I notice that Julia's Cash for Clunkers program requires people to buy a new car with the money she is offering people to scrap their old one. Reports say this will cost some $400 per tonne of CO2, more than 20 times the price she has already rejected as too high.

Wouldn't it be much fairer, and far more effective if people could spend their $2,000 on a new bike, or some walking shoes/boots and a pile of bus tickets.

This program is nothing to do with Climate Change. Its all about propping up the unsustainable car industry.

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It would be worth going out now and buying a heap of crap car just so that after the election you could trade it in for a new bike! Imagine how many shiny new cycles would be around if one was able to take the money and buy, say, a Gazelle! We should talk to her about that.
Hi Bill, welcome and thanks for posting a great topic. I agree it is about propping up the car industry. I would prefer to see the scheme introduced in the UK where tax credits were given on new bikes - or more similarly what we call salary sacrifice.
Totally agree, Angus. Bikes and safety gear too - lights, helmets, reflective gear. And lets get rid of the stupid tax concessions that encourage businesses to drive their vehicles more rather than less.

Lets face it though. There aren't going to be too many people using this scheme because you have to fork out quite a bit for a new car to get the cash. Bikes for Bombs would be a far better policy, and will go a fair way towards reducing the lifestyle disease burden on the health system too.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of crappy cars that simply should not be on the road - from a pollution perspective and from a safety perspective. When will SA leap frog the other states and introduce mandatory emissions testing along with safety checks for vehicles?
In some respects if you can get old inefficient cars off the road, especially old diesels, and replace them with modern fuel efficient low emission cars, even new diesel cars, then the environment will be better off. Not as well off as if they bought a bike, but better of than if they kept the old car on the road.

Can you give me a link to the report please, I'd be interested in reading it.
My wife and I both heard this independently on the ABC radio news. I haven't verified the $400/tonne figure myself, but I expect its close enough to the mark. This type of calculation shows the real cost of so-called direct action on climate change.
I think that the worse thing about this scheme is that it is using money that will be 're-directed' from existing renewable technology programs that are seeking to build zero emission platforms, particularly solar. Rather than aiming for behavioral change, and seeking to reduce demand on fossil fuels, and overall auto consumption, the scheme will transfer money from clean tech to dirty tech. Further more, if we really want to unpack this issue we need to consider the embodied energy that is in new vehicles, and how many barrels of oil, how many litres of water, and how much waste is created when a new car is built. And what happens to all the old cars that are scrapped? More waste... Crazy politics, in a boring election that is so focus group driven. Where is the leadership?
I agree with Jeremy.
If money is to be spent on 'green' transport, it should be to encourage people to use public transport, walk or cycle. Not on ICE vehicles (Internal Combustion Engine), or even electric vehicles. The latter has much embedded energy, battery disposal pollution, and the pollution of building bitumen roads which could carry at least six times the number of bicycles.
Well said Bill - could not agree more
Mike
This is something that Shecycles and I have discussed... and I have written to the Labor Party with the suggestion to allow bikes to be included in the scheme. There are a whole lot more issues in this in terms of justice... Who are the people who own the greatest number of old, run down cars? The poor. Are these people going to be able to afford the increased debt level incurred by entering into the scheme? No.

Another advantage of allowing bikes into the scheme would be the health benefits that the Governments all over Australia are SAYING they want to see. This is a positive way to give a huge health benefit with a small outlay.

Finally, a family of four could quite easily fit themselves out with bikes to last them the next 5-10 years for $2000. My single speed bike only cost $500 and there are a lot of bikes around for less than that... especially for kids.

I would encourage you all to write to your local member about this issue, or at least to the Labor Candidate in your electorate... Maybe there are some Greens Candidates who would be interested in taking this policy up within that Party too... anybody?

If the Greens are going to have the Balance of Power in the Senate, this is possibly one of the changes they could bargain for in that process. There is some really good rationale for it going ahead in some shape or form.

I also agree with Jeremy: it should not come from money that SHOULD be devoted to renewable energy action. Possibly THAT is something the Greens could take to the Senate too... maybe take it from money accrued from a new mining tax?
I doubt that Miss Gillard rides, I'm sure we would have heard but is there really a type that rides.
For mine, this IS a real political issue. How can we allow this sort of crap policy to be all that is said on the environment?
Can I get $2000 for upgrading to a more efficient bike............?

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