Emissions trading system”.
2. When is it expected to start?
Brian, Perth: “When all three major parties agree to terms it will be introduced next year with targets for 2020.”
Sandeep, Homebush: “Don’t know.”
John, Erskineville: “Well I don’t know what the bill is, so how could I know when it starts?”
Helen, Annandale: “Because of lack of money it’s been delayed. It will probably be ready next year just in time for the next election.”
Tom, Glebe: “I don’t know when it’s expected to start so no. Are they advertising it at all?”
Peter, Croydon: “Guess I’d say after the legislation is passed so… 1st January 2010”
Ross, Cheltenham: “Government is trying to get it up before Copenhagen.”
Huntley, Double Bay: “Kevin 07 wants it as soon as possible doesn’t he? So that he can continue his campaign for UN Secretary General”
Joyce, Campsie: “That’s up to the foreign minister isn’t it?”
Judy, Sydney: “When it goes through Parliament”
Susan, Edgecliff: “2007”
3. How much is it expected to add to household bills for a. gas and b. electricity?
Meghan, “Camden: 5%?”
Brian, Perth: “25% annually”
Andrew, Caringbah: “I’d say it would be substantial, because the costs of power generation will go up.”
Shirley, Manly: “I’m very up on things but I don’t know… Put it on the news, then we’ll all know!”
Carmen, Peakhurst: “I’d presume it’s going to cost a lot, everything always does.”
Jedendra, Blacktown: “Quite substantial. I read it in the Telegraph but I forgot.”
Bou, Bankstown: $56
Ben, Miranda: “I know that food prices will rise 1%, or according to the opposition, 6%.”
Macarthur, Ashfield: “$25 a week is it? They’re talking in the range of 40% aren’t they?”
Duncan, Leichardt: “Well it depends on who you listen to. Some say 0.4%, others are saying 4-5%.”
Louise, Redfern: “Don’t know but I heard that food is going up by 6 percent.”
Judy, Sydney: “I don’t know but I’ve heard it’s going to be pretty horrific.”
Ashwin, Quakers Hill: “At a guess I’d say $2 a week”
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