Rudd has a chance to dump a dumb policy, but won’t
Australia’s overpriced, unneccessary carbon tax will become even more overpriced next Monday (from $23 to $24.15 per ton). A spokesman tells The Australian that the all-new Labor cabinet will reconsider it all next week and may bring in the trading scheme sooner rather than later. At the moment the Gillard-fixed-carbon-price will shift to a floating price (lately, a sinking price) in two years time in mid 2015. The current EU price is $6 AUD.
The Australian understands Mr Rudd will look at all aspects of the implementation of the $23 a tonne price on carbon as a priority. The reinstated Prime Minister sought to cement his commitment to tackling climate change, declaring he had “long been committed to a carbon price”.
Rudd mistakes token efforts in China for “action”:
He accused the Coalition of inconsistency on the issue and cited action in China as evidence “carbon pricing is now becoming more and more of a global reality”.
The real global reality and action in China is that it is building more coal powered stations than anywhere, and is one of the largest coal burning nations in the world. China (and India too) are not slowing down, and we are an inconsequential blip. We are the largest exporter, but only because all the larger producers of coal use all their coal up for themselves. China digs up and burns 12 times as much coal as we export. Who are we kidding?
The bottom line: any carbon scheme is useless, unpopular, vote-killing attempt to stop storms
Nothing can compete with coal, it looks set to become the primary fuel of the planet — overtaking oil in the next few years (see below). Our economy and lifestyle depend on it. Only 30% of Australian voters want action and are prepared to pay anything at all for it (and they are already voting Labor or Green). Most Australians care more about the economy than the environment. When asked about the environment, they care more about litter than air. The carbon tax is a job-killing pointless scheme which won’t reduce global emissions by anything large enough to measure, and 1,100 scientific papers show it can’t change the weather, even if it did. If China is adopting a carbon price, it’s only because it will suck even more money out of the West and into the East. They’re not reducing emissions, and they’re not stupid.
How small is Australian coal?
“Coal Exports are Australia’s largest single export industry. In 2009 Australia produced for sale ~335 million tonnes of coal, of which ~261Mt were exported leaving 74Mt for internal power generation. But large as that is, what China produces blows that number away.
In 2009, entirely for domestic consumption, Chinese production was just over 3 billion tonnes of hard and brown coal. China is consuming about 40 times what Australia is. “ (Thanks to Cohenite)
The map shows new coal fired plants that are already approved for construction as of Nov 2012. (World Resources Institute Report). (Thanks to TonyfromOz)
Coal looks set to become the planet’s primary fuel
Demand for coal is growing and it’s share in world energy production is higher than anytime in the last 40 years:
Global demand for coal is expected to grow to 8.9 billion tons by 2016 from 7.9 billion tons this year, with the bulk of new demand — about 700 million tons — coming from China, according to a Peabody Energy study. China is expected to add 240 gigawatts, the equivalent of adding about 160 new coal-fired plants to the 620 operating now, within four years. During that period, India will add an additional 70 gigawatts through more than 46 plants.
“If you poke your head outside of the U.S., coal-fired plants are being built left and right,” said William L. Burns, an energy analyst with Johnson Rice in New Orleans. “Coal is still the cheapest fuel source.”
In all, coal use is expected to increase 50 percent by 2035, said Milton Catelin, chief executive of the World Coal Association in London.
“Last year, coal represented 30 percent of world energy, and that’s the highest share it has had since 1969,” he said.
Within a year or two, coal will surpass oil as the planet’s primary fuel, Mr. Catelin predicted.
The budget hole if Rudd cuts the carbon tax from $24 to $6 would be about $15 billion
According to Peter Ryan, business editor of the ABC:
The problem for Kevin Rudd is just how low to go with the carbon price. The recession in Europe means less industrial output, that means less pollution, companies have been buying fewer carbon permits so the price over there has dived dramatically to around just $6 a tonne.
So the suggestion that with the stroke of a pen the carbon price would just switch to be in line with the floating European scheme might be good news for industry and consumers, but it could put a hole in the Government’s revenue forecasts – perhaps as much as $15 billion. And the Coalition says this would blow another black hole into the budget.
Remember, the money we are talking about is not so much a “$15b hole in the government budget”, as $15b drawn out of the productive economy toward misdirected, ineffective ends and unproductive jobs. In that sense, the government would save Australians much more than $15 billion if they chopped the whole scheme up and sequestered it in a large unused mineshaft.
- Who actually took notice of the Kyoto Protocol? Coal fired plants going up everywhere.
- We can lower Australian CO2 emissions by… (wait for it) building new coal plants!
- The Silent Giant Coal Monster (why Australia is not a big coal producer, even though it is our largest export industry).