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.