Australia goes it alone… as EU back-pedals

Reality bites

The timing couldn’t be better (or should I say worse). Just as plucky little Australia, with 1.5% of global emissions, decides to unilaterally “save the planet” by possibly reducing global temperatures by a few thousandths of a degree Celsius, other, more sensible countries are realising that without a global agreement, punishing emissions reduction targets are pointless – and dangerous.

Just a few days ago, UK Chancellor George Osborne said “we are not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business”, yet that is exactly what Australia has decided to do! Well done, Julia and Greg!

And even the EU’s moonbattish Connie Hedegaard (pictured) is sounding decidedly dejected, as reality finally dawns:

European Union environment ministers — responsible for only 11 percent of global carbon emissions [still nearly ten times more than Australia – Ed] — said they would commit to a new phase of the Kyoto climate change pact, on the condition that nations blamed for the rest join up too.

The environment council conclusions, agreed in Luxembourg on Monday, outline the bloc’s negotiating position ahead of the next global climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which starts at the end of November. [Well I can tell you that there is not a snowball’s chance of China and India signing up to such a restriction on their economic growth – Ed]

“What’s the point of keeping something alive if you’re alone there? There must be more from the 89 percent,” EU Environment Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told Reuters. (source)

There won’t be an agreement in Durban, and there is little possibility of a global agreement in the foreseeable future. Surely these thoughts must occur even to boneheaded politicians like Julia and Greg? Of course they do – privately, when they are alone – but then they suddenly remember, with a cold sweat, that they are being blackmailed by the Greens to take this pointless climate action, and as we have discussed before, desperately clinging to power is more important to Labor that doing what is right for Australia. Otherwise, they would have called another election to let the people decide.

The only consolation is that the longer Labor shows such contempt for the Australian people, the more savagely they will be punished at the next election – and that thought keeps me going.

Opinion polls: how to get the answer you want

The Sydney Morning Herald is in a state of high excitement today, as a new poll gives it a “two fingers up to deniers” moment (admittedly copied almost verbatim from the UK equivalent, The Guardian here):

EUROPEANS believe the dangers of climate change represent a more serious problem than the current financial turmoil, according to a major new poll.

The Eurobarometer poll found most people in the European Union consider global warming to be one of the world’s most serious problems, with one-fifth saying it is the single most serious problem.

Overall, respondents said climate change was the second most serious issue facing the world, after poverty.

Connie Hedegaard, European climate commissioner, said: ”This is encouraging news. The survey shows that the citizens of Europe can see that economic challenges are not the only ones we face. A clear majority of Europeans expect their politicians and business leaders to address the serious climate challenge now.” (source)

So as always, we check the questions, and here is the relevant extract from the lengthy PDF:

Loaded much?

So not only is the question headed “Climate Change”, but the first option on each answer is, that’s right, “Climate change”. And I am pretty sure that those asking the questions would have prefaced each interview with a spiel about how this was a poll about attitudes in Europe towards climate change as well, so the purpose of the questions would have been well and truly embedded in the respondents’ minds before the questions were even asked. And hey, we all want to give the “right” answer don’t we? But we must give them credit for the fact that even after all that badgering, they still put “Poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water” above climate change.

Furthermore, this is an opinion poll conducted on behalf of the climate change apparatchiks in Europe, as the disclosure statement reveals:

“This survey has been requested by the Directorate-General Climate action…

And the Introduction further reveals the inherent bias in the entire process:

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the modern age. The European Commission established its Directorate-General for Climate Action in February 2010 to strengthen Europe’s response to this issue (previously climate change was under the overall remit of DG Environment). 

So the weight we can place on these results is very suspect. But as usual, neither the SMH nor The Guardian asks any of these questions, and regurgitate the line without any critical thought, because it fits their pro-climate action agenda.

Ben Pile at Climate Resistance has more:

So here’s how it works… You take people by surprise. You ask them to chose from a narrow range of issues. And then you ask them again. And Again. And again. You don’t give them the benefit of making a decision in the context of a debate. And you don’t canvass them for their opinion about costs and benefits, either ‘globally’ or in relation to themselves. You don’t tell them that the results will be used to legitimise certain policies. You compare their opinions to a historic low, and say that the answers demonstrate growing support for your policies — the bases of which have never been tested for popular assent at the ballot box.

And EU Referendum here.

EU carbon market crashes


The shambles that is the EU is held up as a shining example of what Australia should aspire to be – fractured, miserable, uncertain, and verging on bankruptcy. Terrific. And to cap it all the carbon price has now crashed to 12 Euros, or AU$16, far less than the Three Gs (Garnaut, Government and Greens) want ours to start at. Hopefully it will continue on down until it reaches the level of the Chicago Climate Exchange, where trading finally ceased at a few sad, sorry cents per tonne. Right before it was closed for good.

PRICES in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme have plunged to two-year lows, intensifying pressure on the Gillard government to start with a low carbon tax and threatening to complicate negotiations with the Greens, who are pushing for a strong start to the Australian scheme.

Business groups yesterday seized on reports that the EU permit price fell 11 per cent on Friday — and 22 per cent in a week, testing a two-year low of $16.79 a tonne — saying it highlighted the dangers of a fixed-price scheme that could leave Australian businesses facing higher prices than international competitors.

The EU price has traded well below the $20-$30 starting rate recommended for the Australian scheme by government climate change adviser Ross Garnaut.

European analysts said the reasons for the fall included the bleak economic outlook sparked by the Greek debt crisis, lack of confidence in the will of European governments to achieve their stated policy aims, and the fact energy-efficiency measures appeared to be replacing carbon pricing as the EU’s main climate change lever.

So Australia will plough into carbon pricing just as others, who have experimented with it and seen it fail, are looking elsewhere. Brilliant again, Julia, Greg, Ross etc etc.

Read it here.

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.

Climate Madness: EU signs its own economic death warrant

Dangerous pollution? No, steam.

The … world … has … gone … mad. I am sure many of you, like me, will simply not believe the content of this article. The EU is going through a time of almost unprecedented financial turmoil. The global economy is struggling to recover from the GFC, but in Europe things are still very precarious: Greece is sinking fast, and Spain isn’t far behind, trillions in debt, the Euro will soon be worthless, and the entire economy of the European Union may literally grind to a halt. So what do the morons at the European Commission decide to do? Set ridiculous unilateral targets for curbing CO2 emissions which will cripple Europe’s economy even faster. From the UK Times Online (via The Australian):

Europe will introduce a surprise new plan today to combat global warming, committing Britain and the rest of the EU to the most ambitious targets in the world. The plan proposes a massive increase in the target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in this decade.

The European Commission is determined to press ahead with the cuts despite the financial turmoil gripping the bloc, even though it would require Britain and other EU member states to impose far tougher financial penalties on their industries than are being considered by other large economies.

The plan, to cut emissions by 30 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, would cost the EU an extra £33 billion a year by 2020 [roughly AU$60 billion as of today], according to a draft of the Commission’s communication leaked to The Times.

The existing target of a 20 per cent cut is already due to cost £48 billion. The Commission will argue that the lower target has become much easier to meet because of the recession, which resulted in the EU’s emissions falling more than 10 per cent last year as thousands of factories closed or cut production. Emissions last year were already 14 per cent below 1990 levels. [What a great argument! Let’s cripple our economy, then we won’t have any emissions anyway! Brilliant!]

Business leaders fear that thousands of jobs could be lost and energy bills could soar. Carbon taxes on road fuel, heating and other sources of emissions could be introduced, with proceeds reinvested in renewable energy products. [Wind and solar, and we know how reliable they are]

The EU’s present policy is to wait for other countries to commit themselves to equivalent action on their emissions before raising its target to 30 per cent “as part of a genuine global effort”. But after the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit, a global deal on cutting emissions is now unlikely to be agreed until the end of next year.

Connie Hedegaard, the Climate Commissioner, will make the case for the EU to commit itself unilaterally to a 30 per cent cut, to inspire other countries to follow suit and accelerate the development of low-carbon industries.

This is Climate Madness on a simply staggering scale. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to those readers in the EU. It’s been nice knowing you, but sadly, by next year, you won’t be able to afford the electricity to switch on your computers…

Read it here.

EU proposal to bind itself to 30% cuts by 2020

What the EU has been doing?

And the precondition for an international agreement is gone. What are the EU smoking? Whatever it is, it has so addled their collective brains that they are prepared to sacrifice the economies of dozens of countries, force energy bills through the roof, and send millions of jobs offshore just to pander to the enviro-extremists. But hang on, it’s all OK, because that kick in the guts to the EU economy will create thousands of “green jobs” – yeah, like I was born yesterday:

The [UK] Government will today support a proposal tabled in Brussels for a new, much more onerous EU target for cutting carbon dioxide even though other nations with higher emissions have failed to commit to reciprocal action.

Ministers have abandoned their previous condition that the world must agree a legally binding treaty on emissions before the EU commits to a tougher target.

The EU has already gone farther than the rest of the world by making a legally binding commitment to cut emissions by 20 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020. It is now preparing to raise the target to 30 per cent despite the failure of December’s climate change summit in Copenhagen.

By contrast, the US is debating whether to cut emissions by 4 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020 but is unlikely to make a decision this year.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has calculated the cost to Britain of its contribution to the 30 per cent target but is refusing to publish the research.

A European Commission policy document, being debated today by EU environment ministers, says the EU should adopt the 30 per cent target “if the conditions are right”.

The EU had previously said it would only adopt the higher target “if an international agreement on emissions reductions is secured”.

I can’t believe what my home country has come to: Fool Britannia.

Read it here. (h/t EU Referendum)

Australia "out of step" with the rest of the world on emissions trading

Spinning like a launderette

Just four days ago, Penny Wong said this, in The Australian:

It is clear the global trend is towards greater action to combat climate change, not less.

And on emissions trading, more than 30 countries already have an emissions trading scheme in operation and others, including the US, Japan and South Korea, are working towards implementing their own schemes. (see here)

At the time I questioned the figure she quoted, suggesting that most of those countries were in the EU scheme, but Christian Kerr does the digging and discovers that apart from the EU, there is just one, one, emissions trading scheme in operation, and that’s in New Zealand, and it’s only half working. So to say that the global trend is towards greater action was an outright L-word:

AUSTRALIA is looking increasingly isolated in the global community as Kevin Rudd presses on with his government’s emissions trading scheme.

US President Barack Obama admitted just two days ago he might have to abandon his proposal for emissions trading in favour of direct action in order to steer his carbon-cutting plans through the US Senate.

None of the world’s top five polluters — the US, China, Russia, India and Japan — has an ETS.

New Zealand is the only nation in the world with an operating emissions trading scheme, excluding those affiliated with or planning to link to the European Union’s ETS.

Most of New Zealand’s provisions have not yet come into effect, and the Labour-legislated scheme was significantly amended by the National Party-led government last September after fears about its impact on low-income households and primary industry.

And the article blows the lid off Penny’s misrepresentation of the numbers:

The Australian Department of Climate Change’s website tells the story on emissions trading. Of the 37 countries on its list of nations that have established or are proposing an ETS, 30 are linked to the EU scheme.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the Prime Minister was “intentionally, deliberately and consistently” misrepresenting the European emissions trading scheme.

“In Europe, they’ve had a mock trading scheme which largely only provides incentives for people to reduce their emissions, with almost no penalty for firms which continue on their economic activity,” Mr Hunt said.

The Rudd government’s position on climate is looking increasingly lame and out of touch with reality, and secretly I would bet Kev would love to see the whole thing ditched – it will be a political disaster. But he cannot be seen to do that, having branded climate change “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”, so I think they will just let the Coalition defeat it in the Senate and hopefully move on to other things.

Read it here.

France's carbon tax ruled illegal

Oh putain!

Nothing seems to be going right for the carbon taxers and cap-n-traders. Firstly, Australia dumps the ETS, then US democrats threaten to block the legislation in the Senate unless it is seriously watered down, and now the French courts have ruled their flagship carbon tax illegal:

FRANCE’S new carbon emission tax, due to have gone into effect on Friday, has been ruled illegal by the country’s constitutional court on the grounds it exempted too many polluters.

The Conseil Constitutionnel struck down the tax as the exemptions “create a breach of the principle of (tax) equality.”

It estimated that 93 per cent of industrial emissions outside of fuel use, including the emissions of more than 1000 of the country’s most polluting industrial sites, would be exempt from the tax of 17 euros ($A27.29) per tonne of emitted carbon dioxide.

The ruling is a severe blow for President Nicolas Sarkozy as the measure was one of his flagship initiatives to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses that fuel climate change.

It also leaves the government scrambling to plug a hole of 4.1 billion euros ($A6.58 billion) in the 2010 budget. (source)

As they would say in Paris, merde alors!

Copenhagen Day 5 – Rudd's document irks Chinese

Day 5

Day 5

It’s not going very well, and part of the reason for that is Kevin Rudd’s desire to be seen as an international statesman, at the forefront of negotiations. But unfortunately his meddling is annoying the Chinese, whose participation is essential if any deal is to come out of Copenhagen:

CHINA has accused the developed world of retreating from its undertakings to cut greenhouse gas emissions, rejected a proposal at the Copenhagen conference to reduce financial help to China and described the draft deal Kevin Rudd worked on as creating “a lot of problems”.

The Chinese have accused the developed world of abandoning the Kyoto Protocol and pressuring the developing nations to cut emissions without proper compensation for the “luxury emissions” the West has put out for the past century.

The so-called “commitment circle” draft document worked out between Denmark, Australia and other nations was said to be from a small and isolated group and designed to lift the political standing of individuals. [Who could they possibly mean? – Ed]

The Chinese position is providing no room to raise its carbon emissions target and to accept any binding agreement. It is demanding new technology regardless of patents, and rejects the view that it should be labelled a developed nation. The draft proposal, which involved the Danish leader and Mr Rudd as a “friend of the chair of the conference”, “was not the overwhelming view of developed countries and was also a personal view not representing the view of his country“, Mr Zhang said.

“The so-called draft has been widely criticised by the developing camp through the group of 77, which truly demonstrates this draft was made by a very small number of countries in isolation, and there are a lot of problems to be addressed,” he said. (source)

Keep up the good work, Kevin – you’re doing everyone a favour. If you want to read the draft, you can find it here.

And China is digging in, pushing its right to economic development:

China has become the “key” to success at Copenhagen, on the developing side, but the world’s most populous nation is fighting back against proposals, in part developed by the Australian Prime Minister, which would redefine China’s status as a developing nation, oblige it to meet tougher targets and cut its access to the billions in aid from the developed world to fight climate change. The proposals also effectively weaken the binding agreements under the Kyoto Protocol.China, in a co-ordinated effort, has decided to put responsibility for emissions cuts back on Europe and the US and to declare its targets of 40 to 45 per cent reductions as “the upper limit”, or the maximum achievable.

Using the backlash from the developing world at Copenhagen, China is marshalling its argument that the West created the greenhouse gas problem and built its wealth upon coal-fired industry. Now, says China, it has 150 million in poverty, millions in regions who suffer harsh winter conditions and their right to develop and simple comfort and sustenance cannot be denied. (source)

Meanwhile, the EU has begun the global socialism at the core of the Copenhagen summit:

European Union nations have agreed to give 7.2 billion euros to help developing nations tackle climate change, the Swedish EU presidency announced Friday.

“The EU total is equal to 2.4 billion euros per year,” over the next three years, with voluntary pledges coming in from all 27 EU member states, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said after a two-day EU summit in Brussels.

The ‘fast start’ money is Europe’s contribution to helping the developing world to adapt to global warming over the next three years and to encourage the ongoing UN climate change conference in Copenhagen to do more. (source)

Just a drop in the ocean compared to what they’re hoping for…

Global socialism begins in Europe

The European Union has agreed to begin a vast transfer of wealth from rich nations to poor by agreeing to throw over US$150 billion every year by 2020 at developing countries to “tackle climate change”:

European Union leaders on Friday reached a deal on how to help developing nations tackle climate change, but without putting a figure to Europe’s contribution, officials said.

We have an agreement,” said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, at the end of a two-day European summit in Brussels.

“The EU now has a strong negotiating position and the countdown to Copenhagen now has started,” he added, referring to international climate talks in Denmark in December.

“We can now look the rest of the world in the eyes and say we Europeans have done our job,” said EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso at the summit-closing press conference.

“It was essential that the European Union kept its leadership role and we have done that,” he added.

But there is plenty of smoke and mirrors in this announcement, as the leaders are strangely reluctant to actually publish their individual contributions to this huge bill. And Barroso put the inevitable caveat on the agreement, something that Rudd & Co seem unable to grasp in their rush to implement an ETS:

He cautioned that the EU “offers are not a blank cheque… we are ready to act if our partners are ready to deliver.”

Read it here.

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