Time to vote! Which Game of Thrones character best represents carbon pricing in Australia?
There are few subjects that have been as politically divisive in recent Australian history as climate policy, and especially the concept of putting a price on carbon.
The theory is bland enough: start charging for something previously free and people will use less of it. Yet on this one issue governments have risen and fallen; alliances have been forged and shattered; Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders have been successively knifed, reanimated and defenestrated. The whole saga resembles nothing so much as the famously bloody television show Game of Thrones (arguably also about climate change).
That comparison might inspire overseas observers to wonder how Australians became so divided over so boringly technocratic an issue. By contrast, the comparison should inspire Australians to divide ourselves over a new question:
Which Game of Thrones character best represents carbon pricing in Australia?
Your options are below. Each encapsulates a different policy paradigm or view of political history – and what will happen next. Scroll down beneath the candidates to lodge your vote now in our entirely unscientific poll!
Spoiler warning! Shock-ruining major spoilers follow for seasons 1 through 5 of GoT (and books 1 through 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire). For non-fans – the point should come across anyway.
Continued below the poll
This character represents carbon pricing in Australia because they are…
This poll has closed.
Think we’ve seen the last of carbon pricing, for good or ill? Then nominate one of the dead. Think it might not quite be over, for good or ill? Then pick the living one, the undead one, or the surely-only-mostly-dead-how-could-they-possibly-kill-him-off one.
There are arguments for each of these views. For instance, the Jon Snow Theory received a boost recently with the Grattan Institute’s evocatively titled “Climate Phoenix” paper outlining how the Coalition’s Direct Action policy could evolve into a new kind of carbon price. Meanwhile, the evidence for the Danaerys Targaryen Theory is explored in this other post on Ai Group’s Blog.
There is another respect in which the carbon price debate and Game of Thrones resemble each other, of course: the longer the fight goes on, the less good it seems to do anybody. Years of conflict, upheaval and startling reversals have left many scarred warriors, burned resources and frozen opportunities while time runs out. And Westeros isn’t looking so good, either.
Beyond the coming Federal election, the major parties are going to have to come together to support workable, durable policies that can deliver our challenging long-term targets while preserving industry’s competitiveness.
It will probably make for very boring television. But that’s why we have Game of Thrones.
Watch out for our poll results in next week’s Industry newsletter!