CEDA lunch on emissions trading
Yesterday, I spoke at a CEDA (Committee for the Economic Development of Australia) lunch on the topic “What would life be like with an emissions trading system for Australia”. Shorter Quiggin: Much as it is now. Slightly longer version: For the average household, it will be a bit like the GST, with some initial disruption and relative price changes, becoming effectively invisible as carbon costs are factored into prices throughout the economy. Other speakers were Paul Simshauser from Babcock and Brown (owners of electricity generators and other infrastructure) and Stuart Dix from e3 International, a firm with a lot of experience in emissions trading markets.
The audience was similarly made up of likely buyers of emissions credits (Stanwell and other electricity generators), sellers (geothermal and other carbon-free sources) and intermediaries (accounting companies, consulting engineers and so on). They are looking at decisions on the billion-dollar scale over the next few years
A couple of points of interest:
* In addition to the usual free lunch and bottle of wine, speakers were rewarded with 17 trees worth of carbon credits, roughly a year’s worth of CO2 from driving for the average motorist.
* The delusionist idea that the whole thing is a hoax dreamed up by scientists looking for research grants/the UN seeking world domination/the Illuminati didn’t get a mention, even in refutation. Unlike the rightwing commentariat and some senior political figures, serious businesses have concluded that the main game now is how emissions trading should work, not whether we should have it.