It’s simple, really

Clean Energy Future launch

Frustration at the nonsense purveyed on Madonna King’s program inspired me to send her an email, stating the main features of the Clean Energy Future (CEF) package in three simple points. In this post I give an expanded version so you can check and let me know if I’ve got it right. The scheme does seem to me to have an elegant simplicity about it together with a flexibility that bespeaks careful design.

First, the government is selling permits to pollute, not imposing a tax. About 500 of the biggest polluters will have to buy permits to dump their waste carbon into the atmosphere. Annabel Crabb quotes Gillard as saying:

“Around 500 big polluters will pay for every tonne of carbon pollution THEY put into OUR atmosphere.”

As Crabb says:

WE are getting those polluters to pay for what THEY do to US.

You have to get your head around this aspect if you want to understand what’s going on.

Second, as the scheme proceeds each year there will be fewer permits available. That’s why pollution is sure to decrease. It WILL WORK.

Third, the 80% target by 2050 says that we are serious about climate change and want to go where the rest of the world is going. It is important, not an “empty gesture” as stated by Bernard Keane. 80% is becoming an international norm. Investors in power stations need to consider a 40-year time frame. They won’t build new coal-fired stations under these circumstances unless they are completely daft.

Those are the three points I made to Madonna King. To those I’d add a fourth: institutional arrangements have been set up to take the politics out of the scheme, to give it the scientific/economic/technical inputs it needs, and to adjust it as we proceed.

Back in this post I said that Garnaut saw these as the most important feature he would look for when the scheme was announced. He identified three – one to administer the scheme, one to decide on compensation and one to review targets periodically as we go.

To administer the scheme we have the Clean Energy Regulator. The Productivity Commission will decide on compensation after the initial period. The Climate Change Authority will decide on targets and caps, the government having to justify itself if the Authority’s recommendations are not accepted.

Garnaut was well-pleased with the outcome:

This is a strong climate change policy package. It will allow Australia to do its fair share in an effective global effort to reduce the risks of climate change, and to do so at reasonable cost.


I congratulate the Prime Minister and her colleagues in the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee for the sound process and on the good outcome for Australia and the international community.

That to me is the broad outline. Even if you grasp the first two – we are selling permits to dump waste carbon and over time the number of these permits will reduce – you will be ahead of 98% of people, including, unfortunately, many of the scheme’s advocates.

Of course, there are many other important features. Going beyond compensation of households affected, I’d briefly nominate four.

First, the clean energy initiatives. From 2013-14 there will be a Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest $10 billion over five years in renewables and low emissions technologies (but not CCS). Any dividends from this will be added to the $3.2b renewable energy fund overseen by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Second, decommissioning dirty energy and providing for energy security. An Energy Security Fund will pay for the closure of up to 2000MW of dirty power generation capacity by 2020, and provide $5.5 billion in free permits and cash to the sector to 2016-17 through an Energy Security Council. (From Crikey.)

Third, international trading will be introduced after 2015, when entities will be able to purchase up to 50% of permits internationally. I understand this will limit costs, deepen the market and provide a bridge into international trading.

Fourth, the land use scheme, of which Garnaut says:

The treatment of the land sector will encourage new forms of carbon sequestration that create important opportunities for rural Australia. Here our pioneering role in measuring and rewarding sequestration in soils, pastures, woodlands and forests is likely to have international influence.

Ben Eltham at New Matilda rates Gillard’s achievement very highly seeing it as “the defining accomplishment of Gillard’s political career” and “every bit as significant in Australian terms as the passage of health reform was for Barack Obama and the Democrats in the United States last year.”

Abbott, on the other hand, will become a bit of historical detritus, even if he does become prime minister for a time, unless he succeeds in unpicking the package. Then he will be remembered as an opportunistic destroyer.

In Australia for a conference, German leading climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has his eye on us. We need stronger targets (Germany is aiming at complete decarbonisation by 2050) and a greater focus on renewables. Australia has influence beyond its size internationally but in closed ministerial meetings “Australia seems to be less progressive than the world needs it to be.”

Malte Meinshausen says Australia’s had the snooze button on until now. But, he says Australia is now:

sending a very powerful message with the carbon pricing. That signal is going to be a very positive one for the internal US debate and could have a huge knock on effect in terms of emission reductions worldwide.

Well done us. At least it is a beginning.

122 thoughts on “It’s simple, really”

  1. Actually you got it wrong. See in 2020 it will be an emissions trading scheme, and we will only have reduced our emissions by 60million on what they might of been, not regressing back to 1990 or pre kyoto levels.

    Secondly because it is a trading scheme our big polluters can just by off shore credits and keep on polluting and make US pay for it.

    Thirdly Julia has stated the gas, coal, and petroleum industries WILL grow, how can these industries grow but emissions reduce, the statement is a contradiction.

    Fourthly our reductions, 160million tonnes, will equate to less than 1% of China’s 2020 emmissions, meaning that our reduction will be eclipsed every 3 days by China….so what’s the point.

    As someone who believes firmly in climate change, but is highly skeptical of the lack of evidence and understanding of Clouds, Ocean and solar influences on our climate as opposed to the theory of Anthropogenic Climate Change, I would much rather see investment in maintain and restoring national parks, reclamation and remediate of biodiveristy hot spots, conservation of native species and investment in controlling the attrocious levels of exotics in Australia. These are much more tangible conservation initiative with proven science behind the methods and dual benefits in terms of both repairing soem of the environmental harm with a side benefit of fighting climate change (if it exists).

  2. To give CO2 some tangebility,

    1 tonne of CO2 as a block of dry ice is about the size of a standard refrigerator. (.6 x .5 x 1.7 metres = .51 cu metres)

    When vaporized to a gas this amount of CO2 will completley fill a small house, but you would not want to be in there as you not be able to breath and would die very quickly.

    Some useful information

    Some useless information

  3. One thing I worry about is just who will be appointed Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Presumably vested interests (read coal and oil companies) would be interested in either getting some company representatives or ‘acceptable’ scientists onto the board at the Authority so as to slow down the rate of change. As for the Corporation, well whomever is appointed will have control of what amounts to a very large slush fund.
    It is possible that both these bodies will be staffed by impartial people who understand the importance of the job they have been picked to be carried out. More likely though is that there will be a mix with some committed to doing the right thing and others who will be compromised. Is there any detail regarding how these people will be chosen?

  4. 1 tonne of CO2 as a block of dry ice is about the size of a standard refrigerator. (.6 x .5 x 1.7 metres = .51 cu metres)

    Or a cube with sides of about 79cm. Thus, if all of Australia’s current annual emissions of 578mtCO2e were turned into a single stable cube of dry ice, we’d have a cube with sides of roughly 665 metres.

  5. Brian

    I am as you know, a qualified supporter of the CEF. I give it a 130hz rating — a low C because it is just enough to qualify as a start. I’m still holding my nose however.

    I’d share Keane’s view that the principal benefit of this scheme is the spur it gives to international agreements to price Co2e across national boundaries — really it’s like ratifying Kyoto in a more concrete form. Our action has subverted the arguments in other jurisdictions that leading emitters are doing nothing. The fine detail is less important than crossing this policy Rubicon.

    That said, it is very important that the allowances for international permits be devised and maintained to satisfy robust additionality principles — that permits are not retrospectively rewarding action already taken or action required under other programs, but really do go to prospective actions — investments in new low-footprint technology or infrastructure. In the case of soil carbon (both domestic and international), we really do need good science on this, and permits need to be done like agistment of animals. Temporary warehousing of carbon needs to have a price reflecting the time for which it is warehoused. Obviously a line needs to be drawn somewhere, but it seems to me that it is not unreasonable to make the basic warehousing period 250 years (by which time humanity may well have got this challenge under control and may well have better options for dealing with the carbon than we have now). Thus, a price for holding carbon for one year would be 0.004 of the price for storing it for 250 years. If holding a ton of carbon is worth $23, then a ton is probably worth a little more than $0.09. If today’s news that storing carbon in soils actually triggers releases of other potent GHGs — CH4 and NOx — is valid (the estimate was that soil carbon was as a consequence about 20% less effective than hitherto supposed) then perhaps even less than that.

    If we want to do revegetation and afforestation — and certainly I agree that well conceived programs to do that are very supportable — we ought to largely ringfence this from actions on mitigation. Let’s protect the integrity of each biome because biodiversity is a good thing — not largely because it may contribute to mitigation. Let’s not try to turn it into some sort of free ride for extra emissions. Just as it’s much harder to work and save than to live on someone else’s money, there is simply no way that we can “save CO2” in soils at anything like the rate we want to “spend it” by releasing chemical energy from hydrocarbons. We absolutely need to emit less in the first place. That is the beginning of good sense. To do that we need to be much less demanding per-capita of energy (by avoiding wasteful consumption where avoidance meets ROI, utility) and rapidly devise and roll out new clean technologies to deal with that part of demand that we cannot avoid will living well.

    And we need to do these things whatever it costs. People need to understand that trying to skimp on these things is false economy. It costs what it costs.

  6. Your analysis might be right. Maybe ‘permits’ is accurate. But Gillard herself has called it a ‘tax’, so it’s going to be very hard to convince people otherwise.

  7. James in Footscray said:

    Your analysis might be right. Maybe ‘permits’ is accurate. But Gillard herself has called it a ‘tax’, so it’s going to be very hard to convince people otherwise

    That’s true. Gillard has clearly sandbagged those of us arguing for mitigation, and of course, her own party’s political position though her clumsy talk both before the election and her hamfisted defence afterwards. It will be hard for her to walk back from here. I thought some weeks back she was going to try and even then thought it would be hard, but based on yesterday’s effort, she is behaving very much like someone under siege rather than counter-attacking. Politically, we’re stuck with her.

    I shudder to think how bad things would have been had she won in her own right, and had not needed The Greens to form government and pass legislation. Effectively, the government would be passing its policies through the Alan Jones/Andrew Blot filter, and would be in an even worse position that it is now, because 2 years from now, if it lasted that long, it would have nothing to show but disgrace for having won.

    That all said, Brian is quite correct. This is not any kind of a tax. It’s the enabling part of a cap and trade scheme. We should persistently correct those who run this carbon tax furphy, including of course, Gillard herself.

  8. There’s one funny thing about the Greens and their hangers on (many on this blog) saying this policy is soooo much better than Rudd’s CPRS.

    The CPRS had a 5% reduction target for 2020. This was assailed the time as being woefully inadequate. If I could be bothered I could find any number of quotes by Christine Milne saying this.

    This package has … the same target! Yet this package is the ant’s pants of climate policies.

    Go figure.

  9. You appear to be right on the money Brian. I dips me lid to Gillard for geting something on the table even if there may be deficits in the project.

    JCS @1 demands real action on tangibles such as:

    maintain and restoring national parks, reclamation and remediate of biodiveristy hot spots, conservation of native species and investment in controlling the attrocious levels of exotics in Australia

    For as long as I can recall, that’s more than 40 years, the environment movement has been seeking these sorts of actions with varying degrees of success. Climate change action does not replace the need for the sorts of policies you demand. We need them as well.

  10. Sam @11,

    Is that testament to Gillard’s negotiating skills, that she has brought the Greens onboard, which Rudd failed to achieve? Or is that just a reflection of the changed composition of the Senate?

    Either way, you’d have to agree that the new scheme has a much better name.

  11. Sam

    I don’t say it’s so much better. It is marginally bettter in a number of areas by enough to be a bare pass as opposed to a clear fail. The Rudd-designed Carbon Polluters Reward Scheme locked in failure for at least a decade and depended heavily on CC&S working for any local emissions reductions at all.

    This one is more flexible and has structures in place to wind back excessive industry assistance early in the cycle. There are funds for renewables and for closing dirty capacity. Only 50% of credits will be sourced offshore. Indeed, as has been said regularly, the driving force in the weaknesses of the CPRS was the desire not give no credit to The Greens and to force them to choose between owning a scheme that would scandalise their constituency or disavowing it entirely, thus giving all “the credit” to the ALP. This was why Rudd refused to negotiate with The Greens at all about the design of the scheme or even give Brown a call. He may of course hasve merely been doing the bidding of Arbib and his fellow spivs at Sussex St. With hindsight it seems as if he may have been their sockpuppet.

    It was the flipside of the Govt’s desire to wedge the LNP by getting them to back an ALP-led reform or be cast as the party of no. When the LNP jumped ship of course, the game playing came undone, because for different reasons, the LNP and The Greens could vote against it.

    So really, those of us paying attention who are interested in policy will recall the failures as being largely of ALP authorship, and the successes as being of Green authorship.

  12. My understanding is that its not the top 500 polluters who have to pay the carbon price, but those who create more than a certain amount of pollution a year which happens to be around 500 companies. What I don’t understand is what is stopping lots of smaller companies popping up that generate just under the threshold?

  13. Also Chris, the rating {25,000 tCo2, scopes 1, 2} is per site so Hardly Normal‘s outlets escape since they are across multiple sites.

  14. Fran @ 16 – and presumably this is how the government manages to avoid paying anything as well – otherwise surely it would be on of the biggest polluters?

  15. Chris @17,

    In what way does government (excluding government-owned industry) emit large quantities of CO2?

  16. @18 – Well – let’s see – perhaps defence might be worth looking at with their fleets of vehicles, aircraft and ships, along with all the facilities that they maintain and operate.

  17. We are told that Europe is running a CO2 reduction system and therefore we should follow.

    That would be the Europe that did not meet it’s Kyoto targets and for which there is no empirical evidence that their system has led to an actual reduction on total CO2 emissions.

    That would be the Europe that has had to shut down it’s Carbon Dioxide Credit Trading system due to massive fraud by organised crime.

    That would be the Europe that created the Euro Zone with th Maastricht Treaty and then failed to enforce any of the fiscal requirements of that treaty that has lead to the potential collapse of the Euro zone.

    That would be the Europe that stood back and allowed the Srebreniska massacre to occur.

    All hail Europe.

  18. One might add I & U, that wherever energy generation remains in public hands and fossil HC based, the government is a polluter.

  19. Razor @ 20, there’s too much nonsense in your comment for me to bother with. Sorry. The Kyoto period ends in 2012, I assume you know.

    Chris, if a host of firms pop up just below the 25,000t threshold I’m sure the Climate Change Authority would recommend that this loophole be closed if it became a significant problem.

    A while ago I heard this discussed in relation to abattoirs, which emit quite a bit of methane. The big guys had consolidated into large units which would be caught, but their smaller competitors would get a free pass.

    I had the impression though, that consolidation had considerable advantages in terms of efficiency and the small competitors were mainly nuisance value.

  20. OBR @20 reinvigorates Space Shuttle program by going stellar over filthy Euro trash setting policy objectives for decent, clean living, honest broker Australians. The real fun is just starting.

  21. I put the “Gillard the great negotiator” line in the same class as “Howard the man of principle”. Howard had principles but they were abhorrent. Gillard can negotiate apparently but she has been negotiating to reduce Green influence, protect coal mining and to ensure that the scheme while potentially effective has as little effect in practice as possible. Anyone who doubts this is not listening to her proud declarations about the coal industry’s “bright future”.

  22. Let’s not forget Europe also allowed the Black Death to spread, created the Spanish Inquisition, persecuted Galileo and has soccer hooligans.

    Plus, Europe is full of smelly wogs.

    Of course we shouldn’t have tradeable quotas of carbon emissions. All hail Razor’s razor-sharp logic.

  23. wilful: thanks for that. I’ve become very interested in rural graveyards as repositories of native grasses and plants. Might apply for money.

  24. Razor @19,

    Transport-related emissions are to be taxed via fuel excise adjustments. I’m not sure how this applies to defence, but it has nothing to do with the premises-related threshold that Chris was discussing.

    Fran @ 21,

    Not “add” Fran, as I anticipated this aspect by specifically excluding “government-owned industry”.

  25. I & U – I don’t think you can just exclude government owned industry and then say government is not a big polluter.

    Lefty E – I disagree, if they started contesting tax vs. charge vs. levy they would just be seen as sneaky and tricky.

  26. Fran, I don’t mark the package out of 10, because it depends on what your criteria are. I do agree that if we hadn’t had a hung parliament and the Greens involved we may have had a much worse outcome. I suspect we would have had an updated CPRS, which was indeed much worse, IMHO.

    But I do believe Gillard deserves high praise as a negotiator. I can’t think of another politician in either of the major parties who could have done it.

  27. That’s right – and the likes of Cassidy would be among the first to criticise them for being mean and tricky and not being honest with the Australian people.
    Really, in the current political climate, whatever Gillard does will be criticised by those ‘journalists’ who see their primary role as government critics come what may.

  28. Sam @ 11 and JCS @ 1, I didn’t say anything about the 2020 target in the post. I’m inclined to agree with Garnaut that initially the institutional framework is more important than the shorter term targets and the price. What we’ve got is a scheme on training wheels and probably at the limits of what would normally be politically possible.

    Unfortunately conditions are not normal, and we have a mad leader of the opposition would is willing to distort, lie, obfuscate and scare on a daily basis, and seems to have the talent to have the cameras follow him uncritically.

    Schellnhuber said this of the 2020 target:

    The 5 per cent reduction from 2000 by 2020 position of Australia translates into about a 25 per cent to 30 per cent increase in industrial greenhouse gas emissions above 1990 levels, once all of Australia’s special accounting rules are included.

    Of course the 1990 starting point, apart from being the official Kyoto one, suits Germany because it captures the East German highly polluting rust bucket industries, which were still alive then. Also Germany has, I understand, a falling population. If you factor population into ours the 5% becomes 25%, from memory.

  29. LeftyE

    I’ve left the following comment at The Drum on Cassidy’s comment:

    The point you raise — whether it was indeed a tax — was in doubt from the first moment it was raised, but at what point in Insiders did you raise this question? On no occasion that I can recall. Instead, it has been open slather in the Murdoch-led media, including of course the ABC where the term is used by default. Indeed, on the ABC, guests who come on to speak on this policy matter are verballed — the reporters use the term “carbon tax” or “the tax” both in questions put to them and before the interview even starts, in the preface or the summary, even when interviewees go out of their way to avoid using it — as Wayne Swan did in one sad interview with Fran Kelly on Breakfast one morning.

    You are right to question Gillard’s judgement in running dead and then, as was inevitable, capitulating to the Murdoch-led media scrum and using it — but where was your responsibility, and that of your colleagues in all this? Are you not bound to follow the PMs advice at the National Press Club today and not write “crap”? I’d say so.

    The fact of the matter is that tax does not buy you tradeable securities. It does not buy you goods or services (and emitting effluent is a valuable service by whoever bears it if it goes offsite). And this fixed price permit phase merely enables the full floating price phase in 2015, so unbundling the description to separately name one phase of the scheme is dishonest or vacuous or simply party political, as Pyne realised the other day when he corrected himself to say tax instead of price.

    You guys need to do your job professionally, even if the PM is too naive to understand how the game works.

  30. Chris said:

    Lefty E – I disagree, if they started contesting tax vs. charge vs. levy they would just be seen as sneaky and tricky.

    And that would be worse than what we have now in what way, exactly? At least then there would be a widely known defence. As things stand, she sandbags her supporters.

  31. An FB friend has just suggested we could all easily afford any price rises by giving up buying newspapers. That would be an easy way of dealing with several irritations with one simple inaction.

  32. Brian,

    I wasn’t having a go at you. But the overwhelming opinion in this very blog 18 months ago of a 5% target was manifestly inadequate. Nothing has changed, except that they Greens are now co-authors of the policy.

  33. A 5% target is manifestly inadequate. What has changed is there are now the foundations of a policy that can be built on – unlike the previous proposal that was a policy for maintaining carbon pollution – and that could be improved by simply tweaking the parameters.

  34. Brian @ 34, said:

    “I’m inclined to agree with Garnaut that initially the institutional framework is more important than the shorter term targets and the price.”

    You’ve come around quickly! A month or so ago I was arguing that establishing a market was of prime importance, and you were arguing (as I recall) that mitigation was so urgent that a market would deliver too little, too late.

    Welcome aboard.

  35. Chris @31,

    If you include government-owned industry, then government is clearly in the top 500 (eg Macquarie Generation, Delta Electricity etc) so your comment @17 would be incorrect.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  36. That signal is going to be a very positive one for the internal US debate and could have a huge knock on effect in terms of emission reductions worldwide.

    That is what i have been waiting to hear. Of course, the main obstacle is the US, not China or India. I shall be getting on the American blogs in time to encourage them to take a look at our carbon pricing scheme.

  37. “That signal is going to be a very positive one for the internal US debate and could have a huge knock on effect in terms of emission reductions worldwide.”

    . . . and if you believe that I have some land in West Fremantle with ocean views I’d like to sell you – no future risk from rising sea levels!

    We barely got the US to support us in our East Timor endeavours – had to yank their chain really hard to get them to pay any attention – they aren’t goign to give a tinker’s cuss what we are doing on this.

  38. Ground control to Major Tom Occam: first the stinkin’ Euros and now our irrelevance to the US. Not irrelevant, however, when they want to situate a raft of forward bases here like the one at Geraldton.

  39. OBR @ 43, I tend to agree. The US don’t mind being out on their own, if Kyoto is anything to go by. But the US is not the unipolar superpower they used to be, and I think Obama at least is aware of that. They have some recalcitrant mates, but one fewer now. It can only help.

    I&U @ 40, I haven’t changed my mind altogether. I still say that we need to aim at about 50% reductions by 2020 and zero by 2030. There is no way I can see that market-based instruments will deliver that. But to achieve that either I’d have to be a benevolent dictator, or we as a polity would have to change our mentality to approach the problem on a war footing.

    Absent either of those, what we are doing is probably the best we can do under the circumstances. I have had two “aha” moments, probably in the last month. One is the realisation that old Ross G was onto something with his institutional recommendations and how things might be adjusted in relation to caps and targets as we go.

    The second is that a high price may not be necessary if capitalists wanting to use the atmosphere as a dump realise that there will be continually diminishing availability of permits over the next 40 years. If they get ahead of the game, the price won’t go up. If they fall behind the permits will get very expensive indeed.

  40. Brian; simple or not people ought to recall that republicans quite happily destroyed the type of republic that latte-Malcolm; trust-me-Julia; the-Bob-Brown-shirt-Greens; and the where are they now Democrats of the Natasha era etc., ALL wanted to ram down our throats. These political elites just could not help themselves but the masses stuck their fingers up to them big time when it came to the referendum. The Yes case had lost the debate re mass support for their model but they intended to ram it through anyway and the Australian public simply did not allow them to get away with it. So the whole thing ended in exposing who stood where, and most at LP were on the losing side and this fiasco will end in the same result.

    JG will not get away with it and as the alternative is an Abbot led government CO2 taxing, levying or charging will be killed off for a decade at least. Even if the ALP got back after only 2 Liberal terms, they would not be prepared to fight that election over
    re-introducing said tax, and what’s more, whom ever is the leader then won’t try a JG and dud the electorate and again do it once in.

    It will be interesting after the electorate has rolled over the bet for three or four more electoral cycles to see how the science stands at that time. The bet was put on the table some years ago when Flannery declared we only had a decade to take the urgent action required. So far no action four years on, and the smart money is betting that when this current little bit of ‘lets just get it in, and ramp it up later’ action gets put to the people it will be simply undone by a landslide vote against the ALP / Greens.

  41. I & U – thats true they do end up paying something, though because it is site specific any fragments around the country that come under the threshold aren’t counted. I guess what I find a bit odd about it is that companies can end up in the system multiple times for different sites and at the same time theoretically you can have other companies that emit in total more than others who are in the system but because of the way they are setup are not covered at all.

  42. patrickm, the climate doesn’t care what the people think or how they vote. Combating climate change is a scientific/economic/technical issue. Gillard was perfectly proper as a political leader when she said, we listened to the scientists and we listened to the economists.

    You can’t respect a mandate if it is achieved by lying and scare-mongering, amplified by an incompetent and complicit MSM. So Abbott will need the left of centre vote to collapse completely so that he can get a senate majority, or he’ll need to go to a double dissolution.

    Both of those are possible, of course, but that kind of result would have to go down as a failure of the democratic process. The climate is not going to comply with the will of the people.

  43. Chris @47,

    In theory you are right. In practice it is probably not a problem, otherwise the scheme would not have been designed the way it is.

    The only aspect that appears peculiar to me is that gas retailers pay the carbon tax on behalf of their consumers (who are the ones who actually emit CO2), but there does not seem to be an equivalent tax on coal retailers. So, if you are operating mid-size boilers (eg a hospital or swimming pool), it might be worthwhile switching from gas to coal.

  44. According to Channel 7 news the slump in retailing shares is due to the “Carbon Tax”.

    As I have been pointing out, regularly, Harvey Norman Holdings has been in decline for most of the year.

  45. Brian; the climate does not care and neither do you. However the masses care about democracy, and you like the climate do not, so I guess both of you will have to be dealt with!

    As we head into the third generation of Greenies trying to scare the children (after Rachel Carson produced Silent Spring, and then Paul Ehrlich cashed in with The Population Bomb) you would think that Malthusians would have just died of embarrassment as their predictions turned out to be discredited mush, but they just get sillier.

    Being exposed as misguided alarmists was for them apparently all solved with CO2 and Methane the greatest scare of all! So despite Ice Age predictions turning into Global Warming predictions now turned into Climate Change mush they went from strength to strength. This all crashed and burned at Copenhagen and it’s been a steady downhill from there, and we in Australia are watching a zombie march as the discredited liar, (just ask Rudd) leads the country for the next round of anti-democratic rat-baggery that you support? The rest of the world (despite any oz green spin) is just not interested.

    Currently, people like me who would be surprised if humans were not affecting the climate, but are still quite open to the further development of genuine science in the context of a genuine global response AFTER the world has been rapidly industrialized, as THE central problem of the era will not say yes to JG. Alarmists can’t sell solutions to their alarming ‘science’, and so even when you get the CO2 equivalent tax in and functioning – especially because it’s been done in this undemocratic manner- the masses will cheer the mad monk when he wins the next election and finds whatever method he has to in order to repeal the lot.

    Those who do not want an election can be readily seen as having no claim to anything to do with the left of centre anything. The classic pseudo-left types want laws that can’t be repealed by an election. The pseudo-left is hardly even left in form any longer, but simply right-wing to their undemocratic bootstraps.

    People who openly want to ‘just get it in and then ramp it up by $1 a ton every six months to 2020, and then get ‘serious’ hoping that nobody will notice that that’s exactly what they want to do are bonkers. We really do have elections and most of the people that count (‘Swingers’ in marginal seats) know what “just put it in a little bit” actually means.

  46. patrickm, I do care about democracy and I do care about the climate. So you’re wrong. I couldn’t be stuffed reading the rest of the comment.

  47. Fascinatin’ contribution from patrickm. Hard to understand for this simple mind but it has compelling logic. I say patrickm, you haven’t been in Frankston lately, have you old chap?

  48. @48 – Brian – you here of any of the LPers understands that the science, as it is currently understood, is telling us that it’s too late. Significant action is decades off because big polluters and the developing world in particular are not going to take the economic pain and therefore political pain to do anything remotely effective.

    Basically all that is going to happen as a result of current efforts is a slow down in economic growth for no environmental gain which limits our long run ability to effectively fund the adaption spending that will be required.

  49. The problem with the Big Lie by the PM is that everyone knows that she went back on her promise i norder to win government. The Great Negotiator decided that a tincy wincy little word wiggling was worth it in order to secure the treasury benches.

    Now, she has the gall to go out spruiking her principled approach to life and politics. If she really was principled she either would have said to the Greens – No carbon tax or no deal – and then if they said No Deal then she should have informed the GG she couldn’t form a Government and we could have had another election. And she wouldn’t be in the self imposed pickle she is now in.

  50. Let me try to simplify.

    Picture a graph that situates a 50yr old in the centre; to the left and down is a 75yr old, to the right and up is a 25yr old, at the very top is her new born baby, and at the bottom is the 100yr old. So we have a diagonal line from left to right ascending as living standards have over the last 100 years through 5 generations.

    The dramatic trend line is what our standard of living has been doing. This means that the price of commodities like power and petrol has continued to fall. So have air fares and everything else as they were invented and came on stream.

    That baby has a better chance of leading a long and healthy life than the four before her, and it is very difficult to find a 75 year old that is not aware that their parents had it tougher and that they owe their own standard of living to the work of their parents, and so on backwards and what’s more that their kids have had it better than them from their 75yr efforts to build on what had been handed down.

    Every measure I care to think about has refuted the thinking that has infected liberals since Carson started spreading the green poison that ought to have peaked in foolishness with the 1968 Population Bomb.

    That book was no doubt read and ‘loved’ by many older people that currently think Brown and Milne have something useful to say about the way the world works. If you want a good laugh about what alarmists have been (And really still are) on about have a look at it; now there are just too many people apparently and we are consuming the planet. Of course Ehrlich lost the bet. We are heading to the 50th anniversary of this best seller, and it is clear that junk Malthusians like Ehrlich have been refuted by practice and what’s more that trend is not going to turn around.

    So, it is quite something to watch these same older alarmists raving about what this generation is leaving for the next, and the equally revolting carry on of a greenie youngsters claiming that this or that must be done because really the world belongs to them no less and that other generations (that have helped build the standard) are not really doing this but are actually destroying their world! We are (unlike our parents or theirs) destroying the future. We are using stuff up not producing stuff. It’s just the same old pathetic green twaddle.

    Naturally, they want a decent hospital made with steel and cement, while naming the steel and cement makers as not the standard of living producers, but the big polluters!

    Naturally, they want a tractor and a header not a horse drawn rig that those of 75 can possibly recall from the era of the last great capitalist depression. But the industrialized society that produces these wonderful hunger smashing machines is condemned as nothing more than wasteful consumerist society.

    The hunger that was so common as to not even be reported 75yrs ago is still around but in smaller proportion in Somalia etc., but is that youngster out campaigning for faster industrialization to rid the world of it? No, they are busy listening to the revolting Flannery and Adams like I was advised to do four years ago on LP.

  51. It is observable that when a polemicist knows that he cannot win an argument on the facts, he resorts to impugning the good faith of his opponents.

    Exhibit A: Patrickm.

  52. “You can’t respect a mandate if it is achieved by lying and scare-mongering, amplified by an incompetent and complicit MSM” are you talking about Gillard?

  53. “”””he resorts to impugning the good faith of his opponents.”””””

    Who do you think patrickms opponents are Katsy@58??

  54. OBR @ 55, I’ve never said it was too late. The first condition is that global emissions should peak at 2015, or at least this decade. If they don’t it becomes a whole lot harder.

    @ 56, please understand that the definition of a lie is to to intentionally tell an untruth. Gillard never lied about a carbon tax.

    Abbott, OTOH, deliberately misleads and arguably lies pretty much every single day. Especially in saying Gillard lied.

  55. Brian said
    “”””@ 56, please understand that the definition of a lie is to to intentionally tell an untruth. Gillard never lied about a carbon tax.”””””

    And “”i will never have sex with a woman, other than my wife””.
    But if circumstances change, and i do, i’m sure its OK.
    I still break a vow, mate.
    She went back on her word, face it.

  56. @62 – “The first condition is that global emissions should peak at 2015, or at least this decade.”

    I have more chance of winning Powerball than that happening.

  57. Brian: I haven’t had time to read the details. However, a few comments:
    Firstly, when you say “the government is selling permits to pollute, not imposing a tax” this is playing with words. Selling permits or taxing both involve a flow of money to government that has to be added to any price increases. Defacto tax is not an unreasonable term. Note that emission trading schemes based on offset credit trading (such as the MRET) do not involve this flow of money to the government.
    Secondly, while it is all very nice to get “those polluters to pay for what THEY do to US” this can be a distraction from the real business of reducing emissions. I have no problem with getting polluters to subsidize cleaner alternatives (which in effect what the MRET does) or pay for climate action R&D or admin costs. However, I generally object to using polluter pays as a crude tool that is supposed to drive down emissions.
    Thirdly, as we have discussed before, it would be nice to have targets expressed in terms of emissions over the next 40 yrs rather than the rate of emissions at the end of 40 yrs. It is emissions over the next 40 yrs that determine the extent of global warming, not the rate at the end of 40 yrs.
    I agree with the fourth point. It is one of the smarter things in the policy. However, you need to add management to the list. None of the people you mentioned have any skills in making things happen.

  58. Jumpy wrote:

    “And “”i will never have sex with a woman, other than my wife””.
    But if circumstances change, and i do, i’m sure its OK.
    I still break a vow, mate.
    She went back on her word, face it.”

    Jumpy, that’s a noble vow. It’s usually a reciprocal thing isn’t it, at a wedding? So what if you found, Princess Diana-like, that your partner who had sworn fidelity to you, had in fact gone on sleeping with their old flame? Jumpy, I reckon most LP commenters would forgive you if you thought that changed circumstances released you from your vow.

    You’ll remember that when Julia announced the ALP policy as an ETS and not a tax, it was the policy to be implemented IF THEY WON the election. But they didn’t. Julia and Tony, in unforseen circumstances, had to negotiate a way into government. Julia negotiated her way to her ETS in 2015 instead of 2012, because of changed circumstances. There were no lies.

  59. Brian @45: You say:

    The second is that a high price may not be necessary if capitalists wanting to use the atmosphere as a dump realise that there will be continually diminishing availability of permits over the next 40 years. If they get ahead of the game, the price won’t go up. If they fall behind the permits will get very expensive indeed.

    From the point of a potential investor the prospect of that permit prices won’t go up if there is too much investment is frightening, particularly when the permit price is set by a very short term market.
    That is why I think contracts to supply make much more sense. They will give much more sales and price certainty.

  60. patrickm @57: I was never a fan of Ehrlich and think you are correct to term him a neo-Malthusian. Of course, orthodox liberalism owes more than it is aware to Malthus but we’ll leave that for another time. When it comes to Rachel Carson, however, describing her as a spreader of ‘green poison’ is absurd. See, for example, the considered NYT obit:

    You neglect to rail against the Club of Rome’s (1972) ‘Limits to Growth’ which, for any of its other failings, effectively countered the cornucopian delusions of liberalism which have been entrenched ever since Locke published his (1689) Two Treatises of Government after having been overwhelmed by the natural abundance of North America. That delusion is that nature is ever abundant. Not any more, it isn’t. Time to start managing ourselves properly.

  61. Jumpy @ 63, of course she went back on her word. She’ll tell you that herself.

    Gillard and Abbott both had the task of attempting to form government with the cross bench. Members of the cross bench reported that Abbott was willing to give them whatever it takes. With Gillard they felt they were negotiating with someone to whom policies mattered. The Greens insisted on an ETS with an initial fixed price as non-negotiable. As Gillard says, quite openly and honestly, she was faced with a choice. The Greens’ way or nothing.

  62. Anyone see Kei$ha’s interview with Paul Keating on Lateline?

    PK was on fire, he was the best possible Big End Of Town surrogate/advocate for the Carbon Tax. (I emphasise his role as the acceptable face of capitalism as a way of preempting and negating the inevitable “why isn’t anyone in Gillard’s cabinet as good a salesman as PK is on this issue?” ‘Cos I think he was drawing on his Sinophile/free marketeer strengths for his spiel, it’s just too much to expect a serving Labor minister to do that. Anyway, most of rightly observe that Liberal frontbenchers who adopt those pro-business tones tend to sound all douchey, ala Dog or the Baronet Turnbull.)

  63. Actually, akn (and jumpy), Ehrlich’s (and Malthus’) only problem is being a bit ahead of their times. The cornucopian explosion in agricultural productivity that has allowed a population of 6 billion and counting will disappear when the oil runs out.

  64. John D @ 63, I think that “the government is selling permits to pollute” is an accurate and unambiguous description of what is happening (or will happen) and I think it is important to understand exactly that, along with the notion that the number of permits will decrease. I have no objection to saying that it works like a tax.

    If I were dictator, to I&U’s horror, I’d think about setting up an authority to commission new clean power, to convert coal-fired power to gas, and then operate these facilities, as the quickest way home. I’d also see the reticulation and selling of power as a natural monopoly.

    The fact that much of current generation capacity is in private hands and that none of it is owned by the Commonwealth may create difficulties that can’t be solved, even by a benevolent dictator.

    But I’d also have to recognise that most economists disagree and that I’m not an economist. So in truth I don’t know what I’d do. I’d certainly be exploring decentralised power generation, as discussed on other threads.

    All that is hypothetical, so we need to make the best out of the current orthodoxy. In this regard I rate the CEF quite highly. I get the sense that the rest of the world does too.

  65. In England there was once a tax on the number of windows people had in their houses; and people might recall a poll tax on the number of people that lived in said house? Let us suppose there was a chimney tax to match the window tax. Let us also suppose there was a tax on the number of times the chimney was used, and on the intensity it was used. Let us presume there was a way to check on that intensity. Let us for example take the 500 largest houses in the country and install a 24hr ‘tax man’ to ensure the appropriate fees were handed over to the King based on the firewood used.

    Now would anyone think that this permission to pollute fee, charge or levy was not a tax?? Well in LP land maybe, but the rest of us are not listening to that. When JG said there will be no Carbon Tax the voters took her to mean there would be no doing of what she is now doing, Greens or no greens! The one green in the HoReps meant nothing in any negotiation as they had nowhere else to go and Brian knows this! The only ones that counted were the two that were elected from essentially rural ‘conservative’ seats.

    Anyway that diversion aside, people ought not waste their time trying to tell swinging voters that current PM-JG did not promise not to do to them what she is now doing. It is a complete waste of their time and your own. Voters will evaluate her future and the future of the carbon tax based on her past as delivered. Brian knows there is no democratic mandate for her actions so he appeals to leadership by presumably fit and proper people. That is qualified people! But at the same time he says ‘I do care about democracy’. Well if you are concerned then start a campaign to bring down the ALP government with an informal vote.

    These undemocratic practices ought to be attacked by people that care about democracy. After all the climate can obviously wait (as this completely non climate effecting proposal demonstrates) but democracy can’t. The only reason you want this non effective legislation in place is to ramp it up later. If it stayed like it is introduced you would agree that it is simply useless.

  66. John D @ 68, it seems to me that potential investors can’t assume that permit prices won’t go up. The Climate Change Authority might increase the level of ambition by changing the targets. Also over several decades of diminishing permits they can’t assume that the transition of the economy will continue to stay ahead of the game.

    But if they judge otherwise and end up polluting at cheap cost, then they are doing no more than is permitted and everyone is happy.

    Except me, and others like-minded, who would like to see no carbon pollution.

  67. patrickm @ 75:

    Anyway that diversion aside, people ought not waste their time trying to tell swinging voters that current PM-JG did not promise not to do to them what she is now doing.

    Who is doing that? Not Gillard. To say that she is would be telling a lie.

    On the issue of political mandate, I’m sorry, the people don’t always get it right and it is a sad fact that falsely-based scare campaigns have been known to work. As in 2001, when we had the bejesus scared out of us about terrorists and bad people who throw their kids in the water invading by boat. In 2004, there was a successful interest rate scare campaign in spite of the fact that the highest interest rates historically were under Howard as treasurer.

    At least Kevin07 didn’t need a scare campaign.

    Now we have a beat up about an ‘incompetent’ government which has significant achievements on its record, including avoiding the GFC and the BER. Also a ‘toxic tax’ on everything will wreck the economy, which is rubbish.

  68. DI(nr): yes, very likely true. Most readers found Malthus distasteful because of his admonitions against feeding the poor on the basis that it only encourages them to breed. Had he been alive today he may have added that it encourages them to come here in boats as well. The ‘green revolution’, dependent on agro-chemicals, is the core of the problem because it introduced not only new chemicals and crops but necessarily had to shatter the social relations of pre-industrial agriculture. Those social relations had been enduring and (more or less) effective mechanisms for securing distribution even in hard times.

    Unreflective modernists urging further industrialisation (see patrickm above if you can stand it) are the worst of modernists because they cannot imagine the possibility of ‘cherry picking’ modernity and industrialism for the elements we want and discarding those elements that have proven disastrous. In doing so they prove themselves to be in fact pre-moderns because they insist that modernity and industrialism must come in a specific form free from agential human direction. I think that is why they worship at the feet of the market which they conceive as a sort of black box for the dissolution of the ‘too hard to think about’ problems (like planned production for human needs).

  69. PatrickM said:

    In England there was once a tax on the number of windows people had in their houses

    In that case, the tax was intended to act as a proxy for wealth, since the more windows you had, the bigger the house you had and the greater your assets. We can see why it might be imperfect of course, but that was a rationale.

    and people might recall a poll tax on the number of people that lived in said house?

    Actually, the poll tax was intended originally to tax all voters, in a reverse of the maxim of no taxation without representation. It was intended to link say in parliament with wealth rather than citizenship, which is obviously regressive.

    Thatcher’s poll-tax was objected to partly on these grounds. Technically though, since UK local councils provide services (like police and schools) the poll tax was designed to shift the burden from merely property owners to all people accessing local services.

    Isn’t this excursion fun?

    Let us also suppose there was a tax on the number of times the chimney was used, and on the intensity it was used. Let us presume there was a way to check on that intensity. Let us for example take the 500 largest houses in the country and install a 24hr ‘tax man’ {emissions auditor no being sneaky with terminology Patrick — neutral terms are required before you establish a point} to ensure the appropriate fees were handed over to the King based on the firewood used {emissions volume: no moving the goal posts — you said it was on emissions}. Now would anyone think that this permission to pollute fee, charge or levy was not a tax??

    Well yes, if we were being analytic. It would be a charge for an imposition on the commons — the atmosphere — which is after all, a common rather than a private resource. Taxes are levies made on communities made for general purposes. While people often tend to the careless in common discourse, that is the correct usage. The whole puposes of having different words for different ideas is to make it possible for people to discuss the wide variety of things we have in the world. As we saw in that famous Monty Python sketch where they do the drinking song, calling everyone “Bruce” can lead to amusing results. So too, calling every state revenue “a tax” hides the real relationships involved — and in this case, it hides the imposition upon the commons (really, the embezzlement of the commons’ capital) in favour of business or other private interests.

    the rest of us are not listening to that.

    You speak for everyone outside “LP-land”? Amazing. Crap really … People aren’t as stupid as you imply.

    When JG said there will be no Carbon Tax the voters took her to mean there would be no doing of what she is now doing, Greens or no greens!

    You know what the voters took Gillard to mean when she made her claim five days before the election? Why do we need elections or even polling companies when we have your earnest declarations? You’re wasted here.

    I took her to mean that she was rejecting the idea of what, during 2009, had come to be described as a carbon tax, along the lines of McKibben, or perhaps Abbott had himself suggested. I took her to be favouring an ETS along the lines of the old CPRS of 2009, which had a fixed price permit phase leading to an auctioned phase some time later. Tony Abbott went further because he insisted to anyone who would listen that she planned in concert with the Greens to introduce “a Great Big New Tax (sic)” if she won, and that “a vote for the ALP or the Greens is a vote for a Great Big New tax (sic)”. Accordingly, anyone who voted ALP or Greens or for Oakeshott or Windsor (they too were tarred this way by the Nationals) or Wilkie was, in Abbott’s opinion voting for “a carbon tax”. The doctrine of estoppel applies. That means a majority endorsed pricing CO2e. QED.

    Nobody acquainted with Australian politics in 2010 could have imagined that the ALP had abandoned carbon pricing, or that those who are outraged now are outraged because we arn’t getting an ETS directly but going first to a fixed price permit phase and that had they known about that they’d have switched from voting ALP/, Greens, Oakeshott, Windsor or Wilkie to the LNP. That’s utterly absurd. Crap really.

    There is a mandate. Most people wanted CO2e priced. had they not, most people would not have voted ALP, Greens, Oakeshott, Windsor or Wilkie. They’d not have swung to The Greens. The ALP vote would not have risen in Victoria, SA, Tasmania and Northern Territory. The Greens would not have held the BOP in the senate. Liberals would not have preferenced Adam Bandt in Melbourne.

    The LNP lost the last election, and all the footstamping by them in the world and their fellow travellers won’t change that. They get another chance in 2013. That’s how it works.

    They want an election now because they fear that in 2013, the angst and FUD will have been exposed as baseless. This charge on CO2e emissions is about 1/6th of the G&ST, and all of it is being refunded, and then some. The poorest are being looked after and the rischest aren’t paying much. What we need now is for the measures to be implemented and for people to see how it works. That is how democracy, at least in this country, has traditionally worked. In this country, we don’t have elections every time the regime falls behind in the polls, and whatever objections I have to the usages of government here, I’m OK with that.

  70. Good one Fran. I’m enjoying this moment hugely especially re-reading patrickm @ 57 because it illustrates of a sense frustration born of powerlessness.

  71. “The ‘green revolution’, dependent on agro-chemicals, is the core of the problem because it introduced not only new chemicals and crops but necessarily had to shatter the social relations of pre-industrial agriculture. Those social relations had been enduring and (more or less) effective mechanisms for securing distribution even in hard times”

    AKN, please tell me that you’re not pining for the social relations of pre-revolutionary China! Maybe it isn’t just the chemicals wot done it, but culture and politics too – agriculture hasn’t developed quite the same in the U.S. as it has in France?

  72. Congratulations to the ABC for publishing this article from Geoff Lemon:

    Many unpalatable truths that need to be said, but few have the guts to say in such a forthright manner.

    For example:

    Whatever it is, remember that you live in a country where drinkable water comes out of a tap inside your house, and the power runs 24 hours a day. This in itself is a goddamn privilege, and if you are going to bitch and moan about having to pay for that privilege, you can bugger off and die in a ditch.

    Because you do not have a right to this way of life. No-one does. We just have the extreme good fortune of enjoying it, and that won’t last forever. We should appreciate it while we can.

  73. And while I’m congratulating the ABC – great interview with PJK he’s still got it.

  74. Brickbats to #theirABC for closing comments on the Barry Cassidy piece after rejecting my letter … They did however publish a bunch of anti-carbon price talking points.

    Mine attacked Cassidy’s credibility of course …

  75. Brian @76: I have no problem with the price of permits going up. It is the risk of permit prices going down that scares investors in clean electricity. I also wonder what a future government would do if we were having blackouts while there was dirty power stations willing and able to make up the shortage?
    As I explained here the oft quoted US acid rain ETS worked because there was always a plentiful supply of higher cost low sulphur coal available so it didn’t really matter if investors in smokestack scrubbing or coal washing got their future demand estimates wrong. The same is not true for the Australian power industry.
    Experience with permit/credit price fluctuations in the US and with our MRET is hardly going to make investors feel secure. Better to follow the UK conservative lead.

  76. #97, ” ..attacked Cassidys credibility”.
    Why mount an attack on some thing that doesn’t exist?
    On a seperate issue, one notes also, #57 has yet again succeeded in irritating even the most tolerant of his opponents.
    Given that a massive famine is yet again breaking out on the Horn of Africa, I’d be calling bs, also. His crass grumblings as to Green bombs and subsequent ecological warnings from scientists about human activity within the finite location that is planet earth, seem squalid as well as wrong.

  77. Russell: no not pining. My point is that all systems of production and consumption have attendant sets of social relationships. Introducing a new system of production alone does not guarantee equity is distribution, for example, where the social relations of the production regime are severely disrupted. The classic study is of the acts of enclosure in England which were largely driven by the need to expand firld size in order to take advantage of new technologies of production. This meant tearing up the common law rights of access to land that charactersised fuedal realtions in England. In India there is significant evidence that famines under the British Raj were more severe than the famines under pre-colonial rule. Therefore, industrial technology alone (chemicals, farming techniques, land management) is insufficient to address the specific biological needs of any given population where the cultural requirements are either ignored or are a distant consideration.

  78. John D @ 88 – I think power shortages are going to be a huge problem for the government. Inevitably we have power shortages in summer during peak demand and the federal government is going to get a lot of criticism when this happens after some of the dirty power stations have closed down.

  79. Agree Chris. Part of this is due to all the stuffing around re what is going to happen to the power industry and carbon price. Part of this may come because the shutdown of coal fired power will not be managed properly. Just depending on the carbon price may lead to finance driven shutdowns before clean is ready to replace.
    Part of the problem may also come when an ETS creates artificial shortages because investors under estimated demand. This is what makes me doubt that a government would not relax the ETS or MRET cap/target in the face of blackouts.

  80. Back in Aril 2007, a thread partly on Carbon Taxing directed me to have a listen to Flannery and Philip Adams.

    They were predictably revolting and I spoke up at comment 32, 42 and at 49 and 52. Four years have passed and despite it all being so simple for Brian, there is still no CO2 taxing, but as we all know there is now dramatic events unfolding and such a tax is looming. Is this going to be a victory for alarmists or a massive defeat?

    In that thread Spiros at 38 and 42 was spot on. But now Work Choices is behind us and the carbon hysteria ‘solutions’ and the backlash I predicted for them is now fully out of the bag. What’s more this is all happening when capitalism world wide has convulsed through GFC 1 and is heading straight into GFC 2 on an even grander scale with all governments having essentially stampeded at GFC 1 with their government ‘solutions’ to bail out the banks that were too big to fail and spend their way to prosperity etc., It did not work. GFC 2 can’t go the same way and rising unemployment is ripping along in countries like the PIIGS, U.S., Japan, and so on. So we will have some big economic and political issues to think through.

    Oz politics have developed in a totally unimaginable way, and via a circuitous route, but here we are and at least the one dye has been cast for the course of the next two years, while world events are bound to impact on top of any of these local peculiarities. In other words even if it were a case of business as usual, I would bet against a return of the current government, but it is not going to be business as usual IMV and Tweedledee has always been thought of as the better manager of the economy than Tweedledum and those economic issues are looming.

    Clearly with the Abbot led Tweedles there is a choice for the swinging voters. They can return PM-JG and keep this tax or junk it. Abbot has declared that this is what he would be elected to do and would call a Double Dissolution (DD) if he had to because of senate frustration.

    I guess that the ALP senators would pass his repeal rather than face the electoral slaughter that would come their way if the electorate was forced to the polls a second time!

    Now the usual green supporters at LP will do their best to get the JG led ALP returned and the tax confirmed so they can slowly get around to steadily ramping it up. That’s fine, they will need good luck with that, and I don’t wish the project well. I just don’t think it will work and as I said above the electorate will swing in the marginal seats to produce a landslide that would virtually be sure to produce a two term Tweeledee government. The Election after that (third from now) could not be fought over an ALP plan for a 2nd CO2 tax and whomever is their leader will not attempt to dud the electorate and introduce one if they won that election.

    So this great green ‘victory’ now is a disaster as far as I can see for alarmists. (In Flannery terms a disaster for the very planet no less). The little time it will be operating will be a giant waste of effort and taxpayer funds.

  81. Patrickm: My guess is that, by the time of the election, the tax will be in place and the whole Abbott scare campaign will look extremely stupid even if the tax fails to achieve much. By that time too, voters will realize that doubling the tax won’t have much effect either.
    Julia will also have got a number of other things in place like the mining tax, health reform etc.. Once again the scare campaign will be looking sillier and sillier.
    The Murdoch press scandals may also have made the coalition’s propaganda sheets look less credible. Anybodies guess what will happen. Beazley looked a winner too at one stage.

  82. PatrickM,

    I do believe that you are in a room deprived of oxygen, you should go outside immediately, and breath….deeply. When your mind has cleared, look around you. The world is changing at great pace, and people are happy for the change.

    The Carbon Age is fraying at the edges, the Solar Electric age is dawning. People are delighted and thrilled with the prospect of their future with energy independence. Silent energy. Odour free energy. Pollution free energy.

    Come on now, admit it. Even you are looking forward to travelling around able to hear, smell and feel the environment; to not have that constant background noise of engines passing by your front door; to not see that bromide brown rising out of the valleys every morning as people start their engines to engage in that daily, deadly pilgrimage; to be able to perform and flex your talent with your colleages from you home office, or your back lawn, or the terrace of a villa in Hervey Bay….via the NBN.

    Let it out. You know that the black energy beast that has entrapped us for a century and a half is mortally wounded, and finally the energy that we should have been using all along is now within our grasp. Solar power is with us again. Clean, all engulfing, free energy, energy that we all have access to, is ours at last.

    Do you really think that people have not noticed this change, that people are going to cling to a trail of lies from the Murdochracy and its minions to give up this wonderful fresh breeze of natural energy?

    I don’t.

  83. So this great green ‘victory’ now is a disaster as far as I can see for alarmists. (In Flannery terms a disaster for the very planet no less). The little time it will be operating will be a giant waste of effort and taxpayer

    A Maoist who expresses concern about misuse of taxpayers funds.

    Mirabile dictu! What next — a Maoist Branch of the Rotary Club?

  84. I recall going on a cycling trip in up-country Queensland almost exactly ten years ago and being impressed by the number of farms and shops that were displaying signs reading “No GST! Put Howard Last!”. I also recall the result of the Federal election held later that year. I won’t be surprised to see history repeat.

  85. Die. The Die is Cast.

    Suetonius, Divi Julius 32-33:

    (on sounding the signal to advance across the Rubicon)

    tunc Caesar: ‘eatur,’ inquit, ‘quo deorum ostenta et inimicorum iniquitas uocat. Iacta alea est,’ inquit.
    Then Caesar said: “Let us go where the wonders of the gods and the iniquities of our enemies call us. The die is cast”.

    Die is English plural of Dice. Note that alea is not the Latin for “dice” (cubus) but for another gaming device, but anyway, it’s certainly not ‘Dye’.

  86. Russell @83 that’s exactly what akn is pining for, but the fun never stops and along comes adrien to assure everyone that they have far too high a standard of living if they live in the west. (For decades now including Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan etc.) That the planet can’t sustain it and that oil will run out, and then it’s all over for us Cornucopian types anyway! Oh woe, oh woe.

    The green fear-machine is positively drooling at the prospect of this wasteful, hedonistic society hitting the wall of peak-oil and the production and consumption trend lines going into reverse.

    Brian’s generation can’t deny those trend lines for his parents efforts, but our generation is far too productive and thus consuming the planet by breathing. But it’s another puzzle why they get so worked up over introducing the let’s reverse history tax (and make stuff dearer to save the planet) when it is going to happen via running out of oil according to them anyway?

    The Ehrlich cult has now developed to the point that appeals to fascism are really quite blatant. People quess they can’t now win an election on this junk so greens are delighted to see it being shoved down voters throats, even with no mandate. But elections will come, and the tax with no mandate will be dismantled by Tweedledee despite Fran’s delusions that everyone will forgive the ALP and realize that they had to give us the medicine; and it really isn’t that bad, so let’s put that nice trustworthy Julia back in the lodge!

    I stand by my comments at 49 in the old thread mentioned above, predicting the baseball-bat once the price-signal message was really understood. The issue that was so urgent in 2007 (That we only had ten years to act upon) has seen four years go by (With plenty of rain and no new dams) with zip achieved so we now only have six years.

    Two more of those years will go by with this coming fiasco of the ALP bullying the tax in, and then six more after Abbot wins a landslide mandate to get rid of it, and he will. At that point who knows what the world will be doing, but whatever is happening I really doubt the ALP will be keen to have another go.

    I think we have seen the right-wing green madness peak. A genuine left is yet to emerge but the pseudo-left is as strategically stuffed as Gaddafi.

  87. Chris @101 – true enough, but a lot can happen in two years. I also recall taking part in online discussions in 2001 in which I argued that if the then Labor opposition couldn’t do anything more proactive than cry “Rollback” and play the small target strategy they ran the risk of being blown off course by some unforseen event and/or counterstroke by Howard. Unfortunately, I was right.

  88. patrickm, the greens are the only party concerned that we’re about to hit a wall. The greens want to avoid the crash, allowing us to preserve our way of life as far as possible. The browns are having too much fun to stop just now and will crash and take their chances.

  89. @105
    When it rains, and it will, I will let you know.
    And you will shout ” Don’t you know the difference between weather and climate” again.
    But we have to hear from you every time there is a drought in a place that has always had droughts.

  90. “Mirabile dictu! What next — a Maoist Branch of the Rotary Club?”

    That’s funny. And true, here anyways.

  91. Meanwhile, Jumpncar @106, while you fiddle with your litttle ideas:

    the ice keeps melting, faster each year
    the methane keeps gassing, faster each year
    the ocean keeps heating, steadily
    CO2 keeps accumulating, faster each year
    the air becomes more humid, steadily
    the tropical band expands, further each year
    sea levels keep rising
    demand for oil keeps rising
    fossil energy prices drive ever higher

    climate skeptics become fewer
    animal species become fewer
    available food becomes less
    arable land becomes less
    soil moisture drives ever lower
    oil reserves move rapidly lower

    Jumpncar, some things fluctuate, because of the tilt of the earth’s axis. Others don’t, because they average out.

    Your naysaying is soundly defeated by the averages.

  92. Bilb
    I could “cherry pick” an example (local weather) to rebuff each one of the statements you made.
    Thats my point.

  93. No you can’t, Jumpncar. For starters picked cherries do not represent global averages. You’re defeated by definition, straight away.

    I challenge you to quantatively prove that each one of the items in the list is the opposite as a global average.

  94. Meanwhile, in other news, Islands in the Torres Strait are sinking. (see These people are likely to be the first to feel the direct, indisputable effects of climate change (but I’m pretty sure someone will dispute it). Australia reducing its emissions wont by itself prevent this happening and it will take a colossal global effort to exert any real effect on global pollution. But the bottom line is this: if we aren’t prepared to do something about our own emissions, how can we possibly expect anyone else in the world to do something about theirs? They’ll justifiably laugh at us.

  95. Jeeez Bilb I’m cooking a soup.
    How bout you prove 3 of yours.

    1.”climate skeptics become fewer”(global )

    2.”animal species become fewer”(how many did we start with)

    3.”the ice keeps melting, faster each year”(both hemispheres)

  96. TR@100
    Die is the singular, dice the plural. Hence the ‘die is cast’ (i.e. thrown), but we have the ‘last throw of the dice’. In a game of dice, there are of course two of them. Perhaps the Romans only used one for some of their games?

  97. Well, there ya go.
    I always thought ” the die is cast” referred to a die ( like the die to stamp coins) is cast ( like the making of metal things eg cast iron)
    In the Caesar context, i thought it was a declaration of certainty rather than uncertainty.
    Anyway, live and learn.

  98. That is just typical of you, Jumpncar. You have no answers so you attempt to waste everyone elses time with endless pointless questions.

    Come back when you have some actual substance.

  99. Bilb
    I’ll take that as;
    1. can”t prove
    2. can’t prove
    3. can’t prove
    As for the others @108
    How will the C02 tax (yes, tax, ask the MP) on Australians change anything?
    I’ll give ya a hint……….it won’t.

  100. patrickm, you obviously feel strong enough to say what you have to say over here on LP. What for – can I assume it is not just for a stir?

    It seems to me, you obviously can’t understand us ‘Greenies, Hairy-shirters or alarmists’ and extremely irritated by us, right? I am assuming, you are not upset because of us personally, but of what we represent to you, a simple pain in the backside in the scheme of your world. Well let me tell you, I resent that!

    You see, I have been around the traps a bit, professionally, culturally and intellectually. Let me assure you, I ain’t no deluded silly hippy fool nor a lentil eating easily scared simpleton. I could not afford to be such, when making a successful living as diverse as to bring clients safely up close to a 5t male Elephants, on foot and without a gun, or trouble-shoot complex information systems as well as operating a small export business involving natural resources. I therefore know how to read the wind and have an ability to smell where bodies are buried and not affright to get my hands dirty or grabbing opportunities either, as well as pretty skilled to line up my p and q’s. I too had to sort myself out, in order to live comfortably with a chronic and debilitating illness for 20 odd years. Let me assure you, I know what real pain feels like and don’t wish it on neither you nor anyone else, including those following in our footsteps. What I am saying to you is, give us more credit then that of a simple irritating threat to your way of living.

    Now if you want to engage in a genuine debate, lets have it. You see, out of principle, I try not to close my mind to other views and gladly grab opportunities to learn and test my world view, in a way that is my rational for engaging here on LP. I’d like to think that I apply pretty high intellectual standards and generally I don’t waste my precious energy in VHS vs Beta jostling nor Left vs Right ideology kind of sophistry. I am a down to earth, evidence based and intellectual rigour kind of a bloke, as the seriousness of the topic you are venturing in deserves. So yeah you are welcome to test me on that turf. In reciprocity, I would be genuinely interested in a professional critical analysis by you of this paper published by the CSIRO, non the less, 3 years ago. Because this is the assumed reference point I come from.

    However, if you are just here to spill your guts, could you please at least have the civility to clean the mess and flush the toilet after the deed is done, thanks.

    Cheers Ootz

  101. It is plainly obvious, Jumpncar, why you duck and dive and never answer questions, s simply that, just like Tony Abbott, you have very little knowledge about anything of any consequence. And so I feel a supportive duty to help you understand the Carbon Price, yes Price, ask any economist.

    This brilliant economic instrument will change everything. It will change attitudes globally, promote a massive uptake of alternative energy which will decamate Australia’s CO2 emissions within less than 30 years (it is the rarely mentioned compounding effect) and promote other countries to drop their consumption of coal, which will lead to a natural wind down of our irresponsible and brutal extraction of coal. And within just a few years from now you will see the error of your thinking and become a Carbon Pricing enthusiast.

    So now you see that it is all just wonderful, don’t you think?

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