Carbon Economy


Garnaut talks climate change, ETS & carbon taxes

Above is a detailed interview with Professor Ross Garnaut talking last night to ABC’s The Business on climate change, emmissions trading schemes and carbon taxes.  The full transcript is provided below and the original HD video can be viewed here. ANDREW ROBERTSON, PRESENTER: Here is a story on switching from the carbon tax to an


Is carbon pricing reducing emissions?

Cross-posted from The Conversation Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism has been vilified by the Federal Opposition and certain members of the business community, but it is a key part of Australia’s response to climate change. So one year on, where does it stand? Far from being “absolutely catastrophic” and a “wrecking ball” to the economy as


The sickening wind

From the Guardian Australia: The Coalition will impose new noise monitoring rules on windfarms that the multibillion dollar industry says will inflict crippling costs, provide no useful information and represent another victory for an anti-noise campaign by concerned citizens backed in part by the climate sceptic lobby. The yet-to-be-released resources policy is set to require


How much carbon can the world’s forests absorb?

Cross-posted from The Conversation You are walking through the bush when you see an enormous tree trunk, tens of metres long, lying across the forest floor. Imagine you and several dozen friends lifting it by hand. Now you’ve literally grasped the significance of trees and forests when it comes to carbon sequestration – trees are


Let the dangers mount!

Cross-posted from Kate Mackenzie at FTAlphaville. ‘Collectively, humanity has yawned and decided to let the dangers mount’ So writes the FT’s Martin Wolf in his column today, which starts out noting that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations exceeded 400 parts per million last week, the highest level in 4.5m years. As he says, if we take a prudential


Panic! It’s the carbon price…

There are causes for concern around the collapse in the European carbon price. BS summarises them well enough: Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said if Australia adopted Europe’s carbon price today, it would have serious ramifications for government revenue. “If the European price today is to be applied to the budget, then there will be a budget


Climate Commission sees changed weather

The Australian Climate Commission, which is a government funded institute which aims to inform about climate change, has released a new report declaring that: 1. Climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency of many extreme weather events, adversely affecting Australians. Extreme events occur naturally and weather records are broken from time to time.


China’s solar boom is only beginning

Cross-posted from The Conversation. The bankruptcy of Chinese solar energy company Suntech Wuxi is being depicted in the media as a sign of chaos in the solar industry. The industry is said to be suffering from disastrous price falls created by over-capacity, and harmed by the US imposition of tariffs. These were justified by the US as punishing


China to introduce carbon tax

From the AFR: China has outlined plans to introduce a carbon tax, but the mooted starting price is likely to be a fraction of that under way in Australia. The Ministry of Finance indicated a starting price of about 10 yuan ($1.50) for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, rising to 50 yuan a tonne


A gale behind wind power?

From the AFR: Unsubsidised wind power is now cheaper than new coal and gas fired power stations due to the carbon price scheme, rising fuel prices and banks’ reluctance to invest in fossil fuel projects, says new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Even if the carbon price scheme were to be repealed, it would


Early evidence that the carbon tax works

From David Uren at The Australian: CARBON emissions from the electricity sector have dived in the first six months under the carbon tax, with much greater use of renewable energy and cutbacks in consumption. …Total emissions from the electricity sector in the December half were 7.5 million tonnes lower than in the same half of


Are ‘green’ household choices a good idea?

Do ‘green’ household choices really make a difference? This is a question I couldn’t quite give a straight answer to, and which provided the motivation to begin research in this area. The main problem in determining the net environmental impact of consumption choices is the rebound effect. When households reduce their driving or electricity consumption


Are Chinese corporate profits set to rebound?

One of the most important fundamental reasons why Chinese equities under-performed for the last year or two has been the fact that Chinese companies are seeing falling profits despite seemingly “strong” economic growth. While GDP growth has only slowed to 7.4% year on year in the third quarter, corporate earnings have been recording negative growth on a


China’s leading index plateaus

Late yesterday, the Conference Board released its Leading Indicators for China in September with a small increase following some big jumps in prior months: As you can see, there has been much movement in the index all year. There LI things have some questions to answer, though China’s offical version seems to work quite well.


Pitfalls of Australia joining the EU ETS

Back in August the government announced its intentions to join Australia’s new emissions trading scheme (ETS) with the EU ETS in 2015. Houses and Holes commented at the time that the decisions could be interpreted as a political cop-out. While the long run goal is surely an integrated international scheme, the Clean Energy Amendment Bill


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


Is gold-plating of electricity infrastructure an issue?

With today’s sudden media focus on the “gold plating” of electricity infrastructure driving excessive retail price rises, it seems the Federal Labor government has finally woken up and read its own carbon policy blueprint. From the Garnaut Review: There is a pressing need to revisit the state-owned distributors. There is an unfortunate confluence of incentives


Scrap the Renewable Energy Target

The AFR leads today with an examination of the current brouhaha surrounding the Renewable Energy Target and the carbon price. The positions of the political parties on this is a nice illustration of how our politics gets in the way of good economic policy. Apparently: Labor and the Coalition have signalled they are prepared to


Weekend Musing: Are Electric Cars really Green?

A guest post from reader and commenter “Pellicle” on the Electric Car. MacroBusiness welcomes interesting submissions on economic and related topics, subject to edit and less than 1500 words. Please use the “Contact” item on the menu above for your submissions. Lately it seems that with increasing frequency the idea of Electric cars comes up


Urban sprawl greenhouse myths

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) is one of those lobby groups with a blatant disregard of the facts and a history of political influence – the kind you love to hate.  For example, the PCA made a submission to the Queensland government outlining how planning laws that promote densification are likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions


IPA carbon fallacies

The IPA, predictably, continues its attack on the pricing of carbon with pieces this week in The Australian and the Australian Financial Review. However, much of the analysis is based on falsehoods that need to be pointed out. Firstly to Tim Wilson’s piece saying that “carbon trading will fail because property rights cannot exist for


Paying for Abbott’s wrecking ball

I should start by stating that the following is not intended as partisan political comment. I have consistently supported a carbon price policy regardless of the Party of the politician proposing it (eg Howard, Rudd, Turnbull and now Gillard). Much has been said of Gillard’s mandate, or more pointedly, lack of mandate to introduce a


Energy efficiency doesn’t work

The word efficiency carries a meaning immersed in all things positive – you never hear that being more efficient could possibly be detrimental. In fact, if you can bear the evangelical fervour, you may have read about achieving ‘Factor Four’ or ‘Factor Five’ gains in energy efficiency, as part of a ‘Natural Capital’ revolution comprising a ‘decoupling’ economic growth


The NSW budget’s carbon lie

In the wake of the NSW Budget, which justified increased royalties due to the supposed hit to its bottom line from the federal carbon tax, it is useful to examine the actual impact of carbon pricing on coal-fired generators. As a starting point, one needs to reflect that the methodology upon which compensation (in the


Invisible and harmless are not synonymous

There seems to be a lot of confusion around on this “carbon tax” and a lot of it seems to be due to the terminology that we’re using. I have been asked a few times “what is carbon pollution and how do you measure it”. I’ve also seen a variety of commentators pointing out (as


Ziggy’s nuclear meltdown

Nuclear doyen, Ziggy Switkowski, must be quite frustrated. Why doesn’t everyone get it? His beloved solution to climate change and energy security is not just a political hot (dare I say radioactive) potato, and the recently announced $10b Clean Energy Finance Corporation won’t be allocating a single dollar to funding it. His most recent piece on


Why Gillard has a mandate

At the risk of stirring up the howls of protests and calls for another election (if you don’t accept the outcome of the last one) or an early election (if you do), I thought I’d put forward a case for why I think the PM has a mandate to introduce the package she announced on