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38 responses to “European ETS”

  1. Terry

    The carbon tax has been Labor’s Work Choices. Few Labor MPs and Senators will be sorry to see it go. In fact the group currently known as the “mavericks” – formerly “the Rudd camp” – have more or less said so.

  2. Iain Hall

    I largely agree with terry @1 labor’s Carbonchoices has if any thing been worse for Labor than Workchoices was for the coalition. The collapse of the European ETS just shows how foolish relying on a “market mechanism” is when it comes to changing the behavior of energy utilities and industry. Its a very stark example of just why economics is more akin to soothsaying than it is to science and why we should be just as skeptical about any sort of grand scheme to “save the planet” from “climate change”

  3. pablo

    Never thought I’d agree with anything passing Greg Hunt’s lips but his very obvious view that nothing will really change until China and the US get serious about action on AGW is one. I just hope Will Hutton’s stark realism registers with them. The same could be said for the governors of both Washington and Oregon states who have lobbied Obama that they do not want coal loaders built to allow US coal exports to Asia. Contrast that with Australia’s sleepwalking on coal expansion plans in Queensland (Bowen, Seurat, Gallilee) and NSW where a 4th coal loader is planned for the Hunter.

  4. Paul Norton

    ’tis better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

  5. Paul Norton

    If Terry and Iain are correct (and I think they are) in suggesting that the ALP has lost its bottle and/or been politically incompetent on climate policy, activities such as the Climate Action Conference and the campaigns discussed there will need to become a key focus for action and activism on climate change in Australia for at least the next few years.

  6. Bill

    Never mind the candles. When they light a thousand Loy Yangs across Africa, no one will need to curse the darkness.

  7. Gandalf the Grey

    Bill, I recall turning you and your two friends to stone at the break of dawn.

  8. Bill

    You’ve lost me there Mithrandir?

  9. David Irving (no relation)

    Excellent Hobbit reference, Paul.

  10. Tim Macknay

    Although technically, it was the Sun wot turned ‘em to stone. Just sayin’.

  11. Bill

    Ah, the Hobbit, the Hobbit, but I’m still struggling to understand your point?

    Wasn’t the Hobbit a children’s book?

  12. faustusnotes

    and wasn’t it Bilbo who kept the trolls up talking, and Gandalf’s influence is a change made in the movie to rob Bilbo of even the slightest streak of heroic spirit? Or am I misremembering the bad children’s book I haven’t read for 20 years?

  13. Tim Macknay


    and wasn’t it Bilbo who kept the trolls up talking, and Gandalf’s influence is a change made in the movie…?


    Nope. In the book, Bilbo didn’t do anything heroic until the bit with the spiders.

    … the bad children’s book …


    Wash your mouth out!

  14. Lefty E

    Its boring to keep saying this, but the ALPs ETS doesnt exist yet (and likely wont).

    What we’ve had since last July is the GRNs policy of a fixed levy on CO2. It is paid to the state, which can and has redistributed it, it isnt ‘traded’, it isnt a ‘market scheme’, and it works.

  15. Lefty E

    Oops, lost my avatar.

  16. Lefty E

    Which, incidentally, means that if you want or need to change the price of it, the government can, via simple regulation.

  17. Terry

    As soon as you say that something is a “European Union scheme”, you can now guarantee a fair degree of in-principle opposition from Greeks and, to a lesser degree, Italians, who now view the EU less as a supranational parliament and more as an occupying force.

  18. Lefty E

    who now view the EU less as a supranational parliament and more as an occupying force.

    Which reminds me of the gag circulating about the German chancellor entering Greece:

    ‘Name?’
    ‘Angela Merkel’
    ‘Occuption?’
    ‘No, just vacation’.

  19. Peter Murphy

    I don’t trust the ALP to reason what their own “Work Choices” is. I would have gone for throwing single parents onto Newstart, but what do I know?

  20. Tim Macknay

    What we’ve had since last July is the GRNs policy of a fixed levy on CO2. It is paid to the state, which can and has redistributed it, it isnt ‘traded’, it isnt a ‘market scheme’, and it works.

    You mean it’s a *gasp* tax !?!!
    ;)

    Presumably you’re calling it a “GRNs policy” because it lasts for 3 years, instead of 1 year.

    Which, incidentally, means that if you want or need to change the price of it, the government can, via simple regulation.

    No, the price is fixed by the Act. A change would require another Act of Parliament.

  21. Terry

    In March 2011 the ALP was polling 39 per cent, and the 2PP was about 50:50. By September 2011, the ALP was polling 28 per cent, and the 2PP was 42:58. During that period, the Greens vote increased by one per cent at most. All of the rest went straight to the Coalition.

    While there may have been other issues between March-Sept 2011, such as stories about Craig Thomson beginning to circulate, the carbon tax was the biggie. The 2013 Federal election result may well have been decided during those six months.

  22. Bill

    Looks like Australia will show some of that “global leadership” after all. Come September 16, we will be the first nation state to formally dump a carbon tax.

  23. BilB

    That is a huge amount of wishful thinking there, Bill. Abbott has yet to win, and despite the way the polls look now, there is a long run up to that election, a run during which time people will focus their minds on exactly what Abbott as a leader would mean. That is not a very pleasant thought.

  24. Terangeree

    the bad children’s book

    That explains why I never read it, as I was always a good child.

  25. Peter Murphy

    Terry: I would compare the narrative of “the carbon tax ruining the ALP’s chances” against Possum’s analysis. The decline in the polls started in October 2010, accelerated in March 2011, and hit a nadir in August 2011; that would be carbon tax related. But there was a recovery in September, a plateau around January 2012, and after another another drop (probably Thomson-related), the ALP was back to 48 2PP around November 2012. Since then, it’s gone down again, but that would be a surfeit of ‘leadershit’, wouldn’t it?

    My short summary: the carbon tax affected the ALPs chances in the short term, but in the long term is just one factor – and not even the major one – hindering the party winning in September.

  26. Peter Murphy

    Bill: we’re unlikely to be as bad as Canada – the first country to withdraw from Kyoto.

  27. alfred venison
  28. John D

    What has happened to the EU reflects what I have been saying about the ETS for years: Trading schemes simply don’t provide the certainty required for investment in power generation.

    In reality, progress in the EU has depended more on things like the FIT and the ability of renewables to compete with some of the more expensive forms of power generation. It has also depended on people acting and companies seeing the opportunities.

    I don’t support the LNP’s direct action LITE but do believe strongly that we should forget about all the price on carbon twaddle and drive the required action more directly.

  29. Lefty E

    I’d be pretty happy with anything that reduces emissions massively. The combo of a relatively high CO2 levy (its not a tax, lord knows Why Gillard conceded on that, d’oh) and the RET appears to be working better than anything Australia has previously come up with.

    Trading schemes dont seem very effective to me. And yes, parliament can change the price. That’s better than relying on markets, as we’ve seen.

    I call it a GRNs policy as it was a GRNs policy – for an interim fixed price, and without the minority status and Bandt, the ALP would have certainly gone directly to an ETS like NZ.

    That said, all these things need to be spun better.

    First, theyre temporary: markets wont get us there, but there is a certain point an which investment shifts to renewables and the prices drop, at which time these schemes can be ratcheted down.

    Second, they will lead to cheaper power in the long run (why people arent making more of this amazes me – its already cheaper to build new wind power than new coal power)

    Third, for eveythign to stay the same, everything must change. These can be sold as conservstiev policies that maintain our current lifestyles rather than sacrifice them.

    What will destroy them is inaction.

    Once youve harnessed the inherent conservatism of roughly 50% of humanity, you’re home and hosed.

  30. Tim Macknay

    Lefty E, calling something a “levy” and then saying it’s not a tax is sophistry – the words mean the same thing. That said, I agree that Julia Gillard should have stuck with the line that it’s not a tax but an ETS with an initial fixed price period, which is also what it is – it’s only a tax in a narrow, legalistic sense, since it’s clearly part of a broader ETS policy. Mind you, that wouldn’t have stopped Tony Abbott from calling it a tax, which he was already doing when the CPRS bills were still in Parliament.

    It certainly remains to be seen how effective the ETS will be, if it ever comes into operation. The fixed price is actually not a bad advertisement for a straight carbon tax.

    I call it a GRNs policy as it was a GRNs policy – for an interim fixed price, and without the minority status and Bandt, the ALP would have certainly gone directly to an ETS like NZ.

    This is little a bit revisionist. Rudd’s CPRS also had an initial fixed price period, but it was only 1 year long, rather than 3 years. The 3 years was a Greens’ innovation (and a good one, it seems). The idea of a fixed price period wasn’t.

    Yes, after the CPRS fell over, Bob Brown suggested introducing a modest carbon price to act as an interim policy until there was political will for an ETS, but that proposal didn’t have much to do with the policy that was ultimately introduced.

    As I’ve said before, the current carbon price policy is a slightly tweaked version of the CPRS, which itself is a slightly tweaked version of the emissions trading scheme proposed under Howard.

    However, I have no problem giving credit to the Greens for using their post 2010 parliamentary numbers to get the ALP to enact a carbon price, which it had been clearly backing away from.

  31. faustusnotes

    Re: The Hobbit as bad children’s book,when the movie came out there was a big debate on role-playing blogs about the depiction of the dwarves. Many RPG-ers complained they were not at all like the book. I had to go dredge up the text and paste it in comment sections to point out that Tolkien doesn’t describe the dwarves. He’s such a good writer that he never described the main characters in his story. It’s a bad children’s book.

  32. Gandalf the Grey

    A small correction. Professor Tolkien did transcribe Bilbo’s description of the colours of the dwarves’ beards, and on this point the book and the film differ considerably.

  33. faustusnotes

    No, I think that was the colour of their hoods. Even the length and presence of beards is ignored. The washup of my dispute with the neckbeards of the role-playing world can be found here.

    (And I find debating the colour of beards in an imaginary world so much more fulfilling and practical than talking about current efforts to deal with the greatest crisis facing humanity, which are even more woeful than Tolkien’s writing and plagued with even more magical thinking and denialism than his fanbase exhibit on a bad day).

  34. alfred venison

    w. h. auden thought tolkien was a fine writer.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1954/10/31/books/tolkien-fellowship.html?_r=0

    auden wrote the obituary for time magazine.

  35. Gandalf the Grey

    I stand corrected. Bilbo only recorded the colours of the beards of Dwalin, Balin, Fili and Kili – hardly surprising as he was somewhat flustered at the time.

  36. Peter Murphy

    It was the hoods, not the beards; faustusnotes is correct. However, one dwarf (Bombur) was singled out as extremely fat.

    It wasn’t so hard for me to distinguish the other 14 dwarves, even as a five year old. I saw the 1977 TV animation, and was bought the spin-off illustrated copy of the book (which is still at my mum’s). It’s not hard to distinguish Balin and Dwalin with their pictures provided. But that’s kind-of cheating, isn’t it?

  37. faustusnotes

    Peter, it turns out that much of the modern RPG-ers frustration with Peter Jackson’s depiction of the dwarves arises from his failure to adhere to the conventions set in the 1977 animation. They want snow white dwarves. Had Jackson cast snow white dwarves in the movie, would it have been particularly popular? I think not, it would have looked profoundly stupid. I prefer the sinister dwarves of the film to the silly dwarves of the book – but I’m willing to be critical of Tolkien, and for many RPG-ers that is a huge sin!

  38. Lefty E

    Tim , no quibble with the rest of your post though the CO2 price is a classic levy in the sense that its targeted to those doing the thing the govt is trying to minimize: big polluters.

    People dont generally pay it. Not even those purchasing energy, as in a sales tax.

    In that sense, it’s a clearer case of a levy than, say, the Medicare levy, which is probably a tax :)

    I also think she should have gone with levy as there a sense in the public mind already that levies are temporary.

    Anyway, too late for that.