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Australia’s ETS scheme: Hunt’s denial of the obvious

* UPDATE: The draft “SafeGuard” legislation in early September, before Abbott was outed, shows that the scheme was due to start on July 1, 2016, as it is now. Was Abbott aware?     h/t MV

The SafeGuard legislation appears to be a shapeshiftin tool  — it can be a minor fine to hit a few companies ($1.8 million) that have increased their output, or it’s a trading scheme that covers half the Australian economy. It all depends on the “cap” that’s set.

Greg Hunt, in his own words, in 2014:

Mr Hunt declared …emissions trading “is never coming back in any form, potentially for the next two decades if the Coalition has its say.

No wonder Greg Hunt in 2016 denies that his ETS is an ETS:

Mr Hunt yesterday rejected claims a “secret” emissions trading scheme had been buried in the ­Coalition’s policies, which have been roundly criticised by environment groups as too little, too late. Mr Hunt said there were clear reasons why the Coalition “safeguards mechanisms” could not be considered a carbon trading scheme.

The clear reason it’s not an ETS?

“Our policy is not budgeted to raise a single dollar of revenu­e. By contrast, Labor’s carbon tax raised more than $15 billion in just two years. This was a major hit on the economy and increased electricity prices.” Mr Hunt said in a letter to The Australian.

Since when was a market defined by the tax revenue it pays? Hunt doesn’t know the difference between taxing and trading. Gillard also said she gave back the revenue when she implemented a carbon tax– it was “revenue neutral”, remember?

In a fake market, the government creates and controls the trading entirely: through arbitrary rules it decides who pays and who gets the revenue. An ETS is therefore a strange creature that is simultaneously both a tax and a trade — whether or not it raises “revenue” or is “revenue neutral”.

Hunt’s new creature is a payment forced by law, for no product or service other than not being stuck in jail — that makes it a tax. Some entities can pay their tax by trading fiat-credits with other entities — that makes it a trading scheme.

He [Hunt] said the Coalition’s safeguard mechanism provided for ­individual caps rather than an economy-wide cap as proposed by the ALP.

The Labor scheme applied to the whole economy, the Coalition scheme only applies to half of Australia’s emissions (half the economy). The difference is only in degree. Tricky Mr Hunt.

Mr Hunt said reports that emissions quotas for individual firms would decline from 2017 were incorrect, as were claims that firms would automatically be able to sell emissions permits they did not use.

If the  quotas won’t decline, why wasn’t that put that in the legislation? There’s a reason…

Hunt doesn’t seem to know what a market is:

“No credits will be generated outside the existing Emissions Reduction Fund crediting scheme.”

So it’s not a market if only 150 companies controlling half of our economy take part?

Here’s the Safeguard legislation in October 2015. The phrase Australian carbon credit unit appears only once in 71 (2).
No wonder so many people missed it. Tricky.


h/t MV, Malcolm R, Jim S.




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