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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Jo Nova in The Australian: Carbon credits market is neither free nor worth anything

Credit to The Australian for printing both points of view. Published as an Op-Ed today.

Carbon credits market is neither free nor worth anything by: Joanne Nova From: The Australian July 31, 2013 12:00AM

THE paradox du jour: people who like free markets don’t want a carbon market, and the people who don’t trust capitalism want emissions trading. So why are socialists fighting for a carbon market? Because this “market” is a bureaucrat’s wet dream.

A free market is the voluntary exchange of goods and services. “Free” means being free to choose to buy or to not buy the product. At the end of a free trade, both parties have something they prefer.

[Those who know what real free markets are know that an emissions trading scheme is not and never can be a free market. The "Carbon-Market" is a market with no commodity, no demand, and no supply. Who needs a "carbon credit"? The government entirely determines both supply and demand.]

A carbon market is a forced market. There is little intrinsic incentive to buy a certificate for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It says a lot about the voluntary value of a [...]

Australian emissions reductions target is undone by one week in China

Here’s a graph showing something about Australian, Chinese and Indian emissions (thanks to Tom Quirk). At a glance you might think we are up there with the best of them (doing our bit to fertilize the flora of the planet, and to regreen the deserts). Alas, the Australian tally (the green triangles) represents the total emissions of Australia. The lines depicting Chinese and Indian emissions just show their annual increases.

Chinese annual increases in emissions are larger than the entire Australian output. India is not too far behind.

UPDATE: TonyfromOz points out the Y-axis scale is missing three zero’s. Data source: CDIAC (Thanks Anton).

It appears the new coal fired power stations and cars coming on line in the breakneck-evolution-of-China produced twice the emissions of the entire continent of Australia.

Remember our aim to reduce our national output by 5% or so by 2020. Thanks to the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Fund, the Remote Indigenous Energy Program, the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program, the Living Greener program, the Regional Natural Resource Management Planning, the Light Vehicle CO2 Emissions Standards, the Household Assistance Package, and not to mention another 36 programs I could have listed as [...]

WARNING: Using a different computer could change the climate catastrophe

How bad are these global forecast models?

When the same model code with the same data is run in a different computing environment (hardware, operating system, compiler, libraries, optimizer), the results can differ significantly. So even if reviewers or critics obtained a climate model, they could not replicate the results without knowing exactly what computing environment the model was originally run in.

This raises that telling question: What kind of planet do we live on? Do we have a Intel Earth or an IBM one? It matters. They get different weather, apparently.

There is a chaotic element (or two) involved, and the famous random butterfly effect on the planet’s surface is also mirrored in the way the code is handled. There is a binary butterfly effect. But don’t for a moment think that this “mirroring” is useful: these are different butterflies, and two random events don’t produce order, they produce chaos squared.

How important are these numerical discrepancies? Obviously it undermines our confidence in climate models even further. We can never be sure how much of the rising temperature in a model forecasts might change if we moved to a different computer. (Though, since we already know the models [...]

Unthreaded Weekend

The real free market is making the fake carbon markets pointless

In a nutshell, this new study adds numbers and detail to a home truth that the grown ups in the room know already. Basically humans want cheap energy. The free market, powered by human creativity and mass demand, will always find ways to circumvent national policies that try to force people to use more expensive energy.

In the absence of a global ruler (Copenhagen anyone?), the only way to reduce fossil fuel use is to invent or discover a better energy source. Any other national policy is simply pushing rocks uphill, like poor old Sisyphus. Manufacturing will always move to countries where cheap energy is still available.

Researchers Andrew, Davis and Peters conclude that national climate and “carbon” policies are becoming less effective every year

Global trade in energy intensive goods is growing faster than global trade in carbon credits. So as some countries slow production and reduce their emissions, they are simply buying those goods instead from other countries. The energy is still used to make the goods, but it’s done in countries that have less regulation on carbon emissions.

The figure 1 graph below is one of the most information dense graphs around. It’s a story of global [...]

Let’s burn forests and millions of dollars! It’s another Nanny-State business “success”

7:30 Report, ABC

Nothing succeeds in flagrant waste quite like Big-Government.

Following in Soviet footsteps with gusto, politicians of all persuasions manage business failure on a grand scale. Did you miss yet another case-study on 7:30 report from last week (see the segment there)?

A mass of taxpayer-funded forests designed to make Australia self sufficient in plantation timber and paper are now being burned by land owners as the companies running the schemes collapse amid allegations of rorting, fraud and mismanagement.

The Howard government made plantations a tax deductable investment, and then the Rudd and Gillard governments made it even worse — broadening the rules in 2008 to include trees for “carbon sequestration” (which perversely could still be logged). Lo and behold, two and a half million acres of taxpayer funded forests were planted. What could possibly go wrong? Just a few things:

1. The bottom fell out of the timber market. There is no demand for the wood and the trees are not worth harvesting, so the forests are being burnt and the land reclaimed for other purposes.

2. Whole districts of farming communities were upended by the artificial boom and bust, as farmers sold their properties to [...]