Carbon tax shifts to neutral

The removal of the carbon price floor yesterday is essentially placing the carbon tax on idle. The price floor notion was designed to prevent the kind of price collapses that have plagued the European carbon price market. By instead linking to that market, the Gillard government has ensured that the price for local credits will be, in all likelihood, lower than it otherwise would have been. For instance, the European price is currently $10, as opposed to the $23 that will operate as the fixed price for the next three years here before floating.

This has obvious political benefits, but also risks.

The biggest benefits are it’ll make industry happy and mean that criticisms of Australia getting ahead of the rest of the world are, by definition, wrong.

The biggest risk is that if the price undershoots Treasury targets, Labor has just built into the Budget another component of structural deficit as the tax cuts that offset the carbon price will remain. But then, that’ll be someone else’s problem, won’t it?

In real policy terms, there are also pros and cons. If the carbon price is lower then the effects will be more muted, obviously. But linking with external markets is a key to making the carbon price work long term, as without it you cannot reap the benefits of buying the permits from those making progress on carbon reduction most cheaply. This trade in permits is one of the key dimensions of the efficiency of using a carbon price – instead of regulation – so it’s a positive.

In making a judgement about whether this is good or bad on balance, I would argue that the efficacy of the carbon price has been, in some material way, been eroded. So the question is, do you want less impact or not. I don’t.

Comments

  1. How apt. Announcing our adoption of the “Wall Street model” from Washington. Aren’t we good little international citizens.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405
    Snip
    BUBBLE #6 Global Warming
    *****
    And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, 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 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……

    • More on Australia not doing as well as initially thought – from Jonathon Tepper; “The search for yield and essentially diversification out of sovereign debt markets in distress has led to a surge in the foreign holdings of Australian government bonds. According to the latest data from the Australian Office of Financial Management, the total foreign ownership of Australian government bonds now stands at 80% of the total outstanding debt, up from 60% in 2006.”Although this may sound high, government debt to GDP in Australia is low, at 30% (although is up from 16% in 2008). This low ratio is a result of running a budget surplus for most of the last 15 years. But, even though the situation looks good optically, the fact of the matter is Australia would have to backstop its banks in the event of a crisis, and this low number masks the real debt burden. Two countries that also had low debt burdens before banking crises were Spain and Ireland. They’ve both required bailouts, so Australian politicians and economists should not be complacent about their public debt levels.”

  2. This is a step in the right direction. Next stop? Getting rid of this pointless tax altogether.

    “efficay of tax eroded”

    Good! The tax was designed as nothing more than a wealth churner. It would have had absolutely no effect on climate whatsoever and didn’t even touch energy use. It should never have been implemented without the consent of the electorate.

    The sooner it’s gone or made entirely ineffective ($0 per ton) the better.

      • Not sure what you are saying, that this isn’t a step in the right direction (it certainly is), or that we shouldn’t be looking to get rid of it (we should as it’s an act of collective insanity)?

        Second, inevitible that it was going to be useless or inevitible that it’s going to be gone?

      • This tax was totally pointless and especially damaging since the country would have to send much needed $ overseas to pay for crappy carbon credit.

        and it would have had ZERO effect on the climate, why continue ? what the point to use less coal here if we end up selling it to the chinese to be used.

        The ONLY way to reduce our carbon footprint is to stop digging carbon ! and stop exporting it.

        By we are not going to do it, so better stop this masochistic adventure.

        and I am a greeny.

      • 10% tax on any carbon digged (gas or coal or petrol ) imported or exported

        and this money to fund a proper renewable energy infrastructure that would not do much for the climate but at least would create some high tech/high value/ no offshorable jobs in Australia

      • What’s the 10% on, the sale price? And given gas is cleaner burning than coal, why is that being taxed at the same rate?

        I too am in favour of the money being put into research & development of alternatives, and of creating effective and efficient infrastructure where possible – I don’t like the compromise we’ve got with the current system where payments are doled out to the public or to polluters, but that’s what a democracy is sometimes.

        The idea of a carbon price though is to enforce a cost on the externality of carbon and therefore drive private innovation to develop greener alternatives.

      • gas is still carbon.

        10% is an exaggeration (2-4% could be fine) but the main thing is to tax EXPORT (which is an export of carbon, doesnt matter where it burn).if it become uneconomical to dig, we will stop digging and reduce the overall carbon foot print of the planet, which is the main goal, better go for it directly. Chinese woudl not be happy but who care, free trade is a bad joke.After few year we would end up with a significant green industry, that could export know how.

      • Dam, gas still emits carbon but for the same energy output gas has lower carbon output. Unless you target the carbon output proportionally, you’re just slapping a modified GST on energy inputs.

        In any case, I fail to see how taxing exports will develop a green industry locally – doesn’t that give more incentive for the Chinese to develop less carbon-intensive technology? (not that they need any more incentives…)

      • ” Chinese to develop less carbon-intensive technology”

        and it would be bad ????

        remember the goal, reduce the carbon footprint of the planet.

        taxing our own carbon consumption is quite masochistic and self defeating when you have the possibility to tax someone else.

      • hear hear! though in my own self interest i should probably support carbon trading

        Probably not. If you’re over 30 you’re unlikely to see any significant negative effects from global warming in your lifetime (and consequently, no benefits from trying to prevent it).

      • You raise a pretty important issue here. How much economic incentive would someone need to go from total skeptic to total believer (outwardly anyway)? Give me a few million in grants and a salary of several hundred thousand a year and I will dance the warmist tune as enthusiastically as anyone.

        There is so much money tied to this scam (billions of dollars a year) right now, it’s no wonder it get’s defended so fanatically. Scientists have a way of securing grants, investment banks have another game to make money off, spruikers and celebrities have a way of making money and raising their profile, politicians have a ’cause’ to fight AND an excuse to raise taxes (how could it get any better for them). Imagine if all that stopped overnight, you’d have a lot of people out of a lot of money and just as many with reputations in tatters.

      • exactly my point the financial industry will make a killing of carbon derivatives, if i ever come to support this whacked out agenda itll be purely based on making $, i wont rationalise that im some moral crusader living in the age of enlightenment..

        the alarmist crowd honestly remind me of that southpark episode where they smell their own farts because “we’re a little more ahead of the curve hear in San Francisco, per se'”

      • Give me a few million in grants and a salary of several hundred thousand a year and I will dance the warmist tune as enthusiastically as anyone.

        Ah, yes, the mythical “rich scientest” argument.

        The idea there’s more money for people showing that global warming is happening than there for people trying to deny it, is simply laughable, and stands up to no analysis whatsoever.

      • drsmithy,

        You clearly haven’t see the lists of studies that obtain federal grants. Basically if you say you are studying the effects of climate change on tree frogs, you are far more likely than if you simply say “tree frog behaviour”. It’s not a myth it’s 100% fact that studies that mention climate change are far more likely to receive funding than those that don’t.

        The Global Warming industry is worth tens of billions a year, fact.

      • doc smithy,

        “The idea there’s more money for people showing that global warming is happening than there for people trying to deny it, is simply laughable, and stands up to no analysis whatsoever”

        Really? So these scietists are bullsh****g?;

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html

        “Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet.”

        And the opinion of Professor Antonino Zichichi too is not to be trusted;

        “Science these days is a monopsony. There is only one paying customer: the State. Scientists increasingly produce the results their political paymasters want rather than seeking after truth.”

        http://joannenova.com.au/2012/08/prof-antonino-zichichi-of-anti-matter-fame-is-angry-at-climate-science/#more-23491

        This has been done before of course;
        “This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death”

        AGW- the new World Order in action.

    • Jumping jack flash

      +1

      $0 a ton is on its way as people lose interest.

      The great carbon pricing flop will be remembered throughout history as the first global, media-hyped, knee-jerk reaction. If you don’t count Iraq, I suppose.

      There will be others, I’m sure.

      It is nice to know though, when faced with the threat of imminent global peril, our leaders’ first reactions are to tax the population.

      And by the time the tax has been fully implemented, the initial problem has been forgotten, or it is decided that it is no longer imminent.

      • Do you truly think that the best method for “preserving the species” against this allegedly grave and imminent peril, is to create legislation that simply enables the banker/speculator class to set up a new form of unregulated derivatives … one that, thanks to the invertebrate form and corrupt nature of politicians, ultimately means that you, your kids and your grand kids will be on the hook for if (when) it goes belly up?

        If you truly believe the planet is in grave and imminent peril from CO2 emissions, you would not hesitate to BAN emissions beyond a certain threshold. After all, the very future of the planet and life as we know it is at stake, right?

        The insistence upon the “wisdom” of “relying on the markets”, by simply imposing a financial penalty for breaching some arbitrary, unmonitored and unmonitorable “limit”, is proof to anyone with a fully-functioning BS antenna that the whole thing is nothing more than BS scare campaign cooked up by the financial class.

        *shakes head*

      • Turnbull and his GS mates will be over the moon with this development. Credits trading is a lucrative enetrprise. That our money goes offshore seems quite ok.

        All it shows is that the whole Carbon Tax affair was a smoke screen for wealth distribution from the start rather than an honest attempt at climate control (a misguided “science” IMO). Faced with reality at the polls (and with knives out for JG in Caucus), the Govt has flipped again. But, will it be the last? And, can they make it work?

        Bottom line: This U turn is to survive 1 election and has zero to do with Climate Change.

      • Fortunately increased CO2 and Global warming (mostly from other sources) is helping to stave off the four horseman for now by allowing us to grow sufficient food.

        Yet some people think the right thing to do in an ice age and carbon drought is to reduce CO2 and Temp.
        Thats just plain stupid.

        We should tax any energy sources that don’t produce CO2 and start aiming for 800ppm so that plants can grow efficiently.
        After all with the enhanced greenhouse effect theory now falsified by observations showing declining Water vapour instead of the predicted increase there is no way CO2 can Cause a significant temp increase.
        CO2 doubling = 3.7w/m2 = 1.2degC
        For 4 degree rise you need 14w/m2

        Without the enhanced greenhouse effect (water vapour positive feedback) it cannot physically occur.

        I would love to see a survey of how many people have even heard of this most important aspect of the CAGW theory!

      • +1

        Although it would be interesting to see if the increase in food yields is offset by the use of perfectly good corn to fuel cars and make greenies feel better about themselves.

      • It is nice to know though, when faced with the threat of imminent global peril, our leaders’ first reactions are to tax the population.

        What alternative would you suggest given the time scale is measured in generations ?

      • drsmithy – it would be best if this ‘climate change’ issue is as serious as you believe, to suspend capitalism, impose martial law and let Bob & Julia get on with it, with some moral support from the Big O. Stop all development and create new zoo’s for the endangered species and implement ‘solent green’ – that should do it!

      • No-one is asking to stop capitalism – a trading scheme for carbon emissions is working within the system. No need to rant about soylent green.

      • Australian’s tend to lose interest in this every winter. It’ll be back to front page news in Summer.

  3. Emission trading is one of those things that sound brilliant in theory but prove a dud in practice and become nothing more than a game for the striped shirts.

    If carbon warrants a higher price than supple and demand determines then tax it. If competitors do not impose a tax – we should impose a tariff on their goods to cover the lack of tax.

    Perhaps we could tax coal exports to China and invite Chinese citizens to write to our govt to obtain their carbon tax offset rebate. Or we could provide tied aide to China in the amount of the tax.

    Note: the reason for taxing carbon may not involve any belief in the dangers of a warming globe or even that the globe will warm. Pollution and preservation of non renewable resources is good enough for me.

      • Money has been around for millenia and government STILL can’t get banking/financial regulations right. How are they supposed to ‘get it right’ on something that was completely made up 15 years ago?

        There is no baby and the bathwater is putrid.

      • How are they supposed to ‘get it right’ on something that was completely made up 15 years ago?

        Try to keep at least a facade of credibility up. The effect of high CO2 levels was first proposed in the lat 1800s.

      • hows that sensible regulation going for you? Business is so greedy that we need non greedy types to regulate.. where are these philosopher kings to oversee the economy. The finance industry is arguably the second most regulated industry in the world… MFG, PFG, OTC derivatives, regulators are asleep at the wheel, who helps write the regulations in the pharmaceutical industry in the US? Big Pharma.. most of the regulations that we need are already on the books.

        “this idea of just passing legislation, legislation, legislation every time someone blinks is a nonsense…purely and simply to do the things we used to do, and every time you pass a law you are taking someones privileges away from them.” (K Packer, 1991)

        as Matt has said the bathwater is on the nose..

      • “every time you pass a law you are taking someones privileges away from them.”

        Correct. And a major strategy of the Leftist nanny state.

  4. Jumping jack flash

    Hooray!

    When I first heard of the “carbon credit”, essentially a carbon backed currency based loosely around the number of tonnes of carbon dioxide in the air, I thought that it could be used as a global currency. There’s enough carbon dioxide in the air to cover the current amount of currency in circulation on the planet, plus those derivatives. The carbon “price” being the exchange rate to convert from one “currency” to the other.

    The plan was to force everyone to buy carbon credits so they could continue to manufacture and live – they had a captive market and demand for them.

    Then I learned could buy carbon credits with my currency to offset my electricity bill, spending them. It was a natural progression to eventually use them for everything. Everything touches carbon in one way or another.

    Perhaps that was just my tinfoil hat being a bit tight that day…

    But I think it is great that there is no floor price, now carbon can fluctuate in line with how much people care about it, ala Europe. When carbon care factor eventually = 0, carbon price will also follow.

  5. You really can’t post anything about carbon pricing without it getting swamped with comments from denialists, flat-Earthers, and anti-science nutjobs.

      • Indeed, or blinkered group thinkers who turn the latest “science” fad into a religion, with all it’s accompanying acusatory dogma (denialists? for heavens sake!)

        Aussie used to be a place where we could spot a BS artist at 100 yds. Some comments here just show how dumbed down our “real” education has become.

      • Sad HH. When you are pushing an idea and resort to saying those who disagree with you hold ‘medieval views’, you have lost the argument.

        The carbon tax has destroyed Australia’s only competetive advantage in manufacturing industries. Cheap power.

        What suprises me is that the party that was founded on supporting workers in manufacturing industries has introduced a tax where the costs are carried by its core supporters.

        But when you’ve brought the the foolish idea that human life is in deadly peril because of a small increase in temperature over a 100 year period, it seems any cost is worth paying.

        But my stufy has convinced me that human life is not in peril and most will manage very well in a warmer world. Some will be loosers but the vast majority of the world will benefit massively from a warmer planet.

        Global warming, bring it on!

      • the bulk of Labors policies are anti-worker.. the objectives arent but the results are. Similarly I wouldnt say the Liberals are the greatest representatives of the true meaning of liberal..

      • But my stufy has convinced me that human life is not in peril and most will manage very well in a warmer world. Some will be loosers but the vast majority of the world will benefit massively from a warmer planet.

        I’d be curious to read your study – or do you mean on the basis of others’ research?

        The point to recall is that this is climate change, not pure ‘global warming’. A changing climate destabilizes expected weather patterns, leading to more extreme weather, making it much harder to live peaceably. A failing monsoon in India affects 600 million people in Northern India (the south is more tropical), and reduced rainfall as a result means no power from hydroelectricity, no water for agriculture and so rising food costs.

        And the best part? This isn’t speculation, this is observation of what is happening just this year.

      • the more extreme weather argument in recent times is debunked… best change the inputs on your forecast model

      • yeah but a very fertile tundra would feed billion

        it s too late for to even slow down the warming, better live with it.

        it s true there will be plenty of positive

      • The tundra is in Russia. It might feed a billion, but a billion without water is going to be a whole different problem – the whole Indian subcontinent is going to be in real trouble if the balance is tipped.

      • Karan the geological records, written record and physics all suggest the opposite.
        Warm climates are more stable, Cool climates are more variable.
        The weather is driven by the difference between the warm tropics and the cold poles. In a warm climate there is less difference so more stable weather.
        For instance the sediments cores from australia and south america show much more ENSO variability during cool periods and much more stable weather during warm periods such as the holocene optimum when weather was 2-3deg warmer than today about 4000 years ago. Just when human civilisation stated thriving.

      • The carbon tax has destroyed Australia’s only competetive advantage in manufacturing industries. Cheap power.

        I guess that explains why the collapse in manufacturing has only just happened in the 3 months since the carbon tax was introduced.

      • wait so theres no self interest?

        Only the finance sector can admit they have some interest in the ETS-slimate-armageddon, the intellectuals are more noble in character?

        Am i taking crazy pills?

        “even the rain that falls will not fill up the dams”

        If there was a little less alarmism and simply a statement of we are wishing to lay the groundwork for a transition to a ‘cleaner’ energy economy there would be more support then at current. The fetish for Armageddon scenarios is what has discredited and put the issue on the nose for most Australians. People arent gullible, we are in the age of the internet, if people think they are being sold a furphy they can look it up

      • That’s right in this internet age anyone can become an expert. Just use google to find some blogs that support your point of view and bang, you’re as entitled to spout off your theories as someone who has put in years of study and research.

      • Thomas Sowell is an American economist, political writer, and commentator. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

        If that guy doesn’t count as an ‘intellectual’, who does?

      • People arent gullible, we are in the age of the internet, if people think they are being sold a furphy they can look it up

        It’s on the Internet, it must be true !

    • The AGW religion is not being rejected just by “flat earthers”. Reputable science itself disputes the “science” of AGW;

      “Professor Antonino Zichichi, one of the world’s top six particle physicists (he discovered a form of anti-matter 40 years before the multi-billion-dollar Large Hadron Collider did), is the most famous Italian scientist since his hero Galileo. He founded the Federation half a century ago and, at the age of 83, is its president to this day.”

      His opinion is;

      “Nino is furious at the politicization of climate science. Science these days is a monopsony. There is only one paying customer: the State. Scientists increasingly produce the results their political paymasters want rather than seeking after truth.”

      http://joannenova.com.au/2012/08/prof-antonino-zichichi-of-anti-matter-fame-is-angry-at-climate-science/#more-23491

      AGW science is a captured, peddled product.

      • Lorax, this pure ad hominem response is unworthy of your obvious intellect, as proven on other topics. You did not even try to address the substance of the comment. For shame.

      • With no disrespect to Prof. Zichichi, being a renowned particle physicist does not necessarily mean that he knows about climate science.

        They are different fields of study.

      • You are a Dr?(no disrespect of course.)

        Have a read.

        He was taking aim at how “the science” is distorted , even falsified, to produce results for the source of the funding?

        You do get that, don’t you?

      • Ok, I had a look and found:

        “World Federation of Scientists… has 10,000 scientist members apparently, including … [a bunch of scientists, mainly physiscists, including Nobel laureates, but not climate scientists]”

        Where are the climate scientists weho disagree or who have come up with evidence debunking the AGW theory?

        That’s right they’re all in on it trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

        good thing we’re too smart for them huh?

      • “That’s right they’re all in on it trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”

        Yes, of course they are all frauds Doc.

        Or is it that the so called “Climate Scientists” didn’t make the entry threshold?

        But, you still miss the point. The Prof is saying, and he should know, that the data is bought and paid for. Do you have a response to that? Or not?

      • ” The Prof is saying, and he should know, that the data is bought and paid for.”

        How and why should he know? because he is a noteworth physisist?

      • Doc,

        My last comment on this.

        Bio:
        “Prof. Antonino Zichichi
        Antonino Zichichi, emeritus professor of Advanced Physics at the University of Bologna, has authored over 1000 scientific papers which include: six discoveries, four inventions, three original ideas which opened new avenues in high energy subnuclear physics and four high-precision measurements of fundamental physics properties.”

        I think he knows a thing or 2 on how scientific data is gathered, studied and presented. I also think he has a very prominent reputation to protect. And if he is casting serious doubt even criticism, like many learned others, on the credibility of the data provided by his pro-AGW colleagues, then I think I should believe him.(Not that this is my only reference for that disbelief).

        If you don’t, then fine. You are entitled to your opinion.

      • Nino is furious at the politicization of climate science. Science these days is a monopsony. There is only one paying customer: the State. Scientists increasingly produce the results their political paymasters want rather than seeking after truth.

        So where is his evidence against that presented by climate scientists ?

  6. it’s simply not possible to have a professional conversation seeing the name calling here. pretty disappointing, but like a lot of other issues its been mismanaged, and how we got to this situation. We need sustainable practices, but when you look at it there are few, and even fewer green jobs, and I can’t see our policies ever generating them. many of my friends try to reduce our energy footprint, but it’s no thanks to any party; we just do it.

    • Yah, I tend to avoid the carbon topics here because of that.

      Speaking of reducing my energy footprint, even though I have a set back of 6 metres, the council wants to be part of the process of me putting up a canvas awning along my western wall, incurring time and money.

      A job here is created, not sure if its green.

    • Every green job destroys several real jobs in the process. The biggest issue is that money is diverted away from real pollution issues such as replacing outdated coal power station that release real sulfur and heavy metals pollutants, and instead install new equipment that is 30% more efficient and scrubs the real pollutants from the exhausts.

      Of course there is still huge issues such as the dangerous nature of underground coal mining and the uses of valuable and limited hydrocarbon resources for fuel.

      • To be fair, some of us have tried to keep the discussion centred around the subject of HnH’s article, ie, what is the likely efficacy of the CO2 pricing scheme in terms of emissions reduction, particularly in light of yesterday’s announcement.

  7. A price floor was always going to be difficult if Australian permits were going to be tied to international schemes and interchangeability allowed – but I suspect that, assuming we’re not still waiting for Greece to make its mind up in 2015, the European scheme will be trading above $15 a tonne in any case. I’d say this is why the Greens eventually agreed to it.

    • best put money where your mouth is and buy up then if you see it at $15, or are you just in favour of legislating the use of other peoples money to support your ideas/fantasies?

      • I’m in favour of the price of externalities being factored into the cost of goods and services through a market-based mechanism.

      • we shall see to what degree the market believes it is an externality then, ill happily go the other side of your position

      • That’s right, because the market is the best place to extablish scientific principles.

        Really you people are so far up inside your own market-based fantasies, that you can’t see (don’t want to see) what is obvious to scientists.

      • im going to guess you work in the public service or some field where you are immune from the workings of the real economy..

    • It might be a lot more than that if the AUD drops, but then again they will probably print more Euros.

  8. Global warming is just a symptom, of the bottom line , too many people on the planet wanting too many things now with a limit.
    When Growth goes exponetial, there is always a drop back to average. 2Billion to 8 billion in 80 odd years is a pretty impressive growth rate

    • of course its an impressive growth rate, but look at the birth rates of every major western country and tell me population is going to be a problem..
      People seem to have a penchant for eugenics rather than looking at the facts, of course in every scenario where they call for population reduction they arent the ones affected in the scenario..

      • I am not advocating Eugenics, nor am I worried about the birth rates of western countries nor am I calling for population reduction.

        The non western ones armed with nukes and with compounding birth rates and full of hungry people are the ones to watch. Nature will sort it out one way or another regardless of any price on carbon.
        Personally I am pro nuke power, pro sun power and wind power.

  9. Loving this. The idle before the end. More policy on the run. 2015? Will Labor be in power? Will Eurozone still exist current form?

  10. How many commenters here are climate scientist?

    It sure does sound like there are a whole lot of conspiracy theoriese.g. Those corrupt climate scientists are just trying to secure research-grant money.

    How many people understand the scientific process?

    Sure you are entitled to your opinion on ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change), just the same way that you can have an opinion on the scientific theory of gravity or evolution, but science isn’t based on opinions, it’s based on obervation.

    This is not meant to exclude people from the process, but it is necessary to know what you’re talking about first before you can properly enter the debate.

    NOTE: I’m not a climate scientist, but I respect the findings of those scientists who are.

    • For my part DrBob, the issue is not one of arguing the merits/demerits of the alleged scientific evidence in support of the AGW theory. The issue is one of looking at the alleged solution to the alleged grave and imminent peril, as popularly and vociferously advocated by our alleged intellectual betters, and considering that on its merits/demerits.

      “Pricing carbon” / “market mechanisms” as the popularly advocated “solution” is IMO sufficient evidence of itself to raise serious question marks. As posted above in response to HnH, if you truly believe the planet itself is in grave and imminent peril from rising CO2 emissions, you would BAN emissions beyond a certain threshold. The huge drive to simply place a financial penalty on emissions in excess of a threshold – especially in a world of ever newer and more convoluted derivatives, purportedly for “hedging” or “offsetting risk” – demonstrates to me that our alleged intellectual betters are using this whole grand show as nothing more than an exercise in financialisation. For profit. Not for emissions reduction.

      And there is ample evidence already to support the view that financialisation of CO2 as a supposed “solution” to “save the planet” has done ZERO to reduce global emissions.

      • Absolutely agree. Way back in MBs Carbon Coyote days my prime objection was the financialisation of carbon, another speculative plaything for financial markets. Sweet FA for the environment, if that was ever the actual intent.

      • “if you truly believe the planet itself is in grave and imminent peril from rising CO2 emissions, you would BAN emissions beyond a certain threshold.”

        So, your problem with accepting this solution is that it doesn’t go far enough?

        I guess the govt. is being too pragmatic in trying to migrate the economy to one that produces less CO2. What you’re suggesting is that it should implement a blanket ban?

      • No, my problems with this “solution” are manifold. And not the least of which is that the patently obvious speculation/profit motive that is implicit in the pushed “solution” raises serious question marks as to the sincerity and trustworthiness of the proponents, vis-a-vis both the efficacy of the pushed solution, and the veracity of the alleged “grave and imminent threat” they purport to be solving in the first place.

        The fact that we now have plenty of evidence to show that “pricing carbon” and “market mechanisms” (ie, financialisation) have had zero impact on emissions – and indeed, have only brought increased complexity, volatility (hmmmm, precisely what the speculator/”trader” class thrives on), risk, and fraud – only adds further weight to the view that this “solution” is bogus.

        I, like an increasing majority if polls are any guide, will begin to temper my very deep scepticism only when those shrieking of an imminent Warmageddon begin to act like they truly believe it themselves. To wit, by (amongst other things) proposing solutions that (a) properly reflect the alleged gravity and alleged imminence of a “tipping point” vis-a-vis the alleged problem, and (b) might actually have an impact on the alleged cause of the alleged problem, rather than just create a new financialisation monster casino.

      • Our politicians are sceptical about introducing the large-scale changes you mention because they are simply reflecting the uncertainty in the populace. They won’t act in a big way unless they are certain they will get public support. But if your attitude is reflective of the public in general, then the public won’t take the issue seriously unless the pollies take it seriously. We have here a massive staring contest:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjmUduvaRx0

        If both politicians and voters are sitting, staring at each-other waiting for one of them to move first, then modern democratic politics has truly descended into a farce of epic proportions.

      • I, like an increasing majority if polls are any guide, will begin to temper my very deep scepticism only when those shrieking of an imminent Warmageddon begin to act like they truly believe it themselves. To wit, by (amongst other things) proposing solutions that (a) properly reflect the alleged gravity and alleged imminence of a “tipping point” vis-a-vis the alleged problem, and (b) might actually have an impact on the alleged cause of the alleged problem, rather than just create a new financialisation monster casino.

        The people who meet your requirements are dismissed out of hand either as a) preaching armageddon or b) proposing completely practically unworkable solutions (ie: banning stuff). Note that these tend to be the people who are on the science side of the discussion, rather than the political side of the argument.

        Or, in other words, if you listen to the scientists and ignore the politicians and economists, you will probably find the conviction you seek.

        However, since scientists don’t run the world, a compromise must be found. The compromise proposed at the moment is to “incentivise” the “free market” to develop less CO2-intensive technologies.

        What alternative compromise would you propose ?

      • “Our politicians … are simply reflecting the uncertainty in the populace”

        LF, perhaps unknowingly, you have here supported the very substance of my point. The politicians quite clearly do not truly believe in imminent Warmageddon. If they did, then the self-preservation instinct – for their own physical (not political) lives, and that of their own families – would see them passionately advocating for blanket bans on excessive CO2 emissions. It’s about preventing TEOTWAWKI, right?

        Even The Greens, those who you would think would take the issue most seriously, are fully on board the “pricing carbon” bandwagon.

        Actions always speak louder than words. And the actions of our politicians and “experts” all proclaim via a Marshall stack that the AGW meme is NOT about “saving the planet” from an imminent “tipping point” into Warmageddon.

      • “What alternative compromise would you propose ?”

        drsmithy, I fear you misunderstand my position. I have no interest in proposing an alternative compromise. I see no compelling need to do so, and one of the biggest influences in that regard is my having the considered view that none of the pushers do not truly believe what they themselves are peddling. Either that, or they are devoid of a functioning Conscience – I for one could never truly believe the world was going to end, with death and destruction and suffering on every side due to rising man-made CO2 emissions, and yet still personally indulge in a high CO2-consumption lifestyle. In which case, why would I believe the claims and go along with the “solutions” of folks whom I suspected of having a non-functional Conscience?

        What really p!sses me right off to no end is that there are myriad genuinely compelling environmental pollution and sustainability issues that remain largely unaddressed, this IMO due in great part to the massive over-focus on AGW.

        Finally and FWIW, I have read numerous scientific papers on AGW, read 1 IPCC report in full and another in part, followed the various “-Gate” scandals with interest, and whilst having only a tertiary physics background myself, all things considered I find the scientific case for catastrophic AGW to be implausible. At best.

    • frankly I have a scientific back ground (biology) and I pretty much put “climate” scientist in the same pool as economists.They try to model extremely complex/chaotic system and are quite happy to draw conclusion even if their models have can not be validated at all by empirical data.

      • I note how you refer to them as:

        “climate” scientists

        as though there is some doubt about whether or not there exists a “climate”.

      • That’s not the inference.

        We also have an ‘economy’, but we understand inadequacies exist in the understanding in this field.

      • I still receive Nature, and those who publish in it are the cream, and so far it quite obvious when it comes to “climate” papers, the standard is not the same, plenty of obfuscation and very little solid model in line with empirical data.and it s the cream 🙁

        warming is a reality but please look like there plenty of model out there that should not be taken seriously.

        Chaos rulez 😉

        not everything is predictable.

      • Dam,

        I too am a biologist, and I am currently an active researcher (albeit in biomedical sciences). As someone who does research work every day, it is of paramount importance to be constantly skeptical of your current working model. If you aren’t, then when it all goes out to peer-review, others will be. So even the best climate change modellers will have some doubts, as should all scientists, no matter how big or important their discovery is. I think this gets forgotten by the wider commentariat – science is based on inherent uncertainty, and even the best ideas will be constantly scrutinized. In general, scientific funding permits this, as long as you are doing rigorous science.

        I also object to putting climate scientists in the same bucket as economists. At least the inherent assumptions in climate models (ie fluid dynamics, some simple feedback processes) are based on sound historical observations and verifiable evidence, and well-understood physical processes (albeit applied to a much larger scale than initially envisaged). This is more than can be said for economists and the assumptions inherent in their dominant models (utility optimisation, efficient markets, and the likes).

        I’d be more inclined to put them in the same bucket as ecologists, such as those who apply systems engineering approaches to animal behaviour or evolutionary processes for instance.

        As for whether predictions have been validated, take a look at this recent model of climate change by some Australian researchers. You may see that they applied their model to various situations that have occurred in the past before making any predictions – the model performs well given its limitations:
        http://www.geosci-model-dev.net/5/649/2012/gmd-5-649-2012.html

    • How many commenters here are climate scientist?

      Socratic thought does not need a peeer reviewed pass mark offering up a piece of parchment.

      Now for your query, say someone finished an environmental science degree wanted to attempt to disprove AGW theory in a masters degree or PhD by thesis.

      “Dear Sir/Madam, I have a theory that outlines AGM being bunk, I would like to study at your institute for further this research”… etc

      In the politcal climate of our universities, how do you think this would fare? Think it would get much traction?

      So correspondingly, how can a dissenting view ever be established when our (a-political) insitutes of learning have become echo chambers?

      pro-AGW funding from government is in the magnitude of 100’s of times greater that anti-view being funded by big oil.

      • RP you usually have such well considered views, this really does surprises me.

        What experience do you have with the workings of the university system especially with regard to how research funding is established?

        It would seem not very much if you think that a research proposal would be framed like that.

        Science does not work by taking a position and then trying to find evidence to support it. It works by making repeatable observations, lots of them, and then trying to develop a model that can can explain them.

      • No, not a lot, the closest I have got is informal discussion about gaps in the literature in regards to ESG considerations to investment.

        And I know I loading the framing of of the proposal. But I do know the political ramifications are always self evident and are judged accordingly.

        Most finance schools I have encountered like to make their research facilties an echo chamber. And that’s only influenced by ego.

        The political weight of AGW I can easily imagine would be another level all together, and personally I do not have faith the government funded academic process is impartial in the area of science.

      • So there’s a lot of imagination and assumptions in your position then.

        Is a sound way to form the basis of your argument?

      • The political process is rarely transparent.

        I am disclosing my confidence in the political side of things.

        My point would be invalid if academia had minimal political aspects.

        Should we debate that instead?

      • As a scientist I have no interest in debating politics because at its core politics is based on opinions.

        When you want to debate the science look me up, until then, leave me out of it.

      • Science does not work by taking a position and then trying to find evidence to support it. It works by making repeatable observations, lots of them, and then trying to develop a model that can can explain them.

        You wish! I agree that in many fields of science this is at least partly true. In some fields it is even (almost) completely true. However, there are also quite a few fields where scientists are loath to kill their pet theories. Whole careers have been built on shoring up a theory that is under attack. Climate science, alas, is one such field.

        If you think otherwise you must be (a) very young (b) not well read in either history of science or philosophy of science (c) naive or (d) all three of the preceding. My money is on (d).

      • … and are able to give examples of those assertions that you made.

        How do you explain the process by which we have come to understand our origins through evolution?

        the reason that I keep going about evolution is that the (non-scientific) protests about AGW are very similar to the (non-scientific) arguments put forward by creationists, i.e. there is not consistent position taken, they will just take any positiion that serves to discount the scientific and evidence-based findings.

      • … and are able to give examples of those assertions that you made.

        You first. You’re not very experienced at blog debate or its unwritten rules either.

        Actually I will relent and give just one (very famous) example of a scientist defending the status quo, and getting it horrendously wrong: Lord Kelvin “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”

        Sorry, I can’t resist another from the same man “X-rays will prove to be a hoax.”

        Of course, there are plenty more where that came from. We all have feet of clay.

      • OK, those are good examples that do prove your point that scientists are human and can make statements that are later shown to be untrue.

        However the theory of AGW is not a statement that has been made by one scientist, it is based on the collective statements (and peer reviewed research findings) made by hundreds (if not thousands) of scientists.

        And I am experienced enough in debating on blogs to know that you are only responding to part of my question (and am going to ignore your insults and taunts) by being polite and considered.

        How do you explain the process by which we have come to understand our origins through evolution? In fact just about all of the technology we use has been as a result of the scientific process.

      • Now for your query, say someone finished an environmental science degree wanted to attempt to disprove AGW theory in a masters degree or PhD by thesis.“Dear Sir/Madam, I have a theory that outlines AGM being bunk, I would like to study at your institute for further this research”… etcIn the politcal climate of our universities, how do you think this would fare? Think it would get much traction?
        Given the massive benefits across the world if said theory turned out to be correct, I’d have to guess a great deal.

        Let’s phrase the thesis a different way to make the point:

        “I have a theory that says we can continue to leverage the fundamental driving forces of our energy-intensive industrialised economies that we have for the last couple of centuries without any negative effects.”

        This is why the whole “political” argument doesn’t even pass a cursory examination: because the benefits to everyone of continuing the status quo so far outweigh the benefits of any change.

        pro-AGW funding from government is in the magnitude of 100′s of times greater that anti-view being funded by big oil.
        Source ?

    • A scientist is simply defined as an individual who uses the scientific method in their investigations.

      A climate scientist is defined as a person who has never used the scientific method, otherwise they would have noticed the theory was falsified!

      I like to refer to these people as climate mathmagicians!

      • +1 “mathmagicians!” Gold.

        The methodology in which data has been gathered to support the validity of AGW science has been proven to be at best lazy (cherry picked) and at worst deliberately falsified.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/11/23/climategate-2-0-new-e-mails-rock-the-global-warming-debate/

        The AGW statistical argument is hopelessly flawed.

        The naivity ( or is it simply bias?) of this statement floored me;

        “By instead linking to that market, the Gillard government has ensured that the price for local credits will be, in all likelihood, lower than it otherwise would have been”.

      • A climate scientist is defined as a person who has never used the scientific method, otherwise they would have noticed the theory was falsified!

        I’m surprised I missed this rather significant development. When ?

    • The idea that someone must be a ‘climate scientists’ or even a ‘scientist’ in order for their comments to be valid is complete nonsense and a logical fallacy, classic argument from authority. Do you know that the Earth is round? How, you’re not an astronaught nor are you a sailor. Do you know how gravity works? How, you’re not a physicist. Do you know how your heart and lungs works? How, your not a doctor.

      All you need is a basic understanding of scientific method (hypothesis, test, results, conclusion – AGW pushers have got this in the wrong order), a skeptical thought process and just a little bit of common sense.

      It doesn’t matter who says that CO2 is a gas required for life on Earth, nor does it matter who says that the planet was much warmer in the past with a much higher CO2 concentration or that CO2 levels lag behind temperature. All that matters is that these statements are 100% undeniable scientific facts.

  11. I think atmoshperic scientists got it right when they warned that CFC’s were destroying to ozone layer, global action was taken and now the problem of the hole in the ozone layer is decreasing.

    Why is there such scepticism about the effect of CO2? Because it disrupts the status quo and may hold corporations responsible for the effects of their negative esternalities.

  12. Labor has just built into the Budget another component of structural deficit as the tax cuts that offset the carbon price will remain. But then, that’ll be someone else’s problem, won’t it?

    That is almost enough to make me want a Labor win at the next election. They deserve to have these problems.

    Almost, but not quite.

    How did we get landed with such a dismal batch of politicians, on both sides?

    • How did we get landed with such a dismal batch of politicians, on both sides?

      You pay peanuts, then you get monkey – obviously Australian MPs are “underpaid” according to Bill Shorten who is struggle to live with more than $300k 😉