Windsor calls Dr No on carbon madness

Independent MP, Tony Windsor, has thrown his weight behind yesterday’s proposal by the AiG to shift the carbon tax to an emissions trading scheme sooner than the three year timetable. As I’ve said, I don’t support the idea but its certainly preferable to scrapping the price and starting again.

“I believe Australia should be seeking to meet its emissions reductions commitments at the least possible cost…Unfortunately, much of the national conversation about climate change has been hijacked by fear-mongering and accusations of lying. Even though the wild claims about the carbon tax being a ‘wrecking ball through the economy’ and causing ‘$100 lamb roasts’ have since been shown to be false, the Opposition has now painted itself into a corner where it has to threaten to abolish it.”

And there you have it.

58 Responses to “ “Windsor calls Dr No on carbon madness”

  1. Stormy Waters says:

    Why don’t you support switching to a market price early?

    You said on the article yesterday that one reason is that it will “screw up energy investment planning” – I don’t see that as correct. Energy investments are at a minimum 15 year deals. You’d be pressed to get something commissioned before 1 July 2015 by which stage you’d be facing the European market price in any case.

    What’s the gain for two more years of an arbitrary price that’s a multiple of the market price we are now linked to?

    • It’s a fair argument. I guess I mean I don’t support the move in principle. But in practical terms there isn’t really much choice.

      • Stormy Waters says:

        I’m just interested in what your in principle objection is?

      • Higher price, more pressure to transform.

      • Stormy Waters says:

        If that’s the aim then we need $60/t+ such that new entrant gas/renewable is cheaper than existing coal.

        There’s no need for new power stations for at least a decade so simply making a new entrant gas/green plant cheaper than a new entrant coal plant won’t cut it.

        Scrapping the sunk cost of all those existing power stations would have a hugely negative impact on the economy.

        (I’m focusing on the stationary energy sector as I believe that’s where the lion’s share of domestic abatement will occur)

  2. Capitalist says:

    How exactly will a carbon tax in Australia reduce the effects of climate change when the biggest global emitters show no intention of introducing a carbon price?

    Do people still believe Labor’s/Green’s that the carbon price will drive investment in clean energy?

    • Are you going to provide some evidence for the claim that nobody is doing anything?

      Let me tell you why you can’t. Because countries everywhere are doing stuff.

      EVERYWHERE.

      • Opinion8red says:

        “.. countries everywhere are doing stuff.”

        That’s reassuring.

        Perhaps someone can provide some evidence that the totality of various “pricing carbon” schemes worldwide, has directly resulted in a reduction in global CO2 emissions?

        That’s the alleged primary goal, right? Pricing “carbon” will “save the planet” via emissions reduction.

        Fail.

        “Carbon” pricing is a banking sector scam. Nothing more. One has to be wilfully ignorant to not see this.

        If you are serious about emissions reduction, per so many other “toxic” and/or planet-threatening substances in the past, you enforce bans / severely restrict use.

        You don’t create a mechanism for banks to run another, global Ponzi scheme.

      • I can’t argue with this. You’re clearly well beyond any counter views.

        I don’t have time to address your cynicism but if you read the Garnaut Review you’ll see a very long list of stuff going on everywhere.

        Bottom line is, if we were to scrap the carbon price now we would set back the global effort in a quite serious way. It’s the prisoner’s dilemma, all in or nobody in.

      • AF says:

        That is BS, the carbon price in the EU is about 4 Euro a ton, so zero incentive to stop pollution. So not not “everyone” is doing it.

        Sure the US and China are talking about it, but talking and doing are two different things and I but that unless the banks / 1% in the US can make a huge dollar out of it, it is not going to happen.

        Then if it does all it will do is more wealth transfer.

        Carbon is not the enemy, pollution is, of all kinds and that is what we need to be doing something about.

      • Opinion8red says:

        No, I am not “beyond counter views”. It is simply a matter of looking at the evidence.

        You say “stuff” is going on “everywhere”, presumably meaning “actions popularly claimed to reduce emissions”.

        Emissions are going up. Not down.

        Banks are creaming themselves over the opportunities that are manifest in “pricing” CO2.

        Either you truly believe we are in imminent danger of passing a “tipping point” for planet-threatening runaway climate change, or you don’t truly believe.

        Actions speak louder than words. Either you support effective action, or (with sincere respect David) you are just another hypocrite on this issue.

        We ban outright, and severely restrict all manner of things. If rising CO2 really does threaten our very existence … ??

        And please, let’s not hear the risible furphy about “costs” of alternate energy, and the need to push up the price of fossil energy via “carbon pricing” in order to render alternate energy cost-competitive. Jeebus!! The banking system created TRILLIONS out of thin air to prop up the private bankstering sector in the past few years.

        If you are serious about “saving the planet” from the perils of CO2, ban it / gradually restrict its use, and PRINT to subsidise massive R&D on alternate energy.

        FFS!

      • Read the review. And I do think pricing carbon is best way to fix it. I’d be happy with a carbon tax as well.

      • neil innes says:

        H&H, you have a great deal of respect on this blog – but you are an ideologue – you passionately believe that man is responsible for adverse climate change that could destroy our planet within a shortish time frame. I get it H&H; but sadly for you and the ALP/Greens & other Leftist Governments of the world doing ‘everything everywhere’, a Battle was won, but the WAR is lost! Ironically the genuine free market has spoken! Lastly, I am an ideologue too, I believe in climate change, that it is seasonal/cyclical and that humankind will adapt and we will be here for generations to come – it will be OK H&H’s!

      • No, not an idealogue. I accept there are doubts. I also accept the balance of probabilities argument and therefore action is required.

      • pithoneme says:

        That all smacks of collectivism or socialism,Op8. Free market *cough* capitalism prefers that you stop doing something because it costs you too much, which then motivates you to apply your ingenuity to find another solution which generates or at least maintains economic activity and profit. No one profits from banning anything. Well, sometimes those doing the banning. Or those supplying the black market. But it’s a bitch for everyone else. Who knows, maybe it will work eventually. The more important thing is that economic growth is undisturbed. Anarchy is not a viable alternative, but a few wise Independents here and there might be.

      • Opinion8red says:

        Fundamental problem with your position pithoneme, is that the world does not have “free market capitalism”. Or anything resembling it. “Too Big To Fail” .. indeed, “Too Big To Prosecute

        I suspect your *cough* implies that you realise this.

        With respect, it is inane to label my views as smacking of collectivism or socialism, simply because I suggest banning / directly restricting the use of a particular substance. Especially one that is claimed to threaten planetary existence.

      • pithoneme says:

        Sorry Op8, I should have ladelled the sarcasm on a bit heavier. I agree, if there is a real near term threat then a more proscriptive approach would make more sense. But within the framework of the economic structure and ideology that has taken root, then you are stuck with this arbsurd proposition of letting un-free ‘free’ selectively globalised markets sort it out. Not even the Chinese Communists would go as far as to ban coal fired power, and they have plenty of form.

  3. Opinion8red says:

    This is a great idea. Let us all applaud the bringing forward of the date when the banking sector can pop the bubbly and cry “LIFT OFF!!” for their unregulated, unlimited creation and trading of CO2 derivatives on the back of a floating “unit” price.

    Tick. Tick. Tick. BOOM.

    • flawse says:

      Yep!!! THAT’s the big problem!

    • Mav says:

      Not Windsor’s fault, but that is a problem.

    • Stormy Waters says:

      Let’s not get too excited. They can already do that with electricity derivatives and most carbon trading is going to be reflected in a different strike price on existing products (along with rights to surrender-able permits).

      Trading electricity derivatives without underlying physical generation or load is a fantastic way to lose money. Only Westpac and Deutsche touch it in Aust and they do not make super profits from it.

      Australian electricity derivatives are literally the riskiest products on Earth. The average underlying price is around $40-80/MWh but the underlying can spike to $12,900/MWh within minutes. In most cases, banks and traders get burnt… badly. They don’t dominate these markets in Aus.

      • Mav says:

        Only Westpac and Deutsche touch it in Aust and they do not make super profits from it.

        They need to buy some power plants and hire some ex-Enron traders ;)

      • Opinion8red says:

        Business Spectator, July 2011, just 3 days after the announcement of the “Clean Energy Act” draft legislation (no link, article since deleted) -

        Australian banks are eyeing opportunities to cash in on the proposed carbon tax by developing new financial products and services that capitalise on a market seen to be worth billions of dollars annually, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review.

        Australian financial firms that have experience in European carbon markets, such as Macquarie Group Ltd, Westpac Banking Corp Ltd and ANZ Banking Group Ltd are particularly keen to establish their presence in the Australian market.

        The initial three-year fixed carbon tax period from 2012 will serve as time to prepare for the release of ETS permits by 2015, when opportunities will really open up for banks to capitalise on the carbon market.

        ANZ’s head of energy trading said the value of the derivatives carbon market would dwarf the $10 billion initially raised by the government, according to the AFR.

        Also worth noting is former ANZ economist Saul Eslake’s comments -

        “…while it is true that banks might make money from an emissions trading scheme, they could just as likely lose (as many banks have done from trading other ‘derivatives’. However there’s no way that banks would make any money out of a carbon tax.

        In late 2011, Mr Eslake got a new job. Chief economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch – a leading player in the global CO2 trading scam.

      • JPK says:

        > Australian banks are eyeing
        > opportunities to cash in on the
        > proposed carbon tax

        and the winner is … the true blue aussie bank Rothschild Australia

        http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/rothschild-australia-and-e3-international-to-take-the-lead-in-the-global-carbon-trading-market-154464275.html

    • 3d1k says:

      Op8 – that has always been my primary reason for opposing the carbon tax – the financialisation of carbon – just another finance tradeable plaything of big finance.

      Of course now we understand that Australia’s carbon action will have no effect in reducing global emissions and becomes an additional cost to competitiveness.

      Who listens to Windsor anyway. The sooner he and Oakeshott are gone, the better.

      If Abbot is Dr No, what is Gillard?

      • Do you support the financialisation of iron ore?

        Windsor and Oakeschott are the best operators in the government. Keep your simplistic political slogans out or you’ll get deleted.

      • 3d1k says:

        Or course I do, it is the world’s second largest traded commodity.

      • 3d1k says:

        Iron ore is a commodity of immense importance and value in nearly every aspect of modern existence. It can be touched, held and transformed into myriad product of myriad use. It has value.

      • I find it amusing that you see iron ore as more important to humanity than carbon.

      • The Lorax says:

        In 3d1k’s mind, CO2 is a colourless, odourless gas that’s important for plant growth. It has no proven deleterious effects on human health or the environment.

        Why on Earth would you want to trade something of no value?

        He actually takes Monckton seriously. Monckton!

      • Mav says:

        Wait until the banksters get on the short side of the IO trade and succeed.

        Then, 3d1k will be on here in a flash, crying poor about how other vested interests are depriving him of his share of the loot.

      • 3d1k says:

        Honestly Mav, grow up mate!

      • Mav says:

        3d1k, Honestly, you need to come up with better retorts to defend your blatant double standards.

        Actually, your hypocritical position is now so transparent that I don’t even have to point it out anymore. Thanks for doing my job for me. ciao.

      • GSM says:

        Thankfully Windsor’s views and opinions only matter primarily to the 20 odd% of the people who support him in his electorate. His days are numbered so one has to take whatever he utters with a grain of salt.

        I think it is drawing a long bow saying he and Oakeschott are good operators when they cannot even garner decent support from those they represent.

      • GSM says:

        Oops….. “supposed” to represent.

      • Mav says:

        20% ? Do you have any evidence?

      • Mav says:

        ReachTEL.. FFS. Not exactly Nate Silver, are they?

        Don’t get so deluded by these polls.. like those teatards who were so sure of a Romney victory after watching Fox News all day long and believing in Rasmussen poll numbers.

      • GSM says:

        Mav,
        Do you have any evidence this poll is generally wrong or misleading? If not then I’ll take yours as just an opinion.

        I have relatives in this electorate. Anecdotally , they seem to believe this figure of 20 odd % is way too ambitious. Time will tell.

      • Mav says:

        I would happier if others like Galaxy & Newspoll conducted the poll and came back with similar results.. is all I am saying.

      • Mav says:

        Point is… others haven’t had any poll in New England yet. We could have got our resident Nate Silver, Mark The Graph to aggregate them ;)

      • GSM says:

        No problem. I’ll wait then for you to find anything that indicates Windsor is remotely popular in his own electorate…. is all I am saying.

        The point being, if he has lost the support of those he supposedly represents, his views and opinions lack a certain ammount of credibility.

      • pithoneme says:

        I have a relative in this area who anecdotally has a lot of friends who respect and support Windsor, and view him as a man of conscience making the best of a bad situation. I wouldn’t extrapolate from that his support is 60%, nor do I believe it is at 20%. People are smart enough to filter out a lot of the commentariat hyperbole about how he has betrayed his electorate. I’m sure you wouldn’t dismiss Abbott’s efficacy as a politician given his low popularity in a lot of polls.

  4. Fred McBill says:

    Is Dr No a politcal slogan?

  5. Senexx says:

    Politically speaking – this is what I believe an Abbott Government would do to “end the Carbon tax” – its the only viable option to fulfill that commitment.

    Sure he could unwind everything but that comes with its own problems. This one fulfills the promise without changing a thing. Especially now he has said he will keep parts of the compensation package without specifying what.

  6. Runningman says:

    Boy, you are a cool and calm gentleman, HnH! My hat’s off to you. The point about a carbon price is that since the late 80s the argument has been that, no, a carbon price will not redress climate change, but it’s the first step: people (through their governments) acknowledge that burning fossil fuels has a cost, and for the consumer of fossil fuels, the cost of it should reflect the environmental damage it causes. You could even look at it as a way of acknowledging the fact that the cheap fossil fuels we enjoy today will not be so cheap in the future.

    Either way, a carbon price is a first step in acknowledgement of the true cost of burning fossil fuels. It’s not an answer. Perhaps Julia might have said it was, but she would have been incorrect, or she imagined most Aussies haven’t been following the development of climate change research since the late 80s and therefore wouldn’t know or care. My guess is the latter.

  7. briefly says:

    The politics of CO2 abatement are a lot like the politics of post-retirement incomes.

    First, those who are being asked to abate/save now will only do so if offered unseemly bribes/concessions to do so, even though there are direct benefits available from both pollution abatement and saving;

    Second, if current generation abaters/savers cannot be induced to change their behaviours, the costs will fall disproportionately on future generations – in other words, we prefer the risks/joys of cost-shifting rather than relying on our own actions;

    Third, both issues are really matters of social justice/economic welfare, and reveal the perennial contest about who pays/who benefits in public policy outcomes;

    Fourth, neither issue is going to go away.

    On another note, objections to the role of financial firms in CO2 markets reflect no more than fear and prejudice; by contrast, who objects to the role of financial firms in the pension market or the housing market? Really, what is the difference in functional terms?

    The further, wider reality is that climate change is already affecting the real economy. It is already harming incomes, employment, output and investment.

    We are just at the beginning of a process that will do enormous damage to our economy – more than any recession, any war, any asset bubble or any financial crisis. This therefore requires an immense effort on our part, but we are bogged down by the supremely trivial, selfish and cynical.

    Really, if we cannot sort out the politics of retirement incomes or the housing market, what hope do we have of dealing with something as difficult as climate change?

    Quite obviously, we are not capable of fixing the environmental problems we have caused for ourselves. Perhaps we should stop kidding ourselves and admit that we have created a problem we cannot solve, and accept the consequences – widespread economic dislocation, destruction of assets, recurrent disruptions to agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and intensified conflicts over vulnerable environmental resources, including especially waterways and arable land.

    Needless to say, this will inevitably spill over into the urban economies – into consumption, employment and incomes – and (unevenly) affect the welfare of the whole population.

    We seem to prefer to think that “someone” will fix this without any actual costs being incurred or serious attention being given to the issues. We are just like children in a theme-park, fully believing a conveniently-placed adult will look after us.

    • desmodromic says:

      Agree. On most issues that impact our urban existence (water use, housing costs, energy use, climate change) we seem incapable of developing new outcomes that reduce the risk of sudden scarcity and/or price escalation. When asked how much of the long term are we prepared to trade for short-term gain, the answer is ALL OF IT.

    • Dystopian says:

      “On another note, objections to the role of financial firms in CO2 markets reflect no more than fear and prejudice; by contrast, who objects to the role of financial firms in the pension market or the housing market? Really, what is the difference in functional terms?”

      I disagree with the above statement. Financial firms have proven that their greed knows no limits and if we are serious about saving the environment they have no right to be dictating the “solution”. Carbon trading is a rigged casino designed by the bankers for the bankers. If we are serious about it a flat tax with the proceeds going to environmental repair and to research and develop alternate enrgy generation schemes would be appropriate.

      • Can you carbon trading flat-earthers plz provide some evidence.

      • Dystopian says:

        This article was written in 2009 and is sufficient evidence for me as I watch the ducks being patiently lined up.

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405?page=7

        BUBBLE #6 Global Warming

        ……….the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an “environmental plan,” called cap-and-trade.

        The new carbon credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that’s been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won’t even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

        Here’s how it works: If the bill passes, there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy “allocations” or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions. President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billion worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.

        The feature of this plan that has special appeal to speculators is that the “cap” on carbon will be continually lowered by the government, which means that carbon credits will become more and more scarce with each passing year. Which means that this is a brand new commodities market where the main commodity to be traded is guaranteed to rise in price over time. The volume of this new market will be upwards of a trillion dollars annually; for comparison’s sake, the annual combined revenues of all electricity suppliers in the U.S. total $320 billion.
        Goldman wants this bill. The plan is (1) to get in on the ground floor of paradigm-shifting legislation, (2) make sure that they’re the profit-making slice of that paradigm and (3) make sure the slice is a big slice. Goldman started pushing hard for cap-and-trade long ago, but things really ramped up last year when the firm spent $3.5 million to lobby climate issues.

        …….Well, you might say, who cares? If cap-and-trade succeeds, won’t we all be saved from the catastrophe of global warming? Maybe — but cap-and-trade, as envisioned by Goldman, is really just a carbon tax structured so that private interests collect the revenues. Instead of simply imposing a fixed government levy on carbon pollution and forcing unclean energy producers to pay for the mess they make, cap-and-trade will allow a small tribe of greedy-as-hell Wall Street swine to turn yet another commodities market into a private tax collection scheme. This is worse than the bailout: It allows the bank to seize taxpayer money before it’s even collected.
        “If it’s going to be a tax, I would prefer that Washington set the tax and collect it,” says Michael Masters, the hedge fund director who spoke out against oil futures speculation. “But we’re saying that Wall Street can set the tax, and Wall Street can collect the tax. That’s the last thing in the world I want. It’s just asinine.”

  8. Revert2Mean says:

    Message for Mr Abbott and his retinue of intellectually myopic lick-spittles. Here’s what carbon taxes will encourage:

    Solar report stunner: Unsubsidized ‘Grid Parity Has Been Reached In India’, Italy–With More Countries Coming in 2014

    Deutsche Bank just released new analyses concluding that global solar market will become sustainable on its own terms by the end of 2014, no longer needing subsidies to continue performing.

    The German-based bank said that rooftop solar is looking especially robust, and sees strong demand in solar markets in India, China, Britain, Germany, India, and the United States. As a result, Deutsche Bank actually increased its forecast for solar demand in 2013 to 30 gigawatts — a 20 percent increase over 2012.

  9. Alex78 says:

    I’ve found fairly astonishing that media and commentators haven’t grilled Abbott on the distinction between removing the tax and scrapping any price on carbon.

    Nobody takes the Lib’s direct action plan seriously and direction action has been terrible thus far with the limited attempts to get clean coal off the ground (truly a white elephant idea if ever there was).

    Think about it. It’s 2014, the libs have both houses and TA announces an internationally linked ETS ‘where the price is determined by the market not some bureaucrat under Labor’s system’.

    Given the level of debate/analysis in this country, that rhetoric would work fine.

  10. Copernicus says:

    Emissions trading is ripe for rorting. Mittal bought a steel mill in northern England shut it down sold the carbon credits and opened up a Steel mill in India. Ta very much.
    Carbon tax on the other hand is the only sensible tax.
    Whether or not you beleive in science.
    All other taxes crimp either work or investment, or personal vices.
    A carbon tax, taxes local pollution – the toxic elements of trh air we breathe, lowers taxes in work and investment, and through change I behaviour should reduce electricity costs. it doesn’t reduce electricity costs because these aren’t arrived at through a free market. Which is precisesly the problem with emissions trading you don’t arrive at great free market pricing by making a fake market. Evidence Europe.