$30 billion fantasy

In response to the Garnaut Report, Terry McCrann today claims that the government will collect “$30billion” from the carbon tax if the price reaches $70. This is a scare campaign being run by much of the Murdoch press. McCrann’s reasons that:

In theory, the price is then set by the market. But if we are to achieve the change in energy sources that is needed to get the 5 per cent cut in emissions, the effective tax will have to go to at least $70 a tonne.

Firstly, where does this number come from? It’s easy to throw around high numbers, but what’s the basis in reality? The Treasury modelling suggests that a price around $20-30/t (Garnaut recommends $26/t) can reduce our emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. This will be partly due to lower emission energy sources and partly from a range of abatement in many other sectors.

Secondly, the price wouldn’t get to $70/t, because due to international linkages we would be importing permits/credits from overseas. What this means is that the local price of permits would be capped by the international price which is currently trading around the €15/t mark, but presumably will track higher by 2020. Australia’s permit price could only track up to $70/t if international prices tracked up to this level, which would mean that there was true international action on reducing emissions, which is in Australia’s strong national interest, as Garnaut points out.

That means that whether or not we pay it as a tax, we WILL be paying that sort of sum. Which will feed into the price of everything – including health and education and food that were and still are excluded for the GST. At $70 a tonne, Canberra would reap close to $30 billion – to be ‘returned.’

No, we won’t. The price will be capped by international traded price for carbon abatement. But since when were health and education emission intensive sectors of the economy? Even food (given that agriculture will be initially excluded) won’t be significantly affected. The main impact is in electricity prices, and to a much lesser extent petrol prices.

Also, once the emissions trading system transitions from fixed price to floating price, Canberra won’t be receiving this amount of revenue. Rather than 100% of permits being sold by the government, it will be more like half, because some of the permits will be allocated to emitters for free (as they have done in every other ETS in operation around the world) and the remainder will be auctioned. So the $30b figure is actually closer to a half of a half of this (half price and half auctioned).

Significantly, Garnaut proposes that the emissions trading scheme be internationally linked to allow the “import of abatement.” What does that mean? Two things. Australian emitters could buy their permits from overseas. So Australia could keep emitting – that our targeted 5 per cent emissions cut actually occurs elsewhere. Indeed presumably if we were prepared to pay the 21st century version of Danegeld, we could increase our emissions. By buying even more foreign permits.

Yes, that’s right, and this is not a uniquely Garnaut idea. Every proposal in this country for an ETS (eg Shergold, CPRS etc) going back a long while have proposed international linking to other schemes. The EU ETS, operating since 2005, has always had as a core principle that abatement can be purchased from other countries where it is more cost-effective than local abatement. It is an understood principle that any country’s emissions level is a sum of its internal production combined with its import/export of abatement. So some of Australia’s abatement will happen locally, and some of it will be imported from offshore. This is what international trade is all about: we export those goods for which we have a sustainable competitive advantage (eg resources) and we import those goods for which we don’t (eg cheap white goods, and greenhouse abatement to the extent it is cheaper than local abatement). The main thing here is to make sure that there aren’t import restrictions placed on this trade (as the Greens and some NGOs would advocate) because that would seriously increase the economic cost of meeting any given abatement target.

How this would be ‘integrated’ with the need for revenue to flow to Canberra for permits, was not explained.

Not explained because the point of the scheme is to reduce emissions, not for revenue to flow to Canberra. Although the CPRS wasn’t budget neutral, the Shergold scheme (under Howard) and the current MPCCC proposals have budget neutrality as a core principle.

Meanwhile, Peter van Oselen may be a fine political historian, but his grasp of economics leaves a little to be desired.

Blanchett said “everyone will benefit if we protect the environment”. Yes, but does a carbon tax do that? It won’t if it causes no fiscal pain to consumers, because the whole point of a carbon tax is that it creates a price pressure on the use of dirty energy, thereby encouraging consumers and businesses to change their ways.

Take with one hand (carbon tax), give with the other (compensation). The result? No price pressure or incentive for people to change their energy use.

It’s the price signal that changes behaviour, not “fiscal pain”. If you are exactly compensated (or even if you are over or under compensated), you are better off by the amount of the compensation and then worse off by the amount of the cost increase. But you can do something to respond to the higher prices (ie energy efficiency, solar panels etc).

For example, if you use 8MWh of power and your power price goes up from $200/MWh to $230/MWh, that’s a $240 per year increase. Now if you get $240 as a lump sum (increased pension, lower tax, specific handout etc) you start off being no better or worse off. But if you then save 1 MWh through energy efficiency or solar panels etc, you save $230 rather than $200. The incentive is stronger to reduce emissions, and you are better off. The argument is the same whether you got $200, $300 or even no compensation. You are still better off if you reduce your consumption, regardless of your starting point. The compensation level defines your level of wealth, but it’s the price signal that encourages a change in behaviour.

Moreover, the reduction of compensation by higher price is NOT the main point of the carbon price, although it will clearly be an impact. Due to the low price elasticity of demand, this is high cost abatement. The main point of a carbon price is to reduce the greenhouse intensity of our power supply, and because clean energy costs more than “dirty” energy, power prices need to go up to give effect to the switch. And that’s where the environmental benefit comes from.

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Comments

  1. Make me laugh
    With a 2% pop increase we would need to drop our emission by pretty much 40% from the current level
    $26 only, who s kidding ?

  2. “It’s easy to throw around high numbers, but what’s the basis in reality? The Treasury modelling suggests that a price around $20-30/t (Garnaut recommends $26/t) can reduce our emissions to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.”

    Interesting.

    Sceptics numbers are questioned as (apparently) not having a “basis in reality”.

    But Treasury’s “modelling” is constantly referred to as though it is somehow akin to Moses’ stone tablets written by the finger of God.

    One is reminded of the classis Yes Minister episode where Sir Humphrey argues that “they’re government statis…. they’re FACTS!”.

    Treasury forecasting is notoriously … erratic. Citing Treasury “modelling” vis-a-vis CO2 pricing / impacts only weakens the intellectual credibility of those arguing in favour of “pricing carbon”.

    Why not just admit that it is ALL tea-leaf reading BS.

    • “Why not just admit that it is ALL tea-leaf reading BS.”

      Too much money to be made out of AGW.

      • Too much money to be made out of AGW.

        Yeah its a huge money spinner. HUGE! Unlike like the global fossil fuels industry, which is a mere speck on the economic landscape compared to the giant industry that is climate science.

        You are being used.

        • The difference is they are exploiting something to deliver product to market. Ther income, their industry, is accountable on the margins of the tangiable product they deliver.

          The AGW myth-makers from East Anglia and the Goddard institute are a bunch of talking heads who got in at the ground floor in the late 19080’s.

          They are not accountable, do not deliver anything, and undermine the scientific community as a whole.

          Their money may not be as pronounced as the fossil fuel industry, but their entire income is from delivering nothing at best, and an unprecedented global scale fraud at worst.

          Espousing global armageddon, a sure-fire way to inspire reaction for change, and being the only party in a one-sided debate back then, they have held all to account to their own ‘authority’.

          Never mind their science is junk, based on a spectrum on IR radiation that is captured by CO2, and a short-term correlation… and pretty much nothing else.

          The real science however is debunking it bit by bit, their past models have shown time and time again they do not understand the climate.

          Once the hysteria has passed, I do hope the death penalty is introduced for the scale of fraud they have committed.

        • You forget the role of the global finance industry.

          A recent study of funding of lobbyists of members of congress in the US revealed the unexpected: Global energy interests accounted for some $315m – Environmental groups courtesy of global finance – nearer $400m. Will try to find link, as my numbers are approximate – and the study was not from one of the usual suspects!

          The times they are a changin’.

          • Mate, if you think Goldman Sachs is putting more money into lobbying for a price on carbon, than Exxon Mobil is putting up to prevent a price on carbon, I’m afraid you’ve completely lost the plot.

            Again, I can only remind you all that YOU ARE BEING USED by the biggest vested interest of them all.

          • Lorax

            Exxon/Mobil/Shell etc don’t care. Not really. They have a finite resource with infinite demand in an ever growing world. Do you think for one moment they really care if a country with 25 million imposes a carbon tax. They don’t give a flying ….!

            Just try getting by without their product.

            On the other hand, vested interests intent on benefiting from the carbon tax, be it via consultancy, employment, administration, financing, whatever…they do care. But its primarily self-interest with a veneer of environmental concern. There will be little impact on global emissions.

          • “Again, I can only remind you all that YOU ARE BEING USED by the biggest vested interest of them all.”

            Just can’t take comments like this seriously anymore. Seen way too many of them over the years. 😀

          • Wow! Now I’ve heard it all. Big Carbon doesn’t care if you tax their product?!

            3d1k, I can respect your arguments about the pros and cons of the the mining boom and China — I might disagree — but I respect your view.

            But when you tell me Big Carbon doesn’t care if governments start putting a price on carbon emissions I can only assume you’ve taken leave of your senses.

            While I’m happy to accept that there might be some who seek to profit from trading carbon credits, to compare this nascent “industry” (which really doesn’t exist outside of Europe) to the vast global conglomerate that is the fossil fuels industry, is frankly, bizarre.

            FWIW, my preference would be for a straight carbon tax. A cap-and-trade system allows for too many easy “outs” like buying credits in 3rd world countries. A carbon tax is much simpler and less open to avoidance and corruption.

          • Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I didn’t refer to Big Carbon, I referred to Exxon/Mobil/Shell et al.

            In regard to oil companies, put whatever carbon price you want – and guess what – their product will continue to find a market (flow-on cost to almost every other thing in the universe would be an issue, one governments would not be inclined to contend with). As I said, try and get by without Big Oil.

            I would argue, that in the grand scheme of things, Big Oil with a finite resource, infinite demand and expanding global market – and whilst it may pay lip service to the carbon debate – basically couldn’t give a…well, you can guess the rest!

            FWIW – if this abomination is to be forced upon us, yes, a carbon tax in preference to an ETS. But if sanity prevails – neither.

        • Lorax,

          Try to take off your bifocal ideological glasses (blinkers) just for a moment.

          It’s not about Big Fossil vs Big Green/Science.

          It’s about Big Finance vs The Human Race.

          Both “sides” in every “fight” need finance.

          Big Finance profits – and retains its stranglehold on humanity – by providing said finance … to ALL sides, in all “conflicts”.

          Whilst ever you choose to view yourself as being a fighter for one “side” vs the other “side” of any/every artificially constructed ideological conflict paradigm, you are just another pawn.

          Respectfully.

          • The West won the cold war but is losing the peace. This is just a stallout tactic because we cannot compete for resources on an equal footing long term.

            Our political system is bankrupt. Our economic system is bankrupt.

            The “Rest” are reforming positively.

            The West is deforming negatively.

            It is not about Big Finance Vs the Human Race.

            It is about Big Finance in the West rent seeking in the West.

            Didn’t you lot listen to President Bush. Paraphrase:This suckers going down. We had to destroy free markets to save the free markets.

            “The intellectual leaders of the peoples have produced and propagated the fallacies which are on the point of destroying liberty and Western civilization.” Ludwig von Mises

            The West is locked down behind a wall of debt. The financial oligarchs are fighting the remnants for control.

            Carbon bollox is just another socialist work program.

            Ditto the NBN. Did you know that when they rolled out the original telephony systems in the West that rather than utilise the electrical system it was seperated. Why? A glorified employment scheme.

        • The times are changin’…

          So ExxonMobil/Halliburton didn’t invade Iraq.

          And no republicans were ex-chairmen of either.

          But thats ok, because they haven’t recieved +700billion from the US government for their troubles.

          Likewise the Tea Party is a grass roots movement that wasn’t set up by the Koch brothers (oil/coal) to oppose big goverment.

          Return to fantasy land.

        • In terms of grants and income from the government, man-made global warming is a multi-billion dollar industry.

      • Another Fabian Socialist Wealth Transfer Mechanism. Garnaut,Treasury,Parliament etc.

        Who are the leaders?

        “The first socialists were the intellectuals; they and not the masses are the backbone of Socialism.” Ludwig von Mises.

        Bad economics combined with bad economic policy is what drives environmental destruction not mining or carbon emmissions per se.

        If you live in the third world, and have no electricity then you chop up the environment for heat and cooking. Die or chop.

        Economics is about doing more with less. Efficiency.

        This is nothing more than taxing poor people in the first world so that we can give money to the rich people in the third world.

        This is not economics. It is politics. Socialist politics.

        Remember, when the former Communist countries fell. All the higher echelon were found to have a lifestyle that 98% of people in the West could never attain to. Let alone their own subjects.

        One has only to look at our own former socialist leaders to see how many are millionaires if not multimillionaires. Yet most never held a real job in the real economy ever, or at least not long enough to make their fortunes. I would name them but this reply would likely get pulled.

        Or are you that stupid to believe that going into socialist politics makes you a better entreprenuer or speculator or investor that is better than free market participants, who have been doing for a living all their lives?

        Swindlers Deluxe.

    • Predicting the future is impossible, and Treasury modelling can be out by 30%. However, the prediction of $70 is out by a whooping 300%!! That’s not call ‘modelling’, that’s call BS.

  3. Nice piece CeC.

    Unfortunately it seems the price elasticity argument is getting a lot of traction. I heard it on Q&A this week as well.
    ‘How am I expected to turn off MORE lights? I’m already doing my bit AND feeling the pinch’ will be the mantra of the Murdoch press for a while yet.
    Maybe the general public (lefties included) haven’t accepted the notion carbon emissions per unit of electricity is not a fixed rate, and that it’s the numerator we’re changing, not the denominator.

    • I have heard complaints about the Murdoch press from those on the left so often since Bob Brown had his big cry. It’s as though you guys are angry that a free-press company isn’t playing by the rules.

      Even if it’s true (it most certainly isn’t) the pro-AGW brigade have the ABC, SBS, channel 7, the Fairfax press and to a lesser extent the other commercial channels.

      Why are you so unhappy about the ONE company that chooses to dissent?

  4. I can only see one reason for the urgency to implement this. Reports from none AGW scientists are starting to show the earth starting to cool over the last few years. The window of opportunity is closing to make some mega money.

    A win-win situation for those pushing to get this in place. If the earth cools, they can say, “See we were right”. If it doesn’t just increase the price.

    “If a million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

    I worked for a company of traders where we wanted to get involved with carbon trading. Unfortunately morality and sustainability were 2 of our values and we had to drop the idea.

    CEC stop talking money and please start talking the actual effect this money will have on the emissions. The purpose is to lower the emissions. By how much????

    We pretty much now know what the cost will be. Where are the benefits?

  5. Meanwhile Japan, Canada, Russia and france have pulled out of kyoto stating the fact that its stupid to reduce emission while china and india grow theirs exponentially.
    Also Germany has set 2022 to decommission their nuclear reactors, and replace them with gas/coal.
    What planet is australia on?
    The environmental cost assuming worst case IPCC scenario is that carbon should cost between $2-12 per tonne.
    Charging more is just pushing people further into poverty for nothing.

  6. What! No Gravy!

    “Meanwhile, Peter van Oselen may be a fine political historian, but his grasp of economics leaves a little to be desired.”

    maybe you mean his grasp of theoclassical economics that this website regularly debunks when it is not related to carbon pricing. Your description of how a consumer can be better off seems liked one of those toy models in an econ 101 textbook — the ones that work on “planet economics” rather than “planet earth.”

    Do you seriously expect a household to work out the sums and decide to cut their emissions in order to pocket the compensation and make money?

    And in the last paragraph you discuss the supposed main point of the tax — to reduce the greenhouse intensity of our power supply.

    If consumers are being compensated why won’t a power supplier pass on all costs? In other words what mechanism exists for power suppliers, whether it be carrot or stick, to alter their current business model?

  7. McCrann is a rusted-on denialist. He shares links with Bolt FCOL! Anything he has to say on the topic should be viewed in that light.

  8. “For example, if you use 8MWh of power and your power price goes up from $200/MWh to $230/MWh, that’s a $240 per year increase. Now if you get $240 as a lump sum (increased pension, lower tax, specific handout etc) you start off being no better or worse off.”

    Using this example, what about the snowballing input effect this tax will have across other manufacturing/value-adding processes of goods and services?

    I’d suspect the compensation will need to be far greater.

  9. Carbon Bologny

    Thanks Coyote, thats clears some things up for me. Quick question if you have time re this quote:
    “But if you then save 1 MWh through energy efficiency or solar panels etc, you save $230 rather than $200.”
    How can people on low incomes afford solar panels, LED lights, new LED tvs etc to make this saving. Even if they could, it would plausibly be over a decade before these things pay for themselves won’t it?
    I know it’s not possible to be able to implement this with zero pain, but it seems to me that, even with this proposal (clever as it appears to be), it will still be hard to bridge the gap between relatively low-cost, high energy density, carbon-based fuels, and their less energy dense, more capital intensive alternatives.

    • Carbon Bologny:

      You can make savings simply by turning things off. Generous rebates have been available for many years now to replace the big energy users in any house — electric hot water heaters — for near zero cost. Besides, the people who are least able to afford new appliances etc, are the ones who get the most generous compensation.

      No-one loses.

      IMO, this is a timid carbon tax, and once its in place, most people will realise the impact is minimal, and they can actually be substantially better off with minor lifestyle changes.

      Will it cool the world? Of course not, but its all about Australia playing its part in the global effort to reduce emissions. Once the carbon price is in place — and people realise how painless it is — future rises in the carbon tax (and compensation) won’t be anywhere near as controversial.

      • Carbon Bologny

        Thanks Lorax, I see your point. I guess for some people, just talking about this tax is promoting change. I’ve already switched to fluro lights and upgraded to a more efficient TV. Next I’m going to install my own small solar system. All of this comes at significant cost though and I’m just lucky I can afford it. Note also, that I’m doing this even in the face of having significant reservations about AGW. In any event I worry about those that can’t manage a cost on carbon. I’ve read about the compensation scheme intended to mitigate these issues but I guess until I see it working, I can’t really accept that this won’t cause significant pain for some. Perhaps it would be a good idea for the legislation to include periodic reviews of its efficacy and any public harm it may be causing. A review panel could be set up for this to advise the Minister. I haven’t read the relevant Bill (if there is one?) but I suspect it could already include this sought of check/balance.

      • So those who can’t afford it should be forced to live in the dark? And you are OK with this? Talk about elitist nonsense.

        Oh but the government are going to take from the ‘rich’ and ‘help the poor’. Which not only makes the whole exercise pointless, but creates a HUGE wealth redistribution scheme.

        Nobody and I mean NOBODY who genuinely understands economics could think this is a good idea.

        At least you said one thing that’s honest:

        “Will it cool the world? Of course not”

        It sure won’t.

      • Alex Heyworth

        And there was I thinking that water heaters ran on off-peak electricity, which essentially creates no emissions at all (since the energy would otherwise be wasted while the power plant continued to churn out the same amount of CO2).

      • None of us are going to get any say in this. But I keep saying if you want world carbon savings, and feel good about it in Australia, STOP exporting coal. Even the Green are now the Browns if you look at their last defeat/cave in.

        I do resources research as well, and all the MD’s I talk to and it’s a lot each month say bring it on, and once Australians start to loose their jobs we’ll see change.

        I believe everyone wants a clean sustainable future, but this carbon tax is not going to give it to us. But it’s likely to spook foreign investors, increase the real cost of living for no green outcome.

        A selected GST would have been better, and every cent raised could have gone to green energy research, and implementing green power. blah, blah.

        Even if you look at the electric cars, the Federal government chose Mitsubishi e-MiEV Electric Car vs Victorian engineered Blade Electric Car. How can we say we’re serious. Look at the fuel cell industry, and Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited has won contracts in the UK and Germany, but not much here other than a trial in Victoria. Guys, and the list goes on. We’re not serious in this country about climate change and supporting green industry other than Labor/Greens spin (that’s all it is). The carbon tax does very little to promote green, and we’ll find out it’s get s worst given Labor is just no good at policy or implementation.

        Cheery hey..

        • But I keep saying if you want world carbon savings, and feel good about it in Australia, STOP exporting coal.

          Agree 100%. We’re not serious about climate change, and never will be while we run a Quarry Economy.

  10. David (its like I’m writing a monologue)

    You continue to argue that the carbon tax is Big Finance vs the Human Race.

    Which is ridiculous!! Big Finance already controls the world, this should be obvious by now. It’s like pretending the GFC and bank bailouts didn’t happen, and that the public didn’t socialise the banks losses.

    Your criticisms read like criticisms against the free market, nothing more. And here I agree. Of course there is nothing ‘free’ about the ‘free market’, as it has always only ever existed so long as the biggest corporations/ financial interests stood to make the biggest gains.

    The horrible truth is that in order to transition from finite energy sources that are reaching peak extraction rates to renewable energy sources, the finance industry has to be involved, otherwise big construction projects will remain stalled.

    As a ‘bonus’ we might avoid a step change to a more hostile climate

    • “As a ‘bonus’ we might avoid a step change to a more hostile climate”

      Conversley, we might be missing out on a more favourable environment.

      Another item that Ku Kulx Klimate changers don’t know anything about, but regard themselves as the sole authorities.

    • Mate, with respect what you’ve written here is so full of logical contradictions one hardly knows where to start. Are you arguing *against* my basic point, or for it?

      (eg)

      “You continue to argue that the carbon tax is Big Finance vs the Human Race. Which is ridiculous!! Big Finance already controls the world, this should be obvious by now.”

      On one hand you accuse my point of being “ridiculous”. But then you immediately state that the underlying thesis (ie, Big Finance controls everything) is correct and “obvious”.

      You’ve then done the same thing again, in your next paragraph re the “free” market.

      In a nutshell – do you agree or disagree that Big Finance:

      (a) “Controls the world” (your own words);
      (b) “has to be involved” (your own words) in this proposed economic/social paradigm shift;
      (c) will profit from providing the finance for said “transition”;
      (d) was responsible, *in whole or in part*, for the GFC which now has 44 million Americans living on food stamps, prompted QE x 2 thus commodities price rise thus food inflation thus 3rd world poverty exacerbation thus ME social unrest;
      (e) has profited and continues to profit from having provided (and continuing to provide) finance for Big Fossil “finite” energy companies.

      If you continue to believe that it is “ridiculous” to view Big Finance as being the ultimate “backer” of all “players” in this ideological warfare “energy” game, then you are suffering from a serious case of cognitive dissonance.

      Just think through the implications of your own words, mate.

      • No.

        It is ridiculous to assume that the banks are ONLY using a carbon tax to wrest control of energy. As demonstrated by the actions of governments after the GFC, they ALREADY have control.

        Which means if you are concerned about energy/climate security, you are going to have to play by the rules of the people in power. You don’t have to, but likewise don’t expect people with the existing power and wealth to put the necessary hundreds of billions of dollars into a transition.

        The alternative is civil war, such as those being conducted throughout the Middle East to remove people in power. For Australians I imagine this is not an appealing alternative.

        Regardless of your position on climate change, we need to be acting on energy/food/water security NOW.

        On the issue of unemployed Americans, to pretend that conventional oil production has plateaued due to central banks printing money is completely disconnected from reality. Big finance can only use QE to steal from a pie that isn’t getting any bigger.

        What kind of transition would you prefer? A brutal slow down as being experienced in America and Europe?

        Or an attempt to invest finite fossil fuels in order to set up sustainable energy systems for the future?

  11. CO2 is increaing, plants love it and the only harm humans get is is rising sea levels later this century.

    Taxes won’t stop this happening but the normal cycle of cooling, which we are in, will kick in and cool the place anyway.

    Resource conservation should be the aim as we humans use far too much of this planet’s accumulated benefits curently.

    The taxation maths is utterly boring nonsense promulgated by the worst informed and worst intentioned politicians ever to pollute our parliament.

  12. Jumping jack flash

    So my question to the professor is who controls the creation of carbon credits? Surely there is a global register, otherwise I could create my own.

  13. I remember very clearly having a debate with my father (a canberra publc servant) in about 1980 about renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions. He said the obvious thing was to price emissions and and he gave me a Treasury whitepaper to read, published in 1973 which outlined the logic and benefits of pricing carbon and how the economy would adjust. Unfortunately I do not have the paper and only recall it’s outlines, not the details, but it was accepted that pollution was not adequalty priced into markets and a crabon price wa a means to fully price industrialisation and consumption.

    At the rate of this current debate it will be another 40 years and several lost environments before the cost is accepted.

  14. “This is a scare campaign being run by much of the Murdoch press. McCrann’s reasons that:”

    Wow, just wow. You post this and you expect us to take the rest of your column seriously?

    And your only counter is ‘this is what the ALP leaning treasury and Ross Garnaut say’? You are going to have to do WAY better than this.

    I’ll take Terry McCrann’s arguments thank you very much. This tax will do nothing to reduce emissions, as is the case for ALL others like it. All it is going to do is increase government revenue, increase red tape, and create a big money-go-round.

    There is no way anyone could argue that this will have any economic benefit whatsoever.

    • Yeah, no, you’re right. The energy generators won’t change their portfolios. They”ll just jack up prices. And energy workers will loose their jobs because the generators will be rich. But the government will also be rich because of the tax and ordinary,plain,vanilla Aussies will be out of pocket because of Juliar. Garnaut and the others all have their snouts in the trough too.

      NEXT UP:

      Dodgy plumbers giving our kids germs…..

    • Carbon E Coyote

      MattR, you’re sorely mistaken when you say “NOBODY who genuinely understands economics could think this is a good idea.”

      How about you read Alan Mitchell in the AFR today, or would you say he doesn’t understand economics as well? Mitchell says:

      “As a prominent economist and former diplomat, Garnaut has expertise both in navigating the route to global greenhouse action and in minimising the economic cost of emissions reduction. That makes the key conclusions of the report worth listening to”.

      “This requires a market-based policy …. to find the most cost-effective ways to adjust, as proposed by the Gillard government, and both the Rudd and Howard governments before it”.

      “The report should set the bar for the public debate. Politicians who respond to Garnaut’s careful argument with cheap debating points should be taken with a grain of salt”.

      I’m sure you’ll disagree with all of this. But it’s basic economics, I’m afraid. Internalising the externality is economics 101.

      It really is an inconvenient truth for many.

      • What about the rest of what Terry McCrann said in the Weekend OZ article about how he said that Sceptical environmentalist dude Bjorn Lumborg figured the world will spend $40 trillion for $1 trillion of benefit? and how we would be much better off just adapting to the changing climate.

        In the same issue was an article how New Jersy just dumped their carbon scheme, but I guess we need to go thru this pointless exercise, the problem is the expansion of gov, loss of more civil liberties and probably more mandatory green idealism dictates forced upon us like toxic flouro light bulbs containing mercury instead of environmentally friendly non-toxic incandescents.

        Pumping up Alan Mitchell and Garnaut is just another argument from authority.

    • Will sanity ever prevail?

      from joannenova.com.au

      Let’s say “Yes” to real science, the way it’s meant to be, science that relies on measurements from things like thermometers, ice cores, and satellites. Real science is about observations of the real deal, not “simulations” on a computer. 28 million weather balloons, 6000 boreholes, 3000 ocean buoys, and 30 years of satellites tell us that rising CO2 is not much to worry about.

      Let say “Yes” to helping the environment by looking at real problems instead of fake ones. Let’s do practical things to stop our soil being eroded, to save our flora and fauna, and to stop real pollutants like soot, ozone and sulfur dioxide. We all know that a tax won’t solve salinity, or change the weather.

      Lets say “Yes” to using our tax money wisely. Who are we kidding? Solar panels, windmills and funny light globes are not going to stop droughts, floods and nasty storms. Why put more money into the hands of people who’ve spent around 4 billion dollars putting Chinese solar panels on roofs, and pink batts in houses. We can’t control the weather and we can’t export second hand solar panels. Let’s say NO to pork barrelling, and pink-batts-that-kill, and solar panels that send us broke.

      Say “Yes” to the free market. Rather than foist a fixed, fake carbon market on us, listen to what the real market it saying — it’s telling us that no one wants to buy carbon credits if they have a choice, and hardly anyone wants current renewables at current prices. Stop the subsidies, get the government out of the way, and give us a real free market.

      Let’s say “Yes” to a real debate, where the government, public funded scientists and ABC stop denigrating anyone who tries to raise a scientific point they don’t approve of. We pay for these institutions, we deserve the whole truth.

      Let’s say “Yes” to getting news instead of propaganda from the ABC. Did you know that in the ice cores, temperatures rise and fall first? That’s 800 years before CO2? Don’t they think voters ought to know that? Did you know market gardeners pay to pump the carbon dioxide into greenhouses, because plants grow faster, stronger, yield more fruit and need less water? Did they forget to tell you that plants prefer a climate with three times as much CO2 in the air as we have today?

      And who knew that unpaid whistleblowers are rising up in protest and that 31,500 scientists don’t think we need a carbon tax? Or that 9,000 of them have PhDs. Or that skeptics include Nobel physics prize winners, NASA astronauts, and prize winning meteorologists?

      If this is the most important crisis we face, why are the government and the official scientists so afraid of questions? They’ll do anything to shut down discussion. They call Nobel Prize winners “deniers” and declare “the science is settled”, yet the BOM can’t predict the weather a month from now?

      We are tired of being fed lies. We are tired of being ruled by people who think they know what’s best for us, and we’ve had enough of people who want to spend our money on pie-in-the-sky projects that don’t help the environment.

      Say “Yes” to an election before making changes that affect our entire economy.”

      from joannenova.com.au

      • Carbon E Coyote

        Sanity won’t prevail until people stop misrepresenting what the science actually is. The science of climate change is not based, as you and others are suggesting, on computer models. It IS based on observations; we can see what temperature is doing, CO2 concentration, ice cores, ocean acidification and so on. The computer models are to try to figure out what might happen in the future. Do you honestly think that scientists have to ignore all the observations available in order to come up with AGW? This is an absurd proposition.

      • ‘Did you know that in the ice cores, temperatures rise and fall first? That’s 800 years before CO2?’

        Yes. But here you are talking about Milankovitch cycles, periodical changes in the earths orbit around the sun and of its axis that correlate with changes in the earths temperature.

        The changes in global temperature due to these cycles would be less pronounced without the effects of CO2. As the earth warms (cools), the oceans release (absorb) CO2. This is from the nature of gases dissolved in liquids: more can be dissolved the cooler the liquid is.

        Unfortunately in the current precession cycle we should be seeing cooling, not warming.

        http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/milankovitch-cycles/

        If the world were cooling by these cycles, then CO2 levels in the atmosphere should fall as CO2 levels in the ocean increase.

        Unfortunately CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing at the same time that CO2 levels in the ocean are also increasing. The sudden increases in CO2 levels in the atmosphere over the last 100 years therefore cannot be explained by Milankovitch cycles.

  15. Just curious if anyone was actually taking this thing at all seriously or the place was just some propaganda tool.

    I’m also curious as to how you can see what temp is doing if you cherry pick the data. In Australia’s case the Mackay data is a classic case. I will say it is the only one I looked at slosely. But if the people promoting this AGW reasoning are genuine why do they have to lie about any of it?

    I question what is being done when everyone in support of it in the media have to lie about the problems both in print and more particularly with visual images. Why is that done every single time?

    Many scientists, and very good ones, question what is going on. There was supposed to be a discussion. What we have had is a propaganda onslaught by Government, paid for by Government, spearheaded by Garnaut who is a very highly paid participant. There is no provision for discussion. There is no money for those who hold any sort of questioning views whatsoever. Just propaganda through all forms of media.

    No other opinion has been allowed. No other opinion will be tolerated. To express another opinion is to be equated with Nazi sympathisers through the use of the label ‘denier’ It is a word that was deliberately chosen to portray those who oppose the propaganda in any way as extremists.

    When this happens my hair stands on end. I think it is a most dangerous trend towards intolerance and extremism.

    • Unfortunately many scientists, and good ones, have spent the last 30 years describing their conclusions, in the vain hope that people will consider all the evidence and rationally decide that it is within our best interests to reduce CO2 emissions.

      This has been a near colossal failure, as shown by the ever increasing use of fossil fuels and increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. They clearly underestimated the human ability for denial.

      And there is a double standard if you think advertising can only be used by large corporations to turn us into consuming debt slaves.

  16. P.S. I do think at least some scientists on the Government money gravy train have massaged their models to attain alarmist outcomes.