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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World Bank likes Australia’s Emissions Trading Scheme — the “secret” ETS

According to the World Bank, Australia has implemented an ETS

It’s charades all round. Carbon markets are so dismal that the World Bank marks up the Australian ETS (which most Australians have never heard of) as “implemented”. Which makes it so much better than Canada’s which is “under consideration”. In fact the World Bank says Australia’s ETS covers half our emissions and 381 Megatons of CO2 or equivalent. Sounds “impressive”.

Strangely the Australian government hasn’t run an advertising campaign to brag about our landmark ETS legislation. I can’t think why?  Perhaps it’s because Australian’s gave the largest victory in 20 years to a man who swore a blood oath against a carbon tax? Or maybe it’s the polls that show Australian’s don’t want to pay for renewables, 80% don’t donate to environmental causes, and 60% don’t want or don’t care about the Paris deal if they could get cheaper electricity.

Let’s poll Australians and ask ‘Do we have an ETS?” — maybe 80% would say “No”. Maybe ninety. But we do have one, waiting like a paper troll, ready to spring to life. It’s largely secret hidden legislation, buried under a title called the ERF Safeguard Mechanism — (don’t mention [...]

Corruption for dinner anyone? The Carbon Market Scandal

Thanks to Down To Earth Magazine. Author: DIVYA

All round the world thousands of greenonomists recommend a “free market solution” to our so called pollution problem. But as I keep saying: this “free market” isn’t free. It’s a pale pathetic imitation: a “managed market”.

In Europe, if a factory produces CO2 (what factory doesn’t?) it can pay people in China and India to not produce an-equivalent-amount-of-CO2. Sounds sort of fine in intent except that paying people to not do something they were-going-to-do depends on knowing the future (and reminds us of a process known as extortion). That’s loophole number one. Officially it’s called “additionality”, which is a fancy way of saying people wouldn’t do something-in-particular to reduce emissions unless they got paid in carbon credits.

The Chinese and Indians, not being stupid, immediately gamed the system. Why wouldn’t they?

The irony of unintended consequences. Here’s how it goes: HFC-23 is the godfather of greenhouse gases: it’s 11,700 times as powerful at warming as CO2 is. The chemical makers are paid as much as $100,000 in carbon credits  for every ton they destroy… Suddenly making-and-then-destroying HFC-23 is very valuable business, so people rush to fill this “demand”. HFC-23 is a [...]