The Carbon Tax Debate: Good policy, bad policy or poor change management?
I’m trying to get my head around the Carbon Tax. Who could argue that we should pollute our world less? Who wants to breathe worse air, and damage the planet? Not many I suspect.
Could it be that most people would be in favour of this? I think so. A massive change? Yes, absolutely.
So, why are we having such an emotively charged political debate? In my opinion, it all comes back to the key principles of change management, which are:
- Create a burning platform
- Create credibility
- Create a guiding coalition
Now let’s take a look at these key principles in the context of the carbon tax debate:
- There is evidence for and against the impact of human activity on global warming, although there would now seem to be overwhelming scientific support in favour of the theory. If the theory holds true then there is a clear burning platform that must and has to be clearly communicated. The overwhelmingly negative perception among the general population of how a carbon tax would affect them, despite an abundance of literature to the contrary indicates this has not been achieved.
- It is a sad indictment of Australian politics that few politicians are truly trusted by the electorate. Our PM’s promise from before the election has been broken, but likewise the Opposition Leader’s pro-carbon tax position from that time has also been reversed. Trust is critical in creating change and it would be safe to suggest that neither of our leaders are wholly trusted by the electorate on the issue. Both have broken the cardinal rule of trust that will undermine change efforts.
- Right now we just have warring factions. Who is really driving this? Is the purpose clear and believable? Right now, what would seem fundamental to our existence on this planet has become a political point scoring exercise. Hardly a platform from which true leadership will be delivered.
This is an issue that requires a sensible long term plan on a global level. Many feel that taxing Australia’s carbon emissions will not make any real direct difference to global warming. However, true leadership is about doing the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing. How can we expect larger global polluters to change if we won’t?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this hot topic. Do you think this is good policy that’s been poorly communicated and managed? Or, bad policy that no amount of communication or change management could have saved?