Kiwis not so dumb? Scaling back ETS already


Slightly less mad?

Following on from yesterday’s post on the New Zealand ETS that, according to PM John Key, is “working”, The Australian today reports that our neighbour across the ditch is actually scaling back its ETS in the face of economic pressures. Julia didn’t mention that, did she?

AS Julia Gillard urged Australia to follow the “gutsy Kiwi” lead on carbon pricing, Prime Minister John Key has declared New Zealand will be slowing its expansion of emissions trading and doesn’t want to “lead the world”.

Mr Key refused to offer advice to Australian politicians embroiled in the carbon tax debate and signed an agreement with the Australian Prime Minister for a joint working party on trans-Tasman carbon emissions trading.

But he warned that New Zealand would be delaying the inclusion of agricultural emissions in its system for at least four years and was unlikely to double the carbon price from 2013, as previously planned, because of pressure on consumers.

Earlier, Mr Key said in an interview with The Australian his government was reviewing the ETS he inherited from the former Labour government and there would be changes to the “quite expensive system”.

Mr Key said the New Zealand system, which prices carbon at $NZ12.50 ($9.55) a tonne and includes all gases and emitters, was costing consumers about $NZ150 a year but the price was due to double to $NZ25 a tonne from 2013 and include agriculture, which accounts for 50 per cent of New Zealand’s emissions.

Mr Key told The Australian the review would mean “the government is likely to move a bit more slowly because of the global financial crisis and other countries are moving more slowly”. (source)

So NZ is actually taking notice of the fact that the other major emitters are doing nothing, and responding appropriately. How refreshing. Just as the Kiwis sensibly don’t want to “lead the world”, neither should Australia.

New Zealand Climate Madness: PM John Key says "our ETS worked"


Key... to the asylum

Hmm. “Worked” in what sense, John? Added costs to every business in New Zealand? Check. Raised electricity prices for every Kiwi in the land? Double Check-a-rooney. Made everything that they buy in the shops more expensive? Triple Check-a-doodle-doo.

But what about the climate? Did it lower temperatures? Nope. Did it make any difference to “global action” on climate? Double Nope. Did anybody, except the twits in the Gillard government, take any notice whatsoever of the fact that New Zealand had stitched up its economy like a kipper? Nope, nope and thrice nope.

New Zealand emits just 0.11% of global emissions. I’m going to write it BIG so people can see it:

0.11%

 

Even if that were reduced to zero, the planet wouldn’t give a sh*t.

What begets such total climate madness? Seriously, it’s completely, utterly, totally, mind-bogglingly beyond comprehension.

World of "sham carbon policies" exposed


Henry Ergas

Earlier in the week we had the government plugging the same old line: “Australia is falling behind other countries and we need to catch up – and by the way, here’s a Productivity Commission report which agrees with us.” Henry Ergas in The Australian unpicks the spin:

CONTRARY to repeated assertions by the Prime Minister, the Productivity Commission did not endorse an economy-wide emissions trading scheme. Rather, its recently released report on carbon emissions policies models an ETS that applies only to the electricity sector and excludes all trade-exposed industries.

As the commission shows, current policies aimed at subsidising renewable energy incur high costs for pitifully little outcome. No surprise then that its modelling finds that scrapping those policies and imposing a carbon price of $9 a tonne on the electricity sector would cause less harm.

True, the eight countries the PC analysed have more than a thousand policies in place, many focused on electricity generation. But in aggregate those policies yield barely 210 million tonnes of electricity sector abatement.

Take China, the world’s largest and most rapidly growing emitter, which the Garnaut report says has “pledged large reduction targets, implemented reforms that deliver on its commitments, and set sail on a global mission to dominate new opportunities”. But the PC finds China’s abatement affects barely 1 per cent of its electricity emissions, while its abatement outlays, at one-third of 1 per cent of gross domestic product, are well below Australia’s.

Moreover, the PC’s measure of net abatement takes no account of subsidies to emissions. Recent estimates place subsidies to fossil fuel use in China at about 1.4 per cent of GDP. For each dollar spent curbing emissions, China therefore spends $4 promoting them.

Yes, some countries, notably Germany and Britain, devote substantial resources to emissions reduction. But even there, the PC finds high costs for modest impacts. Indeed, as the report notes, the Germans spend $150 to $300 a tonne of carbon securing emissions reductions that under the European Union’s ETS are simply offset by increased emissions in Italy and Spain.

That may seem irrational. But the reality is that this is an area whose politics are now entirely symbolic. Notwithstanding sweeping promises in international forums, and regardless of the homilies of climate change’s high priests, governments do not believe communities have any stomach to make real sacrifices for a goal that seems ever more illusory.

Trapped between the zealots and that brute fact, they resort to what are little more than bribes, buying, at absurdly high cost, a bit of abatement here, dispensing an exclusion from obligations there, and sprinkling the whole with scarcely credible claims to moral principle. Unsurprisingly, the policies born from this combination of shabbiness of motives and pretence to public spirit are as incoherent as they are socially wasteful. But that does not mean those policies are not privately profitable. Indeed, studies find even the EU ETS increased European generators’ profits by some 30 to 50 per cent, as free permit allocations ensured revenues increased by more than costs. Such transfers merely increase the inefficiencies, as profits are dissipated in attempts to secure and protect rents, while those who would bear the costs throw further resources at self-defence.

Only in bad light, and even then only by the weak-sighted, could such policies be confused for meaningful efforts at tackling climate change. That is the sham the commission’s spotlight exposes. But none are so blind as those that would not see. Forcing the government to face up to the PC’s findings is the task ahead.

Read it here.

Gillard and Swan wanted to abandon ETS


Which is worse?

That would be the same Gillard and Swan who are now trying to railroad through a carbon tax in breach of an explicit pre-election promise not to. To discover this fact, all The Australian had to do was check its news archive:

Speaking on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, Mr Rudd, now Foreign Minister, said he had made the wrong call to abandon his ETS plan.

He said there were people in the party who wanted to kill off the idea, and others who advocated delay.

“I tried to find a way up the middle of all that, preserve the unity of the government,” Mr Rudd said. “On balance, it was the wrong call. We should have simply tried to sail straight ahead.”

Mr Rudd did not specifically suggest Julia Gillard, as Mr Rudd’s deputy, had lobbied heavily for the switch.

However, the caucus minutes, reported in The Australian last November, reveal a different story.

“I wish to place on record here that Lindsay Tanner and Penny Wong strongly argued to me against taking that position. Equally strong was the advice from Wayne and Julia that the emissions trading scheme had to be abandoned,” Mr Rudd said at the time. (source)

Julia is a fake, changing her tune to fit the prevailing mood (or the wishes of the Greens).

Labor Nightmare: The Return of Rudd?


Horror movie in real life…

Kevin Rudd was in good form on Q & A last night, breaching cabinet confidentiality to reveal that senior Labor figures were against an ETS, and leaving open the possibility (heaven forbid) of another go at the leadership. Another great day for Labor!

THE Coalition has seized on Kevin Rudd’s admission that he got it wrong when he dumped his emissions trading scheme, painting the comments as a job application for a second tilt at the Labor leadership.

The Foreign Minister’s breach of cabinet confidentiality – in which he admitted some senior ministers wanted the ETS permanently killed off – has also been used by the opposition to accuse Labor of hypocrisy over the issue.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said there was “no doubt” Mr Rudd’s comments were an appeal to his backbenchers for another go at the leadership.

“I would suspect Kevin Rudd is applying to be prime minister, there’s no doubt about that, no doubt at all,” he told ABC radio.

Mr Rudd admitted on last night’s Q&A program that shelving his ETS was a costly error.

While admitting his mistake, he said he had resisted the urgings of some cabinet members who had argued for it to be axed completely. Others wanted to stick to the existing timetable.

Deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop, who appeared on the panel with Mr Rudd, said his comments provided an extraordinary insight into divisions within the Labor cabinet.

“He said that last night, that there were some who wanted it dumped for all time. He was clearly indicating that that was Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan,” she told The Australian Online.

“I think he relished the opportunity to set the record straight. That’s what it appeared to me.

“I think that Julia Gillard’s hypocrisy is just too much for him. And he’s outraged by it. That’s what it appeared to me to be, that he was speaking out over her hypocrisy.”

Ms Bishop said Mr Rudd had clearly broken cabinet confidentiality and had “never seen such an open discussion of otherwise confidential deliberations”. (source)

Just when you think it can’t get any worse for Labor. The Return of Rudd – a horror movie in real life.

Denmark's ETS scam


Licence to scam

Any ETS is ripe for fraud and corruption. In December 2009, ACM reported that fraudsters had pocketed an eye-popping €5bn from the European ETS, so it’s little surprise when stories like this come to light. Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for “Climate Action”, wrote in The Australian on Monday that the Cancun “deal” put climate action “back on track”. Apart from the usual warmists’ trick of blaming individual weather events, such as the Moscow fires and Pakistani floods, on climate change when it suits them (despite huge swathes of the planet currently experiencing extreme cold), the article claims that the deal would restore public faith in the UN climate process. Stop laughing. And today, it is revealed that the Danish ETS, the inception of which was presided over by Hedegaard herself as climate and energy minister, was so lax in its background checks that rogue traders scammed 2% of Denmark’s entire GDP in lost taxes:

The Denmark CO2 permit registry was set up with extremely lax rules and regulations, possibly intentionally. In 2007, Hedegaard removed the requirement for identification and in a very short period of time traders figured out the loopholes and started to back up the proverbial truck. How? To put it simply: you could round robin CO2 credits, booking the VAT as a bonus each time.

What is painfully obvious is that more than 1100 of the 1256 (about 88 per cent) of the registered traders listed in their system were illegally set up for fraudulent activity. The traders have since been delisted as the scope of the crime becomes obvious.

The fake but registered traders used made up, unique addresses for their business: in one famous case, a trader was listed as trading out of a parking lot in London. In another, the trader took the name of a dead Pakistani national.

The fraud centred on the use of VAT [value added tax, European equivalent of GST - Ed] as a mechanism to generate real non-taxed cash flow. An international trader would buy VAT free credits from one nation, and then resell them to a VAT added customer in a second nation, pocketing as much as 25 per cent of the cost of the trade as a personal commission. The trader then kept the VAT difference in lieu sending in the VAT to the necessary tax system, effectively arbitraging the VAT system (See, e.g., Cap and Trade; Leaving Las Vegas, “The Hole You’re In”). This trade was coined a “carousel” as the traders would re-export the credits, claiming the VAT only to re-import the credits and reselling them again with a new VAT assigned. They could wash, rinse and repeat booking up to a 25 per cent VAT in the process each time. (source)

But this is par for the course in climate action – emissions trading schemes, solar rebates, wind farm subsidies, you name it. The politicians simply turn a blind eye when the ends justify the means, since “saving the planet” trumps any trifling concerns about fraud. Just more of the same green waste with which we have become so familiar, and with which we will become even more acquainted if a carbon trading scheme is ever established here.

Japan shelves ETS – Australia should do the same


Mt Fuji: try offsetting that...

China and India have no intention of strangling their economic growth with emissions reductions, the US won’t be enacting climate legislation anytime soon, but plucky little Australia, with its massive 1.28% contribution to global emissions (down from 1.5% as those from developing countries skyrocket) is prepared to sacrifice its prosperity on the altar of “tackling global warming”. Why shouldn’t we, says our Julia? The EU has an ETS (which hasn’t reduced emissions and is bogged down in corruption and fraud), New Zealand has an ETS (on their 0.11%, or just over one thousandth, of global emissions), and very soon Japan will as well… no, wait, reality check ahead:

JAPAN’S decision to postpone its plans for an ETS by 2013 has increased pressure on Julia Gillard over her goal of pricing carbon next year.

The postponement has also set back efforts for a global market to cut global carbon pollution [harmless carbon dioxide gas - Ed]

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt called on the Prime Minister to rule out an emissions trading scheme by New Year’s Day in the wake of the Japanese move.

The decision by the world’s fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter and Australia’s second-largest trading partner to postpone the scheme for a year comes after the US also stepped back from a national emissions trading scheme and as international firms remain concerned about lax pollution controls in China, which has no obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

Two weeks ago, [Greg Combet] defended the Rudd government’s carbon pollution reduction scheme, dumped by the former prime minister. He said it had included an emissions trading scheme that would have “provided the greatest certainty that Australia would meet its emissions reductions targets”.

But, Mr Hunt said, the government’s plans were “now in tatters”.

“First Canada, second the US and now Japan have all determined that there is a better way to cut emissions than a massive electricity tax.

“The Prime Minister should drop this electricity tax before New Year’s Day.” (source)

Not a chance, Greg Hunt. Don’t forget, Bob Brown and the Greens have a loaded gun pressed to Labor’s head – drop the carbon price, they pull the trigger. They’ll probably pull the trigger anyway, when Labor don’t agree to 90% cuts by next year, or whatever nonsense the Greens want.

In other news, The Australian’s Cut and Paste section is devoted to the cognitive dissonance emanating from the US warmists as snowstorms hit New York:

Judah Cohen in The New York Times, December 25:

THE earth continues to get warmer, yet it’s feeling a lot colder outside. All of this cold was met with perfect comic timing by the release of a World Meteorological Organisation report showing that 2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record. How can we reconcile this? The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes. It’s all a snow job by nature. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.

John Goetz on the website Watts Up With That? on December 27:

[JUDAH Cohen] had to be joking, right? There is no way a “director of seasonal forecasting at an atmospheric and environmental research firm” could possibly believe the weather we are experiencing out here on the east coast is in any way different from the past. The New York City blizzard of March 1888 certainly left a lasting impression, as it was used to measure several other bruising storms. (source)

And an editorial warns us that watching the climate has blinded us to watching the weather:

Failure to watch the weather as well as the climate has arguably led to loss of life and injury that might have been avoided if authorities had spread grit on British roads as well as spreading the word about global warming. International airlines, so busy selling carbon offsets for global miles, might have been better employed ensuring that Heathrow bought a few more snow ploughs. The tendency to see the wood and not the trees was illustrated last month as ABC TV’s Lateline interviewed Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, the British special envoy on climate and energy security. While he was busy in Canberra talking about the long-term impact of climate change on national security, back in Britain the weather threat from cold and snow was looming as a real and present danger. (source)

A tiny puddle of climate sanity in a mighty ocean of climate madness.

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