Coalition dismantles Australian climate policies

I noted last week that after Clive Palmer destroyed both the carbon price and “Direct Action” that Australia was now completely reliant upon the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to deliver meaningful carbon mitigation:

Is the RET up to it? That depends upon how big it is and what your carbon reduction target is.

Australia has pledged to reduce it carbon output by between 5% and 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. We’re currently headed for the less ambitious target, which may make us happy but in reality it is nowhere near enough to meet reduction targets that will keep temperature rises to a global average of 2%, the agreed threshold of dangerous climate change.

The Climate Institute sums it up:

fqf

Modelling by the Treasury for the CCA…shows that abatement at the price incentives required by the budget constraints on the ERF the Government has announced (around $5-8/tonne) would fall well short of the abatement required to achieve Australia’s emission budgets. They conclude “an effective carbon price rising to over $65/t CO2-e by 2020 would be required to achieve the minimum 5 per cent target through domestic reductions alone.” At these prices, this would require spending $8.5 billion in 2020 alone to achieve the minimum emission commitment.

In short, Direct Action would need to be spending $8.5 billion in 2020 alone to meet the minimum reduction target, let alone aiming for targets that will actually help our children. This modelling is from last year and since then the efficacy of the carbon price in shifting demand and the boost to renewables by the RET has reduced the potential Direct Action bill. But Clive is proposing to freeze the carbon price at zero and scrap Direct Action. The RET will need to be enormous to offset the changes and meet our most flimsy commitment.

Now, a large slice of the Coalition wants the RET gone as well:

TONY Abbott and his cabinet face new pressure on climate policy, with 25 Coalition MPs urging a reduction in the Renewable Energy Target and a key Palmer United Party senator-elect breaking ranks to call for Tasmania to be exempt from the scheme.

The 25 Coalition MPs, comprising about half the government backbench in the lower house, have written to Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane calling for the RET to be dramatically scaled back to enable a full exemption for the aluminium industry. They say this would cut the industry’s costs by $80 million a year by 2017.

An exemption for aluminium could open the way for other ­electricity-intensive industries to also seek an exemption.

The wellspring of bad ideas has no bottom. Are we going to traipse through each industry, one at a time, and exempt the chosen from the RET, raising the price of electricity for everyone else, based upon the special please of MPs? I can’t think of a more distorting nor least efficient methodology (being kind) to carbon mitigation policy.

As well, Australia was on track to meet its weakest UN commitment. But that track was created by current policies. Take them away, the track will rise and Australia will fall quickly behind other nations. The notion of being more ambitious in reductions sure isn’t entering anyone’s head.

Even the manufacturer’s lobby,the Australian Industry Group, doesn’t want the RET slashed and sees it denuding Australia of its last effective carbon-mitigation policy, and therein creating a royal case of sovereign risk.

Australian business will be naked before climate change at this rate.

Houses and Holes
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Comments

  1. Subsidising carbon reduction initiatives to the tune of $125/t requires careful scrutiny – presently in the final stages of analysis by an expert team.

    Further were we to fully implement RET we may be doing so at the very the Australian economy can ill afford such costly and to some extent experimental measures.

    ‘Only weeks before the government’s review of the RET is due to report on the policy’s ­efficiency and effectiveness, new modelling by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia, shows keeping the RET entails a $34 billion hit to Australia’s economy, including a near $3bn cut in exports by 2020.’

    http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/jobs-risk-in-clean-energy-targets/story-e6frg6xf-1226955319984

    Professor Tim Flanagan is on record saying any reduction measures introduced by Australia would take 1000 years to impact – what are a few years in the timescale of the planet – perhaps better to wait for proven cost effective technologies (even geothermal) and give the economy every chance of delivering an economically sound future.

    • Expert team who’s lead takes an opposing position on science from that taken by every single global peak body. There are no, peak intuitions anywhere, in any country that agree with Dick Warburton on AGW.

      An expert team that has quite specifically refused to hear submissions from highly respected energy market players that do not support Dick’s desired outcome.

      3d – about 10% of the population will be cheering you on, 60-70% are shaking their heads the rest are blissfully ignorant. I’d ignore you – but you and your lot are destroying Australia’s ability to take part in the next significant technological revolution.

      I saw a group of users, retailers and generators tear apart Alan Moran at an EUAA conference for presenting utter crap. The crap you and Warburton lap up. The Energy Users Association is hardly a hot bed of commie thinking BTW, 3d.

      I’ve never heard so many guffaws and calls of “bullshit!” from a conservative corporate audience.

    • I am shocked that the Australian would publicise a report commissioned by the ACCI trashing renewable energy.

      • Such is the quality of 3d’s references. It’s gets no better. But yet he’s 100% convinced he’s not wrong and that we should mendaciously attack anything clean or green.

  2. I can’t get my head around this. For a bunch of otherwise conservative and sensible people – the coalition are all tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists on this.

    There is not a single peak body on this planet that rejects the IPCC position. Regardless of the politics of their funders and regardless of a mother load of funding for anyone who produce the seminal that might break the peak body consensus.

    They place as much faith in people like Plimer; who has for example, published a book for kids saying – according to Siple data, CO2 was at 330 ppm in 1900… but the Siple data very obviously says 1899 – 295.6, 1903 – 294.8. (This one of literally dozens of Plimer examples), so why the coalition place more faith in non-peer reviewed people like Plimer than NASA – is quite beyond me.

    While the science is only 95% sure of sure of human impacts and only 90% sure that the warming will be problematic, it appears that the coalition are 100% convinced there is no chance Plimer & co are wrong. I say this, because they are unmoved by the risk management argument.

    Expect 3d on to not specifically respond to any points – but might add a link to some blogger – he trusts more than NASA. Even if he can’t explain why scientists would use an apparently left wing concept to garner support of from right wing governments. Or if they are so funding driven, why they have not sought cash from the coal industry, oil industry etc.

    I just can’t get my head around how freakin barking mad they are on this.

    Why can’t we – accept the advice from the experts and then debate what to do/not do along national interest/political/strategic/economic lines.

      • You failed to respond to my comments to you earlier. Like or lump it, the c-tax worked. It shifted the generation merit order. If it persisted, we could have used property rights and the bankster secondary market to significantly part-fund projects. Real money, real abatement. And I mean an engineer’s real – like a real – real.

        It worked O8red – it worked to the extent that it was expected to at the initial low target set. Go on about global impact – but I responded to that last week.

      • Per migtronix’s riposte to you … how many millennia till this thing that “worked” resulted in actual reductions in global CO2 emissions.

        Reality = the official “solution” to “catastrophic” “imminent” “planet-threatening” climate change is a great … big … bankster … fraud.

      • I saw it. Words change nothing. Just like emissions trading.

        I note you failed to respond to the observations re bailing out banksters to the tune of circa $23 Trillion being no problem — that’s a real emergency — but somehow, with the very existence of life on this planet supposedly in “imminent” (for decades now) peril, we can’t similarly print money out of thin air to “address climate change”.

        Oh no! No no no no no no NOOOO!!!

        We have to barrack, bribe, and bullshit, for decade after decade after decade, to create a Great Big New artificial financial market. THAT’s what we need, to generate “investment” in a “transition” to renewables.

        Puhleeeeeeeeeeease.

        Wake up.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        From a macro point of view, it does not matter if the carbon emission tax goes to government, or goes to the profit of private bankers. As long as there is a cost involved with CO2, it will make it easier for fossil fuel alternatives to be developed.

        Carbon tax, ETS, etc exists to prevent the Third World from consuming fossil fuel at the same rate as the West. Fossil fuel takes millions of years to form, so it is not a renewable resource. While this is selfish, the alternative is almost certain extinction.

      • Right. So anything we do has to stop AGW in it’s tracks tomorrow morning. Can’t help you there.

        mm-O8-te you can bang on about the bankster conspiracy, but won’t help you do anything useful.

        I’m interested in rational action – I’m not adding upheaval of the financial system to my list – I’m using using it, such as it is. It works. Stuff is happening. Real stuff made from directionally solidified platinum aluminide.

        NEM demand in death spiral. CO2 volume separating from GDP growth. Vehicle efficiency improving rapidly.

      • “So anything we do has to stop AGW in it’s tracks tomorrow morning.”

        Hooray for the Straw Man! Damn, but he’s a frequent visitor in these climate change “emergency” threads.

        I have never suggested that. Moreover, this is made all the more obvious by the fact that you are continuing to willfully ignore the repeated observation that our “betters” have been pushing this “imminent” “tipping point” narrative for decades. With their bogus global trading / off-setting scheme as the go-to, officially-endorsed “solution”.

        Are you saying there’s no rush after all, then? Not such a big emergency after all, huh?

        Maybe THAT’S why TPTB have been happy to bounce along for a few decades, trying to get a new artificial market up, while CO2 emissions kept right on skyrocketing … coz there’s really no big panic after all?

        “I’m interested in rational action…”

        There’s your problem. The ruling class quite obviously are not.

        But I’m sure the bankers — and their great big “free market” “mechanism” — will come through just in the nick of time to “save the planet” from that “imminent” emergency. The one what was “imminent” decades ago.

        Y’all just keep on believing. Keep on putting your faith, your hope for the future of your children and “the planet”, in those wonderful, selfless “free market” bankers.

        They’ll come through for us. Really, they will.

        Just watch those global emissions plummet … in 3 … 2 … 1 … 😉

      • No one that matters has been predicting an obvious tipping point to have occurred yet. Ans when/if it does, it’s not going to put out a press release.

        Nothing that has happened so far has disproven anything. There is still a 50% chance that AGW will be somewhere between severe and cataclysmic. I’m hoping for the 10% bugger all impact – or the next 10% 0.5-1C – but the middle of the bell curve is currently ~2C. Hopefully as we get more data – the probabilities will collimate lower, rather than higher.

        The point of my straw man is that you need to start somewhere. We had started and it had worked, more or less to the extent that was expected. The generation merit order was shifted. That had bigger impact in 1 year than 12 years of RET.

        Do you have a brief description of your solution?

      • Sure.

        Make Op8 Dictator, and one of my chief policies would be directly related to the climate change issue.

        Create all the interest-free credit necessary to make every household on the planet 100% energy independent, via 100% renewables. As rapidly as possible.

        Wartime footing. Zero unemployment.

        And no Spain-like “sunlight tax” to keep you from going off-grid and so protect privatised energy corporate profits under my regime.

        No more gargantuan craters in the ground. No more blowing the tops off mountains. Fossil fuel industry, humanity’s reliance on non-renewable resources for “energy” = d.e.a.d.

        Noone bother to insult me by trying to suggest that this is a fanciful idea, or for whatever contrived BS “reason” could not be done, or, would have some kind of awful unintended economic consequences.

        Bullshit.

        The future of the planet, of human existence, is at stake. Remember?

        Usurer class bailout/propup = $23 Trillion (and rising) … in electronic 1s and 0s.

        Household-level energy independence — 100% renewable — and on a planetary scale, in (say) 10 years = $?? Trillion (or perhaps, only hundreds of billions?)

        edit: btw, I repeat a point made in last weeks thread … the Oz scheme did NOT work, in a global context (the only one that matters), because you are ignoring our simultaneously increased exports of coal for others to burn. This nonsense with the UN CDM and emissions trading is utter BS … its about “offsetting” while continuing to pollute, and, as another poster pointed out above, preventing the poor in other countries from developing. Effing evil shit.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        I have never suggested that. Moreover, this is made all the more obvious by the fact that you are continuing to willfully ignore the repeated observation that our “betters” have been pushing this “imminent” “tipping point” narrative for decades. With their bogus global trading / off-setting scheme as the go-to, officially-endorsed “solution”.

        Speaking of straw men, you like to trot this one out all the time.

        In actual fact, even today, “TPBT” talking about “imminent” and “cataclysmic” climate change are few and far between.

        They most certainly haven’t been doing it for “decades”, especially not in any great numbers.

        The only people who have been talking about climate change for “decades” are scientists.

      • drsmithy,

        “The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The objective of the treaty is to ‘stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system'”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Framework_Convention_on_Climate_Change

        This “danger danger!” narrative of TPTB — as justification for a new, globally-“linked” artificial financial fraud — has been going on for decades. And you know it.

      • Op8 you’re on the right path. But the populace needs a bit of carrot/stick. Introduce a land tax, then for each person that installs solar on their property can claim 200% of the value against future land tax obligations. Free money for nothing. Same outcome but the sheeple will jump onboard without you needing to be a dictator.

      • Byron, no need for the convolutions of a land tax to incentivise anyone viz energy. The issue of land tax is (and should be) a separate one to the issue of climate change and energy.

        Further, while what you suggest may be fine to move things along with x% of the population in western nations, what about the third/developing world?

        Just order the treasury to print (type up the digits). Then pay for it. Directly. For every one.

        Simple.

        Problem solved.

        Deal with the stupidities and inequities of present taxation as a separate issue.

        Might have to put the odd usurer and energy rentier up against a wall wearing a nice little blindfold, of course.

        But hey … it’s an existential emergency, right?

      • migtronixMEMBER

        I actually don’t agree with your proposal Op8 because, well, if you open up the spigot like that guess who stands under it? The very people you’re trying to prevent…

        I still say reform the patent process and introduce a credit risk to emitting industries AND put up a trade tariff on imports and exports but make it CO2 based — then that take sh!t to WTO if anyone complains!

        But no, all too hard and might actually achieve something, better just put price on it because its not like lowering interest rates will make that price so much cheaper…ffs…

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        This “danger danger!” narrative of TPTB — as justification for a new, globally-”linked” artificial financial fraud — has been going on for decades. And you know it.

        If you think the majority of elites are prosecuting a narrative of catastrophic climate change, and have been for “decades”, then there’s obviously nothing I’m going to be able to do to disabuse you of that notion.

        I imagine a rather large percentage of scientists would be surprised to hear about it, though. Most of them struggle to get anyone to pay attention to the potential problems.

      • “if you open up the spigot like that guess who stands under it? The very people you’re trying to prevent…”

        Sorry mate. My mistake. I neglected to mention one of my other chief policies. A precursor to turning on the spigot (in carefully modulated fashion) …

        http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/08.12/images/hangman.jpg

        “I still say reform the patent process and introduce a credit risk to emitting industries AND put up a trade tariff on imports and exports…”

        Understand your logic.

        Perhaps you should come join me on a flight over some of the open cut pits in the Hunter.

        Or, come sit with me on my favourite contemplation rock up in the mountains, from whence I can look out to the coast and count the coal ships lined up from Newie right down the Central Coast (NSW) as far as the eye can see. 40, 50, 60+ on a good clear day.

        It’s enough to make a true nature lover weep. And this is just one tiny corner of the globe.

        But to think that you’re gonna see anything fixed whilst ever usury exists, and internationalist usurers own global politics, is completely, utterly delusional.

        Astonishing that folks here on MB can see all the politico-bankster nexus fraud and corruption that’s rampant in their favourite little point of angst (house prices); they bleat about it daily!

        They know too, that usurer fraud is rife in every market, everywhere. They know the internationalist banks have been proven to collude in rigging the LIBOR — hence, usury rates for the entire planet!

        But, somehow, they cannot identify what is dogs-bollocks obvious to anyone not having the veil of self-righteous religious fervour clouding their judgment — that the officially-endorsed “solution” to climate change is and always has been nothing else but a complete, utter, monster, usurer-class enriching financial fraud.

        Mind boggling.

        I put this Cog Diss down to religion.

      • O8R,

        I read your links. Now I think I’m feeling like a layperson that just read Plimer for the first time – but is yet to figure our that it’s all total bullshyt.

        That said, the seps are printing money and inflation hasn’t gone bezerk, yet – though equities might crash, apparently .. put all my super in cash today …

        Haven’t yet figure out why we don’t do some QE to drive the AUD down – not that I’ve actually yet tried to figure it out…

        BTW – you gotta be careful saying Barnaby Is Right – because he does talk alot of bollocks at times – like never recognising the structural debt under Howard.

      • If you’re talking about Plimer – I have, found him underwhelming. Cannot engage in a debate. Won’t defend his own words, just blurts out more BS.

        Like not even checking the CO2 impact of Taupo, before claiming Taupo sent CO2 through the roof. It didn’t. I checked. not hard. Took 15 minutes.

        Cantankerous old bastard.

        I’m sure he’s lovely though, if you give him the messiah treatment – which I’m sure you do.

    • HRHolden said:

      “Why can’t we – accept the advice from the experts and then debate what to do/not do along national interest/political/strategic/economic lines”

      Much to our detriment, I really can’t think of too many topics where that practice is undertaken by the public bodies.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      I can’t get my head around this. For a bunch of otherwise conservative and sensible people – the coalition are all tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists on this.

      Uh, really ?

      Because to me their views on most issues seem as incoherent and divorced from reality as their views on climate change.

  3. turncoatMEMBER

    The RET needs to go because it is not an efficient answer to global warming. It seeks to pick winners when the best answer might not be renewables at all – but perhaps sequestration or energy efficiency or something else.

    It is a transfer of wealth to a pack of developer spivs who source the entirety of their capital equipment off-shore whilst helping to kill off productive Australian industries and jobs.

    Lets tackle the problem of global warming but not with this expensive and destructive RET.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Well the pay-as-you-rate ratings agencies say boo and Abbott cries AAA so how about we introduce a WORLD-WIDE credit rating based on CO2 production, both endogenous. enabling and consuming. Hint: Australia won’t be AAA.

        Call it the risk of someone not yet born coming after everything you have now that we’re publicly counting…

      • yeah – but. Someone has to provide the Aluminum and it only comes from specific geographical locations like Australia – so we’re always going to be a high energy intensity economy.

        Greens always piss me off. Well full stop actually. But they always piss me off with their banging on about Australia’s per capita carbon foot print – and comparing it to say Norway – which has nuke and bugger all energy intensive industry.

        Your credit rating would have to consider – renewable policy and penetration, best practice operation of energy intensive industries, transport carbon intesnity standards – getting knobs on it already, possibly …

  4. The denial party are getting out in front early to make further in-roads against progressive policy to deal with climate change.

    Can’t say I am surprised, the repeal of the Carbon Tax was the victory that these guys have been waiting for after being beaten over the head by study after study. If they can’t have a scientific victory then by god they will redouble their efforts to achieve a political one.

    • “Can’t say I am surprised, the repeal of the Carbon Tax was the victory that these guys have been waiting for after being beaten over the head by study after study. ”

      They were voted in to rescind it in a free and fair election. All above board. So why not just accept it as a democratic solution.

      The RET has to go. It is simply a subsidy to an industry that is milking taxpayers who can ill afford the parasite. Especially when their is no evidence to support Australia’s headlong Green/Labor legacy of economic suicide. Put a fork in this silly idea and let’s get the economy working ffs.

  5. ” Put a fork in this silly idea and let’s get the economy working ffs.” Gee GSM with that comment it seems that you only want subsidies for the old industries; renewables and distributive energy systems will also get the economy working and have environmental payoff to boot. And the subsidies going to the big polluter old-style power stations and to coal mining put the RET-based subsidies in the shade!

  6. This government is by far the worst this country has ever seen, they are absolutely moronic in the extreme