JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Tax versus Trade

I feel like I keep stating the obvious.  A carbon tax is bad because it’s unnecessary and nobody wastes money better than big government, but a carbon trading scheme is worse. The latter is a fake market that feeds corruption and creates it’s own vested industry of financial brokers who profit no matter what the price and no matter who buys or sells (they just need a government mandated scheme that forces businesses to buy and sell), and no matter whether anything useful happens to the environment. Once the financial houses are set (and they are already well advanced) how could this policy ever be unwound?

Carbon Tax = bad

Carbon Trade = sew raw steaks to your shirt and swim with sharks


So everyone has a handy pocket list as a reference:

  1. Carbon trading is NOT a free market. (In a free market, no one would pay for an atmospheric nullity they can’t use. A carbon trading market is one where the government compels some parties to buy, so it is not free.)
  2. It feeds the financial sharks. (Think “ENRON” x 100).
  3. Its a magnet for corruption. (It’s easy to cheat in a fake market selling hard-to-verify nothings.)
  4. Its permanent. (How do you ask a two trillion dollar industry to shut up and die once it’s protected by phalanxes of lobbyists and easy-cash to donate to “worthy causes”?)

The trading scheme needs brokers, auditors, assessors, marketers, lawyers, insurers and accountants, not to mention speculators, derivative traders, ratings agencies, specialist software, and a fleet of sales reps. A carbon tax needs none of these, just application at a few crucial points of sale of oil, coal etc like the current petrol tax.

Both the trading scheme and a tax would need technicians (to get that aerial fertilizer stuffed in a hole underground) and an entirely new source of global industrial and domestic energy. Once all these people are trained, employed, committed, and have their superannuation at risk, we have the Golden Gravy Express Train from Hell. Fifty million people to yell, scream and wail should the train slow down. It’s a massive industrial dead-end, all based on computer models that assumed things that have been shown to be wrong.

So “Why don’t we take insurance? What’s the harm?”

The harm? Every dollar we spend on a fake problem is a dollar we can’t spend on a real one. Worse, it’s a dollar that might be giving power and strength to frauds and parasites. Honest conscientious souls won’t screw the rules to their advantage, but unscrupulous overlords will be happy to push the envelope and  use their extra power to crush a few more peasants. In a third world country, who will protect those victims?

Markets and currencies are powerful tools which have transformed civilization. But any tool can be used like a weapon.

Please go forth and spread that message, and let’s start with Bob Brown, Leader of the Australian Greens, whose understanding of economics appears not to extend to realizing that a price and a tax are two different things. Watch how he melds the two concepts into one vague “price” (such is the dismal state of debate in Australia):

…you do need a carbon price, whether it comes through a trading scheme or a tax on polluters. You do need a carbon price if you’re going to be able to bring down the pollution of the atmosphere

[7.30 report yesterday]

Mr Brown puhlease: a price is set by markets. Government do the taxing thing, and they are not the same.

Step aside for a moment and admire the irony of the Greens, great believers in community based action that they are, effectively arguing that all the volunteer work planting trees or going solar can never amount to anything. Only money makes for real action.

Now the alternative here was to go with Tony Abbott who said there’ll never, ever be a carbon price.

In other words we’ll never ever get real action on climate change.

It’s no coincidence that the only people who argue for a free market solution are those who profit from it, or those who don’t know what a free market is.

The only good thing about the new Greens alliance with The Labor Party is that they were bought off cheaply. The ALP didn’t have to promise much more than a stacked committee. The Greens couldn’t ask much because they couldn’t convince anyone they’d ever vote for the conservatives. Bob Brown, bless his soul, doesn’t know how to negotiate.

*PS: Lest anyone think I have something against bank workers and managers, let’s be clear — they’re just doing their jobs. Indeed, even most banking executives are only taking up opportunities we give them on a solid platinum platter. If we offer them another 10% of everything we earn so they can have even more power and control over us, who could blame them for saying “Yes Please”?

For a serious analysis the Centre for Independent Studies published a monograph Exploring a Carbon Tax in late 2007.

Even James Hansen recognises the dark side of Carbon Trading.

In my testimony I noted that a “Cap” raises the price of energy, just as does a simple honest carbon tax on oil, gas and coal at the first sale at the mine or port of entry. “Cap” is a pseudonym, disguising the fact that it is a tax, assuming that the public is a bunch of dummies, who will never catch on. With all its hooks and eyes, Cap&Trade will allow a lot of funny business. At least we would get a few Wall Street millionaires back in business, via speculation and gaming the Cap&Trade system (funded by John Q. Public, of course).”

UPDATE:

From comments it’s clear that I didn’t make it crystal clear — An ETS is an artificial market that draws money out of the real economy and diverts a whole class of people from doing other useful productive work. There is no money “produced” by this money-go-round to return to the public. It’s just a very complicated incentive scheme that favours some citizens over others, (see “patronage”) and creates a class of people who will fight to keep the gravy flowing.

I am a big fan of free markets, but only where there is a real good or service to be traded. A 2 trillion dollar market based on government certificates is the most expensive Create-a-parasite-scheme the world has ever seen.

If there was a problem with carbon, an ETS would not be the way to solve it.

Posts I’ve done on powerful force given to those who can create a currency:

Six words to expose the scam

Subprime carbon is coming

Climate money: Bigger money moves in

Carbon credits: another corrupt currency?

Other posts I’ve done on carbon markets and corruption

The carbon casino caught with its pants down (again)

Corruption for dinner anyone: The Carbon Market Scandal (HFC -23)

Carbon market chaos strikes again

Posts on the banker enthusiasm for carbon trading

Deutsche Bank “really” want us to trade Carbon

Bankers, lawyers, investors disappointed: shucks

Please send a message to newspaper editors, The Greens and the three Independents -( The Banker Shark might make an eye catching image). We need to lift the level of debate in this country. People need to know that Carbon Trading is a hidden tax, a fake market, prone to corruption and that it’s no coincidence that Bankers really want us to Trade Carbon but aren’t pushing for a tax even half heartedly.

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58 comments to Tax versus Trade

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    Adolf Balik

    That’s clear symptom of CORPORATIVISM when you cannot tell the monopolist prey from a tax. This scheme means great innovation against old fashion types of Corporativism as were Mussolini’s and Hitler’s Fascism, Sadat’s, Assad’s and Saddam’s BAASism etc. A new progressive type of corporativistic despotism is just being born – Green Carbonarism – and you participate in the great historical event with your blood, sweat and tears. It’s the end of the bad old liberal and free-market immoral consumerism, now, you will be consumed instead by a net of cartels ran by the privileged, but be happy, for noble reasons of the very planet savage. Remember, the only wicket tongues tell that everything what is for noble reasons and not for your piggish interests is for your subjugation.


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    Brian G Valentine

    The interesting game of these finance businesses is to fund NGO’s that lobby Government into “protecting the planet” with laws

    (laws that will have the added benefit of giving value to once worthless “credits”)

    Unfortunately, the NGO’s make it impossible to stop “carbon credit” businesses from pushing for such laws, because they are removed from “buying” political influence.

    I don’t see any way to put an end to this scam, either


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    Mia Nony

    apologies if not relevant or on topic but………

    [*snip - you're welcome to post but this one was way way too off topic. I have copied the contents and forwarded them through to Jo who can decide from there -Yoda the mod]


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    Siliggy

    “Last year, Europol, the cross-border police force, said that carbon trading fraudsters may have accounted for up to 90pc of all market activity in some European countries, with criminals mainly from Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland pocketing an estimated 5bn (£4.1bn).”
    http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/crackdown-on-carbon-credit-scam-tele-3ccaa2081bf1.html


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    co2isnotevil

    One indication of how the fix is in is the lower limit for the price of carbon. If it was an open market trading a valuable commodity, it wouldn’t need to be propped up. Of course, CO2 has little value, unless in the form of dry ice, but even that’s relatively inexpensive. Preventing the price from plummeting seems to protect those who have bought into the scam from the reality that CAGW pseudo science is wrong and that there’s no climate related benefit consequential to the ‘price’ of carbon. Carbon credits have consistently traded at or near the artificial floor. It’s too bad you can’t short them (another rule that indicates the fix is in).

    George


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    Richard C

    all based on computer models that assumed things that have been shown to be wrong.

    Here’s the assumed things (ACO2 Radiative Forcings) from the models that have not in fact caused the requisite temperature rise at 2010 let alone projections to 2100:

    Recommended ACO2 Radiative Forcings for IPCC ar5 model comparison (Inputs):-

    Scenario: MESSAGE – RCP 8.5 (Worst case)
    Year W/m2
    2000 1.543
    2005 1.690
    2010 1.840
    2020 2.206
    2030 2.626
    2040 3.100
    2050 3.640
    2060 4.237
    2070 4.856
    2080 5.464
    2090 6.044
    2100 6.592

    Note that the ar4 2007 average value was 1.66 W/m2 i.e. less than this worst case scenario.

    Even so:-

    The IPCC scenarios are already out of the money.

    The apparent ACO2/Temperature correlation is broken.

    The RF methodology is shonky.

    The CAGW hypothesis is a null.


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  • #
    Grant

    Sew raw steaks into your shirt and swim with sharks.

    Such beautiful imagery.


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  • #
    MadJak

    Mia Nony,

    I think it’s much more likely that James Jay Lee had read Keith Farnish’s book as detailed in this posting..

    I would be really interested to know if Mr Farnishs’ book is located amongst James Lees belongings and if so whether Mr Hansen will publicly apologise for his support of said book.

    Unfortunately when you give mentally ill people the idea that they are on a crusade to save the world, their psychotic tendencies only tend to get worse when they feel the rest of the world doesn’t appear to understand their psychotic view of the world.


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  • #
    Siliggy

    Stick this investment where your thermometer is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORyzsMZPPUg


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  • #

    “Lehman Brothers said its entry into Japan’s carbon trading market follows a significant increase in its global reach in the international carbon markets, including China, India and Latin America.” – From The Japan Times, Feb ’08.

    February 2008 seems an age away for most of us. But for Big Government and its corporate collaborators, it feels just like this morning.


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    Ross

    There are quite a few AGW believers , notably from the Northern Hemishpere , who have publicly said that a tax or carbon trading is not the answer ( to their problem ). Most notable is George Monbiot.Maybe it is partly because they have already seen whats going on Europe.
    I wonder why Brown and few Greens in NZ cannot see the folly in this so called
    ” market solution”


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    Sean2829

    I think the fact that governments are pushing trading schemes over taxes (particularly with the corruption that has already been revealed in Europe’s ETS scheme) is not just a reluctance to avoid a label on the part of the legislatures, it a reflection of who really has control of the strings in many national governments. The list of arbitrary absurdities that are a consequence of Kyoto inspired cap and trade just make your eyes roll.


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    King Katter

    I’m all for it! Dig it up, sell it and tax it!


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    This whole thing blows goats – they’re so obsessed with the dreaded ‘carbon’ that they’re overlooking things like polulation growth, food sustainability, water supply, hydrocarbon replacements, city planning, public transport etc etc. It’s really makes me mad, and the worst thing is I can’t vote here yet :(

    Speaking of the finance angle – I worked in finance in London for many years, I remember a derrivatives trader telling me how they construct things like CDO’s and CDO squares – billion dollar debt finance vehicles that are made up of so many moving parts and hedged (for all intents and purposes a hedged bet with other types of trades to lower the market risk of the CDO product) with all kinds of financial instruments. CDO’s were one of the things that got hit hardest in the GFC as masses of unsecured debt was packed up and sold as AAA rated credit (what are the chances of the whole mortgage and loan debt market defaulting at once, right.. oh..) and used as repayment tranches were suddenly rendered near worthless overnight forcing hundreds of billion dollar writedowns.

    I worry that carbon credits and derrivatives of carbon credits and futures will be similarly wrapped up in multi-year term CDO type debt derrivatives, meaning that carbon credits can never ever be removed from the market, even if global warming turns out to concusively be a dead duck and the value of ‘carbon’ becomes zero. They’ll underpin the entire financial system. The banks don’t care of course, its not their money.

    An ecconimist once told me (I seem to get a lot of unsolicited but very useful insights!) that all it would take is 2 weeks of the general public and businesses witholding tax to bring down a government. They just don’t have the cash reserves to survive and they can’t enforce their will on everyone at once. Bear this in mind if things really start going to hell in a handbasket!


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    Brian G Valentine

    JoAnne,

    People have a right to say what they like, but is spam and proselytizing warranted? (see 3)


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    Bulldust

    To my mind one of the sadest things of the rank capitalism of these kinds of null markets (markets which trade nothing of intrinsic value – my terminology of the moment, not textbook) is that they generate incredible amounts of virtual money for those who can exploit the financial systems.

    The tragedy is that many brilliant minds are diverted from the top universities to become “quants” or similar virtual money manipulators, but they add nothing of value to society at large. It is greed driven to a level that would make Gordon Gecko green with envy.

    I cannot imagine any reason whatsoever that markets need transactions that occur in the space of a nanosecond or two. I doubt anyone has ever demonstrated that this adds stability to the market… quite to the contrary. So why is it there? To exploit the market to generate wealth without creating anything of value.

    I can only hope the GFC drove some of the quants to think about their role in society… perhaps a few saw the light and turned their magnificent minds to a meaningful purpose.

    As for how to kill a 2 trillion market? It seems the US CCX has found a way :) There is hope while the majors refuse to play the cap-and-trade game.


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    pat

    in SE Qld people have now received their separate water bills and are fuming. they will now get 8 bills per year (4 rates, 4 water) and combined they are almost double the rates bills they received just a few years ago.
    of course, we are paying for the billion dollar desal plant on the gold coast, which is unnecessary as all the dams are full, and which is still not functioning due to rust, corrosion etc.


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    PresqueVu

    Why would a carbon trading market want to work towards a carbon emission free world?

    That would just negate it’s existance. The monster needs food.


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    Roy Hogue

    People have a right to say what they like, but is spam and proselytizing warranted? (see 3)

    May I second Brian at 17? I can get all of James Jay Lee that I need to know from news sites.

    Thanks

    Roy


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    Cameron H

    OT but back to Mia Nony @ 3. This is a site about Catastrophic Man Made global Warming and not immigration but since you started it. The groups that you cite are against people entering the USA illegally. This is a criminal activity, and not bona fidi immigration, and should be labelled as such. There is the same problem in Australia with the Orwellian twisting of language to put rational debate from any opossite view in a bad light. The same process has gone on with, CAGW becomming Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide becomming Carbon Pollution. This non distinctive terminology allows the smearing of anybody who presents countering arguements with denigrating terms like denier or racist, in the case of the illegal entry debate. I doubt that many people in immigrant societies such as Australia and the US are against immigration but most of them are against uncontrolled illegal breaching of our borders.


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    Harry the Hacker

    Trouble with something like a tax is that governments get addicted to the revenue and can’t ween themselves off it (example: who really wants to wind back poker machines in Australia? They might cause a great deal of harm but there is so much money involved that only lip service is ever paid).

    So you have 2 evils – an artificial market propping up a bunch of bankers, or a tax propping up a bunch of pollies.

    Stop the world- I want to get off.


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    crakar24

    Pokies will never be wound back, the water melon coalition will fracture before it even begins and back to the polls we go.

    In regards to the nut job in the US (post 3) i read he got his inspiration from Al’s hit movie. You see this is the problem with modern day prophets that only act to feather their own nest, they dont see the trouble they cause as with this guy and all the morons he inspired here in Aust to vote Green.

    I fear we will have a green tinged ETS here, if we think KRudds version would do nothing but increase our bills on everything then the Greens will do that and more as their version is intended to not just tax but cripple the energy industry and the mining industry that feeds it as well.


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    John Brookes

    I quite like the idea of an ETS. But there is one proviso I would put on it. That all the money from the sale of emission permits is given equally to every adult Australian. I would ask for the same of a carbon tax.

    This would remove the government incentive as stated by Harry the Hacker@23.

    A carbon tax gives emitters certainty – they know the price they will have to pay to emit ghgs. An ETS gives certainty about the amount of emissions – but the price may vary. Of course business can use futures and such to protect against varying prices.

    If you want an ETS or a carbon tax to work (and I suspect you guys don’t), you must not compensate emitters (e.g. coal fired power stations). The point of a price on carbon is that it will over time make some businesses unviable. That is what has to happen. By compensating a coal fired power station, you are delaying its replacement with a gas fired power station – and hence delaying the reduction in emissions.

    Of course Australia can introduce a price on carbon, but it will have to be very low until other countries come on board (particularly the US). Unless developed nations have some sort of tariff on good produced in a country without a price on carbon, you are limited to low carbon prices with limited effect.


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    Bernd Felsche

    Very recently, a friend remarked that they were getting a solar system (PV) installed. “2kW” with a rebate of about $6500.

    A quick check on the back of the proverbial envelope: Local area insolation is about 7000 MJ/m² a year (measured!) which is equivalent to about 1944 kWh. A “2kW” PV system will therefore optimally deliver about 3900 kWh a year; worth around $750 at current (already renewably-inflated) rates. The payback for the total system cost (includes the rebated amount); which somebody has to bear, is obviously beyond 10 years.

    That somebody is the taxpayer and all the other electricity grid customers.

    It doesn’t stop there, though. In-feed rates are at least DOUBLE the rate of consumption. A kWh drawn from the grid costs less than 19 cents here and the infeed is about 40 cents.

    Which wholesaler in their right mind buys goods at twice the price at which they can sell them?
    Well those who deal in government-sanctioned funny-money, that’s who. Funny-money called REC’s – Renewable Energy Certificates. Government issues RECs to suppliers of “renewable energy” systems that are arbitrarily valued on what they promise; not what they actually deliver.

    The people receiving the RECs can then use them themselves to reach the government-mandated “renewable energy” target when generating electricity or producing useful emissions of CO2; or they can sell them for CASH.

    Who benefits? The rent-seekers:
    1. Government bureaucracy.
    2. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and installers.
    3. Money and REC traders.

    Who loses?
    1. Electricity consumers bearing higher costs and loss of generating capacity
    2. Taxpayers to fund bigger government so that the pockets of a few can be filled.
    3. The environment as the manufacture of such systems usually results in actual pollution in unregulated (cheap labour) countries.

    For the cost of a million such domestic PV systems, Australia could build and operate a nuclear power station that can reliably generate 5 to 10 times as much electricity every year. Electricity that’d cost less than 6 cents a kWh to generate, amortised over the 60-year life of the station.


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    Roy Hogue

    An ecconimist once told me (I seem to get a lot of unsolicited but very useful insights!) that all it would take is 2 weeks of the general public and businesses witholding tax to bring down a government. They just don’t have the cash reserves to survive and they can’t enforce their will on everyone at once. Bear this in mind if things really start going to hell in a handbasket!

    Charlie @16,

    At first I wasn’t going to comment on this. But here’s the problem — I can’t even get two people at my office to agree on how strong the coffee should be.


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  • #
    Baa Humbug

    John Brookes: #25
    September 3rd, 2010 at 12:46 pm says

    If you want an ETS or a carbon tax to work (and I suspect you guys don’t)

    No shit Sherlock!!
    The idea of a tax or trading scheme is to make fossil fuels expensive hence renewables more competitive. BUT NO ONE SAYS AT WHAT PRICE THESE RENEWABLES BECOME COMPETITIVE.

    Perhaps those who wish a tax or cap n trade could enlighten us, afterall, we as the tax payers have a right to know what we are expected to pay. Does anybody know or are we expected to take a leap of faith?
    Any thoughts John?


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    crakar24

    John you need to take off the rose colored glasses, the only point of an ETS/CO2 TAX is to raise the cost of coal/gas to make it more expensive than alternatives. This will drive people to use alternatives and if it makes their mates a bit richer in the process then so be it.


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  • #

    John Brookes, as it should be clear from the whole thread, many here are against an ETS not just because of their skepticism re AGW. Even with your quasi-socialist scheme of general redistribution, carbon trading will enrich all the worst stock-jobbers, touts, shysters, spivs, shills, skimmers…and Al Gore.

    Luckily, the pioneers of carbon trading, Enron and Lehman Bros (yes, really!), have been detained for some time. But I wouldn’t even count those guys out of a game where you get to deal for billions not just in thin air, but in a small fraction of thin air. It’s just too good.


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    Macha

    Glad to see the debate maturing to talk of where we get our Energy from rather than AGW.
    ie. about the taxes we might see that shift our behaviours on how we get around (cars) and keep warm.

    Coal has taken big a hit and got a bad name in terms of CO2 emissions depsite being a cheap source of energy, and likely to be so for some time yet (I can give reasons why some other time). Take a look at the combustion products to see how Nat. Gas looks cleaner and greener.

    Gas 50,000 Kg CO2/GJ
    Oil 70,000
    Coal 89,000 plus a lot more Nox, SO2 and CO.

    There’s an estimated 3 trillion cubic metres of Gas consumed per annum worldwide, and the demand will only go UP if there’s an ETS or carbon tax. Higher prices eventually follow demand so kiss goodbye to any personal tax-breaks.

    Maybe the world also runs out of the ‘easy’ gas (some say by ~2070), but there’s lots of unconventional-gas and shale-gas left for ~100yrs to get technology working on (such as Coal to Liquid processing plants and China supposedly has trillions of tonnes of coal available).

    You can right off Wind and CCS carbon storage for base load power. Solar has some merit because it peaks when we need most power (cooling at midday) and especially with a hot Australian desert but does have some transission costs to get it to the users. The molten salt, heliostat types like examples in Califnornia look pretty good and since most WA mines are remote, can be set up relatively nearby.

    But I suggest readers take a look at the Thorium Technolgy as an alternative to Uranium nuclear energy debate. Very promsing, much cleaner and safer!!


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  • #

    I quite like the idea of an ETS. But there is one proviso I would put on it. That all the money from the sale of emission permits is given equally to every adult Australian. I would ask for the same of a carbon tax.

    John, all the money from the “sale” of anything has to go to the producer or provider of that sale. An ETS is not an ETS if the government gets the money – it is a TAX. That’s my whole point.

    There is no money to distribute back to the public in an ETS.

    An ETS will “employ” an entire class of accountants/auditors/lawyers/salesmen/marketers, but just in case you think that’s a good outcome re unemployment, remember that that money could be used to cure blindness in the third world, and provide drinking water, or we could pay people to plant trees and restore degraded land.

    All those people involved in the money-go-round of a fake trading scheme could be doing something useful instead.

    Employing people to do something useless (or redundant, or which could be done by a small government team) is a net loss to humanity.


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    Ross

    John Brookes — You also have to remember that now Australia has signed up to Kyoto if Australia does not meet its commitments it has to pay for the excess emissions.( as a Kiwi I’m not sure what the figures are for Aust. )
    There will be nothing to give to your fellow Australians. It going to cost everyone in one form or another in their day to day lives. As Jo has pointed out there will be some who gain from various associated business deals but as individuals they will also pay in their daily living expenses.

    Has Brown told you all how he intends to get Australia meeting his fancy target figures ?


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    @Roy Hogue

    LOL! I think that’s the problem with democracy, everyone is entitled to their own wrong opinion ;)


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    On further thought, if the government sells permits in an ETS (for the right to pollute with a non-pollutant) some money would be returned to the government. The forced issue of these permits is a form of taxation. My point about the Trading Scheme itself where these permits are exchanged is that the Trading scheme doesn’t return money to the government to be redistributed to the people except through the usual company profits tax etc etc.

    The net effect of a trading scheme or a tax is redistribution of money from the citizens.

    If the citizens decide they want to get rid of the tax, they can vote out the government. If the citizens want to get rid of the trading scheme they will have to pay trillions in compensation to all the businesses and companies that rightfully made plans and invested money based on the value of permits.


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    MadJak

    My 2c worth on this one :

    I’m not stupid enough to take financial advice from an Environmentalist
    I’m not stupid enough to take ecological advice from a Wunch of bankers
    I’m not stupid enough to take scientific advice from a politician
    I’m not stupid enough to buy into the climate institutes propaganda about uncertainty in the energy market driving up prices.
    My background forbids me from subscribing to the fallacy of the precautionary principle.

    I’m definitely not stupid enough to believe that a bureaucracy will even out the cost to my back pocket from an ETS, because based on previous experience, bureaucrats hate me and everything I represent to them. I take pride in this.

    So obviously, a proposal that involves all of these things is going to encounter some significant amounts of resistance. I also don’t think I am alone in this perspective either.


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    Macha

    madjak @30,.

    Sure there will be plenty that resist, but without any power or control the changes plow ahead and we (at least minnions like you and I ) will be bent over forthwith!.


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    Bulldust

    Jo:

    I see Clive Hamilton is talking non-science (see what I did there?) at the ABC again. Care to post a rejoinder? Here is what I posted to get started:

    “Intriguing Clive. You seem to have no problem adopting the term “denier” despite the ethical overtones associated with it.

    You then carry on about the denialists being associated with right-wing think tanks … your evidence please.

    You then throw up strawmen arguments like creationism, which clearly has no foundation in science.

    Clive you do understand, do you not, that science only relies on one paper, one experiment (reproducible of course), and/or one clear set of data to disprove the H0 hypothesis that man-made GHG emissions are not having catastrophic impacts on the climate system. and yet, remarkably, after billions upon billions of dollars have been pork-barrelled into trying to disprove this nulll hypothesis no one has succeeded.

    It isn’t hard to find a consensus in science if you pay enough people to “look for it.” Consensus is not evidence… you still have the burden of disproving the H0 hypothesis, despite Trenberth’s caterwauling in New Scientist that science should be turned on its head for the sake of the AGW types.

    Yes he is determined to argue that we assume the H0 hypothesis is false unless skeptics can prove otherwise.

    Get with the program Clive, you have no idea what science is about and you are being unethical portraying it as relying on consensus. There was a consensus that the surface of teh earth did not move not too many decades ago, don’t you know? Now we happen to know better.”

    The piece of garbage can be found here:
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s3001949.htm


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    Bulldust

    Dang I keep typing “teh” these days… anyone would think I was a 1337 gamer >.>


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    cohenite

    Carbon Trading [CT] as a concept began with Garnaut. Garnaut indicated how CT would go in a speech he gave on the 5/6/08 at the 6th H. W. Arndt Memorial Lecture; the url is too long to link to, so just google it; this speech is a farago of half-baked and self-serving rubbish.

    Garnaut readily admits the “great uncertainty” surrounding the science of AGW and the costs of implementing AGW preventitive measures, and even the futility of doing so, when globally, the main players are not doing the same. Where Garnaut fell in a stuptefying heap is on p. 7 where he invokes Pascal’s wager. Pascal’s bet was an indictment of the sincerity, or lack thereof, of faith, which could be shown to be reducible to an economic process whereby minimal investment (ie hypocrisy) would guarantee against catastrophe. On p. 17 Garnaut looks at the ideal insurance approach to AGW, which really is a restatement of Pascal. Garnaut says the remote chance of catastrophe, if AGW is left unchecked, can be prevented for, by comparison, minimal investment.

    There are several layers of hypocrisy operating here. The 1st is that it has been the threat of catastrophe which has been selling AGW since day one; we don’t read about gradual and manageable aspects of AGW; the threat is always expressed in dire and apocalyptic imagery. The 2nd level of hypocrisy is the notion of minimal cost. In a 2008 report The International Energy Agency estimated that to prevent CO2 emmissions from more than doubling by 2050 will require $47000 Billion, which is 47 times the entire Australian economy’s annual worth; that is today; if the ALP/greens coalition brings in its measures the Australian economy won’t be worth a pinch of you know what; and don’t forget that $47000 Billion is to stop CO2 from more than doubling; to reduce it to just a doubling will be much more. 3rdly, and most profound, the science is NOT settled; and it is the continuim of the scientific scenarios which defines the risk and ultimately the worth of Pascal’s bet. But it is the doomsday science which prevails, and the question must be asked, does this cease to be science and become a sort of paranoia, a ‘what-if’ psychology which has as much relevance as little green men, or the ‘sky-is-falling’. We have seen how that type of psychology can affect trading on stock-markets.

    A final level of hypocrisy running through Garnaut’s ‘vision’, which applies to any CT, is in his reference to his good friend, Warwick McKibbon; McKibbon is a strong advocate of CT. CT will allow carbon ‘pollution’ to continue, and in situations where demand is inelastic (ie driving your car to work, heating your house in the coming ice-age), CT will simply promote a massive transfer of funds away from the consumer to the business elite. In this respect, Garnaut, and all advocates of CT, is a fox looking after the chicken-littles.

    2 final observations; if I were an insurance company, I would be promoting policies for all sorts of loss due to provable manifestations of AGW; I would be confident of never having to pay out.

    2ndly, Garnaut demonstrates that AGW measures will be regressive; the rich will be insulated – some men are islands -, and the rest of us will be forced into the hands of the AGW nutters who are often overlooked in the economic side of this wretched debate but who have a powerful ideological motive for supporting AGW; this is the anti-materialist, anti-prosperity and certainly misanthropic, pro-nature camp, best symbolised by that ascetic thug, Clive Hamilton.


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    John Brookes

    I think I disagree with you Jo. But please, please, do me one favour. Don’t call people “citizens”. I don’t know why, but as soon as I read “citizens” I think of that Larouche guy. When I hear “citizens”, I start thinking that a load of ideological rubbish is headed my way. Of course all this is in my head, and I should get over it – but it bugs me!


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    Llew Jones

    Bulldust:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    “I see Clive Hamilton is talking non-science (see what I did there?) at the ABC again.”

    In the crazy world in which we live Clive Hamilton is often feted as an intellectual.

    The contrived social history that undergirds his Requiem for a Species reveals all his paranoia about American “neo-conservatism” which he sees as a prime source of “climate denialism”. With his weird if not idiosyncratic interpretation of recent social history or his historiography don’t expect Clive to shed any useful light on the science of climate, pro or con.


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    Frank Brown

    You couldn’t come up with a better way to de-modernize a country than this ETS scam. You pay the countries you are competing with to undercut the prices of your manufacturing base (including agricuture). You won’t be able to compete with the likes of China, India and Brazil so your manufacturing will move to these developing countries (like they already are). Then the only ones that can afford your coal, gas, uranium, etc are these countries you subsidize and they will end up owing your natural resouces. What do these AGW fear mongers expect you to live on? The money tree out back?


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    Llew Jones

    Frank Brown:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    It really a is cruel hoax on the under developed world as well. Cheap coal energy is the quickest way to lift some of the abysmally poor nations out of their grinding poverty. As you say China, India and that South American emerging economic powerhouse, Brazil, will exploit any and all energy sources available to them as they seek to give all their citizens the sort of standard of living we in the West enjoy.

    There probably is a few hundred years of this abundant resource at the projected rate of usage during which time newer energy systems can be developed to maintain good standards of living for the projected nine billion earth peak population for many future generations.


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    Lawrie

    Bulldust,

    I took the tour to la la land and read Clive’s illuminating diatribe. I can’t believe someone so ignorant can be a teacher. You would want half your fees refunded since he only teaches one half of the course, his version. I added my two bob’s worth and was pleasantly surprised by the number (50% plus) of negative comments, most from people who had read considerably more than Clive or his syncophants on the subject of AGW.

    In the Land this week is an article of how the NZ ETS is forcing up farming costs even though it won’t be applied to agriculture until 2015. Transport and electricity are now dearer and those two are key inputs to every aspect of production. The negative effect the ETS is having on NZ is not causing the country to be better placed in international competitiveness, quite the opposite. An unforseen and potentially costly bi-product is the abandonment of some agriculture and the planting of trees for carbon credits. One farmer says he went from $150/ha returns from sheep to $600 for carbon. I wonder if Bob Brown or Julia reads the Land?


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    Rereke Whaakaro

    A carbon tax is under the control on the Government, and is therefore accountable and open to audit. The tax may be bad, but the process is good.

    International financial instruments, and mechanisms like CDM and REDD, are open to corruption, fraud, extortion, and theft. And with the amount of money involved, likely open to murder, war, and genocide, as well.

    Don’t ever believe that the people who are pushing for this are “nice” people, who just want to save the planet. They are not. They just want to get you into a dark alley so they can steal your watch by cutting your arm off.


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    J.Hansford

    In case it has been forgotten, I’ll state th’ obvious.

    CO2 is not a Pollutant.


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    SamG

    Coercive egalitarianism

    Enough said


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    3x2

    Joanne Nova:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    If the citizens decide they want to get rid of the tax, they can vote out the government. If the citizens want to get rid of the trading scheme they will have to pay trillions in compensation to all the businesses and companies that rightfully made plans and invested money based on the value of permits.

    This is already the case here in the UK. A shell game of grants, subsidies and tax breaks such that nobody has the slightest clue how it would ever be rolled back.

    People sense that prices are rising but most don’t yet link it to the carbon shell game. Nobody here could tell you that you are paying a 15.2% CT for example. All the while a politician when questioned can honestly say “carbon tax? No, we have no carbon tax.”

    The whole scheme relies on the public having no idea how much has been scammed, how it was scammed or where the proceeds have gone. And of course, even if you are a firm believer, having no stated physical quantity with which to measure success or failure. In that sense the scam is permanent.


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    cementafriend

    A bit late to put my two bobs worth.
    Joanne, I agree with you fully. Good that someone, who is respected puts out the facts on the issue for proper discussion.
    I also agree with Cohenite (40). I think it would have been worthwhile to add (Sir Nicholas)Stern who either does not understand economics (see Critique in World Economics Vol7 no4 Oct-Dec2006 P165-232) or deliberately set to further a political agenda. Garnaut took his cue from Stern and of course he is also a Labour political party supporter. Garnaut came out in support of the NBN ($45Billion) which has had no costing or feasibility plan. Most likely it will have a negative net present value (using a zero discount factor as per Stern) or zero (using a negative discount factor) and then the Gillard Government with the backing of the socialist Ken Henry quibble over the definition of some of the coalition assumptions.
    Anyway, thanks again Joanne
    Keep strong


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    Brian G Valentine

    I quite like the idea of an ETS

    Now, how on Earth might I have guessed that Mr Brookes would have said that? I must be clairvoyant.

    After many years of pounding my head against a wall trying to understand why anyone would want to demolish a free market economy to presumably assuage their (unwarranted) fears I have come to the conclusion:

    The only solution is the partitioning of Countries according to their “environmental” paranoia. Partitioning Australia, for example, would allow Rudd to be PM in perpetuity, Penelope Wong to be minister of environment, information, enforcement, Christine Milne to be Senator for Life. Living in this country would be voluntary, the only thing prohibited is the attempt to control everybody else (such as rational people).

    This situation would quickly deteriorate into a “foreign aid” arrangement – but the money would be well spent to prevent the rest of the country from a continual backwards slide


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    MattB

    Cohenite: “Carbon Trading [CT] as a concept began with Garnaut. Garnaut indicated how CT would go in a speech he gave on the 5/6/08″

    Sorry Cohenite… you think Garnaut invented carbon trading as a concept in 2008????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    just for emphasis: ???????????????????


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    Roy Hogue

    Coercive egalitarianism

    Or criminal theft made legal because those who can pull the strings of government can get the rules changed to suit themselves?

    ———

    To John Brookes,

    I’m not a vindictive man but if I was I would be wishing you the honor of living for the next decade or two under the thumb of the despotism of which the ETS in Australia is just a beginning. Should you survive it you would have learned the hard way what you seem incapable of synthesizing in your own mind like any a good critical thinker. But history alone should dissuade you from advocacy of an ETS or carbon tax if nothing else does. It never stops with the one measure, John, never. It goes on until you have nothing left to be squeezed out of you. You apparently believe your government is looking out for you. But I didn’t have to read this blog for very long to realize that it’s the same there as it is here. And they’re not looking out for me here.

    The original cause, global warming and the science involved, are already relegated to the back burner. It matters only to a bunch of money hungry “scientists” looking for their livelihood. It’s nearly pointless to discuss it any more. The politics of the thing have long ago taken the driver’s seat and the truth matters not a tinker’s-damn in the matter. Watch your own government’s various factions jockeying for the power to get their way. It’s power, power to get in on the spoils that drives modern politics. It’s Kyoto, not AGW. Catastrophe is now a given in politics. And since politics wants power to control your life and Kyoto gives them the excuse they need, off they go. AGW isn’t discussed except to dismiss it or throw BS at it because they can say Kyoto settled the matter. Is that not their justification?

    We escaped that here in the U.S. thanks to the much hated George Bush, who has been accused of being anti-science to use polite terms (wise man was more like it). We escaped it again last December by the good fortune that Copenhagen fell apart because — in simple terms — the ruinous results of the “protocol” were beginning to be realized. But we’re still in a fight to stop it. And John, that fight will engulf Australia too if the world cannot muster up the nerve to stand up to the UN/IPCC and it’s following of assorted bullies and fools.

    I wish you well, John. But I fear for you and all of us.

    To those who may object to my simplifying things a bit, forgive me. Of course the science is important. But can you argue that the science is in any way able to influence the politics of climate change at this point or that it will be able to do so any time soon?


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    FollowFacts, Dixie

    If Cap-And-Trade is passed, there is a solution:

    1. Since a Carbon Credit is an asset by government fiat (because the government said it is), the solution is inflation.

    Implementation: Issue each and every citizen one billion giga-ton carbon credits, each having a face value of one millionth of a mil. Each Carbon Credit may be subdivided into units of Tons.

    2. If a carbon trading establishment is found to have a shortage of real assets, the sole government remedy shall be redemption of carbon credits at face value.


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    cohenite

    MattB@52; I meant in Australia; Garnaut was and still is the authoritative source for the CT concept and arguments for it in this country.


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    Siliggy

    “U.K. officials announced raids on 81 offices and homes, nabbing 13 people in England and eight in Scotland. The operation involved 450 investigators from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs office.”
    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=532610


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    hoi polloi

    An ETS is simply another government licensing scheme similar to hotel or taxi licenses, but on a massively larger scale of course.

    Who knows what good those licenses do but provide revenue to governments and an artificial market for a bevy of brokers, lawyers, investors etc.

    Just as an analogy to what an ETS will do to the cost of living, it is estimated that the restrictions on taxis in Sydney adds one third to the average fare.


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    pattoh

    Guys

    Most of us here in Aus & old enough to hate paying tax can remember the deal brokered between the Howard Government & the states too bring in the GST.

    The deal was the Commonwealth would apportion ALL the GST revenue to the states in return for the repealing of a whole raft of state taxes & charges. Naturally when the states saw the size of the “pie’, they said “yes please & can we have some more?”

    It sailed through, but for the life of me I can’t think of too many state fiscs which have disappeared!

    So we got a consumption tax system & it did largely curtail the black economy, but we somehow forgot to demand the other side of the gig.

    International Capping & Trading is a whole different kettle of fish (& some of the larger predators are still swimming)

    A Cap & Trade would be pointless if it is not a global initiative & managed by an over arching global body (naturally the UN). Further, compliance in the name of the “global good” would have to be measured/judged by an arm of that body ( naturally a bureaucracy made up of human beings with concomitant failings, weaknesses & prejudices) . Finally, in the name of “Saving the World” from recalcitrants, it would have to have available some punitive measures to enforce compliance.

    It is definitely New World Order stuff, where every body is a global citizen FIRST: very much the recipe of Maurice Strong & others. (Adam Bandt included)

    Unfortunately for the NWO types there is something in the human psyche which predisposes us to neucleate & bond in families, local communities & societies/nationalities & generally in that order. The bond, which holds groups, is one of geography, belief, economics, shared adversity etc. One of the settings in which this bond is strong enough to coalesce a mob or even a popular uprising is that of perceived oppression by a remote authority. The darker side of history, including recent history (the Middle East, West Africa, former Yugoslavia etc.) is punctuated with the stark evidence of this.

    Douglas Adams had a line in Hitch-Hiker’s Guide:- “they were the first ones up against the wall when the Revolution came!”

    Lets hope we live to see a revolution of enlightenment by balanced argument before things get too ugly.


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