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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. Smiley
    March 13th, 2009 at 00:13 | #1

    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.

  2. March 13th, 2009 at 07:17 | #2

    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”.

  3. Salient Green
    March 13th, 2009 at 07:32 | #3

    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!

  4. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 09:29 | #4

    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.

  5. March 13th, 2009 at 10:20 | #5

    # 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.

  6. BilB
    March 13th, 2009 at 11:03 | #6

    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.

  7. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 12:48 | #7

    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)!

  8. March 13th, 2009 at 14:02 | #8

    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.

  9. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 15:12 | #9

    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.

  10. March 13th, 2009 at 17:21 | #10

    # 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…

  11. March 13th, 2009 at 17:55 | #11

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

  12. Salient Green
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:27 | #12

    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.”

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

    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.

  14. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:46 | #14

    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.

  15. Alice
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:58 | #15

    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.

  16. Salient Green
    March 13th, 2009 at 19:01 | #16

    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.

  17. March 16th, 2009 at 19:34 | #17

    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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