The return of the ETS

As a member of the Climate Change Authority, I’m constrained to some extent in what I can say about the plan to bring forward the date at which emission permits will become tradeable, so I’m going to make a few points, and leave discussion to others

* The really big change, which went largely un-noticed, was the link to the EU scheme, announced by Greg Combet shortly after the carbon price came into effect. Bringing this forward by a year is a minor adjustment by comparison

* The offsetting savings announced today are mostly good, the most obvious exception being the biodiversity fund. I supported assistance to Carbon Capture and Storage in the past, on the general principle of backing every horse, but it’s time to admit that this horse won’t run

* The tightening of Fringe Benefit exemptions for cars is, I hope, a recognition that subsidising motor vehicle use in general isn’t going to save the domestic car industry, which has a small and shrinking share of the market. The impending demise of the Falcon should kill the presumption that fleet cars are likely to be Australian-made I hope this view is taken more generally. Preservation of the domestic industry is probably a lost cause, but if governments are going to try, they should do so with direct subsidies to domestic production not subsidies to car use in general.

* I hope Parliament sits again, and that the government puts the necessary legislation forward. The amusement of watching Tony Abbott voting *for* the carbon tax would be well worth the price of admission.

56 thoughts on “The return of the ETS

  1. Jim Rose said

    it is too late to do anything other than adapt.

    It isn’t like a switch that’s either on or off – there is ample opportunity to make things much worse by abandoning all efforts to mitigate.

    Adapting is a given – mitigation is a choice. I think that as far as informed choices go, it’s rational, logical and ethical. And essential. For those elected to positions of responsibility and trust on our behalf to willfully ignore the expert advice at their disposal, to remain ignorant on purpose, for the sake of party unity, populism, or as spokespeople for powerful interest – which latter decide where to stand based not on the validity and seriousness of the science of the problem but on whether their interests are advantaged or disadvantaged by the policies that choice to mitigate brings – is a profound betrayal of that responsibility and trust. When they actively involve themselves in cultivation of ignorance and misinformation to make it widespread and popular – which lots of conservative politicians do – I think they are doing something much worse than simple poor decision making.

    I think that our embedded deniers and obstructors are as pleased by public perceptions that the problem is so hard as to be beyond solutions – “it is too late to do anything other than adapt” – as they are with evidence of entrenched climate science denial within mainstream public thinking – the “invisible gas” crowd; both result in BAU being percieved as the only option. “Too hard, too expensive… too bad!”

  2. Just watched the ABC Inside Business interview with Origin Energy CEO Grant King. To paraphrase he said at $6 carbon price our old coal fired power stations will be replaced with new coal fired power stations. King doubted the Europeans would get to anything like $24. Decision time on major baseload replacement is less than a decade away.

  3. I do not think that open borders will win as many votes as Dr. Tad thinks.

    It is good for rallying the young troops around policies that shock the out-group. I wonder if he still supports tariffs on goods imported from developing countries?

    Dr Tad or a fellow travellers should run for parliament on this idea. It is dead easy to get into upper houses in Australia. Even the DLP rose from its ashes to get into the Senate.

    Rudd’s PNG policy aims to stop people entering by dangerous means: leaky boats. That is a separate issue from the size of the refugee quota.

    Every country has a limited amount of sympathy for foreigners. As Adam Smith argued long ago, sympathy drops away with social distance.

  4. I see once again that people have need of my vast scientific knowledge bequeathed to me as a result of being educated in Queensland: The more carbon dioxided we add to the atmosphere, the hotter the earth will get. If we decrease the amount of carbon dioxide we add to the atmosphere the earth might still get plenty hot, but, and this is the point, it won’t get as hot as if we hadn’t decreased the amount of carbon dioxide we add to the atmosphere.

  5. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew
    of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.

    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

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