Home > Environment, Oz Politics > Three universes collide!

Three universes collide!

November 25th, 2009

I’ve been very busy with asset sales, the problems of the Murray-Darling Basin, my still-in-progress book and other commitments too numerous to list, with the result that I’ve had no time to comment on the spectacular events in the climate change debate. But it’s finally too much to ignore.

I’ve long pointed out the “parallel universe” nature of the discussion that goes on under the name of “scepticism”. Over the last couple of days, that parallel universe has collided with the universe of Australian practical politics, with catastrophic results for Malcolm Turnbull in particular.

The timing is particularly galling for the delusionists who are uniformly convinced that the University of East Anglia emails they have stolen and promulgated prove beyond doubt … well, something sinister. Surely, they think, this will persuade the weak-kneed Liberals to stop while we hold a full inquiry. Following the analogy of Newtongate it’s as if, just as the vorticists had found the crucial ‘smoking gun’, a letter exposing Newton’s use of hired thugs to beat up Cartesian critics, they looked out from their shiny new antigravity machine and realised that some very hard ground was approaching them at a speed of hundreds of metres per second.

For Kevin Rudd, the effect is a free gift of Master of the (Australian political) universe. Counting Costello, Turnbull is the fourth Liberal leader he’s destroyed in the space of exactly two years. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome than facing an opponent who could barely beat “None of the above” in a ballot of his own party and is in place only because no one else wants the job. And when Turnbull finally goes, the likelihood that either Joe Hockey or Tony Abbott is going to provide a serious challenge seems close to zero. Whether as supporters or opponents of the leaders, the fruit loops are running wild now, and unlikely to be reined in.

But in the actual physical universe the results aren’t so good for the Australian public or for out contribution to stabilizing the global climate. The combined efforts of rentseekers and delusionists have ensured that, assuming the Senate finally ratifies the Rudd-Turnbull deal, we’ll have a CPRS that is both far more expensive and far less effective than it should have been. It’s still, I think better than nothing, but it’s a deplorable outcome to an unedifying process.

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  1. November 25th, 2009 at 22:32 | #1

    Do you really think the final version of the CPRS is better than nothing? (Genuine question!)

    It seems to me to lock in inadequate targets, combined with excessive compensation which will leave a price signal too weak to drive the necessary investment in low emissions technology. All of which will leave us even further behind where we need to be, with even less time to get there.

    Almost everyone seems to be assuming it will need some further amending down the track anyway, with the almost inevitable further wave of compensation – particularly when agriculture eventually gets included, as surely it must.

  2. Peter Evans
    November 25th, 2009 at 22:56 | #2

    Well, the final bill is rubbish. But can’t it all be rejigged come July 1, 2011? Or even earlier if there is a double dissolution. The Libs are out of the game from that date, and the Greens should be able to trade a better CPRS for some other thing the Government wants. I don’t get why people are acting like this is the end of the CPRS definition process.

  3. SJ
    November 25th, 2009 at 22:59 | #3

    It’s slightly better than nothing, to be sure, but some aspects of it, particularly the payments to the Victorian electricity generators, seem to me to be simply theft from personal taxpayers.

    What’s the freakin’ point of this? It’s been known from the start that the generators will be able to pass on almost 100% of any kind of carbon charge to the end users. In five, ten, twenty years, they won’t be able to compete with new entrants, so they will have to fold. But so what? How is that different from any other company or industry?

    Why should we be agreeing to any of this crap?

  4. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:14 | #4

    Do you really think the final version of the CPRS is better than nothing?

    There seems to be this notion that if the ETS is rejected at this point in the game then we will have nothing. Given the state of public opinion and political momentum that isn’t likely to be the case at all. In fact the Greens have been banking on it.

    The combined efforts of rentseekers and delusionists have ensured that, assuming the Senate finally ratifies the Rudd-Turnbull deal, we’ll have a CPRS that is both far more expensive and far less effective than it should have been.

    John a major criticism of cap and trade has always been that it will encourage rent seeking behaviour. The fact that it has encouraged rent seeking behaviour should not surprise anybody that has been paying attention. This is the game you have championed.

  5. SJ
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:27 | #5

    Terje, you’ve thrown your weight into the denialist camp. Nothing you say is of any value or credibility.

  6. iain
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:43 | #6

    The only point to the CPRS (from an environmental perspective) is that, if it passes, it will provide some momentum (albeit small) to Copenhagen.

    Total emissions (across all scopes) will increase in Australia to 2020 from 2000 levels – even if the CPRS works flawlessly.

    The CPRS just satisfies a need that we should be doing “something”.

    Any constructive future change to the CPRS will only come in the form of an effective international agreement (which is unlikely).

    So we are just fiddling around waiting for damage cost of CC to start mounting, and hope that we found a technological solution before then.

    With the CPRS passing any possibility of an alternative MBI in Australia – carbon tax, TEQs, etc – will close. But this decision was probably made for us when the EU ETS started.

  7. CM
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:44 | #7

    “it’s a deplorable outcome to an unedifying process” – I am not a religious man, but, amen!

  8. Damian
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:45 | #8

    “t’s no use pretending this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

    Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

    Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.”

    George Monbiot
    guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 November 2009 21.00 GMT

  9. Damian
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:52 | #9

    Program code comment from documentsharris-treerecon_esper.pro:

    ; Computes regressions on full, high and low pass Esper et al. (2002) series,
    ; anomalies against full NH temperatures and other series.
    ; CALIBRATES IT AGAINST THE LAND-ONLY TEMPERATURES NORTH OF 20 N
    ;
    ; Specify period over which to compute the regressions (stop in 1960 to avoid the decline

    function mkp2correlation,indts,depts,remts,t,filter=filter,refperiod=refperiod,$
    datathresh=datathresh
    ;
    ; THIS WORKS WITH REMTS BEING A 2D ARRAY (nseries,ntime) OF MULTIPLE TIMESERIES
    ; WHOSE INFLUENCE IS TO BE REMOVED. UNFORTUNATELY THE IDL5.4 p_correlate
    ; FAILS WITH >1 SERIES TO HOLD CONSTANT, SO I HAVE TO REMOVE THEIR INFLUENCE
    ; FROM BOTH INDTS AND DEPTS USING MULTIPLE LINEAR REGRESSION AND THEN USE THE
    ; USUAL correlate FUNCTION ON THE RESIDUALS.
    ;
    pro maps12,yrstart,doinfill=doinfill
    ;
    ; Plots 24 yearly maps of calibrated (PCR-infilled or not) MXD reconstructions
    ; of growing season temperatures. Uses “corrected” MXD – but shouldn’t usually
    ; plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to
    ; the real temperatures.

  10. Damian
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:53 | #10

    function mkp2correlation,indts,depts,remts,t,filter=filter,refperiod=refperiod,$
    datathresh=datathresh
    ;
    ; THIS WORKS WITH REMTS BEING A 2D ARRAY (nseries,ntime) OF MULTIPLE TIMESERIES
    ; WHOSE INFLUENCE IS TO BE REMOVED. UNFORTUNATELY THE IDL5.4 p_correlate
    ; FAILS WITH >1 SERIES TO HOLD CONSTANT, SO I HAVE TO REMOVE THEIR INFLUENCE
    ; FROM BOTH INDTS AND DEPTS USING MULTIPLE LINEAR REGRESSION AND THEN USE THE
    ; USUAL correlate FUNCTION ON THE RESIDUALS.
    ;

    pro maps12,yrstart,doinfill=doinfill
    ;
    ; Plots 24 yearly maps of calibrated (PCR-infilled or not) MXD reconstructions
    ; of growing season temperatures. Uses “corrected” MXD – but shouldn’t usually
    ; plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to
    ; the real temperatures.
    ;

    ;
    ; Plots (1 at a time) yearly maps of calibrated (PCR-infilled or not) MXD
    ; reconstructions
    ; of growing season temperatures. Uses “corrected” MXD – but shouldn’t usually
    ; plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to
    ; the real temperatures.

    Get the picture?

  11. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 26th, 2009 at 00:08 | #11

    Damian – those two extracts really don’t tell us anything. They really are lacking in context.

  12. Donald Oats
    November 26th, 2009 at 01:39 | #12

    How about this for some context?
    I’ll cut-n-paste a quote or two from the above link at RealClimate:

    459David Kane says:
    24 November 2009 at 9:37 PM
    Thanks for your answer in 406. I think that the more transparent you can be in showing exactly how the peer review process works, the better. Showing the changes made during the process is one way of doing so.

    [Response: No data is being withheld because it is inconvenient to some supposed cause. Evidence? - gavin]

    People aren’t accusing you of withholding data. They are accusing CRU. Have you read this post by Willis Eschenbach? It is quite persuasive in arguing that CRU withheld data from him (and others) that should not have been withheld.

    Although your indefatigable energy is answering stupid critics is impressive, I would focus your efforts on the most impressive/coherent complaints. How would you answer Eschenbach? This is a complex enough topic that it might merit a new thread.

    PS. We enjoyed dinner courtesy of SAC several years ago. I have been following this debate ever since. Kudos to you for all your efforts in increasing code transparency and data-sharing.

    Then Gavin’s response. I’ve highlighted the bits that indicate bad behaviour, but not by CRU staff:

    [Response: Eschenbach was told in 2007 exactly why they couldn't release the stuff that included the restricted data from the NMSs but that the vast majority of the data was online already. Nothing has changed except that CRU have been harassed with perhaps 100 vexatious FOI requests for exactly the same thing, and which received (unsurprisingly) exactly the same response. How this is supposed to encourage CRU to work together with these people to get the NMSs to rescind their restrictions, I'm really not sure. Funnily enough, continually threatening people with lawsuits is not something designed to get them to go out of their way to help you. It is instead a recipe for them doing the absolute minimum, and even that grugdingly. Not smart maybe, but eminently understandable. - gavin. (PS. Good dinner!).]

    Vexatious is understating it. At what point does the pursuer or data cross a line into harrassment?

  13. fred
    November 26th, 2009 at 02:34 | #13

    Here is the next paragraph of the Monbiot column to add to the bit above.

    “But do these revelations justify the sceptics’ claims that this is “the final nail in the coffin” of global warming theory?(8,9) Not at all. They damage the credibility of three or four scientists. They raise questions about the integrity of one or perhaps two out of several hundred lines of evidence. To bury manmade climate change, a far wider conspiracy would have to be revealed”

  14. jquiggin
    November 26th, 2009 at 05:01 | #14

    Damian provides excellent examples of the quote mining techniques common to creationists, tobacco lobbying and delusionists. The leading delusionists are former tobacco lobbyists who have combined the FUD techniques of the tobacco wars with techniques picked up from the creationists. The idea of these criminals giving anybody lectures on ethics is ludicrous.

    But, as I said, it doesn’t matter. The delusionists have lost and their only achievement has been to help the coal and generator lobby extract billions in undeserved compensation from the Australian public.

  15. Tim Dymond
    November 26th, 2009 at 05:49 | #15

    If you want to quote George Monbiot you should read his post on what an actual global warming conspiracy email would have to include:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/nov/23/global-warming-leaked-email-climate-scientists

  16. Alice
    November 26th, 2009 at 06:48 | #16

    Stay tuned for the next great hack hoaxes….

    Did someone recently hack into Malcolm Turnbull’s emails to find Malcolm had offered to pay Kevin Andrews to mount a leadership challenge, because Godwin Grech is indisposed?

    Did someone recently hack into McDonalds executives’ emails to discover that the company secretly plotted to increase profits by having its drive through staff leave a hot apple pie or a bag of chips or a burger out of every third customer order?

  17. charles
    November 26th, 2009 at 07:54 | #17

    “But, as I said, it doesn’t matter. The delusionists have lost and their only achievement has been to help the coal and generator lobby extract billions in undeserved compensation from the Australian public.”

    I’d say that was the aim of those funding the delusional campaign. The real suckers are those that fell for it. Which seems to be about 50% of the Liberal party.

  18. Socrates
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:00 | #18

    Can we please not hijack this thread onto the stolen emails? That has been done ot death at RealClimate for anyone who wants to read it.

    I too am dissappointed at the final outcome of the ETS, but take comfort that it can be toughened up later as long as it is structurally sound. In that regard my biggest concern is not the compensation, but the exclusion of agriculture. The compensation will just be pocketed by power companies (bad) who will still assess the cost of permits they must buy versus the output of each station (good). But farming is different – there will be no structural adjustment of that sector until it is included.

    Also, I have a general concern (as an engineer) with economists who assume that industries will reform themselves if the right price/policy settings are put in place. I don’t believe that any more than Fama’s efficient markets hypothesis. There are some structural aspects of our power system, notably the lack of interstate grid connections, that still require government intervention and investment. Without it we won’t get interstate competition and a shift away from high emission power sources like La Trobe Valley brown coal. A market has to be possible before it can be efficient.

  19. Socrates
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:04 | #19

    To sum up the above, my point is that an ETS is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reform of the power industry. We still need government involvement in planning and creating the physical infrastructure, especially the grid elements that don’t generate a large return.

  20. jquiggin
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:12 | #20

    Socrates, I certainly agree on the need for restructuring of the network and associated changes to the National Electricity Market. “Prices are necessary but not sufficient” is exactly right.

  21. Uncle Milton
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:13 | #21

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    “a major criticism of cap and trade has always been that it will encourage rent seeking behaviour.”

    And a carbon tax wouldn’t encourage rent seeking behaviour? The same rent seekers who successfully lobbied to get free permits would have successfully lobbied to be tax exempt.

    You can legitimately compare theoretically pure cap and trade with a theoretically pure carbon tax. (Start with Weitzman, 1974 and work your way through the literature). But you can’t legitimately compare cap and trade that has been shredded by the the political system with a theoretically pure carbon tax.

  22. NM
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:38 | #22

    Damian said “- data analysis code -”

    There is a certain amount of black humour about it, but I love watching the delusionists try and make sense of the code ( R? Scilab?) It’s like watching the monkeys in 2001 when they found the monolith. Scampering around, hootin’ and gruntin’ but not the foggiest idea of what they’re looking at. A particularly treasured moment (from another blog) was when one of them saw the word ‘bias’ and thought he’d struck the motherlode.

    It’s worth mentioning that the denialists have decided to sue Gavin Schmidt for daring to respond to the accusations made about the emails. Details at Deltoid. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/competitive_enterprise_institu.php

  23. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:39 | #23

    @Andrew Bartlett

    I agree Andrew. It would have been better if this had been voted down. It’s worse than nothing, because its obvious flaws will taint all future schemes and those associated with them and it does of course lock in a regime that will not in practice be capable of amendment in the time needed without massive compensation.

  24. Ikonoclast
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:00 | #24

    Speaking on a global scale, further large increases in CO2 emissions are in the offing. Our entire global human physical-economic has this momemtum already built into it. If we were to save the planet, we should have changed course from about the mid 1970s. That was our last chance. These further inevitable built-in increases* in CO2 emissions will take us over the disaster threshold. Sadly, the reality is that climate disaster is already built into the system. We will soon pass the tipping point.

    When the permafrost gives up its methane and the methane clathrates start bubbling up from the ocean floor it’s goodbye cookies.

    * Coal burning continues to increase every year as our power system (physical-military-political) demands it. Ignore the talk and just watch the physical system. The physical system does not lie.

  25. Jim Birch
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:39 | #25

    Maybe I’m naive or just slow to get it, but I’ve found the behaviour of the Liberal Party pretty disturbing. These are guys who claim to be capable of running the country yet they actually can’t distinguish science from other types of narrative. What’s unsettling is not that there are a few loonys in the Liberal Party but that they weren’t immediately shouted down, their crazy attitude to the science is sufficiently mainstream to nearly get up. (The reduction scheme which was always going to be a bunfight, and maybe should be, but you’d think that there would be enough Liberals who realise that science is different.)

    It doesn’t bode well for the ongoing government of Australia. It’s mad. If anyone want to make basic science literacy a requirement for entering politics, they’ve got my support.

  26. Donald Oats
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:41 | #26

    @Andrew Bartlett,
    @Fran Barlow
    I’m torn in two by the recent CPRS amendments: I’ve completely lost track of whether this is to give the current GHG emitters a bucket of board bonuses cash for doing diddly squat during the last two decades, or to kickstart the process of reduction of GHG emissions. I guess my question is to Pr Q here: will this CPRS actually have a price signal not lost in the usual noise of markets, or have we just chucked away X billion of cash?

    Perhaps, in order to get the numbers to pass this bill, the Government should give the Greens a concession, like a bigger target – say 15%. This would get the bill through, split the Liberals again, and make Copenhagen at least slightly interesting. Any parliamentary rule or
    reason this can’t be done?

  27. fred
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:49 | #27

    “Oh my gods, Billy has had his arm nearly cut off by the mad chain saw wielder, quick get a band aid and a bucket of cash for the bloke with the chainsaw!”

  28. Freelander
    November 26th, 2009 at 10:01 | #28

    The Libs will be in an even sadde state if Malcolm is finally brought down, not for his manifest failings, but for not being a loony denier. As the evidence mounts so does their desperation. Seems suspiciously psychological as does the desperate activity of deniers everywhere. If only they can get everyone to agree with them everything will be fine and the evidence will be easier to ignore.

  29. Freelander
    November 26th, 2009 at 10:02 | #29

    The Libs will be in an even sadder state if Malcolm is finally brought down, not for his manifest failings, but for not being a loony denier. As the evidence mounts so does their desperation. Seems suspiciously psychological as does the desperate activity of deniers everywhere. If only they can get everyone to agree with them everything will be fine and the evidence will be easier to ignore.

  30. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 10:04 | #30

    Don,

    The price signal is estimated to be around $26/tonne by around 2013, for included scope 1 and 2 emissions that are not, obviously, free permitted.

    Total emissions (across all scopes) will increase in Australia to 2020 from 2000 levels – even if the CPRS works flawlessly.

  31. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 10:39 | #31

    @Donald Oats

    Perhaps, in order to get the numbers to pass this bill, the Government should give the Greens a concession, like a bigger target – say 15%.

    I think they should be honest and say how much below 1990 they are willing to go. AIUI 5% below 2005 is an increase on 1990. I doubt 15% below 2005 would be much under 1990, if at all. We need a figure of at least 25% below 1990 before we can start seeing ourselves as making a useful contribution.

    I think the whole bill should be discarded and we start again, but politically, this would embarrass the government — unless the opposition throws them a lifeline and votes it down. One can live in hope.

    It struck me that one cute manoeurvre of Rudd’s could have been along the following lines:

    Rudd notes that the opposition doesn’t like the concept of an ETS, because “it’s a new tax that will cost Aussies jobs”. He says You don’t like it? Rentseekers? It’s gone!.

    But then he continues …

    of course, we still have the thorny problem of getting emissions down. What we are going to do is regulate emissions to an acceptable level. We ratified Kyoto and Bali and so we are going to use the Foreign Affairs power to impose year on year cuts in emissions on all sectors of the economy. Anyone who misses a target gets heavily fined with $100 per tonne as a starting point. Persistent offenders will face escalating fines and/or forfeiture. We will build ourselves or lend the money to build the infrastructure/retool at a 1% discount to commercial rates.

    Everything in. Forestry, agriculture, transport, commercial and residential building … we override state sovereignty over planning and housing as needed.

    They could then suck on that …

    Oops … dreaming again

  32. MH
    November 26th, 2009 at 10:41 | #32

    The reality of the CPRS is that as a major poltical issue and policy intitiative it opened up the fissures in the broad conservative consensus of the liberals and their real understanding of the nature of our current economic and environmental problems. Those fissures, in the abscence of genuine support for his leadership by Turnbull by members of the party are now plain for all to see. We have; the cretins, the loons, we have the WA/SA drys. the catholic right (Opus Dei) and the remaining reasonable souls stuck in the middle of all this somewhere. This shambles is but a federal version of the state of existence of the various State liberal parties. The libs have like conservatives everywhere borrowed from the ops manual of the GOP in the US but without God and country and they will continue to lurch predictably further towards infantile visions of despotic benevolence and into the bosom of their corporate facist tendencies as they fragment.

    As for the CPRS – I can find no good for either our environment or our body politic in the legislation and the only price signal it will emit is higher electricity bills for the customers of our various overseas owned power plants and they will simply take the money and run, will invest absolutely nothing into either improving the plants efficiency or reduce their carbon outputs but will use the windfall profits coming their way to buy offsets from genuine enterprises and individuals who are reducing their carbon output. It is nothing but accounting smoke and mirrors. As far as I am concerned the CPRS does nothing but provide a effective means to monetarise energy production which allow for further financial engineering at the expense of actually doing something. The next derivative trade will be carbon credits – watch out for that one.

    As for agriculture, they already the main means of reducing carbon by natural sequestration processes, to ask farmers to account for their carbon expenditure without accounting for the processes they are the guardians off which sequester carbon is simply folly. The Nats are right on the issue of it doing nothing for farming but add to costs and this will only lead to more carbon use not less as agribusinesses coalesce into even larger scale businesses. Their is no reliable research yet available to demonstrate ina quantifiable manner what every farmer knows about soil and vegetation carbon sequestration. So if I as a farmer plant say another 10 hectares of trees and by pasture management improved the carbon sequestration of the soils by 15% will this be recognised, no only bovine flatulence and tractor diesel counts on our carbon balance sheet. We will plant the trees and improve the soil and will move to biodiesel produced from vegatable oils we grow but we will do this to survive not because of the CPRS or any other similar scheme.

  33. boconnor
    November 26th, 2009 at 11:54 | #33

    As PQ says: “I’ve long pointed out the “parallel universe” nature of the discussion that goes on under the name of “scepticism”. Over the last couple of days, that parallel universe has collided with the universe of Australian practical politics, with catastrophic results for Malcolm Turnbull in particular.”

    I sometimes wonder if Malcolm ever thinks about a parallel universe where J. Howard agrees to his (as Environment Minister) urgings to sign up to doing something about climate change. And I almost (but not quite) feel sorry for him for the rabble and fruit loops he has to manage.

  34. Ikonoclast
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:00 | #34

    All this talk about the CPRS has reached the stage of absurd pointlessness. We have built a system (the physical-economic system of late stage corporate-oligarchic capitalism) which has ignored the environment, ignored the limits to growth and ignored that fact that it is 100% contingent on the environment. This entire physical-economic system has enormous ongoing growth momentum and it is about to crash into the limits. The unreality of the debate is becoming quite bizarre. I guess it illustrates that nearly everyone is in total denial.

    The simple fact is that late stage corporate capitalism has been maladaptive on a grand scale. It is now appropriate to begin using past tense. This system will collapse totally and unfortunately the death toll of premature human deaths over this century will be of the order of several billion.

    Talking about the CPRS now is like talking about erecting a wet tissue paper barrier against a catastrophic category bushfire already roaring down on you. If I may change the analogy, it’s like talking about raising the levees in New Orleans 2 hours before the category 5 Hurricane is about to hit. Or it’s like doing 200 kph in a car 15 metres from hitting a brick wall and still arguing about whether we need a light touch on the brakes.

    My advice to you all would be this. Live peacefully and quietly and enjoy what time you have left. Try to keep your own CO2 emissions down as a salve to your own conscience. If you don’t have children do not start a family now.

  35. stuart
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:45 | #35

    I disagree with a lot of the sentiment here. Yes the extra compensation for polluters isnt good, and yes the initial targets are inadequate, however, the overall structure of the scheme is promising and the cap and the price signals that it generates will change behaviour. The fact is that the scheme covers 85% of Australias emissions (if I remember correctly) which is a substantial proportion of emissions. Agriculture can always be added, and targets can always be raised.

    However once this scheme is in place there wont be anymore scare campaigns about the “economic suicide” of reducing emissions allowing for tougher action in the future. The price signals wont be hidden by the free permits to polluters as they can still profit from reducing emissions and selling the permits. Finally I dont see how carbon derivatives pose a problem. Rather they provide a valuable mechanism for businesses to hedge their risks and provide a degree of certainty for investment.

  36. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:50 | #36

    Maybe Levitt is correct when suggesting that geo-engineering will be the only way to avoid catastrophe while the natural system has time to absorb the existing CO2. It has some things going for it, not withstanding the potential unintended consequences. Initially I wouldn’t have been in favour of it, but if the current science is correct we may well have no other viable option left. It certainly is just as worthy of research focus as carbon capture and storage. Denial about climate change isn’t the only mass delusion going on – I would add our ponzi housing market, consumption based economics and the global finance industry.

  37. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:02 | #37

    stuart :
    However once this scheme is in place there wont be anymore scare campaigns about the “economic suicide” of reducing emissions allowing for tougher action in the future.

    Good point. I support the scheme only as a method of moving passed all the FUD tactics of the denialists. Once the scheme is introduced some of the more extreme scaremongering will be revealed for what it is. The question that needs to be asked is if Joyce, Minchin and co will be held accountable for the damage they have done.

  38. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:07 | #38

    @stuart

    It will in practice be impossible to change the scheme in any serious way this side of 2020 without massive cost. And you have to think if they chickened out on agriculture now — when they are likely to significantly increase their grip on power at the next election in both houses and all they were proposing to do was to consider and evaluate the feasibility of including it by 2015 that they won’t have the nerve to do it or anything erlse significant in the run up to the 2016 election, as they try to win a fourth term and may well by then be in something like the position of Gordon Brown today.

    Let there be no mistake. If this goes through then the argument is dead in the water until 2020 and probably later. The only consolation from today is that there is something to the denier meme that Australia “only” accounts for 1.5% of emissions. I’ve never accepted the force of this claim of course, but for today only, I am clinging to it to still my disgust.

    The only loophole I can see is that at state level a number of states might use regulatory devices to make further impositions, but that seems unlikely for similar reasons

  39. Chris O’Neill
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:14 | #39

    Michael:

    Maybe Levitt is correct when suggesting that geo-engineering will be the only way to avoid catastrophe while the natural system has time to absorb the existing CO2

    which will take tens of thousands of years. Good luck to humanity to keep up the geo-engineering for that long.

  40. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:21 | #40

    @Fran Barlow

    I can appreciate yor dispair, but I don’t believe even a perfect ETS would be enough to deal with the problem. I believe there was always going to be a need for governments, industry and individuals to act in other more direct ways. The CPRS doesn’t stop these things from taking place. Many people around the world have already modified their lifestyles and invested money in solutions in advance of a carbon price. This action may initally be negated by freeriders but it still increases the awareness of the problem and the solutions. It is a common flaw in economics to ignore non-market or non-transaction based activities.

  41. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:24 | #41

    should have read “despair” not dispair.

  42. stuart
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:29 | #42

    @ Fran, I dont think that the scheme needs major change. The only deficiencies I see are the exclusion of agriculture and the targets. (as you allude to) Agriculture wouldnt have been included until the measurement of agricultural emissions was improved anyway, and targets increases can be realised simply by the government purchasing emissions permits on the market.

    The fact is that this scheme has significant industry coverage and with the major politics behind us it can be an effective mechanism for driving emissions reductions.

  43. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:36 | #43

    @Chris O’Neill
    Levitt didn’t prepose geo-engineering as a substitute for reducing carbon dioxide levels. This would also need to be done. I for one support dramatic cuts in carbon pollution along with general reduction in consumption levels, but given the state of the world you need more than one plan.

  44. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:00 | #44

    “The fact is that the scheme covers 85% of Australias emissions (if I remember correctly) which is a substantial proportion of emissions.”

    lol

    The scheme may cover 85% of scope 1 and 2 emissions (depending on how you measure land use). But this is far from being a “substantial proportion of emissions”.

    Scope 3 emissions are, potentially, larger than both 1 and 2. Lobby NGER to compulsory include it. Or keep towing Rudd and Wong’s line that the CPRS reduces total emissions. Or keep your head in the sand.

  45. stuart
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:14 | #45

    @iain

    According to the department of climate change website the CPRS covers approximately 75% of emissions.

    (http://www.climatechange.gov.au/about/accountability/annual-reports/annual-report-0708/performance-overview.aspx)

    I was wrong with the 85%, but 75% is a “substantial proportion of emissions”

  46. Ikonoclast
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:17 | #46

    The entire world needed to move to zero emissions and a steady state sustainables economy by 2000. This process should have commenced about 1970 or even earlier. Keep talking, you are 40 years too late.

  47. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:34 | #47

    Stuart,

    “on average more than 75% of an industry sector’s carbon footprint is attributed to Scope 3 sources”*

    *Categorization of Scope 3 Emissions for Streamlined Enterprise Carbon Footprinting: Environmental science & technology Huang yr:2009 vol:43 iss:22 pg:8509 -8515

    Your “75% figure” only accounts for scope 1 and 2 emissions.

    Total emissions (across all scopes) covered by the ETS is far less than 50%.

  48. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:36 | #48

    @Ikonoclast

    and a steady state sustainables economy by 2000.

    Where’s H G Well when you need him?

    2100?

  49. Paul Williams
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:38 | #49

    Could anyone take pity on a poor but honest delusionist and list the tangible benefits of an Australian ETS? Or point me to where it’s been already discussed, if it’s too much trouble to make fun of me on this thread?

    All I’ve read about so far generalisations such as “being part of the solution, not the problem”, “tackling climate change”, etc.

    All well and good, but how, exactly. What are the expected tangible results, and why are they going to benefit us?

  50. stuart
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:43 | #50

    @iain

    The link I posted above states that the scheme covers “75 per cent of national emissions”. My assumption is that this figure includes scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

    Also ikonoclast while a “zero emissions and a steady state sustainables economy by 2000″ would be nice, its not the reality we live in so I dont see how its relevant.

  51. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:44 | #51

    @stuart

    Not only agriculture but forestry and transport is out. Transport is a major component. They could have measured agriculture even before Garnaut, had they been interested.

    And if they adjust targets the legislation provides for more compensation to the polluters.

    MoSH said:

    I don’t believe even a perfect ETS would be enough to deal with the problem. I believe there was always going to be a need for governments, industry and individuals to act in other more direct ways.

    I agree, but a strong and consistent ETS would have created a framework in which the government could have applied strong regulatory pressure with minimal flexing of its powers.

    Now, regulation is our last hope, although I suppose it is possible that the government could bring in some form of individualised carbon dioxide rationing and perhaps insist on audited product labelling so people could stay within their budget or purchase carboin emissions credits. Ooops … I’m dreaming again.

  52. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:46 | #52

    @Paul Williams

    There are no benefits of this ETS, excpet perhaps to the big polluters and the enemies of serious action.

    Is that what you were asking?

  53. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:48 | #53

    “The link I posted above states that the scheme covers “75 per cent of national emissions”. My assumption is that this figure includes scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.”

    Your assumption is wrong. It covers only scope 1 and 2.

  54. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:50 | #54

    @Paul Williams
    Ross Garnaut has given it a lot of thought. You might try http://www.rossgarnaut.com.au/ClimateChange.html

    I personally would like an explanation of why the current state of the economy is so wonderful. We have never had it so good yet many still live in poverty, Australia does little for the rest of the world except export a lot of coal and minerals, we are continuing to live beyond our means managing resources like water and the well healed are able to minimise their tax thanks to the many generous loop holes left wide open for them. Not to mention rampant asset price inflation and record levels of debt.

  55. Michael
    November 26th, 2009 at 14:50 | #55

    @Paul Williams
    Ross Garnaut has given it a lot of thought. You might try http://www.rossgarnaut.com.au/ClimateChange.html

    I personally would like an explanation of why the current state of the economy is so wonderful. We have never had it so good yet many still live in poverty, Australia does little for the rest of the world except export a lot of coal and minerals, we are continuing to live beyond our means managing resources like water and the well healed are able to minimise their tax thanks to the many generous loop holes left wide open for them. Not to mention rampant asset price inflation and record levels of debt.

  56. November 26th, 2009 at 15:01 | #56

    Mind you, having the Liberals suddenly perceive the catastrophic risks of inaction wouldn’t necessarily help. I’ve just been to the disaster movie 2012, and while I wouldn’t actually go to the stake to defend its grasp of physics its basic sociological insight – that faced with the end of the world rich bastards and their flunkies will let all the rest of us die horribly while they retire to large arks in the Himalayas – sounds disturbingly plausible.

  57. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 15:04 | #57

    Stuart,

    The other thing you have to keep in mind is that not only does the CPRS cover less than half of our total emissions (across all scopes), any reduction (between 5-20% of scope 1 and 2 emissions) will be largely substituted by increasing scope 3 emissions (in the absence of an effective global price signal).

    The likely effect of the CPRS is that by 2020 Australia’s total emissions (across all scopes) will be increased.

  58. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 15:34 | #58

    @ChrisB

    I saw the movie and it was a great romp. I couldn’t but wonder though — if you believe in the end of the world so much that you are willing to pay a billion Euro each to get onto the ark, wouldn’t you be prepared to pay 100% of your wealth to get on board?

    Let’s face it, it’s not as if the paper money is going to be worth anything once the world ends. Surely if you were running the deal you’d auction off the places. Then again, I suppose if you can’t take it with you …

    I also wondered how you’d keep something like that secret. After all, if money and resources of that magnitude started being moved about, all the accountants would know and then everyone else would know too.

  59. Paul Williams
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:02 | #59

    Thanks for the link, Michael. I’ve printed off his Nov 4 Hawke Lecture pdf, presumably the answer will be in there. You’d think Rudd, Wong or Turnbull would have enumerated the benefits. I’m sure there would be one or two voters who would like to know.

  60. nanks
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:08 | #60

    @Fran Barlow
    what were they going to do with the money after the world ended?

  61. nanks
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:09 | #61

    aaargh my post should be deleted – but did they give any explanation?

  62. Chris O’Neill
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:11 | #62
    which will take tens of thousands of years. Good luck to humanity to keep up the geo-engineering for that long.

    Michael:

    Levitt didn’t prepose geo-engineering as a substitute for reducing carbon dioxide levels. This would also need to be done.

    Archer’s point was that the natural system, which is what you were talking about, will take tens of thousands of years to absorb the excess CO2.

    On the other hand, if you want to set up artificial absorption of CO2 then that will require a fortune in money and energy.

  63. Ikonoclast
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:12 | #63

    @Fran Barlow

    We will have a sustainable world economy by 2100. The few humans left (if any) will be having little discernable impact as the biosphere begins a million years long (or longer) recovery cycle from the Greatest Extinction Event On Earth.

  64. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:24 | #64

    @nanks

    I assume the money was used to pay people to build the arks. I will avoid discussing the ending as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone going, but it remained unclear how those who made it into the ark would sort out social arrangements, given that there was a disproportionate number of rich useless old criminals/parasites amongst them.

  65. Peter T
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:24 | #65

    If the parallel with fishing policy holds, the experts will advise serious consequences without drastic cuts, industry will reject this, policy will compromise, and then consequences will arrive, step one will be repeated a couple of times, serious consequences will arrive, and drastic action will be taken (usually too late). See, for example, deep sea tuna, Atlantic cod, North sea herring….

    I imagine we will be having another act, with less compensation and more coverage, in 3-4 years, and another again after that. With luck, we might get a couple of Katrina/Chernobyl moments that give impetus to quick urgent action at the cost of only a few hundred deaths.

    Might be worth thinking about what would provide greatest global leverage against persistent emitters – carbon tariffs? Selective import bans? A declared wind-down of coal coupled with sanctions against other coal exporters?

  66. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:26 | #66

    This just in … Tony Abbott to leave the front bench; gossip about a new meeting aimed at reversing coalition approval of the CPRS … whoo hoo!

    This is about as a good a piece of news as I could have hoped for

  67. November 26th, 2009 at 16:32 | #67

    Pr Q says:

    For Kevin Rudd, the effect is a free gift of Master of the (Australian political) universe. Counting Costello, Turnbull is the fourth Liberal leader he’s destroyed in the space of exactly two years. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome than facing an opponent who could barely beat “None of the above” in a ballot of his own party and is in place only because no one else wants the job.

    This is a bit of a stretch, partisans getting carried away in the moment. It is neither fair nor reasonable to count Costello as one of Rudd’s victims. Costello was cooling his heels on the back-bench and did not even bother to throw his hat into the leadership ring, let alone go head-to-head against Rudd. Its more likely that Costello saw the demographic writing on the wall and realised that Blind Freddie could see that a drovers dog could lead the ALP to victory in the 2010 election.

    The destruction of Turnbull has not yet gone through the formality of occurring. The LP Right did not even have enough numbers to declare a leadership spill, let alone anyone make serious challenge. As Malcom Farr remarks, Turnbull’s victory in the spill motion was better than his personal victory in his successful 2008 leadership bid.

    That leaves Howard and Nelson. Two LP leader scalps collected by Rudd in two years, not bad but flattered by the rising ALP tide.

  68. Ken
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:35 | #68

    The ETS is a dud, that’s certain. I think Labor’s concessions are the ones they themselves want but don’t want to be seen to want. By blaming the Liberals and Nationals they get the kind of watered down policy that allows BAU without getting the blame. It’s all about trying to stem the flow of votes by increasing numbers of concerned Australians away from them to the Greens.

  69. sHx
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:36 | #69

    Comrade Quiggin,

    Just as I was pondering about the meaning of “delusionist”, I was knocked about the head with “vorticist”. What do they mean?

    Fortunately, there are dictionary and wiki entries for vorticism but I fail to understand why you drag in an avant-garde art movement that died a century ago into the climate debate.

    As for delusionism, there is neither a wiki or dictionary entry for it. I can only place it’s meaning between devolutionism and illusionism but I am not certain. Is delusionism a system of thought or is it an illness passed through the genes of mad magicians?

    Ta, comrade.

  70. jquiggin
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:43 | #70

    @sHx I was alluding to Descartes’ vortex theory of planetary motion, displaced by notorious scientist Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.

  71. November 26th, 2009 at 16:47 | #71

    Pr Q says:

    And when Turnbull finally goes, the likelihood that either Joe Hockey or Tony Abbott is going to provide a serious challenge seems close to zero. Whether as supporters or opponents of the leaders, the fruit loops are running wild now, and unlikely to be reined in.

    Nor are the “fruitloops” in the LP “running wild” nearly so much as the media-academia complex would have us believe. Although it has to be admitted that Turnbull in particular, and the LP in general, have been damaged by the antics of the LP Right-wing. How much remains to be seen, a week is a long time. I suspect that Newspoll will not show any dramatic decline in LP support.

    To compare, through the first half of the naughties the ALP had four leadership spills where a sitting leader was successfully challenged from the party floor. In the latter part of the naughties the LP have so far have had one leadership spill.

    I predict that Turnbull will “rein them in” enough to go to the 2010 election. Neither Hockey or Abbott will make a successful leadership bid in the run-up to the 2010 election. I will put up $20 to the first five comers on this. (My recent form on LP leaders has been patchy. I correctly predicted that Howard would lead the LP into the 2007 election but I incorrectly predicted that Costello would bide his time until 2011+.)

    In the 2010 contest I have already predicted that the ALP will win ~ 53-47 TPP. My guess is that Turnbull’s good personal performance will play well to mainstream voters and will somewhat counterbalance the LP’s secular decline and the “fruitloops”.

  72. nanks
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:47 | #72

    Fran Barlow :
    This just in … Tony Abbott to leave the front bench; gossip about a new meeting aimed at reversing coalition approval of the CPRS … whoo hoo!
    This is about as a good a piece of news as I could have hoped for

    I’m hoping they start a push for intelligent design and go for complete environmental disaster to usher in ‘the rapture’

  73. Ken
    November 26th, 2009 at 17:33 | #73

    Am I missing something or would the Governments legislation pass through the Senate with only a few votes from Opposition members? Plenty willing to defy their party to stop it but not a one taking the issue seriously enough to defy their party to make an unwatered ETS and CPRS happen? Of course it was a pretty weak scheme to begin with and I, personally, think watering down was always the intention but I don’t see anyone on that side of politics pushing for greater and more urgent action on climate change and willing to make a personal stand to do so. We do get the “but it won’t fix the problem anyway” criticisms but only as rhetoric from those who advocate inaction, not as part of a strong stance on climate change. Haven’t they had access to the same expert scientific advice as the Government?

  74. Tim Macknay
    November 26th, 2009 at 19:14 | #74

    Iain, I’m sure you’ll be happy to acknowledge that your statement that Australia’s emissions (across all scopes) will increase by 2020 under the CPRS is misleading, in the sense that it will only be the case if no other country takes any serious action to reduce emissions. Under that scenario, any Australian climate change policy will be useless, regardless of how much better it lokks than the CPRS.

    For those who may not be familiar with Iain’s terminology, scope 3 emissions (in this context) refer to emissions produced by third parties in which Australia indirectly plays a role (for example, emissions from Japanese power stations burning coal purchased from Australia).

    Scope 3 emissions are generally not counted when calculating the emissions of a particular party (or country) for the obvious reason that they are not under that party’s control. E.g. if Australia stopped exporting coal to Japan (at considerable cost to ourselves), that would not necessarily reduce Japan’s emissions, as it could obtain coal from other suppliers. Hence, those scope 3 emissions are counted as Japanese emissions, rather than Australian.

    Counting Australia’s scope 3 emissions under the CPRS is really just a rhetorical sleight-of-hand designed to make the scheme look worse than it actually is.

  75. November 26th, 2009 at 19:41 | #75

    The real question, of course, is:

    “What will Malcolm Turnbull look like on the back bench?”

  76. sHx
    November 26th, 2009 at 20:11 | #76

    “@sHx I was alluding to Descartes’ vortex theory of planetary motion, displaced by notorious scientist Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.”

    John, this is a bad analogy. Today’s collaborative scientific practice is much more open and honest -so, we hope- than the lone, scientific genious of Newton’s era. Phil Jones is not Isaac Newton, and neither does he dabble in -so we hope again!- any ‘delusionist’ scientific experiments like Newton did. Newton’s theory displaced Descartes’ not by public brawl or government action, but by better science. It was Halley’s Comet, returning 70 years after the publication of ‘Principia’, that became the first nail in ‘vorticists’ coffin.

    I am no scientist, but from what I have learned studying some history and philosophy of science is that, in science, it pays off to be cautious. This is not the case with climate science. Climate science is in a state of frenzy and hyperbole. It’s output is full of doom and gloom calling for immediate action. Why isn’t there a time-out on this, a cooling-off period, so to speak? A chance for a new generation of scientists to collect more data, develop better models, and test the old ones. Just what kind of damage could we have done to the world’s atmosphere in the last 150 years that cannot be undone in the next 150 years? Are we really so helpless? Climate scientists of Phil Jones and Micheal Mann’s generation will get to see the entire transformation of world economy, based on their science, between their graduation and retirement. This is too short a period of time for anyone seeking historical analogies to the AGW theory.

  77. paul walter
    November 26th, 2009 at 20:17 | #77

    Must admit being introduced to the Liebniz Clarke (Newton proxy) debate and am still trying to work out all the implicatons of that.
    Thank god Kant turned up.

  78. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 20:24 | #78

    Tim,

    The environment counts all emissions.

    And Australia is fully responsible for its scope 3 emissions.

    If we continue to import high carbon intensive products – but reduce our own emissions on our own soil – then we are kidding ourselves that we have an effective carbon “reduction” scheme going on.

    I agree – there is, indeed, a sleight of hand going on.

  79. November 26th, 2009 at 22:21 | #79

    Pr Q says:

    But in the actual physical universe the results aren’t so good for the Australian public or for out contribution to stabilizing the global climate. The combined efforts of rentseekers and delusionists have ensured that, assuming the Senate finally ratifies the Rudd-Turnbull deal, we’ll have a CPRS that is both far more expensive and far less effective than it should have been. It’s still, I think better than nothing, but it’s a deplorable outcome to an unedifying process.

    I’m sure that Pr Q’s indignant reaction at the “rent-seekers and delusionists” is genuine. But I’m not sure it should have come as a such a great shock to him.

    I have predicted from the get-go (2007) that a practical ETS in the AUS context is will turn into a “Potemkin Village carbon trading scheme”. The rorts, rackets and exemptions that Pr Q rails against are not bugs that could have been ironed out by a sane political system. They are features that were always intended by the major political players, particularly major mineral and agricultural interests who stand to lose the most from true carbon costing.

    For once it gives me no pleasure to say “I was right”.

    Its depressing for a number of reasons to see the LP riven with conflict over the ETS. On the whole it is a good party which provides much needed political balance and ballast to the anthropological delusionism of Left-wing cultural elites. But it is not doing much of a service to the nation by catering to ecological delusionism in its own Right-wing rural and regional base.

    And from the nation’s point of view the spectacle of the LP being riven by delusionists is not a pretty one, even if reason and sanity prevailed at the end. Especially when it happens on the same day as a report predicting 4 deg C warming by 2065 with a BAU scenario. That would cause havoc for the children and grand-children of the current LP party room.

    I will indulge in some reckless optimism contrarianism and suggest that this is the nadir of the LP and that from here on they will recover, both in policy and in politics.

  80. Monkey’s Uncle
    November 26th, 2009 at 22:54 | #80

    “That would cause havoc for the children and grand-children of the current LP party room.” – Jack.

    I do find it somewhat odd and amusing that climate change is often presented as an issue of morality and intergenerational equity. That is, there is a moral obligation on today’s people to preserve the planet and its resources for those who will still be around in future.

    And yet the people who run this argument, by and large, are those who generally don’t care about questions of intergenerational equity when it comes to other policies like increasing government debt or higher public spending geared towards retirees and the elderly. Suddenly it is okay to allow people to help themselves to more goodies and stuff the consequences for those who will still be around in future.

    It seems that climate change is the only issue that ever gets framed as a moral or philosophical issue. Everything else exists in the absence of the bigger picture and in an environment of short-term opportunism.

  81. Chris O’Neill
    November 26th, 2009 at 23:12 | #81

    Monkey’s Uncle:

    That is, there is a moral obligation on today’s people to preserve the planet and its resources for those who will still be around in future.

    And yet the people who run this argument, by and large, are those who generally don’t care about questions of intergenerational equity when it comes to other policies like increasing government debt

    Maybe they actually do care about intergenerational equity but they believe there is something more important than government debt at stake, e.g. education.

    or higher public spending geared towards retirees and the elderly.

    You’ll have to refresh my memory as to who you’re referring to.

    It seems that climate change is the only issue that ever gets framed as a moral or philosophical issue.

    You haven’t thought very much about this. There are other issues with a moral component involved e.g. education, health and welfare in general.

  82. paul walter
    November 26th, 2009 at 23:12 | #82

    Unfortunately, have to concur with salvage of Tories, the whole ramshackle system is under threat from these irresponsible moral delinquents, but a proper opposition is necessary for it to work. While Turnbull remains there is still a faint hope they can be dragged out of the Dark Ages and have their attention recollected to the job the public renumerates them for in such a generous way, as an opposition responsible for objective review of government policies involving real world issues.
    I’m as much amused of these people ( Tuckey, etc ) as I would be if forced to witness the tantrums of a small child on a supermarket floor.

  83. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:23 | #83

    JQ maybe delete post above. Looks sus to me. Done, thanks. Spam filter usually catches those

  84. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:28 | #84

    @Jack Strocchi
    I hope you are right Jack (nadir of LP) because they have a long way to improve to get out of the well of all the wholesale ideologies they have been adopting and starting actually thinking again.

  85. jquiggin
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:38 | #85

    @Jack Strocchi
    Jack, the article you cite on ALP leadership spills is in error. Both Crean and Latham resigned. Beazley spilled Crean and was, deservedly, spilled himself.

  86. paul walter
    November 27th, 2009 at 05:49 | #86

    What “sus”?
    It all genuinely nauseates me.
    Watching last night’s house of reps didn’t help, either.

  87. Paul Williams
    November 27th, 2009 at 06:24 | #87

    Apparently Rudd plans to guillotine debate on the ETS in order to force it through while Turnbull is still leader. Which will mean he will fully own it, and the Libs can deflect some of the electoral backlash once the voters notice their economic welfare going down the gurgler.

    Still, no pain, no gain.

    Has anyone got a concise list of the benefits of an Australian ETS? There must be some.

    I’m afraid the Garnaut link didn’t contain such a summary. As the consensus (ha ha) here seems to be that an ETS would be a good thing, I’m sure you would have discussed the benefits somewhere?

  88. iain
    November 27th, 2009 at 09:47 | #88

    Concise list of benefits:

    Provides (minor) momentum to Copenhagen discussion (if passed in time),

    Provides working framework for a secondary market for CO2 emission suppliers,

    Can be scaled and integrated with other similar frameworks (eg EU ETS),

    5% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions that the government bothers to measure (at best),

    Mid level price signal over the short term ($20-30/tonne) for emissions that the government bothered to include in the deal,

  89. Tim Macknay
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:58 | #89

    The environment counts all emissions.

    And Australia is fully responsible for its scope 3 emissions.

    Iain, this is just tosh and you know it. The first sentence is true but irrelevant for the purposes of allocating responsibility. And the second – do you seriously believe that Australia is “fully responsible” for Japanese and Korean scope 1 emissions ? Presumably then, only fossil fuel exporting countries have a responsibility to reduce emissions, and the others (including the United States) are as innocent as babies. Is Saudi Arabia “fully responsible” for American SUV driving habits? I seriously doubt that this is your intention. Do you really think an Australian ETS should require the reduction of Australia’s scope 3 emissions in the absence of a global carbon price? Presumably you realise that this would entail some kind of embargo on energy exports to our major trading partners. Honestly, how effective do you think such a policy would be in bringing down global emissions? Come off it! The CPRS has enough flaws to criticise it without bringing in irrelevant distractions.

  90. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:41 | #90

    @paul walter
    Paul…’sus’…suspicious post with suspicious poss link

  91. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:47 | #91

    Tonight on ABC1 at 7.30 special one hour Kerry Obrien on the unsightly mess in libland politics and the ets

  92. Paul Williams
    November 27th, 2009 at 15:10 | #92

    iain, I was thinking more along the lines of what value the ordinary Australian would receive for the extra money they will pay out.

    It is fairly obvious that an ETS will be a bonanza for legislators, bureaucrats and speculators.

    The ordinary voter might expect a bit more for the $1100 per household the ETS will add to their expenses, which is marginally up from Kevin Rudd’s pre-election estimate of $1 per person.

  93. chrisl
    November 27th, 2009 at 15:55 | #93

    Paul. I will double your $1100 and see you $1100
    If an agreement in Copenhagen is ratified the 5% target becomes 20%, so presumably the $1100 becomes $4400.
    And we need 60% reduction by 2020
    $1100 here, $4400 there, pretty soon you are talking real money!

  94. Paul Williams
    November 27th, 2009 at 16:26 | #94

    @chrisl
    No doubt the money will be well spent. (What could possibly go wrong?)

    But on what?

    The voters would probably like to know.

    It is quite difficult to get anyone to list the benefits, including my local Liberal member, who supports the Turnbull/Rudd/Wong position.

    Imagine setting up a stall at the local market, selling carbon credits, $1100 for a years worth, wife and kids included. It’d be easier to sell rat on a stick!

  95. Ken
    November 30th, 2009 at 17:29 | #95

    The main benefit in taking action is in reducing the future adverse consequences that arise from human induced climate change. These may include avoiding drastic reduction of agricultural output, the loss of low lying land and reduced costs for levees or other “fixes”. Probably too late for the Great Barrier Reef and a lot of ecosystem damage even if true, vigorous policy action was implemented. Then there’s the problem of climate change refugees and security issues arising from famines, dislocation and sanctions or possibly even military actions against recalcitrant nations that feel that they should be entitled to continue increasing or refusing to reduce emissions.

    Whether the ETS is the best or sufficient action for Australia’s portion of responsibility – which is more than most nations unless you truly believe profiting from the supply of products with known harmful long term consequences is an inalienable right – is debatable but angling to do no more than the least that the most recalcitrant of other nations do and treating our current highest per capita emissions as reason to make less reductions rather than more do look like evidence of denial of responsibility for our own actions.

    When the extravagant wastefulness we currently take as our right comes at the expense of future prosperity and we deny all responsibility for those costs and consequences we will not be seen as decent and noble by the billions in developing nations that will bear the brunt of those costs.

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