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In the name of God, go!

December 24th, 2010

If I could have one big present for Xmas, it would be to wake up and discover that Keneally and Bligh had both proffered their resignations, and devoted their lives to undoing some of the damage they have done to the Labor movement.

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  1. Ken Lovell
    December 24th, 2010 at 20:55 | #1

    Mmmmm John it’s hard to think of anyone in the NSW ALP one would want to stay …

  2. jquiggin
    December 24th, 2010 at 21:00 | #2

    I have to agree. Keneally should just hand over to the Libs. By contrast, if Bligh and Fraser quit, and the remaining asset sales were abandoned, Queensland Labor would still have a chance, given the hopelessness of the LNP.

  3. Gary Lord
    December 24th, 2010 at 21:29 | #3

    It’s impressive how you think “the Labor Movement” is still salvageable, Prof. Q. Might be a generational thing?

    I am 45, grew up watching Neville Wran in NSW, and always thought of Labor as Centrists at best. Now we have two major rightwing parties, and a cursed pox on both their pro-business houses. Keneally and Bligh are just symptoms of a global disease.

    I see a fragmented Oz political landscape for the next decade, with Greens and other like-minded realists slowly attaining more power as facts prove their arguments. Gonna be a bumpy ride! Best wishes to all.

  4. gregh
    December 24th, 2010 at 22:15 | #4

    I will be surprised if Bligh does not discover the value of family over Xmas and decide to spend more time with them

  5. Robert
    December 24th, 2010 at 22:37 | #5

    What has Bligh done wrong?

  6. SJ
    December 24th, 2010 at 22:37 | #6

    I agree with Gary Lord. Whoever wins the NSW election in March, we’ll end up with a bunch of inept, corrupt right-wing scum bags in power. Both parties are dedicated to eradicating the power of “labour”, with a small “l” and a “u”.

    The only real difference betweeen the two parties is the extent of the religious craziness. And if Labor loses, which they will, they’ll probably conclude that they have to adopt religious craziness as a core value.

    Let’s face it, the Labor party in Australia is dead but not yet buried. They can’t just re-brand themselves as some kind of “iLabor 2.0″, although they will probably try.

    If the unions continue to tie themselves to the party, they’re probably finished, too. Hey, my union fees help to fund the union busting “Labor” party? Forget that.

    I switched to the greens at the last fed election, coz there’s no other non-right-wing-nutcase party available.

  7. Rationalist
    December 24th, 2010 at 23:20 | #7

    @Gary Lord
    Greens aren’t realists, they are economic terrorists.

  8. Fran Barlow
    December 24th, 2010 at 23:42 | #8

    I can’t disagree PrQ … Of course, I could never stomach labour, but like someone hanging out for her guy to see the light I hung on until I could stand it no more. These days, like SJ, I’m with the Greens too.

  9. Gary Lord
    December 25th, 2010 at 06:28 | #9

    @Rationalist
    Don’t tell me about economic terrorists, mate: I was financially burned this year by the Labor govt’s Green Loans scheme. Incompetent, uncaring, disorganised, short-sighted rabble, the lot of them. Bligh and Keneally are just public faces, heads on sticks waved above the parapets, like Bush and Obama: cheerleaders for the Big Business mafia.

    And now if you will excuse me my kids are about to wake up.

  10. December 25th, 2010 at 06:41 | #10

    Interesting that two women – Kenneally & Bligh – have been willing to go where angels fear to tread and sell out the public wholesale. Likewise Palin in the US.

    I wonder if it means anything. Certainly does not inspire hope in political quotas for the sisterhood.

    It just goes to show that what passes for liberalism in the post-modern world has now degenerated into a rotting corpse. Cut it down and fer crissake bury it.

  11. jakerman
    December 25th, 2010 at 07:24 | #11

    Greens aren’t realists, they are economic terrorists.

    Look what argument on the political right has been reduced to. Having partisan right wing activists in control of 70% the Australian press might give them dominance over the ill informed but their disproportionate power also seems to dull their arguments.

  12. Ikonoclast
    December 25th, 2010 at 07:25 | #12

    @Gary Lord

    Gary Lord is correct. Liberal and Labor are both right wing parties now. They both support managerialist corporate capitalism. They are both beyond all redemption. Our only hope is that Greens and like minded parties gain ground as people start to see the Greens were right all along.

    1. There are limits to growth.
    2. Growth capitalism is doomed.
    3. Finite resources will run out.
    4. Renweable resources do have a maximum deliverable flow.
    5. The economy depends totally on the environment.
    6. The laws of thermodynamics are not repealable by economics.

  13. Ikonoclast
    December 25th, 2010 at 07:31 | #13

    Tell me, Rationalist, do you think the economy is free standing or do you think it depends on resources from the environment? Where do we get our resources if we wreck the environment’s capacity to carry us?

  14. Rationalist
    December 25th, 2010 at 07:57 | #14

    @Gary Lord

    I agree, Labor are economic terrorists too but the Greens would produce inefficient programs like the Green loans on a vast larger scale which would collapse in a much more damaging way. They will try to re-regulate and manage industry which would cause capital flight and economic disaster. They would bow to union demands yielding a wages breakout and another decade of high inflation as the labour market locks rigid once more. Will the last full time worker with a real well paying job in Australia please turn out the lights (real jobs, not green jobs!). Oh wait… the lights may not even be on since the Greens would shut down Hazelwood in Victoria without any possible solution for replacement except for nuclear, coal or gas.

    @jakerman

    You hear this argument a lot because it is true.

    @Ikonoclast

    It depends on coal, iron ore and gas.

  15. jakerman
    December 25th, 2010 at 08:48 | #15

    Thank you to Rationalist for at least making and argument this time. To make his claim, here are some of the arguments that Rationalist side steps.

    Claims of capital flight are played on by Palmer and those who have no intention of taking their capital elsewere, this is were the natural wealth is, and if they leave it, the minerals will increase in value in proportion to rising scarcity and demand.

    Norway with its 78% tax on oil is not suffering capital flight, in contrast Gunns destruction of old growth forest has seen a flight of captial.

  16. Christopher Dobbie
    December 25th, 2010 at 09:49 | #16

    @jakerman

    I could use that number in conversation, 78%. Do you have any links so I can verify it for my information.

    Thanks.

  17. December 25th, 2010 at 13:00 | #17

    Pr Q said:

    and devoted their lives to undoing some of the damage they have done to the Labor movement

    Of course Profumo did life-long penance for a far more venal sin, sleeping with a high-flying prostitute. But Profumo was a much-decorated war hero and hailed from a more honorable age when high-status people were more inclined to service.

    Fortunately a legion of satirists have now made such characters unthinkable.

    Our leaders are not monsters, but they are so terribly uninspiring.

  18. Alice
    December 25th, 2010 at 17:20 | #18

    Merry Xmas everyone…

    That was my wish…that these two KK and Bligh would just hand in their resignations and get outta town.!
    Except I want to see Roozendahl and Fraser packing their grisly bags as well…

    “One day brought the rain and the rain stayed on
    And the swamp water overflowed
    ‘skeeters and the fever grabbed the town like a fist
    Iemma and Costa were the first to go
    Some say the plague wasa brought by Obeid
    There was talk of a hang’n too
    But the talk got shackled by KKs howls and her cackles
    From the bowels of the Black bayou

    Jeepers creepers.

  19. Alice
    December 25th, 2010 at 17:40 | #19

    @Rationalist
    Ratio “They (the Greens) would bow to union demands”
    I dont think you noticed that the unions are dead, divided and bled into insignificance by casualisation, and the Australian employees are the losers. As for large firms threats to leave…wont happen. Miners arent going to give up those minerals any time soon.
    As for the lights going out, thanks to KK and Roozendahl – its going happen sooner than you think.

  20. jakerman
    December 25th, 2010 at 18:10 | #20

    Christopher, here is a source. .

    Its made up in two parts, a) 28% the corporate tax rate, plus b) 50% additional oil and gas tax.

    Corporate income taxes are levied at a flat rate of 28% (a combination of 21.25% national tax, and 6.75% municipal tax). Also, employers contribute up to 16.7% of paid wages to the Social Security Scheme. Companies involved in oil or gas pay a special oil tax of 50% in addition to the standard 28%. All income from capital is taxable at 28%, except dividends, which are taxed at 11%.

  21. jakerman
    December 25th, 2010 at 18:29 | #21

    This is the trend in widening inequality that Rationalist would preserve with his anti union position.

    This scale of inequality has anti-democatic/plutocratic consequences, especially in out consolidated media environment.

    This concentration of power inhibits economic mobility as heredity of wealth dominates.

  22. Alice
    December 25th, 2010 at 18:29 | #22

    @jakerman
    Unfortunately Gary Lord and Ikono al both correct. Liberal and Labor are both right wing parties now. There isnt much sympathy for ordinary working people of the great middle, upper middle, or poor from them. They are not even working for the mass of us. They are more intent on robbing us and getting out fast with their treasures. Increasingly the people are unrepresented by governments which are doing business (badly) with the big end of a few big banks and more than a few foreign towns.

    This is the era of puppet governments and the grand slash down sales of the entire nation.

  23. jakerman
    December 25th, 2010 at 18:37 | #23

    And @here is the wages breakout Rationalist does not criticise.

  24. Alice
    December 25th, 2010 at 19:37 | #24

    You know Jackerman – these graphs are simply telling. In the mid century high taxes on the rich helped keep inequality down and now its blown out again with the top 1 percent earning extraordinary multiples (and keeping it) of the bottom income earners. The robber barons are back, bigger than ever.
    I find the top 1% extremely interesting. In Australia’s taxation statistics they are invisible. They are actually omitted from some data streams entirely because to include them “might breach privacy regulations given their low numbers, but extraordinary wealth.” Can you believe this (even though there are no names, some people might figure out by industry, who they are)”.
    Its no accident that in mid century Australia, the top decile accounted for redistribution to other deciles from the income tax system. By 1990, the top decile had managed to shift almost half of this redistribution to the second top decile and relieve themselves that way. Its also no accident that the bottom two decile shares have lost almost a third of there share since mid century.
    Yes some economists and governments signed up to the great entrepreneur worship and the majority were tricked down by lower taxes on the rich policies. The top 1% account for a lot of the mess economies now find themselves in. It is they who need to be taxed more.

    There is no wages breakout. Its a figment of the rights imagination. There has been an obscene profit break out and its far more likely to cause unemployment and deflation, than inflation.

  25. paul walter
    December 25th, 2010 at 20:53 | #25

    I wish I could find a single item that could rescue current Labor leaders, male and female, from the harsh judgement implicit in JQ’s thread starter.
    Even Judas had the decency to neck himself after betraying his friend for thirty pieces of siver.
    But current politicians lack the integrity even of a Judas.

  26. paul walter
    December 25th, 2010 at 21:04 | #26

    Robert,#5, You should ask, “what she done right”.
    Perhaps you are a young fellow. You haven’t had decades of being a labor supporter and seeing everything that labor promised it would do, or not do and could have done with little grief, that you voted for them on the basis thereof, abandoned, time after time, when it gains government somewhere.
    What we have seen over time, is the gradual abandonment of the labor base and values, in favour of new “friends”, down the big end of town.
    As per Orwell’s Animal Farm, in the end we treated to the sight of our former leaders sitting down at table with our enemies, as betrayers, dining at our expense.
    No, Robert.
    We expect no better from Tories, but we dared hope for much better than the likes of Costa, Kenneally, Richo, Bligh and so forth.

  27. December 25th, 2010 at 21:17 | #27

    The privatisation of public agencies is a lucrative source of patronage and payola for careerist politicians of both parties. Although for some reason parties of the nominal Left seem to be more susceptible to the temptation.

    Perhaps because the public will give them more leeway when acting “against ideological interest”. Or perhaps because they have fewer post-political options to make money.

    Certainly neither Askin nor Bjelke Petersen, no matter how corrupt they were in their party activities, would have dreamed of flogging off public assets for a song to the Big End of Town.

    At the risk of sounding like a record with its needle stuck you can see the same process at work with the GSE’s in the US. The bi-partisan consensus means there is never much of a public fuss kicked up about the scandal, “which is legal”, as Kinsley would say.

    I know this is the Christmas season and I should be seething with goodwill for all men. But Kenneally’s blatant rip off means I am not feeling particularly charitable at the moment. As Steve Sailer says:

    They are all whores.

  28. Charlie
    December 25th, 2010 at 22:13 | #28

    Jack Strocchi: I think you are not taking in what ProfQ has said, namely, that the NSW privatisation is clearly at a knockdown price. But that proves it is a smart move with the impending abolition of the privatised coal-fired power assets by the Gillard-Brown coalition via their forthcoming carbon tax.

    You need to have lumps of coal in your head if you expect to sell assets now at their 2007 price given the upcoming Gillard carbon taxes. Just to get rid beef cattle, the carbon tax proposed by Garnaut (2008, Table 7.17 p.169) has to be $40 per tonne, to eliminate its 2005 profit margin, so it has to be much more for coal power. That is because, as Garnaut showed, a tax of $40 only accounts for 5% of the value of coal mining’s value of production as of 2005 (much less now), so Brown will need to get that up to at least 30% with normal profit margins, i.e. to a tax of $240 per tonne as of 2005, but double that at present coal prices, say $480. That is what he has to do – and will come July 2011 – to drive coal mining (and power) out of business – which is the objective.

    The NSW government has been really smart, getting out of a doomed business before it is too late at whatever price it can get.

  29. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 07:48 | #29

    There is no wages breakout. Its a figment of the rights imagination.

    Yes Alice, its striking how far removed we are from that type of crisis, and how blind the right are to the current multiple crises.

  30. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 07:49 | #30

    @Jack Strocchi
    says “The privatisation of public agencies is a lucrative source of patronage and payola for careerist politicians of both parties”

    Of course it is Jack. Roozendahl, who worked as an able footservant of the wealthy plutocracy, having just sold electricity to them at a bargain basement price, and kept his waterfront dwelling masters happy by giving them a windfall property transfer by allowing 20 year transferable leases over their private jetties, was outta town to New York
    just after the sale of electricity…where he stopped by to pay his respect (grovelling respect) to none other than Rupert Murdoch.

    His ALP colleagues think Roozendahl was job hunting. That makes Rupert the power behind post political careers.

    Seems to me Rupert owns much more than the media.

  31. Fran Barlow
    December 26th, 2010 at 08:22 | #31

    @paul walter

    but we dared hope for much better than the likes of Costa, Kenneally, Richo, Bligh and so forth

    I never did.

  32. Ikonoclast
    December 26th, 2010 at 08:43 | #32

    @Rationalist

    Thank you, Rationalist. You admitted that the economy depends on “coal, iron ore and gas”. I assume you were talking about the Australian economy. If talking about the world economy you would have mentioned oil as well.

    Let’s look at these;

    1. Oil (production has peaked and is now in decline, greenhouse gas contributor )
    2. Coal (major greenhouse gas contributor and also a finite resource)
    3. Gas (greenhouse gas contributor and also a finite resource)
    4. Iron ore (mineable deposits are finite) “With iron ore mine output beginning to peak globally, steel producers and iron ore miners are in a scramble to secure dwindling high grade iron ore assets” – Hindu Business line 3 hrs ago at posting.)

    Unless we stablise population, halt material growth and develop a renewables economy we are in serious trouble.

    In fact we already are. The Global Footprint Network calculates we are already in overshoot beyond the earth’s carrying capacity at our current population and living standards.

    http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/basics_introduction/

    Living at a renweable level is like living on interest from your accounts. Your capital (= the earth’s natural capital) is not eaten into. Living beyond thje earth’s carrying capacity is like spending all of your interest and part of your capital every year. We are currently using about 1.5 of earth’s total production capacity and sink capacity for wastes (as measured by hectares required to support each person sustainably. Thus we are eating up the earth’s natural capital and heading for disaster.

  33. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 08:43 | #33

    @Charlie
    Charlie – you can understand the benefits of public education but you cannot understand the benefits of publicly provided and subsidised energy???? (expletive deleted – this is about business needs too).
    The smelly state ALP headed by KK and Roozendahl (Murdochs little pasty faced yanks in the ranks) intends to invest part of the proceeds of the knock down sale of electricity assets in a filthy COALMINE so they can access cheap coal for the generators!

    It stinks Charlie. Its not smart. Its blatant greed. Strocchi is right.

  34. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 08:45 | #34

    @Fran Barlow
    We know Fran.

  35. charles
    December 26th, 2010 at 09:10 | #35

    “The NSW government has been really smart, getting out of a doomed business before it is too late at whatever price it can get.”

    No the Victorian government was smart to get out of a doomed business when the business men were not smart enough to realize it was smart. The NSW government is getting out when anyone with any wit can see coal fired power stations have little future.

  36. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 10:26 | #36

    @charles
    This underhanded sneakily timed electricity sale is not about good business. Its not about good political management. You completely overlooked my point – NSW State Labor intend to expand a coal operation with money from this electricity sale yet you claim “NSW government is getting out when anyone with any sense can see coal fired power stations have little future”

    …..er ahem ??

    The view of NSW Labor (and Liberal) in this country, is and has been and likely will continue to be – “Australia has tonnes of coal left to use and sell”… and thats exactly what they will do because they have a dollar compass for a sale or a profitable (for them) exploitation, but certainly no moral compass.

    I have no idea why you think our politicians (and State ALP governments in particular) should do business with the private sector at all, when the entire process reeks of corruption and secret commuissions and kickbacks….and we hear about it time and time again..and we, the voters, clearly dont want it.

    We have said so. Over and over but it keeps happening and the political parties arent listening, well not to the voters anyway.

    Mark my words, when there is nothing public left to sell, which is where we are going, and when there are no public services left save the payment of public sector retirement pensions which will not diminish, you may finally understand why we ever constructed and designed a public sector that required a division between public and private activities in the first place.

    The interraction of public business with private business cannibalises governments and cannibalises our civil infrastructure as we see happening all around us.

    And when those scraggly remnants of our political representatives who have lived through this, seen the deals and the fortunes that can be made with the flick of a pen, lost all sense of ethics and morals, have finally bankrupted our governments……those kind of politicians may well come for your private property.

    Nothing sacred ill be left.

  37. Ikonoclast
    December 26th, 2010 at 10:30 | #37

    @Alice

    Alice is correct. The nation and the bulk of the people are better off when strategic natural monopoly assets are government owned. That means;

    - Water
    - Grid Power
    - Communications infrastructure
    - Education
    - The power to issue both fiat money and debt money (taking the latter power off private banks)
    - All mineable natural resources (leased to companies with high royalties to govt.)

    People who argue against these propositions are either corporate capitalists and the rich out for self interest or people who are sadly fooled by corporate capitalist propaganda.

    It’s really that basic.

  38. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 10:47 | #38

    Privatizing dirty coal is widening the constituency opposed to carbon pricing.

  39. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 10:57 | #39

    And lets not forget the compensation that will be demanded by investors as a deal for a carbon price. Its tricky false accounting, a step removed from public consciousness.

  40. Charlie
    December 26th, 2010 at 11:49 | #40

    Alice said – “Charlie – you can understand the benefits of public education but you cannot understand the benefits of publicly provided and subsidised energy????”. Yes I can apart from subsidies (for which there is no case), but can Gillard Brown & co, determined as they are to tax the hell out of coal-fired energy, which is the cheapest available? I am surprised at you, have you not heard of the MRST aimed mostly at coal, with the carbon tax still to come? What is your prediction for real electricity prices by 2012, higher or lower than in 2007?

    We know from the NSW feed-in tariff that solar cannot cut it at less than wholesale 60c per kW hour against retail price of $0.135. How much more subsidy do you insist on? and who will pay for it? Santa Claus?

  41. paul walter
    December 26th, 2010 at 13:30 | #41

    Alice said it for us, Fran.
    “Live in hope,
    Die in despair”.
    Besides, when has there ever been a viable alternative?
    Many have been like me, starting voting strategically for Democrats, socialists and other Indies; eventually Greens in the Senate or State Upper houses , in the hope that we could get “new ” labor to review its infatuation with economic rationalism.
    Surely you understand Prof Quiggin’s despair?
    It’s not just the flagrancy of more recent transgressions, imposed throough globalisation, but combined with their irrationality. The poor beggar must see it all in a sharpness of relief, as a trained economist, that would have the rest of us on the brink of despairing tears.

  42. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 13:35 | #42

    Gillard Brown & co, determined as they are to tax the hell out of coal-fired energy, which is the cheapest available?

    Its only cheap because we don’t yet price the damage coal burning causes. The carbon tax is good policy because it internalizes some of the cost of carbon to it market price. Sound user pays principle.

    Subsidising clean energy is good policy to aid the transition from inappropriately priced coal. Clean energy prices fall as the industry matures.
    http://www.iea.org/work/2007/learning/Nemet_PV.pdf

  43. jquiggin
    December 26th, 2010 at 14:14 | #43

    “We know from the NSW feed-in tariff that solar cannot cut it at less than wholesale 60c per kW hour against retail price of $0.135.”

    On the contrary, we know that at this price, the takeup was so massive that the government (with typically stupid overreaction) panicked and cut the tariff to 20c.

  44. Charlie
    December 26th, 2010 at 15:58 | #44

    So what is the take up now? Actually Prof Q, you are right about the NSW Labor Government, as that whole scheme was not only a massive rip-off, but a gross redistribution from the relatively poor (e.g. those in flats etc with either no roofs of their own or none big enough for the panels) to the rich in their McMansions and Federation stately homes. But that is what the carbon tax will also be, petty cash for the well off and real hardship for the rest of us, and that is what it has to be, because the poor being many consume more CO2 in total than the rich being few.

    E.g., net income taxpayers earning more than $62,500 were only 14.4% of the total in 2003-2004, but the 85.6% accounted for about double the CO2 consumption of the former. Carbon taxing the former till their pips squeek will not have much impact on national CO2 consumption, and none at all if the proceeds of the tax are transferred to those earning less than $62,500, as the Garnaut Review proposed, thereby enabling them to at least maintain and probably increase their CO2 consumption.

  45. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 16:04 | #45

    Charlie the massive rip off is the externalized cost of carbon being passed on the the most vulnerable in the world.

    A carbon price can be as regressive or progressive as any tax/economic system. It can redistribute to the poor or the rich, the direction of that redistribution is a choice.

  46. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 16:07 | #46

    Carbon taxing the former till their pips squeek will not have much impact on national CO2 consumption and none at all if the proceeds of the tax are transferred to those earning less than $62,500

    Charlie, which carbon tax framework are you citing?

  47. Fran Barlow
    December 26th, 2010 at 17:09 | #47

    @jakerman

    It’s only cheap because we don’t yet price the damage coal burning causes. The {A }carbon tax {price} is good policy because it internalizes some of the cost of carbon to it market price. Sound user pays principle.{emended so I could agree 100%}

    This restrains a classic example of the TotC/collective action problem.

    Subsidising clean energy is good policy to aid the transition from inappropriately priced coal.

    I’m against subsidies in the classic sense, but assuming an energy proposal meets transparent technologically neutral and adequate feasibility criteria, due diligence etc, then soft loans and guarantees are apt policy.

  48. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 17:29 | #48

    Without knowing how you define “subsidies in the classic sense” I can’t say if I agree or disagree.

  49. Fran Barlow
    December 26th, 2010 at 17:35 | #49

    @jakerman

    Straight gifts or tax holidays or accelerated depreciation or guaranteed prices … that sort of thing.

  50. Charlie
    December 26th, 2010 at 17:59 | #50

    jakerman: formally you are right when you say “A carbon price can be as regressive or progressive as any tax/economic system. It can redistribute to the poor or the rich, the direction of that redistribution is a choice,” but in practice it is not as simple as that. It would be difficult even if not impossible to frame a progressive carbon tax at point of consumption of CO2. Most likely the Brown tax will be flat rate at point of production (for ease of collection) and therefore like GST regressive as with all flat rate taxes, simply because in this case energy accounts for a higher proportion of the consumption of the poorer than it does of the richer.

    Your previous comment “the massive rip off is the externalized cost of carbon being passed on to the the most vulnerable in the world” is mere armwaving. Where? when? are there no external benefits at all from atmospheric CO2? What did you have for your Christmas repasts, I bet the carbon content was at least 50%, the exact amount depending on your intake of certain medicinal beverages!

  51. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 18:09 | #51

    Charlie, you’ve closed your mind by narrowing your focus, the progressive nature of a tax system is not limited the point of taxation, rather it included the use of revenue. Huge progressive choice opens up with how to use the revenue.

    Your claim of arm waving is full of arm waving. The risk profile of AGW is documented, and falls heavily on Africa, South Asia and South America, you should be assumptive your lack awareness of these studies is shared by rest of us.

    My carbon footprint was light this Christams, thanks for asking, but I prefer the burden not be born by only those with a conscience, leaving the greedy to wreak havoc.

  52. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 19:46 | #52

    Correction:

    …the progressive nature of a tax system is not limited [to] the point of taxation, rather it include[s] the use of revenue. Huge progressive choice open up with how to use the revenue.

    And BTW, options for my low carbon choices improve as the economy shift to low carbon.

  53. Charlie
    December 26th, 2010 at 20:41 | #53

    jakerman: so you ate and drank nothing with any carbon in it, not even a chook, potato, Coke glass of red or a beer? But you still breathe out CO2! You are a menace, do eat drink and be merry because the more crops are grown to replace your consumption, the more of the CO2 up there is used to produce them.

    As for the 3rd world, there have never before been as many there as well off as of now thanks to their increased access to carboniferous energy and all time record carboniferous crop and livestock production. Check out the FAO stats – and get real as well as merry!

  54. jakerman
    December 26th, 2010 at 20:47 | #54

    Charlie I see you have once again raised the white flat on the ground of factual debate, and opted for agruing with strawmen.

    And most of the 3rd world nations in the regions I named need not cut their CO2 emissions like us, they are well below the per capita quota for 450 pmm. Your ill informed position sits quite aptly with your arrogant attitude.

  55. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 21:49 | #55

    @paul walter
    Prof Quiggins and my despair and yours as well Paul walter. Why do I think Fran a tad too young and still experimenting with various outfits to try on, before she adopts the one that most suits her?
    This is why – I had an engaging conversation with a late twenty year old casual tutor at MQ who has done her honours, is considering her phd and is glad of the casual tutoring money. She said to me, in response to the mass stand downs and contract discontunances at MQ – “but why should I be worried? We all have the choice where we want to go dont we? I mean its freedom for us isnt it? Thats all Ive ever heard. I dont know anything about permanent contracts. No one my age gets them. Its always been this way”

    I realised she only saw the world as it has been since she was born. She doesnt know any better. She doesnt know what it is to spend your life teaching, gaining wisdom (the best teachers are older teachers), to have it discounted because you can be easily replaced by someone younger and prettier. Its not untill you get to the peak of your knowledge and your wisdom that you realise how decrepit the flexible labour force is. Far more decrepit than age and wisdom and experince because it has no respect for any of these things. It only respects the lowest wage.

    She will see what I see one day. At least when I was her age, I didnt see the labour force the way she sees it. I am grateful for that. I was spared the illusion (delusion?) of freedom and loyalty was once important to employers.

  56. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 21:54 | #56

    But this young girl has been brainwashed by a false ideology of freedom and flexibility in the labour force that comes down to individual choice, and she is yet to discover, the labour force is far from as flexible as she thinks.
    Plus she gets little returns now – in her super, in her continuity, in her life savings, in her credit worhiness (but perhaps she is not old enough to conisder these matters yet).
    Just buying the line, because its all she has ever experienced., all she has ever heard.

    Sad.

  57. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 22:11 | #57

    But I digress…Id much prefer sweing my hateful rantings towards those puppets of the right in Keneally and that odious Roozendahl….
    that…that…cretin, than slimy swamp creature.
    I had a friend tonight to dinner who is a senior public servant in the NSW State government, who admitted openly that “they couldnt nuild the harbour bridge again, now”.
    “They wouldnt know how”. “they dont have the expertise any more.”

    I know it. Some years ago, in 2002 or so, under a different leadershio, NSW Treasury was attempting to sell the last stocks of old yellow Sydney sandstone that had been held and kept and stored by the now defunct department of public works. The department of public works was once a mighty state enterprise, afforded at a time when our poulation was a lot lower tha now (yet now we cant afford it). It was responsible for roadbuilding, and public buildings constructions, not only in Sydney but across the State of NSW. I imagine it would once have employed thousands and thousands of people, from publuc architects, and public engineers, down to public carpenters, builders, tradesmen and clearks.

    The history of the department of public works is grand, and its employment records solid until it was degraded and lost to be run by a committee of three within the finance department with no budget at all, except that for incomings from the last of its Sydney sandstones stores (kept especially for the repairs to our traditional sandstome spublic buildings).

    The snadstone is gone. The public buildings are no longer being either constructed or maintained…the staff are all gone. Its a committee…and no…

    It certainly couldnt build the harbour bridge again. So have a good look every time you cross it. Look at the rust, the age and… wonder. The state government couldnt do it again.

    They dont know how any more and that is the truth of it.

  58. Alice
    December 26th, 2010 at 22:22 | #58

    and we have these weasels in NSW Labor selling the last of what we owned as public enterprises, public constructions and public buildings, because they dont have the expertise to manage it.

    What we have is an anorexic spincentric incompetent overpaid shadow of what we once had from our governments..in jobs, in employment, in expertise, in their sense of public duty.

    We dont need the state governments in the form we have now, any more. We would be better off without them. They are a costly drain on all of us.

  59. Peter T
    December 26th, 2010 at 22:59 | #59

    I find it interesting that much of the debate about policies to meet some pretty significant challenges is conducted in terms of money, interest rates, subsidies etc. As if these were the real world, or at least as if the issue is to maintain the world as it is. Like the suggestion that we can move to electric cars and go on motoring – ignoring the simple thermodynamics that say this will cost at least twice as much energetically. The issues are water, housing, food in a much more constrained world – one in which we can still have as much as we can build or grow, but can build fewer houses and grow less food. Bit like arguing about what the size of the dance floor should be on the lifeboat.

    I guess this is economics. I wonder what use it will be in 30 years?

  60. paul walter
    December 26th, 2010 at 23:16 | #60

    Beautifully related anecdote, re tutor, Alice.
    A bit like battery chooks. They may or may not be happy- how would we know- but whether that’s the case is not the point. The satisfaction someone somewhere else gains, contingent on the feathered creatures remaing clamped within their confines, is the only thing that matters in this schema.
    The chickens?
    Who knows.
    Happy new year, friend.
    And the rest and particular Prof. Quiggin, a busy bloke who still makes time for the benefit not just of smart posters but mugs like me, in helping us make sense of our times.

  61. Chris O’Neill
    December 26th, 2010 at 23:18 | #61

    @Charlie

    Your previous comment “the massive rip off is the externalized cost of carbon being passed on to the the most vulnerable in the world” is mere armwaving. Where? when? are there no external benefits at all from atmospheric CO2? What did you have for your Christmas repasts, I bet the carbon content was at least 50%, the exact amount depending on your intake of certain medicinal beverages!

    Not even wrong.

  62. Mike
    December 27th, 2010 at 02:15 | #62

    @ Charlie

    But you still breathe out CO2!”

    Epic fail for complete misunderstanding of the carbon cycle. But to assist you, ask yourself, where does all the carbon that I exhale originally come from?

  63. Hermit
    December 27th, 2010 at 05:59 | #63

    In my opinion the feed-in tariff for residential PV should not exceed 20c per kwh. It is not a premium product and doesn’t deserve a premium price. Some claim it helps with summer load following. However it is just expensive tokenism if 10% of houses are producing 1000 watts at noon while 80% of houses use 2500w of air conditioning at 5-6 pm. Meanwhile the gas turbine generators whir away on half throttle waiting to pick up the slack. It would take much less capital cost to do it all with gas, albeit with some fuel cost.

    German experience suggests high PV input may make the grid unstable on sunny days. I regard PV as a middle class fashion statement that the lowest socio-economic stratum helps pay for. Ms Kenneally got this one right if nothing else.

  64. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 06:29 | #64

    Hermit, an appropriate response to an unstable grid is to make it more robust not to dismiss PV. The grid can be improved by linking up more energy storage in the system and/or making existing storage more responsive to PV cycles- which are more reliable in nature than wind.

    I recall you similarly dismissed ecological hotspot of the Coorong and lower lakes to be given up.

  65. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 06:33 | #65

    So I take it Hermit that you have taken down your solar panels and are now buying all your energy from the grid?

  66. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 06:38 | #66
  67. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 07:19 | #67

    @paul walter
    Happy New year dear Paul, yes – a friend. A constant here who sees things the way I do and no we wont forget the Prof in our New Year wishes. God the world would be a confusing mad place without him wouldnt it?
    Gotta love a guy who tells the truth as he sees it (without being paid for it), is good, fair and kind and bonus!!!! hosts a bunch of nutcases who ramble on about anything and everything….

  68. Hermit
    December 27th, 2010 at 07:23 | #68

    @jakerman
    According to climatologist James Hansen we will return to El Nino conditions in 2012-2014. Does that mean the Coorong and lower lakes must have the same water levels they enjoy now? That will be in spite of high food prices from irrigation cutbacks.
    @BilB
    For once we agree. Servicing mud huts off-grid is an appropriate niche for PV. Making tiny amounts of expensive electricity for a grid that supports aluminium smelters and air conditioning isn’t.

  69. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 07:34 | #69

    @Mike

    Epic fail for complete misunderstanding of the carbon cycle. But to assist you, ask yourself, where does all the carbon that I exhale originally come from?

    And in any event, as the intellectually frivolous dross pushing the polluters’ cause ignore, the question of CO2 abatement is not to remove CO2 in toto from the atmosphere but rather, to remove just so much CO2 from the flux as causes the observable climate anomaly. CO2 that is the sine qua non of human welfare is not our object. CO2 that is added above the threshhold for maintenance of the ecosystem services on which humans depend for wellbeing is.

    Our project is to foreclose harm to human welfare by upholding the integrity of the biosphere upon which we all depend rather than to declare CO2 anathema. The polluters’ harpies act as if we are bound by a quasi-religious crusade, and frequently assert it, but this is just another iteration of a strawman argument.

  70. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 07:48 | #70

    According to climatologist James Hansen we will return to El Nino conditions in 2012-2014. Does that mean the Coorong and lower lakes must have the same water levels they enjoy now? That will be in spite of high food prices from irrigation cutbacks.

    We agreed to protect the Coorong and lower lakes under a Ramsar treaty. We did this for a reason, the rich and unique biodiversity. As s basic foundation we should give the Coorong and lower lake the water sufficient to meet our treat requirements. We are currently failing dismally .

  71. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 07:56 | #71

    Hermit, without our economies bringing forward the advancement of PV, there would be less or none for developing countires. And as has been demonstrated PV cost improve with scale .

  72. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 08:03 | #72

    @Hermit

    In my opinion the feed-in tariff for residential PV should not exceed 20c per kwh.

    In my opinion that puts the effective cost of abating CO2 at above $200 tCO2e. That’s not sustainable unless that is the general price we are imposing on CO2e emissions. Given that the state is not jumping with excitement at my party’s rather modest interim carbon price proposal of $23 tCO2e it’s hard to see how $20 can be passing rational. Shouldn’t measures (whatver they are) that cost about as much as we are willing to spend on CO2 abatement now be undertaken first?

    Conversely, if we think that more than $200 tCO2e is rational policy, shouldn’t it apply generally? Why should it be a special concession for people with solar panels. Shouldn’t it be given to people who find useful ways of abating net emissions from landfill and water treatment and agricultural residues, for example? What about people who find ways of binding CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in some stable state or of capturing CH4 from gassy mines or abating other even more potent GHGs (NF3 used in plasma etching {forcing 21w/M2 pppb} for example, which is associated, inter alia with production of Plasma TVs and similar)?

    If we had such a price we wouldn’t need a FiT for PV. People whose energy and other Co2/GHG intensive consumption patterns persisted would be paying a much larger net price than those who weren’t and those who weren’t would have a rebate to do with as they wished, including, if they thought it worthwhile, purchasing PV.

  73. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 08:11 | #73

    In my opinion that puts the effective cost of abating CO2 at above $200 tCO2e.

    Unlike the cheapest (low hanging fruit) abatement costs like efficiency, PV reduces with scale. The global all time subsidie required to bring PV to ultimate cost competitiveness is projected to be between$50 billion to $166 billion. Not a large cost in the long run.

  74. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 08:13 | #74

    BTW we hit PV break even at far cheaper/quicker rate where the solar insolation is above average (like Australia’s is).

  75. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 08:18 | #75

    And the storage capacity requirements of PV match well with the essential transition to electric vehicles. Batteries for EV can buffer the demand and supply from PV and other intermittent renewables.

  76. John Quiggin
    December 27th, 2010 at 08:38 | #76

    Fran, what’s relevant is the difference between the feed-in tariff and the delivered price of coal-fired electricity, including distribution and retail* costs. That’s commonly 15-20 c/kwh (roughly 5c for generation and 10c for distribution and retail), so the difference is 0-5c/kWh and the implied carbon price (assuming 1tonne CO2/MWh for coal) is $0-50.

    * Retail is a bit complicated, but we’re down to minor details here.

  77. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 08:54 | #77

    @jakerman

    Your problem is the assumption that past “learning curve” rates will persist. Your link document shows that the most significant factors — (plant size and efficiency, and spill over advantages from the grwoth of the IT industry) are already factored in. It’s unlikely that increasing production runs will yield the same cost advantages relative today as past growth did. While silicon chip production may continue to edge down in cost, one can’t assume we wil get the same order of improvement as we saw from 1990 onwards.

    Yet even if you do assume this, a more general and technologically neutral approach shouldn’t hurt PV, if, as you say things are so propitious for it here. My concern is to protect the pool of funds available for mitigation activity by ensuring that whatever it is, it is rationally disbursed. Paying a bunch of rather better off people to demand slightly less than they do from the grid doesn’t sound like good policy, especially when for them, price is not a significant constraint on their demand patterns. Giving them access to cheap subsidised power may simply result in them using what they use even more wastefully with a clear conscience.

  78. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 09:08 | #78

    @John Quiggin

    Just as a baseline, here is my latest notice of electricity costs for Y2011 (MWh)

    Peak — (1st 19.178kWh per day) (inc GST) $199.21 MWh
    Peak Balance (inc GST) $290.84 (MWh)
    Daily service charge (inc GST) $0.47619
    Off peak controlled load 1 (inc GST) $90.53 MWh
    Off peak controlled load 2 (inc GST) $133.32 MWh

  79. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 09:17 | #79

    Your problem is the assumption that past “learning curve” rates will persist.

    Your problem is the assumption that learning curve rates will not persist. PV production is tiny compared to computer production, and has huge scope for advancement in many different directions, not just piggybacking on IT production.

    It’s unlikely that increasing production runs will yield the same cost advantages relative today as past growth did.

    The learning curves do not project, nor do they depend on maintaining the same improvement as the past, read the charts. What is projected (and observed) is smaller incremental improvement with increasing production.

    And we ought to be aware of the likelihood of competing power generation rising in costs faster than projected as peak oil bites harder.

  80. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 09:26 | #80

    @jakerman

    Your problem is the assumption that learning curve rates will not persist. {…} The learning curves do not project, nor do they depend on maintaining the same improvement as the past

    I see. It’s as clear as mud ;-)

    And we ought to be aware of the likelihood of competing power generation rising in costs faster than projected as peak oil bites harder.

    This is an argument, if it is sound, for reducing/eliminating subsidies for PV since other factors will drive resort to such technologies.

  81. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 09:48 | #81

    I see. It’s as clear as mud

    Let me simplify it for you: the learning curve rates do not depend on maintaining the same improvement as the past.

    The projected range of PV cost competativeness (@50-170 $billion) is attained with diminishing incremental improvement.

    This is an argument, if it is sound, for reducing/eliminating subsidies for PV since other factors will drive resort to such technologies.

    Only if you want to delay PV development and risk an even larger oil shock, and potentially leave transition until its too late. We need to use our remaining cheap oil to build the sustainable energy of the future, or else we’re stranded.

  82. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 09:53 | #82

    @Fran Barlow

    BTW, it was poorly worded of me. Thank you for the opportunity to be clearer.

  83. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 09:58 | #83

    @jakerman

    The projected range of PV cost competitiveness (@50-170 $billion) is attained with diminishing incremental improvement.

    That’s the bit I’d like “simplified”.

    Only if you want to delay PV development and risk an even larger oil shock,

    I have no opinion about the desirability of PV development. An “even larger oil shock” might be no bad thing, if it forces a rapid transition way from industrial use of hydrocarbons where politics has failed. The boiling frog approach we have now seems much more hazardous.

  84. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:46 | #84

    That’s the bit I’d like “simplified”.

    Its as complicated as it is. Its the finding of Nemet’s study.

    An “even larger oil shock” might be no bad thing, if it forces a rapid transition way from industrial use of hydrocarbons where politics has failed.

    That is ignoring and completely the opposite of the risk I described. The risk is replacing transition with civil collapse. Have you read much on peak oil?

  85. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 12:27 | #85

    @jakerman

    It’s as complicated as it is. It’s the finding of Nemet’s study.

    Nemet’s study (at the link) made no explicit argument on that. It merely tracked the history, attempting to account for it and left us to assume a learning curve that would eventually cross that of the long term hydrocarbon cost.

    That is ignoring and completely the opposite of the risk I described. The risk is replacing transition with civil collapse. Have you read much on peak oil?

    I have, but I don’t agree that it means what most I come across using the term think it means. Certainly, if there were to be a return to early-mid 2008 prices in a hurry there’d be some dislocation, but “civil collapse?” — I don’t think so. There’d be some austerity and a flattening of growth which would sap demand for oil, thus mitigating the price spiral. There’d be a renewed focus on using oil wisely, with a sharp increase in interest in EVs and we’d adapt to the new regime.

    Let us be clear: if politics can’t get us the changes we need (and that seems to be one of the messages from Bali/Cancun), then the earlier we get a serious hydrocarbon-derived crisis the better.

  86. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 12:48 | #86

    OK Hermit, so I have to assume that you have decided to leave your panels perched atop your mud hut, as the answer to the first question.

    But on the second you really do not understand the potential of solar power. You’ve got one fixed view of how things work and you’ve locked out all quantitative understanding of how the future will unfold. To a degree you are entitled to your miss perception as you entered the solar energy consumer market very early and paid top dollar for your lower efficiency panels. That experience has shaped your views and that is where you are locked.

  87. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 12:52 | #87

    Fran,

    “Given that the state is not jumping with excitement at my party’s rather modest interim carbon price proposal of $23″

    What party would that be?

  88. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 12:53 | #88

    @BilB

    That would be The Greens

  89. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 13:03 | #89

    Are the Greens proposing the use of nuclear power for Australia, Fran?

  90. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 13:07 | #90

    @BilB

    Are the Greens proposing the use of nuclear power for Australia, Fran?

    They aren’t just now, as you would surely know.

  91. Chris O’Neill
    December 27th, 2010 at 13:19 | #91

    @jakerman

    The global all time subsidie required to bring PV to ultimate cost competitiveness is projected to be between$50 billion to $166 billion. Not a large cost in the long run.

    In this case the long run means around the year 2032.

    One thing’s for sure, the CO2 level in the atmosphere is going to get a lot higher before it stops increasing.

  92. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 13:21 | #92

    So Fran,

    Following

    ” my party’s rather modest interim carbon price ”

    I imagine what you really meant to write was

    “we…aren’t just now”"proposing the use of nuclear power for Australia”.

  93. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 13:51 | #93

    @BilB

    we…aren’t just now””proposing the use of nuclear power for Australia

    I wouldn’t say that as it is off limits here at the insistence of PrQ, except in sandpits.

  94. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 14:02 | #94

    Fran, I was exploring the strength of your connection not examining an issue. “My Party” seemed pretty chummy to me, but it seems that it may be a loose affiliation of convenience rather than an association deep common conviction.

  95. Hermit
    December 27th, 2010 at 14:15 | #95

    BilB I managed to go 2 years without paying a power bill so I think I know what PV can do. Just lately I’m finding that cloudy summers and prolonged denial of simple pleasures are getting the better of me.

    As to battery cars providing auxiliary grid storage I think we need convincing trial results first. I’m not sure if the Vics will press ahead with their trial now Brumby is gone. If someone lent me a $45k battery car I’d put electricity in it. Then I’d stop when I had to give the car back, so the trial proves nothing. Coincidentally the spouse of the NSW premier is into battery cars which makes the NSW govt purchase of a coal mine somewhat surprising. Maybe they have it all back to front, people will buy the electric cars if the electricity is free. I suspect when petrol is $3 per litre then natural gas powered cars will be all the rage.

  96. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 14:22 | #96

    @BilB

    My Party” seemed pretty chummy to me, but it seems that it may be a loose affiliation of convenience rather than an association deep common conviction.

    Let me assure you BilB: there’s nothing convenient about joining The Greens

    I joined The Greens because:

    a) they framework within policy is developed is ethically admirable — starting from the desire for social justice, human rights, empowerment of the marginalised and sustainability
    b) as far as I can tell these public expressed values are shared by those of the party’s supporters I meet
    c) internal processes are scrupulously fair and democratic

    These attributes easily suffice for me to set aside reservations I have on specific policies. My party’s positions on that technology, on cap & trade, on HECS etc, while flawed, IMO, are not breaches of important principle nor indicative of poor process. There can be no doubt that most Greens are satisfied with the party’s current posture.

    That doesn’t mean that a minority can’t take a different view on one thing or another.

  97. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 14:28 | #97

    Chris Oneill,

    I think that you are using the Nemet study to suggest that solar panels will take a long time to mature.

    That is not how I read it, but the take away lines must be

    “If we are going to rely on experience curves. . .

    1 Need to be explicit about reliability of predictions
    2 Policy decisions should reflect variation in L-rates

    If we consider the drivers of technological change itself. . .

    • Need to create incentives for investments in
    cost-reducing activities
    • Investments drive cost reductions
    • Expectations about future demand drive investment
    • Government activities affect these expectations
    • . . . and perceptions of risk”

    But I think that it should be noted that the basis of his figures is the average US retail domestic electricity price of 10cents. Well this figure is not so average. The fact is that on third of the US population pays 15cents or higher for electricity, and these populations include California and New York. With the highest being 27.8 cents pr unit.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html

  98. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 14:29 | #98

    Nemet’s study (at the link) made no explicit argument on that. It merely tracked the history, attempting to account for it and left us to assume a learning curve that would eventually cross that of the long term hydrocarbon cost.

    Yep, that what the data shows, supported by the history of other experience curves. Its also logically consistent that renewables get cheaper with ioncreasing production while non-renewable have a different terminus.

  99. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 14:38 | #99

    @jakerman

    Yep, that what the data shows, supported by the history of other experience curves.

    So it is an assumption not based on any actual data applying on the timeline we are talking about. Glad we cleared that up.

    Its also logically consistent that renewables get cheaper with increasing production while non-renewables have a different terminus.

    How so? Unless you can devise some way of continually reducing the cost and efficacy of storage renewables can get incrementally cheaper but major real declines in cost p[er output will stay out of reach.

    Other technologies — let’s not mention them in this topic — have far more scope to take advantage of the kinds of factors that drove Nemet’s learning curve for PV.

  100. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 14:39 | #100

    Good on you for joining the Greens, Fran.

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