Which would you believe?

Productivity Commission

UPDATE at 11.15 AEST: Professor Judith Sloan, former member of the Commission, said this morning that it had been hamstrung by the very narrow terms of reference, which it must follow, that she had “serious reservations” about the report, and noted that the list of countries considered included no “competitor countries, such as Brazil, Canada or South Africa”. More to follow

The Productivity Commission, or your own eyes and ears? In the strange ivory tower that the Productivity Commission appears to inhabit, the world is rushing towards putting a price on carbon and tackling climate change, and Australia is lagging behind. Tony Windsor, one of the independents whose vote will determine whether Australia gets a carbon tax, has fallen for it, hook, line and sinker:

The independent MP who might decide the fate of Labor’s carbon tax says the Productivity Commission report released Thursday proves the rest of the world is acting on climate change.

Tony Windsor is a key member of the Multi-Party Climate Committee and was the one who requested the Productivity Commission crunch the global figures.

The commission found support for the Government’s claims that other world economies are taking significant measures to combat climate change.

It says price-based mechanisms, such as the one planned for Australia, are the most effective and least-costly way to reduce carbon pollution.

Mr Windsor says the report answers the question of whether the rest of the world is doing something.

“That’s a yes,” he said. “Some of the schemes and policies aren’t terribly cost effective, but there is an attempt to reduce emissions in the study countries the Productivity Commission looked at. (source)

But it’s all totally meaningless. The fact that the nine countries in the study (China, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States) are allegedly taking steps to reduce “pollution” (by which they mean carbon dioxide) is totally irrelevant to Australia, since Australia’s share of emissions is still only just over 1%. China, for all the huff and puff and all the talk of a green revolution, will still increase its emissions significantly in absolute terms over the next decades, India likewise.

So you can either believe the PC, or your own senses, which tell you that the US is backing away from any action on climate, China and India are full steam ahead for economic growth and growth in emissions (despite token gestures towards greening up, to appease gullible fools like Windsor), New Zealand has strangled its economy with an ETS for no purpose whatsoever, the UK’s energy policy is in utter disarray (see here for an expose on that), and Germany has just signed its own energy death warrant by unilaterally abandoning the only reliable form of clean energy: nuclear).

So which would you believe?

P.S. The Productivity Commission is, of course, part of the Australian government. It’s supposed to be independent, but guess what, it supports the government’s line on carbon pricing, at odds with the reality outlined above. Coincidence? You decide. You can read the report here.


  1. There may not be a lot of discussion being held about the science in this whole issue, but what I have noticed in speaking with people is that they can see the connections with all these Govt agencies agreeing with the Govt. There is an overwhelming cynacism in the community at the moment that the ALP is pandering to the Greens and no-one is seriously listening to the Govt.
    The decision about cattle exports being due to people power makes me laugh, it is clear that a majority of people dont want carbon to be commodified, but with regard to that issue, people power is ignored.

  2. The PC needs to be asked why it is not independent from government, and why it apparently left out considerations like you have outlined above.

  3. Baldrick says:

    It’s just more spin from the king of spin …. the Australian Labor Party and hangers-on. If it were a truly independent body then they might have something useful to add to the debate, but they aren’t, so they don’t.

  4. Les Kovari says:

    All this haggling over carbon tax, carbon pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, call it what you like. How is Julia Gillard’s government going to deal with the carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide emitted by volcanic eruptions? No one seems to be bothered by those, I am not a climatologist (neither is Garnaut) but it is my gut feeling that volcanic eruptions produce a lot more carbon (dioxide) than all the coal fired power stations of the world put together. Enough is enough, we must do something to stop this madness.

  5. As one who loves Australia here is some advice.
    Everything Australia has to export grow or produce, Canada has it in spades including good wines, beer and liquor , food, beef, pigs sheep, lots of coal ,oil, gas, lumber, mining of every kind and a huge industrial manufacturing base. Canada has a strong stable Conservative government that only pays a little lip service to to Socialist and Greens. We have great West and East coast ports that can ship to China and the far East, Europe and the middle east easily, for a reasonable price. Canada is not shooting itself or its industry’s, exporters etc.. with economy killing Carbon taxes and over regulation.
    Australia needs to be aware of this before the commit to economic suicide. Canada will become more attractive to Australia’s export market customers, if Gillard and ALP press forward with this madness.
    You notice I haven’t mention the USA they are becoming less relevant to Canada trade wise, we have diversified trading. Canada will take any market away given the opportunity and Australia’s Labor government are about to hand it over on a silver plate.
    In the USA Obama’s popularity is dropping like a stone, he could be gone next year = another major setback for the any chance of Carbon taxes, greens, socialism and the Democrats ( progressive socialist’s)
    I wish only the best for Australia.
    Good luck

  6. More Ecotard madness no animal is safe including YOU!
    Camels the target of whacky plans

    Posted: 10 Jun 2011 08:51 AM PDT

    WITH the planet threatening to turn into a ball of fire, it’s a relief to find the Gillard Government may have a solution: Kill the camels.

    Yes, shoot the buggers. From a car, from a helicopter. Exterminate.

    As you know, we have herds of camels roaming the outback, but only now have they been revealed as a menace to the planet.

    In a proposal the Department of Climate Change has released for consultation, the Northwest Carbon company notes these cud-chewers burp clouds of methane.


  7. Les Kovari says:

    The volcanic eruption in Chile – now, that could be an absolute goldmine for Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan, millions of tonnes of carbon (dioxide) at, say, $20 per tonne, imagine, need an Abacus to work it out.

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