Originally published in The Australian Financial Review on November 4, 2014

The climate debate reveals how confused the philosophical underpinnings of political parties have become, writes Richard Denniss for The Australian Financial Review.

Public debate about the details of climate policy can be like seven-year-olds arguing over who would win a battle between Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk.

The debate is messy because of the combination of old economic concepts, new political slogans, and a complicated Senate. The outcome is a partisan sparring match so confused and conflicted that, dare I say it, Twitter and news headlines simply can’t capture the complexity of what is going on!

There are many ways to change consumer and industry behaviour, including taxes, subsidies, prohibition, campaigns and regulation. All political parties support these tools but disagree on which tool should be used for which problem. The question usually revolves around politics rather than philosophy.

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