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ETS legislation

March 11th, 2009

The government’s ETS legislation came out yesterday, and I prepared a short response for the Australian Science Media Centre Here is is.

The draft legislation sticks fairly closely to the White Paper, which has proved to be a compromise that satisfies no one. The government proposed a watered-down scheme in the hope of attracting public support from industry, and the Parliamentary votes of the Coalition. This approach appears to have failed, leaving the options of allowing the bill to fail, or seeking the support of Greens and Independents.

By far the worst feature of the proposed ETS is the 15 per cent reductions target presented as the maximum we will offer, even if other countries agree to an effective global program to reduce emissions. If this target were raised to 25 per cent, the government could probably secure the necessary support to pass the Bill. Those who have argued that no such global agreement will emerge have no good reason to oppose such a change.

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  1. Hermit
    March 11th, 2009 at 07:14 | #1

    I’ll try to wade through key sections of the draft. It seems to me there are different perspectives to be looked at. Firstly is the overall adequacy of the target which we know is wanting. Second is the perverse effects of the copout clauses; for example LNG getting a trade exposed advantage when it already has a lower carbon advantage. Third is the administrative machinery with respect to payment, permit transfers, monitoring and use of offsets.

    Still it should be no worse than GST on cakes. As with GST the simpler the better but special interest groups have the blinkers on.

  2. MarkHC
    March 11th, 2009 at 07:26 | #2

    What is the status of property rights and compensation? Several comments have been made that suggest the current legislation will enshrine property rights to the “big polluters” (who are compensated with free permits).

    It has been stated that this will require further compensation be paid to these polluters if the system is later changed (to fit with a global trading scheme).

  3. MarkHC
    March 11th, 2009 at 08:51 | #3

    Considering the effect of the “Great Recession” on CO2 emissions, we might expect CO2 reductions comparable to that of the former USSR following its dislocation (20-30%).

    What effect will this have on the value of the free permits given to the big polluters? Will these permits provide a buffer (or windfall) which sustains these dirty industries (to the suppression of cleaner alternatives), or will these permits have no value at all?

  4. March 11th, 2009 at 09:52 | #4

    The Government’s White Paper showed the global emissions target by President Obama before his election was a return to 1990 levels for the US by 2020. The Australian target of a 5-15 per cent cut on 2000 levels corresponds to a reduction of 4-14 per cent on 1990 levels.
    Obama’s proposal was made before the worst effects of the global financial crisis were known.
    With the International Monetary Fund warning of the possibility of the global economy shrinking for the first time since World War 11, the chance of the US agreeing to a 25 per cent reduction in 2000 emissions by 2020 seems remote.
    In fact, a global agreement for a 15 per cent cut on 2000 emissions totals by 2020 may be overly optimistic given the world financial situation.
    Thus, I am one who would argue that the chances of a global agreement for a 25 per cent cut in 2000 emissions by 2020 is a forlorn hope.
    However, I take issue with your statement that I would have no good reason to oppose a change in Australia’s upper target of 15 per cent to 25 per cent because this would enable the legislation to pass (presumably because the Greens would then support it).
    What you are saying is that we should accept a 25 per cent target because we do not believe it would be accepted. But then, why not make it 50 per cent, 75 per cent or even 100 per cent? Each of these figures would make the extremists progressively happier.
    The Howard years may have blunted the notion of political morality, but , thankfully, did not completely eliminate it.

  5. jquiggin
    March 11th, 2009 at 10:20 | #5

    JohnL, since you don’t believe any agreement will be reached (and, reading between the lines, hope that there won’t be one), I suggest you leave determining the target to those who think we have a chance of an agreement.

  6. Tristan Cooke
    March 11th, 2009 at 10:24 | #6

    This is the best blog post I have seen on the ‘why’ in the selection of the target:

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2008/12/15/ets-why-5-in-two-charts/

    This is the greens press release about the target:

    On Monday, Dec 15, the Government announced their 5% emission target, which is a global embarrassment and a recipe for global catastrophe. Kevin Rudd has put the coal industry ahead of Australia’s children and grandchildren. It will be much more expensive to rectify this historic mistake in the decades ahead.

    In short, I’ve been a greens voter and was considering joining the party – but their view of hanging out on the environmental left and slinging mud rather than recognising the political situation and where they can make practical in-roads is KILLING me. Forget about the short term target this election cycle:

    I actually re-wrote this pre-release for them:

    (All my words)

    On Monday, Dec 15, the Government announced their 5% emission target. Whilst the Greens believe that this target is much too low we believe that climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution. Therefore, we believe that the more important target is the conditional global target range of 10%-15%. We will engage with the government to set a target conditional on global agreement of reducing emissions by approximately 25% by 2020 as a reasonable way to both fairly protect Australian industry but also promote substantial global action.

    We applaud the proposed implementation of an Emissions Trading Scheme as the first step to allowing Australia to manage it’s emissions. However, we believe that the scheme has some flaws that will greatly compromise its effectiveness. This includes giving 25% of the permits to large industrial polluters and proposing an extra 10% to Agriculture. Additionally capping the maximum price of carbon credits will not allow the scheme to effectively find the market price for carbon and promote innovation. Furthermore, the scheme does not include provisions that allow business gain from investment in activities outside of their business as usual operations that would reduce net carbon in the atmosphere without reducing their emissions. This would include, for example, giving (benefit) to employers who (example 1) or (example 2)*

    Therefore we will be hoping to engage the government to come to a compromise that will allow us to support passage of the scheme through the senate. This will include:
    •Keeping the non-conditional target of 5% but reducing target range, conditional on global agreement to 20-29%
    •a phase-out of the free permits for industry by 2012 allowing a gradual growth of jobs in greener industries and a natural transition for employees without job losses;
    •allowing the market to set the price for carbon permits rather than setting a price ceiling;
    •allowing industry to gain credit for investing in activities that reduce carbon emissions outside their business interests and operations.

    We believe that an effective Emissions Trading Scheme with realistic targets attached with global action is what the Australian Public voted for at the last election. Therefore, we intend to both work with the Rudd government whilst holding them accountable to will of the Australian people.

    (END OF MY RE-WRITTEN PRESS RELEASE).

    If the greens could frame the argument away from unconditinal target and more to a fair system and conditional target they could come up smelling roses. Environmental pragmatists. Deal makers. Moreover, they might even be able to pulling the X man and Fielding along for the ride.

    Then by the time the next election rolls around they might just shift enough votes in their favour to win the balance of power in the senate and half way to their goal. No way their current path is leading them to this at the moment.

  7. El Mono
    March 11th, 2009 at 10:45 | #7

    at #3
    If cerain big polluters have the free permits, they still have the incentive to reduce their carbon emissions so as to make money by selling the permits that they receive. So assuming that transacting on carbon market is costless. The ultimate position of who is emitting what amount of carbon should be the same no matter who gets the initial allocation of permits. How polluting any particular industry or the nation as a whole is comes down to the amount of permits being issued.

    Saying this i do not agree with free permits, this is a bribe to get these companies on boad, but the money could have been used to help lower income houses adapt or put into reseach into renewable technology. How “fair” the ETS is and how effective it are different issues however.

  8. MarkHC
    March 11th, 2009 at 10:59 | #8

    JohnL has a curious sense “political morality”, which seemingly discounts the impact of climate change, which will impact greatest on vulnerable population that are least responsible for causing it.

    By “extremists” I assume John L is referring to those informed by the evidence, and promoting policy consistent with the demands of the (endlessly reviewed) science?

    Unfortunately, with each subsequent scientific review the cuts required get higher and higher. Consequently, what is the point in imposing an upper limit to the reductions we are willing to make as part of a global push? Surely this upper limit is better decided in cooperation with other nations rather than unilaterality (without considering what others are willing to do).

    That said I do see value in Australia signalling to the rest of the world that we would agree to cuts in the range of 40% or higher if a fair global reduction agreement is established.
    Those with highly concentrated (undemocratic) power, who fund the self described “Greenhouse Mafia” have been moved to restrict their self interested argument to the problem of “carbon leakage”. This problem is removed in the event of a just global emission reduction agreement (as John Q infers).

    However, the unreserved limit is also important in terms of taking responsibility for our actions (as the highest per capita emitters- [or is the value of personal responsibility just rhetoric to blame the poor for allowing the rich to corrupt the political process?]) and avoiding “throwing out the anchor” on the efforts of EU, USA and others who are committing to unreserved cuts of a higher level. Our low ball target provides ammunition for those with highly concentrated (undemocratic) power to lobby the USA and Europe to go no further than Australian (classic downward auction).

    Ultimately we need to take action of such a degree to create the diplomatic environment such that China and India are forced to look at themselves rather than sit back and watch the blame shifting recalcitrants in the “Developed nations”.

  9. MarkHC
    March 11th, 2009 at 11:03 | #9

    JohnQ,

    I’d be interested in your assessment of the scale of the emission reductions that will result from “the Great Recession”. (Independent of pricing carbon).

  10. Hermit
    March 11th, 2009 at 12:45 | #10

    MarkHC
    anecdotal evidence a month ago was that coking coal shipments ex Newcastle were down 20% over the previous year. If the same reduction applies to domestic emissions that is way bigger than the annual cuts needed years 2010 to 2020 to get 5% below 2000. If the cap is not exceeded in each of these years due to prolonged recession the ETS CO2 spot price will be low. Derived demand even in a sluggish economy will ensure the CO2 price is above zero.

    A dark horse is global oil depletion. I’ve seen a figure of 50 million barrels a day by 2020 as opposed to 85 (all liquids) currently. We may not be able to use so much coal by then or have the diesel to dig it up. It’s all very murky but the alternatives to the ETS appear to have even bigger flaws.

  11. March 11th, 2009 at 12:50 | #11

    Everything does seem to hang on what will happen in Copenhagen.

  12. March 11th, 2009 at 12:56 | #12

    4. JohnL Says: March 11th, 2009 at 9:52 am

    The Government’s White Paper showed the global emissions target by President Obama before his election was a return to 1990 levels for the US by 2020.

    That is, Obama who has paraded himself as a Green candidate, is offering a zero percent reduction on carbon emissions from the 1990 base year. This is not exactly a the big change we can believe in. But I guess its better than the low bar that Bush placed.

    JohnL says:

    In fact, a global agreement for a 15 per cent cut on 2000 emissions totals by 2020 may be overly optimistic given the world financial situation.

    This is actually getting the logic of economic-ecologic causality back to front. The Great Recession is a good opportunity to shut down ailing or marginal industrial operations for good. Or at least position them to be re-tooled with green low carbon energy sources if they have longer term prospects.

    You can see how this worked to the USE’s advantage through the choice of 1990 as a base year for measuring carbon output levels. It makes the USE 25 look good because the concurrent de-commissioning of inefficient unionist and communist-era coal industries allowed the USE to get credit for large, relatively less painful carbon cuts. As Obama’s chief of staff observed:

    “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

    Mrs Thatcher also deserves a place in the pantheon of Green politicians. Its worthwhile quoting her stance on AGW and carbon mitigation at length. If only to see how far the extent of intellectual and ideological degeneration on the Right. The Australian quotes her prescient warning, made back in 1990:

    “The danger of global warming is as yet unseen but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations,” she said.

    Margaret Thatcher’s interest in global warming dates back to earlier in her prime ministership. Unlike most politicians, she had some professional acquaintance with the area, graduating in chemistry from Oxford University and working for a period as a research scientist.

    She did more than talk about climate change: she set up the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, now with a worldwide reputation for its work. She committed to bringing carbon dioxide emissions back to 1990 levels by 2005. She provided funding for reafforestation in Britain and overseas.

    She was a giant in so many ways. I miss her grievously.

  13. Salient Green
    March 11th, 2009 at 13:23 | #13

    Tristan#6 I prefer the original press release and would still vote for the Greens either way. I can’t see a long statement such as yours getting much air anyway, such is the bias towards the major parties.

    I believe the Greens are right to show frustration at the way the Governmant caved in to big polluters. This stance would, IMO, be more popular than appearing soft.

    I like Christine Milne’s statement on the ETS legislation. “it’s as thick as a Canberra phone book, but is full of wrong numbers”.

  14. March 11th, 2009 at 13:50 | #14

    11. Hammy Says: March 11th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Everything does seem to hang on what will happen in Copenhagen.

    Correct. I predict that the ALP will offer much bigger carbon emission cuts in the run up to the 2010 election. Perhaps Obama will do likewise but I think his priorities are enlarging the welfare state and reducing the warfare/wealthfare state.

    I less confidently predict that the ALP and major parties will eventually accept a carbon tax. I will even give it a name: The CRT (Carbon Reduction Tax) which will appear on everyones power bills and petrol receipts. I dont trust the ETS. Any policy phrase that contains the words “trading” and “scheme” is suspect these days.

    I have already put down my prediction that the Rudd-ALP will win a strong victory at the 2010 election. This is a no-brainer for a number of reasons:

    – processionary phase of the electoral pendulum swing favours recent incumbent
    – recessionary phase of the business cycle swing favours statist party
    – secular trend of Baby Boomer pro-ALP voting bias
    – divided and dispirited L/NP still awaiting the rising the the Costello souffle

    The 2010 win being more or less in the bag the Rudd-ALP will have a fair bit of political capital in the bank. He will probably spend it by buying off Greenie votes to his Left. They are a pretty cheap date having no where else to go.

    There is not much danger of losing too many Brownie votes to the Right of the ALP. I have already predicted that the L/NP will finally fall into line and give in-principle support to an ETS. Its a battle, like Work Choices, that they have lost.

    They can run a scare campaign on costs of higher cuts but I cant see it getting too much traction. Rudd will in any case hand out lots of money to petrol heads and farmers to keep them sweet.

  15. MH
    March 11th, 2009 at 16:07 | #15

    Jim Hansen claims that Cap and Trade is a tax by another name. The emission reduction targets are irresonsible and simply not enough, I am with Hansen we need emissions that get us back to 350 ppm of CO2 and stay there as a minimum, as Jim said recently (Feb 2009):

    ” One wonders: do they really believe we have a planet in peril”?

    I guess it’s back to the barricades.

  16. Bruce Littleboy
    March 11th, 2009 at 16:24 | #16

    Returning to #2, which has not been explored

    I think we should focus more on the issue of compensation and try to clarify what is going on.

    To what extent are we locked in to permitting certain pollution totals, and for how long?
    If we ever change or collective mind and want to reduce emission totals beyond the pre-determined target range to be reached periodically, how much does the government need to pay the polluters? The supply of permits changes periodically over time within preset target “gateways”, every 5 years or so, I think, if I recall JQ’s earlier comment rightly. Do these sequential gateways extend for 15- 20 years in total? If we want to reduce the size or location of a gateway to apply in say ten years time and those beyond, does this mean we pay compensation? Do we pay now, or in ten years time? And how much?

    Are we locked into the similar racket operating with many PPPs where if any other gov’t policy makes it harder for permit holders to acheive the target, we must pay them?

    If we later widen the coverage of the scheme, say, to oblige beef and dairy farmers with farting herds to buy permits, do they drive up the demand for existing permits, or are we obliged to supply more permits? Do we compensate electricity suppliers if, rather than reducing the total emissions target, we increase the number of indusries that need to obtain permits?

    I think that the gov’t has done a very poor job indeed in explaining (to me, at least!) exactly what is entailed, and until they do, I think the Senate should just say no to the entire scheme.

    I think the days of trusting that the gov’t or the Parliament will deal with these issues with competence and good faith are long over.

    The water permit scheme has been a scandal. It’s better to wait a few years for a good pollution permit scheme than settle for a third best one in which powerful interests may actually get compensated, by constitutional requirement, for loss of a mostly freely-given “property right”.

  17. mitchell porter
    March 11th, 2009 at 16:32 | #17

    Hammy @11 – just to present a contrary perspective… I take the view that regardless of what happens in the short term, repeated poundings from extreme weather and new global temperature highs are eventually going to compel movement towards what now seem like highly radical targets, such as carbon neutrality by mid-century. From that perspective, whatever happens at Copenhagen, in the longer run we (the world, not just Australia) *will* take radical action.

    There is no way that Copenhagen will agree to a target like that (as Jack Strocchi @12 points out, Obama’s target is 0%-by-2020); at best, there will be some acknowledgement of the desirability of 400 ppm or less, and maybe some new arrangement to facilitate research on how to achieve such low targets. And then we’ll have a few years of moderately declining emissions in the OECD (how that will interact with the reduction produced by general recession, I’m not yet sure), and then we’ll have a few more really hot years in which destructive things happen, and that will terrify everyone enough to step up the emissions reduction by another notch (and to talk about short-term global cooling through aerosol geoengineering as well).

    For me the other key consideration, apart from the hypothesis above that the world will be forced onto the zero-carbon track by near-future climate pain, is that we do not currently know how to do that without a diminished living standard. This is what’s really lacking among advocates of deep cuts. They are articulate on the costs of unmitigated climate change, they can say what has to be stopped (coal-fired power, coal exports, deforestation), they can say a bit about what takes its place (renewable energy, green jobs); but they do not have a convincing line on living standards in a zero-carbon world. Christine Milne makes some interesting assertions about 25% cuts not being much more expensive than 5% cuts, and how 40+% is for the best if you’re ultimately going for carbon neutrality, and I hope that her Senate inquiry produces some support for these assertions, or at least some relevant data, but for now they’re just assertions. John Quiggin occasionally states here that 90% cuts can be achieved without too much cost, just by altering a few price signals, and I wish he would post a link to one of the papers that backs this up so I could see how the argument works. Al Gore wants the USA to be 100% powered by renewables within a decade, and I don’t doubt that it’s technically possible (though far from inevitable). But until someone comes through with a concrete scenario, the only proposal for short-term global carbon neutrality known to me which sounds like it preserves living standards is the nuclear solution (see the part about 95% cuts).

    People may even be willing to tolerate a significant decline in living standards if it is in the interests of avoiding catastrophe, but we won’t get there if we don’t actually have the conversation about what life would be like in 40%-by-2020 Australia.

    In the spirit of Tristan Cooke @6, the sort of amendment to the proposed CPRS which would interest me, might retain the current targets (absent a demonstration that the deeper cuts won’t translate into national poverty) but explicitly acknowledge the desirability of 100%-by-2050, and would set up a CRC to investigate Zero-Carbon Futures for Australia, with the work of this CRC being used to revise the national emissions trajectory downward as a prosperous zero-carbon society becomes more thinkable. And ultimately you’d want to internationalize this approach.

  18. Michael of Summer Hill
    March 11th, 2009 at 17:09 | #18

    John, the Rudd government should reconsider any ‘grandfather clause’ whereby the worst polluters in this country are given free permits. Why should taxpayers and clean green businesses be penalised for the most inefficient and worst polluters. Unless the Rudd government makes drastic changes to the Bill then thumbs down for the ETS as it stands.

  19. March 11th, 2009 at 17:21 | #19

    JohnQ: Your claim that I don’t believe any agreement (on a world target for reducing emissions) will be reached is wrong. So, too, is your reading between the lines that I hope there won’t be an agreement.
    You seem to recognise the possibility of a non-global agreement when you wrote that the 15 per cent reductions target presented as the maximum Australia will offer even if the other countries agree to an effective global program to reduce emissions, is the worst feature of the proposed ETS.
    You went on to speculate that the Australian Government could probably secure the necessary support to pass its ETS Bill if its target were raised to 25 per cent.
    You went on to say: “Those who have argued that no such global agreement will emerge (as I understand it a 25 reduction on 2000 emissions by 2020) have no good reason to oppose such a change.”
    The clear message from your statements is that you believe the Australian Government should change its top target from 15 to 25 per cent so as to get its Bill through the Senate even though it does not believe there will be a global agreement for 25 per cent.
    I see such an approach as lacking any political morality. It would deservedly be portrayed as such by a Government that has argued consistently that a 15 per cent cut by 2020 is the responsible course.
    That was my main proposition and it did not deserve the wrong interpretation you placed on it.

  20. MarkHC
    March 11th, 2009 at 18:52 | #20

    JohnL @19 wrties:

    “You seem to recognise the possibility of a non-global agreement when you wrote that the 15 per cent reductions target presented as the maximum Australia will offer even if the other countries agree to an effective global program to reduce emissions, is the worst feature of the proposed ETS.”

    What on earth does this mean?

    Then JohnL goes on to write:

    “You went on to speculate that the Australian Government could probably secure the necessary support to pass its ETS Bill if its target were raised to 25 per cent.
    You went on to say: “Those who have argued that no such global agreement will emerge (as I understand it a 25 reduction on 2000 emissions by 2020) have no good reason to oppose such a change.”

    I fail to see logical link JohnL is trying to establish by juxtaposing these two statements. Let alone any support for the assertion that jquiggin’s approach lacks “any political morality”.

    Maybe its just me but, it reads like plain nonsense.

  21. March 11th, 2009 at 19:26 | #21

    To cut a long story short: I predict that Rudd-ALP will swing sharply to the Left on carbon constraint over the next couple of years. By shifting Left I mean he will raise the target for emission level cuts. And probably increase the scope and scale of regulatory constraint, possibly including carbon tax.

    He will do that because he has established a domestic rep as a climate change moderate, by initially setting the bar so low. He has thus forestalled any great drift of swinging voters from the ALP to the L/NP on fears of “Greenie Extremism”.

    Also the L/NP is starting to look silly on this issue with its flip-flops and internal divisions. That silliness will only look worse by the time Obama-USA and ???-PRC start upgrading ecological policy in the transition from Kyoto to Copenhagen.

    A Rudd-ALP shift to the Left on carbon constraint will, politically speaking, produce two benefits:

    – intra-nationally: stop leakage of ALP votes to inner-city Greenies

    – inter-nationally: forestall possible global sanctions against Kyoto lead draggers

    It is likely that the Great Recession will already do alot of our carbon constraint for us, through natural attrition of heavier industrial enterprises and slackening global demand for our primary products.

  22. March 11th, 2009 at 19:43 | #22

    MarkHC: When John Quiggin writes “even if the other countries agree to an effective global program”, he is expressing doubt about whether this will happen. I am sorry that you do not comprehend that “even if” indicates doubt, but that is your problem.
    And, yes, it is just you. John Quiggin is saying that if the Australian Government agreed to raise its top target from 15 to 25 per cent then its ETS Bill would pass.
    Then he says that those who argue that no such global agreement (that is for a 25 per cent reduction on 2000 emissions by 2020) will emerge have no good reason to oppose such as a change (that is, in the Australian Government’s top target).
    So let me repeat the obvious just for you. It is the Australian Government, which has consistently argued that a 15 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 as a responsible course.
    Consequently, it would be lacking in political morality for the Australian Government to agree to a 25 per cent reduction to enable its ETS Bill to get through the Senate when it does not believe this should be the result of the Copenhagen meeting.
    I wonder how many of the respondents to this blog are really confident that Copenhagen will result in a global agreement for a 25 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020.
    I cannot see the equity in demanding this of India, China and other developing nations while the current US position is that it will reduce 2020 emissions to 1990 levels.
    And, a global agreement for a 25 per cent reduction by 2020 0f 2000 levels wont’t be achieved if India, China and the US don’t agree.
    Reality has a bad habit of intruding on wishful thinking. That’s the “nonsense” which you fail to understand.

  23. BilB
    March 11th, 2009 at 21:54 | #23

    On that very point, John L.

    there is this

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7935159.stm

    and the scary one

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,547976,00.html

    leading to this

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7934046.stm

    This is what is going on in Cophenhagen before Cophenhagen. Australia is going to look pretty foolish in this company on the day. But then we are used to that.

    So here is something for our red faced representatives to read on the plane on the way back to our 5% target Australia.

    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian

  24. Ikonoclast
    March 12th, 2009 at 06:54 | #24

    It is uncontestable that eventually we will have to move to a 100% renewables powered economy. AGW adds the imperative that we move quickly. It is grievously sad that we are still dragging our feet over this.

    Australia should simply announce the goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 ie. zero net carbon emissions. Then we should seek to lead the way in solar (especially solar convection towers), tidal, wind and geothermal.

    The way to do it technically and to use existing plant, machinery and infrastructure is;

    1. build solar convection towers (which produce power 24 hours a day) and run the power through the existing grid.

    2. Use solar and other renewable power to make methane from water and atmospheric CO2. Burn the methane in internal combustion engines, gas stoves etc.

    Slight irony alert now:

    If we approached it as “The War Against Climate Disaster” do you think we could get the neocon capitalists on board? They love wars.

  25. MH
    March 12th, 2009 at 08:50 | #25

    The economic modelling on costings for mitigation has been done to death by Stern, Garnaut et al. The costs are minimal in terms of overall economic activity. The corollary is that doing nothing is the cost and the evidence is plain to see already. I see nothing in the proposed legislation or current Labour policies that propose sensible strategies and some serious thinking on the relocation of agriculture and people as significant parts of this continent and others progressively become unproductive and wasted. The Murray Darling is a case in point. In the mean time risk mitigation is being managed by the insurance sector who have borne a large portion of the financial costs of climate change (as well as government carrying the cost of almost continuous emergency relief programs, flood fire and storms etc and they are adjusting their cover and policy costings accordingly, in a lot of areas and for many events you cannot now obtain adequate insurance, they have been ahead of the policy makers and government for years now.

    At 400 ppm we are cooked, and we are currently near 390 ppm, anybody who seriously suggests that what we are putting up with now at current GHG emission levels is living in a fantasy land and ignoring the long tail that these emissions bring, they will be around for hundreds of years. Again the illusion of a technological fix blinds us to the need to stop and reduce now, the time line for bringing on serious large scale technological fixes is in the order of ten to twenty years, and you need a very large amount of capital to do it, try finding that in the current GFC with the collapse of PPP’s. Twenty years from now we will be approaching 450 ppm and catastrophe.

  26. Tristan Cooke
    March 12th, 2009 at 09:44 | #26

    Salient Green at #11. Thanks for the response.

    You might be right. I guess we both don’t know. Also Christine Milne does come across very well in the press in comparison to her leader.

    I’d prefer the wacking rod the greens used was the ‘falability of the system’ rather than the ‘head line number’. Still, I feel like they’re taking a big swing at every ball rather than accumulating the 1s and 2s toward the final target.

    However, I’d concede that neither of us know if the ‘look very strong and critical’ (you like) would win more votes than being the ‘this is what we think – but lets make a deal’ (I like). Both approaches will win and lose voters… I think the second would win more than the first, but you’re opinion the other way is completely valid.

    That’s really what it’s all about. They have limited effect as a party without the balance of power. Effectively all the green senators only have as much power as fielding or x man. This is a dissapointing result from an election largely decided by climate change issues.

    They need to find an extra senator (at least) in the next election and that’s going to come from either QLD, NSW or VIC. Between us, the person that is right is the one with the strategy that’s most likely to win that (or those) seats.

  27. Tony G
    March 12th, 2009 at 10:18 | #27

    MH @ 25

    What the small increase in carbon from 0.028% to 0.038% of the atmosphere does, is unverifiable. What carbon might or might not do at 0.040% of the atmosphere is anybodies guess. If anybody tells you they ‘know’ what it does, then they are perpetuating an extrapolated myth.

    What is verifiable, is the introduction of an ETS will have no effect on GHG emission levels, although an ETS will do what it is suppose to do, and that is is to increase taxation revenues along with the profits of corporates’and traders.

  28. David Irving (no relation)
    March 12th, 2009 at 10:59 | #28

    Tony G, about the only thing you’ve said that is correct is that the ETS won’t have a significsnt effect on GHG emissions. That aside, your post is, as usual, a miracle of wilful ignorance and blind stupidity.

  29. Tony G
    March 12th, 2009 at 12:03 | #29

    David,

    AGW dissenters are censored on this blog.

    I am not allowed to elaborate on how the building block of life, benign carbon and its impotency have been falsely extrapolated into a highly toxic environmental poison, that is to be feared by mankind.

    I can say this though, AGW proponents are very defensive when counter views are put, so much so, that I can only conclude my assertions are cutting very close to the bone and that there must be some truth to them.

    Considering, the ETS has no effect on carbon emissions, you would have to conclude this in itself is a strong endorsement of the fact, that carbon is benign to the environment.

    The ETS is a classic example of Vincible Ignorance.

    As they say, ignorance is bliss, I might be ignorant, but you guys are ‘vincibly ignorant’.

  30. MH
    March 12th, 2009 at 12:46 | #30

    Tony G #27 and #29. You need to get out more.

  31. MH
    March 12th, 2009 at 12:51 | #31

    With respect to the proposed legislation where I am in agreement with the naysayers is the failure to include or consider the carbon reduction possibilities available the rural industry, through; improved agricultural practices, encouraging on farm carbon storage via tree planting and carbon storage and the discourgement of large scale land clearing. Now where would be be and what if the Hawke Govt’s plant a billion trees program had really happened and instead had not been another cynical Richo exercise in poltical spin?

  32. Hermit
    March 12th, 2009 at 12:57 | #32

    TonyG you should explain to the breathalyzer people that fractions of a percent cannot have any effect
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content

  33. March 12th, 2009 at 13:09 | #33

    # 32 Hermit Says: March 12th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    TonyG you should explain to the breathalyzer people that fractions of a percent cannot have any effect

    We could call the move from .05 to .06 the “Tippling Point”.

  34. March 12th, 2009 at 15:06 | #34

    Pr Q says:

    By far the worst feature of the proposed ETS is the 15 per cent reductions target presented as the maximum we will offer, even if other countries agree to an effective global program to reduce emissions. If this target were raised to 25 per cent, the government could probably secure the necessary support to pass the Bill. Those who have argued that no such global agreement will emerge have no good reason to oppose such a change.

    From a game-theoretic pov its hard to criticize this strategy. The Rudd-ALP could raise the upper limit on its Carbon Reduction target from 15% to 25% without spending a dollar more to mitigate carbon in the short-term. Or even long-term, in the event of a failure to achieve global agreement.

    And if a long-term global agreement emerges well then AUS will at least be abreast, if not ahead, of the main push. So no painful snubs for Rudd on the IPCC cocktail party circuit.

    That would be a win-no loss for both believers-skeptics of Copenhagen. It would also be a short term political win for the govt, in that it could get its legislation through and claim, with a little bit of justice, that it was “doing something about the problem”.

    I strongly suspect, and predict, that Rudd-ALP will raise the govts Carbon Reduction target in the run-up to the 2010 election. The obvious time to make this announcement would be at Copenhagen 2009. That would really get the attention of world leaders as Rudd “struts the world stage”.

    In fact, having had a chance to think about it, I’m starting to really like the idea. A political tactic that initially blocks Brownie attacks from the Right and ultimately coaxes Greenie concessions from the Left would be a stroke of genius by a Machiavellian centrist. If Rudd-ALP behaves according to this prediction then he will get my vote, on grounds of fiendish cleverness if nothing else.

  35. March 12th, 2009 at 15:08 | #35

    Its already clear that Rudd-ALP has misgivings about the efficacy of an ETS as it currently stands. Although not clear whether this dissatisfaction is with its stringency, leniency or unintelligibility.

    A view the somewhat bemused public appears to share. The Age reports that the popularity of carbon reduction policies falls with the level of understanding of the specific policy ie people dont trust something they cant understand.

    Support for the emissions trading scheme was strongest among those who understood it to a greater or lesser extent, and lowest among people who did not understand it at all.

    My view , FWIW, is that it would be better to scrap the ETS and slap a hefty carbon tax on every smoking thing. Carbon trading schemes have too many moving parts that can be rorted.

  36. March 12th, 2009 at 15:22 | #36

    Thank you BilB for the references, two of which I had read before. I accept the proposition that urgent action is needed and that what is proposed in Australia does not meet the perceived optimum need.
    However, the issue I raised was whether there was a realistic chance of meaningful reductions in the Copenhagen meeting in December given the severity of the global financial crisis.
    The Australian Government’s White Paper, issued on 15 December, showed the following 2020 targets: Australia 5-15 per cent below 2000 levels, European Union 20-30 per cent below 1990 levels; United Kingdom 26-32 per cent below 1990 levels and US (proposal of President-elect Obama) a return to 1990 levels.
    Since then there have been dramatic collapses in the economies of the United Kingdom, the major EU countries, the US and, to a lesser extent, Australia.
    It is possible thatcome December the Australian Government’s proposal for a 15 per cent reduction by 2020 on 2000 levels could seem to other countries to be too ambitious.
    If the ETS scheme is defeated in the Senate, by what would be an alliance between climate change deniers and the Greens, then it may be a fatal blow. What is even more likely is that the Australian proposal for a 15 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2020 would be off the table at Copenhagen.
    A report in The Australian today (11 March) headed “Libs in luck as White House guru backs carbon delay” provides a pointer to what is coming. I acknowledge it was a beat-up for political purpose. The Australian report said that in a previously unreported academic paper posted on the Harvard University website last August, Lawrence Summers argued that “expenditures for climate change will be far easier to make in economies where per-capita income is growing”. The Australian identified Summers as a former president of Harvard, treasury secretary under former US president Bill Clinton and head of President Obama’s National Economic Council. It said Summers worked in the White House.
    The beat-up comes with The Australian relating this paper to what is being said six months later by Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb and by Australian Industry Group chief Heather Ridout.
    However, there is some relevance in the fact that last August an argument was being advanced by someone who one would not expect to be a reactionary that “expenditures for climate change will be far easier to make in economies where per capita income is growing”.
    Sadly, today there aren’t too many economies where this is happening.

  37. Ikonoclast
    March 12th, 2009 at 15:34 | #37

    Tony G says, “I am not allowed to elaborate on how the building block of life, benign carbon and its impotency have been falsely extrapolated into a highly toxic environmental poison, that is to be feared by mankind.”

    Mate, there is a subject called chemistry. Have you heard of it? It’s about the combination of atoms into molecules. It’s the study of the composition of substances and their properties and reactions. You cannot make a generalisation that carbon is benign without taking chemical combinations and reactions into account.

    Take the CN ion for example. This is the cyanide ion. I think you may have heard of cyanide.

    Now CO2, the gas in question, can actually be a toxin in high concentrations. It can smother and it also has direct toxicity. “Prolonged exposure to moderate concentrations can cause acidosis and adverse effects on calcium phosphorus metabolism resulting in increased calcium deposits in soft tissue. Carbon dioxide is toxic to the heart and causes diminished contractile force.” – Wikipedia.

    However, toxicity in the atmosphere, even at 450 ppm is not the issue of course. The issue is that it acts as a greenhouse gas. See the link below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

    This has to do with another subject called physics. Have you heard of that one? I only did chemistry and physics to senior high school level but that’s enough to key one into the basics. Now, either you didn’t do those subjects even at junior level or you aren’t stopping to think.

    However, learning does not need to stop after you finish formal education. Take some steps to improve your knowledge in this area. It might save you from making some very naive statements.

  38. March 12th, 2009 at 15:36 | #38

    The 5% unconditional target is sensible. But I don’t understand why set any upper limit on cuts conditional on international agreement. Just say we are prepared to cut much more if there is a global agreement and we suggest that Australia contribute by cutting 15% open to negotiation.

  39. Donald Oats
    March 12th, 2009 at 15:38 | #39

    Ah, Tony G #27, 29. Still haven’t done the homework reading I set you? If you had, you would understand how changes in carbon dioxide concentration can have quite profound effects over time.

    As for relative concentration being a measure of impact, try a few licks of cyanide and see if small amounts are inconsequential. Meanwhile:

    TonyG > /dev/null

  40. BilB
    March 12th, 2009 at 15:40 | #40

    I agree with you, Jack S. I put together an argument over here

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2009/02/27/quibbling-at-the-margins-of-the-cprs/#comment-647913

    for a 3.2 cent per kilowatt hour levy on all electricity. This would collect 7 billion dollars per year while cost the average family of 4 just $5 per week extra for their electricity. That is about the price of one Big Mac per family to meet most of their global warming compliance responsibility. With that amount being applied to the installation of Concentrating Solar Thermal power stations of the trough type, this would build 60 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2020 thereby replacing most of Australia’s coal powered infrastucture with indeffinite life solar thermal power. And by 2030 extend that to 100 gig in which much vehicle power could be supported with solar electric.

    It does not have to be any harder than that. For my business that would cost me $13 per week extra for the power to run my 4 CNC machines. That does not even register on the scale of costs.

    I challenge you economists out there to prove that this would be a huge and unacceptable impost on the economy, on the one hand. And on the other how you would guarantee the same end result if such a transition was deemed the best solution for Australia’s energy future, with in the same time frame and at a lower cost.

  41. BilB
    March 12th, 2009 at 15:43 | #41

    oops those times were by 2030 for 60 gig and 2040 for another 40 gig

  42. BilB
    March 12th, 2009 at 15:48 | #42

    And finally would produce power at around 6.5 cents per unit before distribution.

  43. jquiggin
    March 12th, 2009 at 16:12 | #43

    Just a reminder that Tony G is a genius in all sciences, who (despite the fact that his only science training comes from reading delusionist blogs) would sweep the Nobel prizes, and refute all the scientific academies if it weren’t for the fact that the comment section of this blog, the only publication outlet available to him, censors his brilliant work, to ensure that my scheme for world domination is not diverted. (cue evil laugh)

    Please don’t suggest any reading to him, or try to refute his claims. This only encourages him. Rather, I’d prefer to divert his genius into other fields, for example, squaring the circle, or proving the continuum hypothesis.

  44. jquiggin
    March 12th, 2009 at 16:19 | #44

    “I challenge you economists out there to prove that this would be a huge and unacceptable impost on the economy, on the one hand.”

    You’re challenging the wrong economist here, since I must surely be the poster child for ythe claim that emissions could be greatly reduced at modest cost, just as you say.

    “And on the other how you would guarantee the same end result if such a transition was deemed the best solution for Australia’s energy future, with in the same time frame and at a lower cost.”

    If you choose an emissions trading scheme such that permits trade at (roughly) $30/tonne, you’ll get (roughly) the same outcome, assuming that the emissions intensity of generation is initially about 1 tonne/MWh. As I’ve said quite a few times, taxes and tradeable permits are roughly equivalent.

    The only qualification I’d make is that you need a fairly hefty tax on petrol, or the return of high oil prices, to induce the shift to electric vehicles you envisage.

  45. Alice
    March 12th, 2009 at 16:30 | #45

    Tony G has an AGW bumblebee whizzing around between his ears and he doesnt think/talk about anything else. The bumblebee has severely disrupted his capacity for higher order intellectual functions but mention GW and it stings him into an automated verbal torrent of nonsense.

  46. March 12th, 2009 at 16:51 | #46

    BilB Says: March 12th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I agree with you, Jack S. I put together an argument over here

    I have no idea of the technical efficacy or economical efficiency of CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) technologies. Nor am I that clued up on the demand elasticities for carbon energy or the incidence of Carbon Reduction Tax (CRT – my coinage!).

    To me the easiest way to conserve carbon is simply to reduce carbon-emitting activities. Is your OS trip really necessary, wouldnt an internet conference do the same job? And what about that juicy steak, couldnt you eat veggie foods instead?

    All I know is that a CRT would send the right signal to everyone, which is to get out of Carbon Town before sundown. Also, less avoidable and rortable.

    More generally, a CRT would automatically provide states with a gigantic green energy investment fund, taken out of current consumption, to finance the immediate re-tooling of base power generators. And not just nationally, although that of course.

    Ultimately, for carbon mitigation programs to work, the world authorities are going to have to intervene in the energy affairs of several emerging high-carbon growth nations. Principally the BRIC nations: BRZ, RUS, IND, C(PRof). Also Indonesians and Arabians (BRIICA?).

    These countries have national versions of the Permanent Income Hypothesis. Only their versions assume exponential growth based on cheap energy. So the only way that global constraints on carbon emissions is going to work is if the OECD effectively subsidizes their growth by gifting them non-carbon energy generators.

    Not exactly a free lunch. But a free after dinner snack.

    I dont see the Alpha-males of these nations taking a big carbon hair cut unless whitey coughs up on the tab. Which whitey is really responsible for, given the massive stock of Euro-American emitted carbon already floating in the atmosphere.

    Of course the political will for such a massive global Marshall Plan to reduce carbon emissions is only likely to be mustered when the Antarctic ice-melt “sh*tstorm” hits the fan. That being the myopic nature of the human political animal.

  47. March 12th, 2009 at 17:15 | #47

    Pr Q says:

    The draft legislation sticks fairly closely to the White Paper, which has proved to be a compromise that satisfies no one. The government proposed a watered-down scheme in the hope of attracting public support from industry, and the Parliamentary votes of the Coalition. This approach appears to have failed, leaving the options of allowing the bill to fail, or seeking the support of Greens and Independents.

    A fundamental factor in the depressed L/NP vote is the continual attraction of the Opposition’s Right-wing for Howard-era political losers, namely Work Compulsion and Greenhouse Delaying.

    These two were the only big policy differences bw Howard and me-too Howard-lite. I estimate they cost the L/NP at least 1% in 2PP – a pretty big slice of the eventual margin of victory.

    If Turnbull can achieve one thing during his tenure it would be to kill off the die-hard L/NP support for these dead-end policies.

    To the extent that the L/NP move to the Centre on ecological issues it can help the ALP marginalise the Far Left forces concentrated in the GREENs. That is all to the good because most normal people find GREEN cultural policies to be wacky verging on repellent.

  48. Michael of Summer Hill
    March 12th, 2009 at 17:48 | #48

    John, if I may respond to Tony G by saying just think of what would happen if there weren’t tropical forests absorbing some 4.8bn tonnes of CO2 each year which is equivalent to the USA annual carbon dioxide emissions. This is real science not imaginary.

  49. Tony G
    March 12th, 2009 at 21:28 | #49

    Unfortunately my hands are tied by the censor so I can not discuss extrapolated global temperature movements and supposed causation theories or who is going to be guilty of sacrificing third world lives and living standards to a false weather god. Anyway, we do not need to, the ETS demonstrates the absurdity of the AGW debate.

    My back of the envelope calculations tell me that the annual compound growth rate of (evil) carbon in the atmosphere since 1960 is approximately 0.421% p.a. Projecting the present 390ppm @ the 0.421% p.a historical growth rate over the next 40 years gives us approximately 461ppm of carbon in the atmosphere by 2050.

    Learned ones, if Australia’s ETS managed to reduce Australia’s emissions by 100% there would still be a projected 461ppm or more of carbon in the atmosphere by 2050. Regardless of the projections, Australia’s ETS won’t make a scrap of difference to rate of increasing of carbon in the atmosphere. (A bodgie scheme like its bodgie science)

    Re Michael @ 48

    Maybe some one should have a look at the disappearing vegetation as a cause for the increasing carbon, at least that sounds more feasible than, 95% of the carbon going into the atmosphere comes from somewhere else, yet 100% of what is left hanging around up there is anthropological.

  50. MarkHC
    March 12th, 2009 at 22:11 | #50

    JohnL @22

    What a convoluted drawn out way to retract your assertion that JQ’s approach is lacking in political morality.

    Let me paraphrase your post:

    1). You think JQ has doubts about a global agreeent because the phase “even if” appears in his text.
    2). You say that the JQ thinks the ETS bill will pass if the upper limit is raise from 15 to 25%
    3). You highlight JQ’s point that those who have argued that no global agreement will emerge have no good reason to oppose the raise of the (global agreement dependent) target from 15 to 25%.
    4). You highlight Australian govt’s rhetoric that 15% target is a responsible course.
    5). You say:

    Consequently, it would be lacking in political morality for the Australian Government to agree to a 25 per cent reduction to enable its ETS Bill to get through the Senate when it does not believe this should be the result of the Copenhagen meeting.

    What a bazaar mix of twisted morality and naiveté. Firstly, how do you know what the government thinks is the most responsible course? If you believe there 15% target is not a political calculation, but rather than a moral one, then I’m amazed.

    Secondly, our democracy requires that legislation pass in both houses. And our democracy says that the ALP is not representative of the majority of Australians in the Senate. Hence it is up to our democracy what is the most responsible course.

  51. Smiley
    March 13th, 2009 at 00:13 | #51

    Tony G said:

    95% of the carbon going into the atmosphere comes from somewhere else, yet 100% of what is left hanging around up there is anthropological

    We (the world) uses approximately 33 billion barrels of oil per annum at the moment. According to this documentary, that represents a volume of 4 cubic kilometres of oil… every year. And that’s just crude (admittedly not all of it is burnt). Then there’s coal, natural gas, cement production and the huge amounts of methane released by our farm animals as a result of our high protein diet. And I should somehow discount all of this!

    …who is going to be guilty of sacrificing third world lives and living standards to a false weather god…

    Ah, so people in the the third world should live like us by burning fossil fuels and conducting intensive farming to obtain higher living standards.

    …Maybe some one should have a look at the disappearing vegetation as a cause for the increasing carbon…

    Oh you mean like the deforestation of Borneo or the Amazon basin for intensive farming.

    As I’ve said before Tony, there are solutions to these problems but they’re not modelled on how we do things now. The ancient Amerindians were using this technology centuries ago to support large populations.

    Of course the cynic in me realises that the companies that supply fertiliser won’t be too happy as this technology will drastically reduce the amount used in farming. All it requires now is a bit of political will.

  52. March 13th, 2009 at 07:17 | #52

    MarkHC at 50. At 22 I mentioned you did not comprehend that “even if” indicates doubt. You apparently still do not understand this. Your post further indicates a lack of understanding of words and grammar. A Government takes the singular. So it is doubly wrong to say: “If you believe there (sic) 15% target is not a political calculation, but rather than a moral one, then I am amazed.”
    I am still trying to make sense of that.
    All I can come up with is that you think there can be no morality (or lack of morality) associated with political decisions. On that basis you could not criticise the political morality of the Howard Government’s actions over the Tampa refugees.
    And, if you are going to give childish examples of our system of government, then perhaps you should have some understanding of terms. Try the Australian Constitution for “our democracy”.

  53. Salient Green
    March 13th, 2009 at 07:32 | #53

    Jack#47 “…most normal people find GREEN cultural policies to be wacky verging on repellent.”

    Those ‘GREEN cultural policies’ as reported by the Australian media? Yeah right!

    Those ‘GREEN cultural policies’ the voting public is familiar with and qualified to pass judgement on, having visited the website and had a good read? Yeah right!

  54. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 09:29 | #54

    Salient#53
    Anyone would find those “green cultural policies” as completely misrepresented, distorted and twisted by Rupe and Miranda repugnant. You can twist good policies if you are adept enough liars and have a barrow full of non decomposed fertiliser to peddle.

  55. March 13th, 2009 at 10:20 | #55

    # 53 Salient Green Says: March 13th, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Those ‘GREEN cultural policies’ the voting public is familiar with and qualified to pass judgement on, having visited the website and had a good read? Yeah right!

    # 54 Alice Says: March 13th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Anyone would find those “green cultural policies” as completely misrepresented, distorted and twisted by Rupe and Miranda repugnant. You can twist good policies if you are adept enough liars and have a barrow full of non decomposed fertiliser to peddle.

    I dont need to read “Rupe” or “Miranda” or some high-falutin “web-site” to tell me what to think about culture. The evidence of my own lyin’ eyes will do nicely, thanks very much.

    BTW, “a barrow full of non decomposed fertiliser” is a pretty good description of what the typical Fairfax Left-liberal op-edder is offering to “peddle”. I certainly wouldnt wade through a T. Hutchison or C. Denevey column without a nose-peg.

    The psephological affiliation between GREENs and Left-liberals is politically self-defeating for those who claim they want to “save the planet”. There is no good ideological reason for this. It is a case of “my enemies enemy is my friend” politics.

    Left-liberal cultural policies, as advanced by the DEMs and GREENs, are politically on the nose to the majority of “working families” out there in swinging seat land. The failure of Wet policies (on multi-cult, drugs, crime, indigenes) are a major reason why the late DEMs folded.

    YOu only have to watch the populist media right now to see that. “Gangs of Oz”, “Border Security” are now the top-rating shows. Not exactly Left-liberal territory is it?

    The GREENs predeliction for Left-liberal cultural policies is harming the chances of getting ecologically sustainable policies through the parliament. I hold my nose whenever I have to agree with a GREEN on ecological policies.

    I would strongly favour both major parties taking on-board key GREEN ecological policies so that they could marginalise GREEN Left-liberals. Much the same way as both major parties took up key ONE NATION “anthropological” policies, thereby marginalising ONE NATION Right-”authoritarians”.

    More generally, post-sixties “new liberalism”, whether of the Left- or Right- persuasion, favours massive increases in immigration. The GREENS have gone missing on this crucial issue, which upsets the ecological balance if nothing else. That can only hamper AUS’s attempts to control carbon emissions and save what remains of our top-soil, urban-rural fringe, water catchments etc.

  56. BilB
    March 13th, 2009 at 11:03 | #56

    Thanks for the comment, JQ44, Indeed you have argued for a high-effect/low-cost mechanism. The point that I am labouring is the disconnect in any of the ETS schemes between the deterrent/funds collection mechanism and the delivery of solutions. Many have assumed that the CPRS will of itself provide sufficient deterrent to force people away from the use of fossil fuels. And the government has picked up on the lack of understanding to happily collect the 9 billion estimated dollars from the CPRS, and give most of it back to the grieving public in some kind of income distribution process. This is all just wong, wong, wong!!!

    The problem centres around the vested interest arguments. Coal….Nuclear….Solar/renewables.

    This should be a no contest but simply because our government is hung on a market philosphy, at a time where a strategic community defence is required.

    ” A government in posssion of a large fortune must be in need of a….place to stash it”
    For different countries this means different things. Africa? the leader keeps it. Europe? it gets talked about endlessly until it somehow just vanishes. US? business and the deserving rich get it. Australia DLP? business get most of it and the public some. Australia ALP? the public get most and business the rest. So naturally business lobbying for their share is intense. What is so quickly forgotten is the purpose for which the money was collected in the first place.

    The market approach is shaping up to be a total loss. Everyone applauds the move to electric vehicles, as do I. But what is turning up? Now that electric drive components have been developed for reasonable cost, vehicle manufacturers have suddenly become turned on by the “power pulse” capability of electricity. So the new hybrides are offering super power cars where the electric function extends the power performance of their gas guzzling Vx engines.

    http://www.gizmag.com/seat-leon-ecomotive-concept/11192/

    http://www.gizmag.com/worlds-most-powerful-hybrid-car-infiniti-essence/11178/

    http://www.gizmag.com/koenigsegg-quant-512-bhp-four-seater-solar-all-electric-car/11167/

    What the????

    Is there some new frozen coffee slushy executive gizmo (I want one) that is causing brain freeze at the morning commercial meetings??

    Economists have done their bit providing another fully quantified fund raising mechanism to play with. What governemnts do with it, and what markets turn it into?? is any bodies guess. This amounts to anything BUT a strategic plan. Global Warming? Aww, that is yesterdays news!!

    Wong, Wong, Wong…that is tomorrow’s reality.

    Keep it simple, keep it direct, make it 100% effective, and maybe we have a chance of turning this thing around.

  57. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 12:48 | #57

    Left-liberal cultural policies, as advanced by the DEMs and GREENs, are politically on the nose Jack # 55
    “to the majority of “working families” out there in swinging seat land. The failure of Wet policies (on multi-cult, drugs, crime, indigenes) are a major reason why the late DEMs folded.

    YOu only have to watch the populist media right now to see that. “Gangs of Oz”, “Border Security” are now the top-rating shows. Not exactly Left-liberal territory is it?”

    Jack I disagree,

    The DEMS folded over the sell out on the GST and a lot went Green. Further, the Green vote has been rising or havent you noticed that. Its the environment and climate change. Its genuinely starting to bug people and as it should!

    Ratings, Id like to see those ratings for ”
    “Gangs of Oz”, “Border Security” . I bet they are top rating shows in an overall dwindling TV audience. I know quite a few who cant stand watching it. Its trite American cheap programming downloaded from locus corporatis parentis ptob courtesy of that cheap old bastard Rupe again, with a finger in every media pie in this country. They are over sex and the city, over “CSI” and what choice have they got?

    And as far as I can see Chasers war on everything, the new doctor who,top gear, foreign correspondent, mythbusters do pretty damn well – all ABC or SBS or BBC.

    In don beleive those commercial ratings… they are rigged. Whats on the commercials is ….you guessed it (NDF)!

  58. March 13th, 2009 at 14:02 | #58

    Alice Says: March 13th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    The DEMS folded over the sell out on the GST and a lot went Green. Further, the Green vote has been rising or havent you noticed that. Its the environment and climate change.

    The GREEN vote is rising at the moment, quite properly given the imminent threat of Antrartic & Greenland ice-meltdowns. Although the overall share of Left-liberals minor parties has fallen since the high-tide of the Wets in the early nineties.

    The Decline of the Wets (DEM + GREEN) vote, as revealed in rounded out SENATE preferences is quite marked:

    1990 = 15%
    1993 = 8% (Hewson fright & flight to ALP?)
    1996 = 13%
    1998 = 11%
    2001 = 12%
    2004 = 10%
    2007 = 10%

    The DEMs & GREENs demographic significantly overlap, particularly on ecological issues. Whats surprising about these figures is that the overall “ecological” vote hasnt gone up more.

    Obviously a fair bit is now living in the Left-ALP, where it remains a captive to factional warlord deals.

    Even so, the ALP, on cultural issues, has most definitely shifted away from a Left-liberal (“Refugees, Reconciliation, Republic”) towards a Left-”corporal” (“working families”) position. Under both Bomber Beazley and Vicar Rudd.

    So, since the collapse of the DEMs, true believing Left-liberals have to vote GREEN. No other place left to go.

    Now much of the recent rise in the GREEN vote must be driven by ecological issues. Which implies that the purely Left-liberal component of that vote must be fairly small, say about 50% of the total.

    Thats a big fall for Left-liberals, from ~15% in 1990 to ~5% in 2007. And thats not counting the major party shifts, with Howard et al ousting Hewson and Rudd et al replacing Keating.

    So my advice to GREENs is to go after more mainstream “working families” support. Lose the Left-liberalism which is a political dead-weight and a moral disaster area, in any case.

  59. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 15:12 | #59

    Jack – can you remove DEMS from those nos? Some would have gone back to conservative (the small L libs).? I do agree with losing some of the more left views actually. Even though the views are actually productive…they get twisted by Miranda every damn election time and the Greens get portrayed as the completely lunatic left. All completely wrong, and in my view, the bigger they get the more we will see the return of balanced policies from the precipice of the right neoliberalism which many of us are whinging about. Lots of ordinary people are in fact whinging about wanting left policies without even realising it eg “why cant the government provide more public transport? Why isnt the government maintaining public schools?” Why cant the government build road / traffic infrastructure without PPPs and taking existing lanes etc”. You hear it so often. I would suggest the ordinary person thinks it is the Government’s job, wants the government to get on with it and is over the privatisation disasters.

  60. March 13th, 2009 at 17:21 | #60

    # 59 Alice Says: March 13th, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I do agree with losing some of the more left views actually. … the Greens get portrayed as the completely lunatic left. All completely wrong, and in my view, the bigger they get the more we will see the return of balanced policies from the precipice of the right neoliberalism which many of us are whinging about. Lots of ordinary people are in fact whinging about wanting left policies without even realising it

    I think you mean “liberal” rather than “Left”. It is through the gap between these two ideological complexes that Howard and Nixon drove their wedge. That is the meaning of phrases like “silent majority” and “working families”.

    The “silent…families” are corporal*, rather than liberal. Whilst the “working…majority” are Left-wing, rather than Right-wing.

    Perhaps it would help if you indulged me in a little conceptual clarification.

    On the social stratification axis:

    – Left: progressive by empowering and protecting the lower-status, eg workers, coloreds, females, gays, heathen,

    – Right: regressive by establishing and promoting the higher-status, eg bosses, whites, males, straights, Christians

    On the social association axis:

    – liberal: differentiation by encouraging individual autonomies eg free-enterprise, deviants, mavericks, aliens, wild-catters, scabs

    – “corporal”: integration by enforcing institutional authority, traditionally flag, faith and family. also UN, EU-25, ISO9001, Fed-Express, the PRC, Microsoft

    Being Left-wing or Right-wing on social stratification is not necessarily connected with being liberal or “corporal” on social association.

    The Hewson LP was Right-wing and liberal.
    The Howard LP is Right-wing and “corporal”.
    The Catholic Church is Left-wing and “corporal”.
    The GREENs are Left-wing and liberal.

    All GREENs are neccessarily Left-wing because they wish to empower and protect low-status carbon ascetics (low-lying islanders, trees and fluffy animals with goggle eyes). Browns are obviously Right-wing as they wish to establish and promote high-status carbon profligates (mansion owners, frequent flyers, Greenhouse Mafiosi etc).

    Most GREENs are contingently liberal in the above sense. But there is no good ideological reason for this, although there are obviously psephological ones. There is no doubt that a coherent GREEN policy implies higher civil powers will be regimenting everyone by regulation, rationing and requisition.

    This may well be Left-wing but it aint liberal.

    * Sometimes tendentiously and mendaciously characterised as “authoritarian”. As if everyone who wanted people to play fairly by the rules and fit in was some kind of closeted General Pinochet.

    Significantly there is no polite word intellectual discourse for someone who does not buy into the whole new liberal agenda. So I suggest “corporal” due to associations with civil organization and integration ie Roman Empire and its legacies. What have they ever done for us?…just read the constitution…

  61. March 13th, 2009 at 17:55 | #61

    Jack,
    Sounds like you have simply reworded the political compass.
    For the record, I believe I am right libertarian.

  62. Salient Green
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:27 | #62

    Jack, I see nothing in the Green’s policies that indicates a massive increase in immigration.

    There is a shift in the balance towards refugees and a change in criteria in regards to environmental refugees and taking skills from developing countries but nothing else.

    Why would the Greens increase immigration? They are the ‘green’ party. Many high profile environmentalists have quietly given their views and fears about population growth but it is not something you have been able to shout about for fear of ridicule and allegations of racism by powerful corporate interests.

    It would be suicide for the Greens to make a stand against population growth in this country, given the power of the right wing media to distort and misrepresent. They have form on this with the Green’s policies as you probably know better than I.

    I also don’t understand your criticisms of the Green’s immigration policy when they have not even been in government. In other words,they don’t have a bad record for bringing in large numbers of immigrants – unlike both major parties.

    The awareness of over-population is growing quickly and the time will soon be right for the debate to become public and the Greens, IMO, will be more likely to support reduced or negative population growth than the pro-business, growth fetishist major parties.

    I still don’t believe “most normal people find GREEN cultural policies to be wacky verging on repellent.”

  63. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:34 | #63

    Well Jack

    I mustnt be any liberal then – the liberals seem to place an unholy emphasis on the individual’s rights and freedoms when the world is getting bigger, full of more people and we need an organisational framework that is “group” orientated and delivers for groups, not individuals (well as mmuch as it can for individuals, within groups). Individualism to me smacks of a small town view and the world isnt any small town anymore. What may be fine for Dubbo or (I was going to suggest Wagga Wagga but even thats too big) say Cooma, wont work for downtown Sydney, Melbourne or Australia.

  64. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:46 | #64

    Jack,
    The whole idea of liberalism in a city the size of Sydney is crazy. It shoudnt be one price for the rich to get to work and one price for the poor. Getting to work should be made easy. Thats the governments job. I met a canadaian who came out here 30 years ago and marvelled at the harbour Bridge and thought “wow 8 lanes” – across this stretch of water – “this city has vision.” We havent had a vision since Jack. If we had had a vision in leadership we would have picked up the roads, turned them into freeways to de clutter suburban arterials, put the freeways on pillars across whatever suburbs they needed to go across, and we would have built them ten years ago to get the traffic off the Sydney arterial roads. Whether it was Hunters Hill they needed to cross or the leafy North Shore it should have been done by now. Thats vision. Petrol isnt going to run out till it runs out and more people means more cars, and more medium density housing means more cars. The infrasttructure Jack – it aint working and there is no vision.

    Vision could also include something like new freeways, and on the old roads that now are decluttered get the trains and buses running for the time petrol does run out.

    Planning does not travel well on the back on the back of an “individualistic view” Jack. Its an institutional planning view we need.

  65. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:58 | #65

    Classic example Jack – the tunnel under the harbour. It looks cheap, its only a couple of lanes and it is a cheap leakly looking thing. I always cross on the bridge because I suspect one day they will have a disaster down under there. It just crosses under the harbour and comes straight up to clog the streets of Sydney CBD. It should have come up to a freeway on pylons you could drive straight to melbourne if you wanted to over right over the top of the CBD and the tunnel should have been built substantially allowing for the population in 50 years time (not ten). If they were going to bother, they should have done it big and done it right the first time. Thats vision no individualistic small government ideas will give us.

  66. Salient Green
    March 13th, 2009 at 19:01 | #66

    Andrew, thanks for that link. As you might expect I am left libertarian, proudly plonking my dot near to Nelson Mandela’s but would never claim to be the calibre of great man himself.

  67. March 16th, 2009 at 19:34 | #67

    If the ETS fails, through opposition by the L/NP and GREEN, that may not be a bad thing for Rudd-ALP. They can then give a good exuse to the voters that they are facing obstructionism by the Senate from far Left and far Right.

    That would be good reason to go back to the drawing board on ETS in preparation for a big announcement of Left-ward shift pre-Copenhagen. That would get the GREENs on-side.

    If they also managed to supplement (read substitute) the ETS for a CRT then that would be better still. The punters can understand a taxing system. They cant understand a trading scheme.

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