G20 fails to agree on finances of "fighting climate change"

Life after Copenhagen…

Life after Copenhagen…

Of course they failed, because despite how much hype surrounds “tackling climate change”, when push comes to shove, governments aren’t really stupid enough to bankrupt their own economies, by handing over billions of dollars to deal with a non-problem.

The G20 talked big but delivered little on climate finance, campaigners said, as the clock ticks down to the summit in Copenhagen next month.

One of the key talking points on Saturday for finance ministers meeting in the Scottish town of St Andrews had been working out how to deliver cash from rich to developing countries [there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, in black and white – Ed] so they can tackle climate change.

The G20 agreed to work for an ambitious outcome” at the UN summit at Copenhagen, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions and “recognised the need to increase significantly and urgently the scale and predictability of finance”.

But there was no agreement on how money should be delivered, although there would be ”further work” on the issue, the final communique said.

Nor was there a clear figure for how much G20 countries would commit.

And then we have to suffer the inevitable complaints from the enviro-headbangers:

The British charity Oxfam’s senior policy adviser, Max Lawson, said: “As the clock ticks towards Copenhagen, the hundreds of millions of people around the world who are already suffering as a result of climate change cannot afford to wait any longer for a deal.”

No exaggeration there, clearly.

Read it here.

UK: Gordon Brown's transaction tax given lukewarm reception

Time warp back to the 1970s

Political version of "Life on Mars"

Gordon Brown is a deep red, old fashioned socialist in the 1970s Labour mold. Whereas Tony Blair was the shiny, spin-obsessed, non-stick façade of “New Labour” (i.e. not really Labour, but Conservatives with compassion), Brown is like a throwback to the days of Jim Callaghan and Denis Healey, to the days of Arthur Scargill and strikes every week and power cuts and garbage piling up in the streets.

So in the dying days of the UK Labour government, with no hope of being re-elected, Brown is trying to impose global socialism for one last time, with a “transaction tax” on all financial institutions, to funnel a proportion of all global financial transactions back to the government for redistribution, one of the beneficiaries of such a tax being “tackling climate change”. But no-one is buying it, thankfully (not even the US):

The proposal, which took delegates by surprise at the [G20] meeting in St Andrew’s overshadowed other items on the agenda.

The US said it would “not support” a transaction tax and Canada added it was “not an idea we would look at”.

The Conservatives said that Downing Street had previously “poured cold water on this proposal” and that the Treasury had called it “unworkable”.

The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Khan, said he believed the transaction tax was unlikely to be adopted.

“I don’t believe it will be a transaction tax because transactions are very difficult to measure and so it’s very easy to avoid a transaction tax,” he told Sky News.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner dismissed the idea of such a tax, saying: “That’s not something that we’re prepared to support.”

He told reporters: “This is an idea that has been around for a long time. Many countries have a lot of experience with the design of these kinds of taxes. I think, frankly, the experience has been mixed.”

Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty also rejected the proposal, telling Sky News it was “not something we would be interested in in Canada”.

He added: “We are not in the business of raising taxes, we are in the business of lowering taxes in Canada. It is not an idea we would look at.”

Your time has run out, Gordon. The exit is that way.

Read it here.

The price of inconvenient reality

In an editorial today, The Australian asks some very awkward questions about the economic realities of the ETS, and the global socialism that climate change is advancing:

BOTH domestically and internationally, the price that could be demanded from Australians for our part in cutting greenhouse gas emissions is emerging from a sea of red ink. Earlier estimates suggested that an emissions trading scheme would reap a profit of between $11 billion and $20bn by 2020. Now we learn from the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook that the scheme is likely to lose money over the next five years. The second reality check was the European Union’s call for industrialised nations to contribute $160bn per annum by 2020 to help developing nations tackle climate change.

The shortfall in ETS revenue makes the prospect of a deal between the Rudd government and the Coalition less likely. It will be impossible to pay for Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed amendments to Labor’s ETS from funds generated through emission permit sales. A fortnight ago, an analysis by Riskmetrics and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors gave an idea of what the Coalition amendments could cost. It found that the amendments could turn an estimated $777 million net surplus in its first year into a $1.8bn deficit.

After years of inflated expectations of what can be achieved in curbing carbon, it is clear that any deal that would make an appreciable difference in emissions levels will be costly. As a responsible global citizen, Australia should play its part. But we have no obligation to join any push to use climate change to redistribute global wealth to assuage the consciences of climate change billionaire Al Gore and social campaigners such as Bono, whose carbon footprints far exceed those of the ordinary Australian taxpayers they expect to foot the bill.

Read it here.

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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