Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Climategate (Part II) A sequel as ugly as the original.

The conventional wisdom about blockbuster movie sequels is that the second acts are seldom as good as the originals. The exceptions, like The Godfather: Part II or The Empire Strikes Back, succeed because they build a bigger backstory and add dimensions to the original characters. The sudden release last week of another 5,000 emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of East Anglia University​—​ground zero of “Climategate I” in 2009​—​immediately raised the question of whether this would be one of those rare exceptions or Revenge of the Nerds II.

Before anyone had time to get very far into this vast archive, the climate campaigners were ready with their critical review: Nothing worth seeing here. Out of context! Cherry picking! “This is just trivia, it’s a diversion,” climate researcher Joel Smith told Politico. On the other side, Anthony Watts, proprietor of the invaluable WattsUpWithThat.com skeptic website, had the kind of memorable line fit for a movie poster. With a hat tip to the famous Seinfeld episode, Watts wrote: “They’re real, and they’re spectacular!” An extended review of this massive new cache will take months and could easily require a book-length treatment. But reading even a few dozen of the newly leaked emails makes clear that Watts and other longtime critics of the climate cabal are going to be vindicated.

Climategate I, the release of a few thousand emails and documents from the CRU in November 2009, revealed that the united-front clubbiness of the leading climate scientists was just a display for public consumption. The science of climate change was not “settled.” There was no consensus about the extent and causes of global warming; in their private emails, the scientists expressed serious doubts and disagreements on some major issues. In particular, the email exchanges showed that they were far from agreement about a key part of the global warming narrative​—​the famous “hockey stick” graph that purported to demonstrate that the last 30 years were the warmest of the last millennium and which made the “medieval warm period,” an especially problematic phenomenon for the climate campaign, simply go away. (See my “Scientists Behaving Badly,” The Weekly Standard, December 14, 2009.) Leading scientists in the inner circle expressed significant doubts and uncertainty about the hockey stick and several other global warming claims about which we are repeatedly told there exists an ironclad consensus among scientists. (Many of the new emails make this point even more powerfully.) On the merits, the 2009 emails showed that the case for certainty about climate change was grossly overstated.

More damning than the substantive disagreement was the attitude the CRU circle displayed toward dissenters, skeptics, and science journals that did not strictly adhere to the party line. Dissenting articles were blocked from publication or review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), requests for raw data were rebuffed, and Freedom of Information Act requests were stonewalled. National science panels were stacked, and qualified dissenters such as NASA prize-winner John Christy were tolerated as “token skeptics.” The CRU circle was in high dudgeon over the small handful of skeptics who insisted on looking over their shoulder, revealing the climate science community to be thin-skinned and in-secure about its enterprise​—​a sign that something is likely amiss. Even if there was no unequivocal “smoking gun” of fraud or wrongdoing, the glimpse deep inside the climate science community was devastating. As I wrote at the time (“In Denial,” March 15, 2010), Climategate did for the global warming controversy what the Pentagon Papers did for the Vietnam war 40 years ago: It changed the narrative decisively.

The new batch of emails, over 5,300 in all (compared with about 1,000 in the 2009 release), contains a number of fresh embarrassments and huge red flags for the same lovable bunch of insider scientists. It stars the same cast, starting with the Godfather of the CRU, Phil “hide the decline” Jones, and featuring Michael “hockey stick” Mann once again in his supporting role as the Fredo of climate science, blustering along despite the misgivings and doubts of many of his peers. Beyond the purely human element, the new cache offers ample confirmation of the rank politicization of climate science and rampant cronyism that ought to trouble even firm believers in catastrophic climate change.

In fact, the emails display candid glimpses of concern inside the CRU circle. Peter Thorne of NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration), who earned his Ph.D. in climate science at East Anglia in 2001, wrote Phil Jones in a 2005 message, “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.” An appeal to “context,” which the climate campaigners say is crucial to understanding why excerpts such as this one are unimportant, does quite the opposite, and only points to the problems the climate change campaigners have brought upon themselves by their tribalism.

This exchange between Thorne and Jones, along with numerous similar threads in the new cache, is concerned with what should and shouldn’t be included in a chapter of the IPCC’s 2007 fourth assessment report​—​a chapter for which Jones was the coordinating lead author along with another key Climategate figure, Kevin Trenberth. The complete chapter (if you’re keeping score at home, it’s Chapter 3 of Working Group I, “Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change”) lists 10 “lead authors” and 66 “contributing authors” in addition to Jones and Trenberth. One of Jones’s emails from 2004 displays how explicitly political the process of assembling the IPCC report is: “We have a very mixed bag of LAs [lead authors] in our chapter. Being the basic atmos obs. one, we’ve picked up number of people from developing countries so IPCC can claim good geographic representation. This has made our task harder as CLAs [contributing lead authors] as we are working with about 50% good people who can write reasonable assessments and 50% who probably can’t.”

The final chapter was amended along lines Thorne recommended, but several other objections and contrary observations (one in particular from Roger Pielke Jr. about extreme weather events that has been subsequently vindicated) were scornfully dismissed. And appeals to context avoid the question: Is this “science-by-committee” a sensible way to sort out contentious scientific issues that hold immense public policy implications? Perhaps a politicized, semi-chaotic process like the IPCC is unavoidable in a subject as wide-ranging and complex as climate change; future historians of science can debate the issue. But the high stakes involved ought to compel a maximum of open debate and transparency. Instead, the IPCC process places a premium on gatekeepers and arbiters who control what goes in and what doesn’t, and it is exactly in its exercise of the gatekeeping function that the CRU circle has shredded its credibility and trustworthiness.

One thing that emerges from the new emails is that, while a large number of scientists are working on separate, detailed nodes of climate-related issues (the reason for dozens of authors for every IPCC report chapter), the circle of scientists who control the syntheses that go into IPCC reports and the national climate reports that the U.S. and other governments occasionally produce is quite small and partial to particular outcomes of these periodic assessments. The way the process works in practice casts a shadow over one of the favorite claims of the climate campaign​—​namely, that there exists a firm “consensus” about catastrophic future warming among thousands of scientists. This so-called consensus reflects only the views of a much smaller subset of gatekeepers.

Beyond additional bad news for the hockey stick graph, is there anything new in these emails about scientific aspects of the issue? This will take time to sort out, but I suspect anyone with the patience to go through the weeds of all 5,300 messages and cross check them against published results may well discover troubling new aspects of how climate modeling is done, and how weak the models still are on crucial points (such as cloud behavior). Some of the new emails frankly acknowledge such problems. There are arcane discussions about how to interpolate gaps in the data, how to harmonize different data sets, and how to resolve the frequent and often inconvenient (because contradictory) anomalies in modeling results. Definite examples of political influence have emerged already from a first pass over a sample of the massive cache.

In the editing process before the IPCC’s 2001 third assessment report, Timothy Carter of the Finnish Environmental Institute wrote in 2000 to three chapter authors with the observation, “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” In this case, decisions at the highest levels of what specific figures and conclusions were to appear in the short “summary for policy makers”​—​usually the only part of the IPCC’s multivolume reports that the media and politicians read​—​required changing what appeared in individual chapters, a case of the conclusions driving the findings in the detailed chapters instead of the other way around. This has been a frequent complaint of scientists participating in the IPCC process since the beginning, and the new emails show that even scientists within the “consensus” recognize the problem. Comments such as one from Jonathan Overpeck, writing in 2004 about how to summarize some ocean data in a half-page, reinforce the impression that politics drives the process: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.”

No amount of context can possibly exonerate the CRU gang from some of the damning expressions and contrivances that appear repeatedly in the new emails. More so than the 2009 batch, these emails make clear the close collaboration between the leading IPCC scientists and environmental advocacy groups, government agencies, and partisan journalists. There are repeated instances of scientists tipping their hand that they’ve thrown in their lot with the climate ideologues. If there were only a handful of such dubious messages, they might be explained away through “context,” or as conciliatory habits of expression. But they are so numerous that it doesn’t require an advanced degree in pattern recognition to make out that these emails constitute not just a “smoking gun” of scientific bias, but a belching howitzer. Throughout the emails numerous participants refer to “the cause,” “our cause,” and other nonscientific, value-laden terms to describe the implications of one dispute or another, while demonizing scientists who express even partial dissent about the subject, such as Judith Curry of Georgia Tech.

Since the beginning of the climate change story more than 20 years ago, it has been hard to sort out whether the IPCC represents the “best” science, or merely the findings most compatible with the politically driven climate policy agenda. Both sets of emails have lifted the lid on the insides of the process, and it isn’t pretty.

A good example of how the political-scientific complex works hand-in-glove to tightly control the results comes from May 2009, when the IPCC authors were working on a “weather generator,” which they hoped would produce climate change scenarios tailored to localities, so as to promote favored adaptive measures (sea walls, flood control, drought readiness, etc.).

This is a small but hugely controversial aspect of climate modeling, and one where politicians and advocacy groups (the World Wildlife Fund was especially keen to have this kind of work done) may well be asking scientists to do the impossible. But there’s research money in it, so scientists are only too happy to oblige. Kathryn Humphrey, a science adviser in Britain’s DEFRA (Department of Environment, Forestry, and Rural Affairs​—​Britain’s EPA) wrote a worried note to Phil Jones and several other scientists involved in the project about criticisms of the cloistered working group behind the weather generator scheme, noting, “Ministers have also raised questions about this so we will need to go back to them with some further advice.”

Jones tries to reassure Humphrey that he’s got the working group under control: “As I’ve said on numerous occasions, if the WG [working group] isn’t there, all the people that need [the weather generator] will go off and do their own thing.

This will mean that individual sectors and single studies will do a whole range of different things. This will make the uncertainties even larger!” What Jones is referring to are numerous independent scientific efforts to “downscale” climate models to predict local impacts, and the fact that the results of these separate efforts have been chaotic, rather than demonstrating consensus. Hence the need for someone in authority to marginalize uncertainties and contradictory results. But this is properly called politics, not science.

Read the Rest of this article

Monday, November 21, 2011

Independent MPs back mining tax

The Federal Government has secured the support of key independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie for its mining tax.

The independents have secured a $200 million program to examine environmental concerns over coal seam gas mining and an increase in the tax threshold from $50 million to $75 million for small companies.

But the passage of the bill is by no means assured.

The Greens, who have threatened to block the legislation if the tax threshold is increased, are insisting the foregone revenue of $20 million a year be made up by other means.

However the support of the independents is a big boost to Julia Gillard's Government, which is trying to get the tax through the Lower House before Parliament rises for the year on Thursday.

It has been buoyed by Labor Party-commissioned research showing 56 per cent of people do not think average Australians are benefiting from the resources boom.

The Government has agreed to a demand by Mr Wilkie to lift the tax threshold at which the tax will apply to $75 million from $50 million and phase in another increase to $125 million.

Mr Wilkie had expressed concerns about how the tax will affect small miners, a concern shared by Western Australian independent Tony Crook.

The Tasmanian MP says 20 to 30 companies will pay the tax when it reaches the $125 million threshold.

"That will go some way to making for a fairer tax for the small mining companies," he said.

"At the end of the day they are the companies that are going to become the big companies."

Mr Wilkie said he was unable to negotiate any change to the depreciation provisions, but accepted the Government had negotiated in good faith.

But Mr Crook says he will not be supporting the tax and argues the Government should consider amendments to protect small miners.

"Some companies may choose to put their projects on the backburner or not proceed at all," he said.

"This will have a massive detrimental affect. There should be every inducement to keep these mining companies going and keeping people employed."

Sticking points
One of Mr Windsor's key sticking points was a commitment that any decisions about coal seam gas projects are based on rigorous scientific evidence.

The Government has agreed to his request.

Greens leader Bob Brown says his party will not budge from its demand that any amendments deliver a revenue-neutral position.

He said it was now up the Government to "get creative" to fund community services that would suffer from the $20 million decrease.

"Twenty million is 200 or 300 nurses or teachers sacked off the payroll. Andrew Wilkie might explain that to the nurses at the Royal Hobart or the teachers at Ogilvie High," Senator Brown told reporters.

"Giving a free $20 million back to the mining industry - and these are corporations turning in a profit of over $100 million a year - isn't something we are going to entertain.

"It's up to them to make this a revenue-neutral arrangement and it's part of a stand we're taking here for average Australians."

Internal friction
Earlier today, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott refused to respond to press reports that some in his party now favour the tax, despite the Coalition’s pledge to repeal the measure if it wins government.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted an unnamed Liberal MP as saying there is a growing view within the Coalition that the tax will be needed to fund the party's promises.

West Australian Liberal Mal Washer has already publicly supported the tax - but says he will not cross the floor to vote with the Government.

Asked twice about the rumblings within his own party, Mr Abbott this morning would only say "this is a bad tax from a bad government".

After the second question, Mr Abbott told reporters to change the subject.

"I've made it very clear what our position on the mining tax is - if there are other issues we want to deal with today, that's great."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Credits Trader: The impact of the carbon price overtakes Australians' main concern, Loan Market online survey reveals

CONSUMER worries about interest rates have been overtaken by concerns about the impact of the carbon orice and utility costs on household finances.

An online survey conducted by mortgage provider Loan Market shows 39 per cent of respondents nominated the carbon tax as their biggest financial concern for 2012, while 30 per cent nominated utility costs.

Of the 484 respondents, 21 per cent said interest rates would have a negative impact, while just 10 per cent said fuel prices.

What costs are hitting you the hardest? Take our Cost of Living survey below.

"Even though it does not come in until July 1 next year, the majority of our respondents cite the carbon tax as their biggest financial concern for 2012,'' Loan Market chief operating officer Dean Rushton said today.

The survey also found Gen-Yers were more concerned about the carbon price, with 51 per cent of respondents in that age group saying it would have the greatest negative impact on their finances.

But consumers were less concerned by interest rate rises, after the Reserve Bank of Australia in November cut the cash rate for the first time in more than two and half years.

"There is no doubt in that they will need to cut further to continue to shore up confidence in the current global environment,'' Mr Rushton said in a statement.

Credits Trader: The impact of the carbon price overtakes Australians' main concern, Loan Market online survey reveals

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Low-income Australian families 'battle energy bills'

LOW-income families are buckling under the strain of rising energy bills, a leading social welfare charity says.

Anglicare Sydney has recorded a sharp increase in the number of people seeking emergency aid to help meet household energy costs, which have risen 17.3 per cent since July.

Low-income families are under the highest pressure, Anglicare's director of advocacy Sue King said in a statement.

"Anglicare Sydney has given out $10,000 more in assistance for energy bills in the first quarter of this financial year compared with the same time last year,'' she continued.

"The increase in the amount of energy assistance distributed directly relates to the increase in electricity prices.''

It comes as the NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman confirmed many customers are now facing financial hardship because of rising energy bills, with a steady stream of complaints about large arrears and disconnections.

Ombudsman Clare Petre revealed there had been an eight per cent increase in complaints from customers facing disconnection during the last financial year.

There was an 18 per cent increase from customers who had been disconnected due to financial hardship.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/money/cost-of-living/low-income-australian-families-battle-energy-bills/story-fnagkbpv-1226196732635#ixzz1d1vhMVWH

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Carbon Tax Opposition Grows: Newspoll

There is growing opposition to the carbon tax after the House of Representatives passed bills for the scheme, a Newspoll has found.

Opposition to the tax has jumped six percentage points to 59 per cent, the poll commissioned by The Australian has found.

Support for the tax has fallen four points to 32 per cent.

But it's not all bad news for Labor, with the poll showing there was a four-point drop in the Coalition's primary vote to 45 per cent, the lowest since May this year.

The Greens climbed back to a record 15 per cent primary vote support, rising three points.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard's personal satisfaction with voters rose three percentage points to 31 per cent.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's rating was down from 36 per cent to 34 per cent.

However, Mr Abbott still maintained the lead as preferred prime minister at 39 per cent compared with Ms Gillard's 36 per cent.

Newspoll chief Martin O'Shannessy said Labor's primary vote was stuck on 29 per cent, unchanged from two weeks ago while the Coalition's loss of support had mostly gone to the Greens.

Ms Gillard might take heart from the improvement in her approval rating, he said.

But continuing opposition to the carbon tax made it hard to accept the government's view that the passage of its legislation through Parliament would improve Labor's position.

"We have been tracking this now for a while. Back in April-May it was 60, in July 59," Mr O'Shannessy told ABC Radio.

The latest Newspoll has opposition to the carbon tax still at 59 per cent.

Parliamentary secretary Kate Lundy believes commonsense will prevail on the carbon tax.

"This policy is embedded in good science," she told Sky News.

"I think the opposition is starting to be exposed in the lack of sincerity in their fear campaign."

People were starting to question the opposition's motivation, knowing it was about "dirty politics" not policy.

Opposition frontbencher George Brandis said the Coalition was "very, very happy" about the latest Newspoll.

"For the Labor Party to find comfort from the fact they're only 16 [percentage points] behind the Coalition on the primary vote ... just goes to show how desperate the Labor Party's situation has become," he said.

Senator Brandis rejected any suggestion the Coalition was playing politics over the carbon tax.

"We simply think it is a stupid idea and, by a majority to two to one, so do the Australian people."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Credits Trader: Many Would Back Repealing Carbon Price

Half the country supports Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's stance that he would overturn the carbon pricing scheme should the coalition with the next election, a news survey shows.

The weekly online Essential Research survey released on Monday shows the prospect of a coalition election win remains clear cut, with only a minor increase in support for Labor recorded in the latest week.

Credits Trader: Many Would Back Repealing Carbon Price

Qld Taxpayers Warned about Carbon Tax

Queensland taxpayers will pay the price for state-owned power generators being devalued by the federal carbon tax, a Senate committee has been warned.

A committee scrutinising the proposed federal tax sat in Brisbane on Monday, where Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche argued Australia should not adopt a tax ahead of its international competitors.

The Bligh government has estimated the asset value of state-owned generators will decrease by around $1.7 billion.

Mr Roche said Queenslanders would likely have to prop up the generators after write-downs, although Premier Anna Bligh later told reporters that was a "furphy".

"In the case of government-owned generators, there's only one source of equity and it's the Queensland Treasury, it's the Queensland taxpayer," Mr Roche told the committee.

"Or other programs will be cut to fund the injection into the government-owned generators."

Mr Roche said the carbon tax was expected to comprise up to half of the operating costs of the state-owned generators.

But Labor senator Doug Cameron attacked the ACIL Tasman modelling Mr Roche quoted, saying it had proven unreliable.

The other potential impact on taxpayers was a predicted $1 billion loss in coal royalties to the Queensland government by 2020 due to the premature closure of mines, Mr Roche said.

"I would have thought that the Queensland government would see the risk for their single largest source of revenues outside of grants from the federal government," he said.

But Ms Bligh told reporters the industry had a "very strong future", with almost $60 billion worth of mining applications in the pipeline.

She said federal treasury modelling showed an expected 47 per cent growth by 2020 would only drop to a 45 per cent growth at worst.

"Let's be realistic here, the Queensland coal industry has taken some 40 years to get to where they are now and they expect to increase by almost 50 per cent in the next eight years," she said.

"I think the bigger question frankly is whether the industry itself, with or without changes in federal government regulations, is capable of that sort of expansion."

The committee heard Queensland Chamber of Commerce polling shows the tax will make 10 per cent of the state's small to medium-sized businesses unviable by raising power, transport and supply costs.

"Anybody with a power point, with an engine, with a gantry crane, a mig welder, will pay more for what they do," the chamber's David Goodwin said.

"Right across our economy we feel very, very exposed.

"We're not an economy which sits with a lot of head offices, sitting in buildings, working on computers.

"We are an economy which actually does stuff, and because of that we will be in the eye of the storm."

Senator Cameron ridiculed the chamber for relying on its own surveys rather than Queensland Treasury estimates, which predict strong growth after the recovery from summer's floods and cyclone.

"You're the Tony Abbott of the business community, you're the weathervane, are you?" he said.

Costs of Climate Tax 'Could Drive Farmers From the Land'

Carbon tax costs could push farmers off the land and raise the price of agricultural productivity, a Senate committee has been told.

Sitting in Brisbane, the Senate select committee on the scrutiny of new taxes heard that the Queensland government would forgo $1 billion in royalties in the coming decade because of the tax.

Queensland Farmers Federation chief executive Dan Galligan said the extra costs would put more pressure on farm profits, and called for industry-specific economic modelling.

"The analysis is too broad to give us a clear understanding of how many farmers this will affect to a point where they may well leave the industry," he said. "That may well happen for many farmers -- that loss in profit margins, associated with a number of other issues, will be enough reason for them to leave the farm."

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Under questioning from Labor senators, Mr Galligan acknowledged the government exemptions on agriculture emissions and fuel were helpful. He said the Coalition's direct-action plan to pay $10 a tonne of soil carbon abatement would be insufficient.

But he said the Gillard government's carbon reduction scheme could have the "perverse effect" of stalling farm productivity because improvements relied on power use, which would be more expensive under the carbon tax.

"The mitigation options under the carbon farming initiatives may in fact further constrain a farmer's ability to increase productivity, which would be their usual mechanism to fight against a reduction in margins," he said.

Also appearing before the Coalition-dominated committee, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said taxpayers could be forced to compensate the $1.7 billion asset writedown in state-owned coal-fired power generators.

He queried why the Bligh government had not highlighted an estimated $1bn in lost coal royalties between 2012 and 2021. "I would have thought the Queensland government would see the risk for their single largest source of revenue outside of grants from the federal government," he said.

But Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the coal industry had a "very strong future", with almost $60bn worth of mining applications in the pipeline.

Next week, the committee will visit the northern NSW town of Tamworth, in Tony Windsor's federal electorate, before moving to the Queensland coalmining centre of Bowen.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Credits Trader: Emotional PM Defends Carbon Tax Plan

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard became emotional today during an address to the National Press Club, on the Government's carbon tax plan. Ms Gillard's voice wavered as she talked about her nature of being a shy, reserved school girl. But she was unwavering in her answer to what she thought of the reporting of her Government's carbon pricing plan


Credits Trader: Emotional PM Defends Carbon Tax Plan

Credits Trader: Emotional PM Defends Carbon Tax Plan

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard became emotional today during an address to the National Press Club, on the Government's carbon tax plan. Ms Gillard's voice wavered as she talked about her nature of being a shy, reserved school girl. But she was unwavering in her answer to what she thought of the reporting of her Government's carbon pricing plan


Credits Trader: Emotional PM Defends Carbon Tax Plan

Carbon trading has its risks including fraud, warn experts

CARBON trading experts say there is potential for fraud in the global market, but checks and balances are improving.

Under the government's carbon pricing plan announced on Sunday, more than half of the emissions abatement to 2020 will come from companies buying it from overseas, at an estimated cost of $3 billion, with the remainder coming from Australian carbon farming and other initiatives.

A new body called the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) will determine companies' carbon price liabilities and operate the national register of emissions units, and work alongside the Climate Change Authority headed by former Reserve Bank chief Bernie Fraser.

Already more than 30 Australian-based brokers and companies, such as the Commonwealth Bank and Origin Energy Electricity, are registered with the CER.

But the fledgling global carbon trade has seen its share of fraud and corruption, with such problems as companies buying into non-existent forests or renewable energy projects that don't get off the ground.

The Australian Federal Police also will have a role in investigating allegations of fraud or corruption.

GreenCollar Group chief James Schultz, who advises companies on carbon trading, told AAP much had been learned in the past decade.

"Rigour is important," he said.

"One of the lessons is the need for the market to understand what they are buying.

"It takes a while to be sophisticated about what is a shonky product - like a tree plantation that doesn't exist - versus something that has been rigorously audited."

While the details of the Australian system were yet to be fully spelled out, he expected it would be consistent with "international norms".

"Audit is an essential part of the process. You need a national standard, which at the moment is the Kyoto protocol," Schultz says.

"The carbon farming initiative is another standard.

"Auditors say: 'Have you adhered to the standard, have you told us the truth?' And if all those things stack up then you now have a climate change benefit."

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, who opposes the system, says despite $382 million being spent on a new climate change bureaucracy there were bound to be rorts as $3 billion went overseas on abatement.

"(It's) like those dodgy emails you get from the West African coast, only your government will actually start replying to them with your nation's bank account details," he said.

Taxpayers' money would be "cast like confetti around the world".

But Treasurer Wayne Swan says Australian governance arrangements will be effective.

"We're setting up a whole series of arrangements in our Climate Change Authority to make sure that governance is first class and world class," he said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott earlier this month told an industry forum that a "dependable carbon cop" would be needed if the scheme was to have any credibility.

The Australian Federal Police has been examining the issue since an ETS was first raised as a serious proposal four years ago.

Former AFP chief Mick Keelty told a forum at that time that any carbon trading scheme had the potential to be undermined by "corruption or fraud".

In April 2010, AFP deputy commissioner for national security, Peter Drennan, said carbon trading "may in time provide opportunities for organised criminal syndicates to exploit new markets and engage in fraudulent activity".

An AFP spokesman told AAP this week the final design of the scheme's governance was still being developed by the climate change department.

"The AFP has commonwealth responsibilities in relation to the investigation of serious fraud in government programs and in addressing organised crime," the spokesman said.

"It is too early to speculate on any potential criminal risks or the size and impact of any obligations for the AFP.

"However, the AFP will work closely with the relevant agencies ... to address identified risks, enhance the scheme's overall integrity, and manage any law enforcement resourcing impacts."

GreenCollar chief Schultz said carbon trading was becoming like buying any other commodity, but some companies will find that investing in Australian-based abatement projects, such as forests and farms that cut their use of fertilisers, is better than looking overseas.

"Some product is cheaper than others and some has a higher or lower risk profile than others," he said.

"There is significant upside for companies that are able to invest directly into the primary market - companies that create credit, create the project itself as opposed to buying on the secondary market, which is cheaper but has a higher risk."

Schultz said the public could trust the auditing system as "these are the same people who tell you ships won't sink and planes won't fall out of the sky".

"The same level of audit is brought to this, and in fact it is more rigorous," he said.

The public concern was driven largely because in many cases "you are trading something that didn't happen", Schultz says.

"Most of what you are trading is an avoided emission. You are trading something that didn't happen, like stopping deforestation. It's not planting trees but has a great impact," he said.

"By not chopping down a forest that is however many millions of tonnes of CO2 that goes into the atmosphere and that compensates another activity."

Suffocating the Economy One Tax at a Time

If implemented, Julia Gillard's proposed carbon price starting at $23 per tonne will push us closer to economic stagnation.

If the Government wanted to make the 159 million tonnes saving in 2020 it seeks, it would not attempt to do this with a domestic tax. According to the Government's Securing a Clean Future report, half of the saved emissions are domestically derived.

If the price is $30 per tonne this will involve an annual cost of $2.385 billion incurred in overseas buying. The cost of achieving the emission reduction locally if the price is $30 per tonne is incurred on all the remaining emissions (336 million tonnes). That comes to $10.08 billion. This begs the question that since carbon dioxide is the same the world over why not buy all our emissions overseas? At $30 per tonne, 159 megatonnes of emissions costs $4.77 billion, which is far less costly than striving to do it with the mix of local ($10.08 billion) plus overseas ($2.385 billion) giving a total of $12.465 billion.

Even without a carbon tax, Australia's energy price regulator has reported an expected increase of 30 per cent in electricity prices over the next three years, largely due to higher 'poles and wires' costs. For New South Wales, the state's pricing tribunal has announced a 17 per cent electricity increase for next year, a third of which is for "green schemes".

Against this backdrop last month's Productivity Commission (PC) report, Carbon Emission Policies in Key Economies examined over 1,000 abatement reduction schemes across eight countries. These are overwhelmingly focused on electricity, and the PC converted them into carbon tax equivalents.

The PC's analysis illustrates that taxes are high and substantial abatement is taking place in the European Union (EU). In Germany and the UK carbon dioxide emission programs bring increases of 12-17 per cent in electricity prices (though the recent slump in the EU carbon price will reduce this considerably).

For Australia and New Zealand the emission control programs currently bring electricity price increases of 1-2 per cent, while in China, US, Japan and South Korea the effect is negligible. And Australia's main scheme, the 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target, is only just gearing up to cost levels that by 2020 will be perhaps tenfold those of today.

Australia's trading rivals are among the 170-odd other countries which the PC did not examine. In fact, exporters of fuel and raw materials in Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, India and the Middle East face negligible carbon abatement costs and already have tax advantages over Australia's exporters. Carbon taxes figured prominently in the Canadian Liberal Party's platform in that country's recent election and the party suffered its worst defeat in a century.

Although no country has a carbon tax, the PC's material demonstrates that cap-and-trade market mechanisms offer cheaper means of bringing about abatement than specified regulatory measures like renewable programs. Thus Germany's costs under the European Union's cap-and-trade carbon tax were about $20 per tonne of CO2 (for shifting from coal to gas) but costs under specific measures requiring wind and solar use on average $137 per tonne.

Australia's schemes involving feed-in tariffs for small scale renewable systems come at a CO2 price of up to $425 per tonne. Wind farms cost $37-69 per tonne.

The PC estimates that a carbon tax set at $9 per tonne could replace all existing Australian measures and notes that a tax is less inefficient than 'direct action' approaches favoured by the Opposition.

However, the current abatement measures requiring renewables are also direct action approaches and the Government wants these to be retained alongside a carbon tax. Moreover, it is negotiating for another direct action proposal, involving closure of Victoria's Hazelwood power station. That closure could reduce emissions by 3 per cent but only in the unlikely event that the station's output is not replaced by output from other fossil fuel sources.

The Productivity Commission estimated the cost of Australian emission reduction programs at $473-694 million in terms of total subsidy equivalent. But this excludes direct government subsidies. The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) provides an "A to Z" of (Commonwealth) Government initiatives. Ranging from Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies to the World Bank Clean Technology Fund, these comprise 93 separate programs. DCCEE put Australia's budget expenditures on abatement measures totalled $1.069 billion in 2009/10. The Government's package budgets for $4.2 billion in 2014/15 in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and other supports for green energy and conservation.

In addition to excluding direct budgetary spending in estimating Australia's carbon tax rate, the PC also does not count the effects of a range of standards. A previous commission report had put the annual costs of greenhouse abatement measures embodied in the national five/six-star building standards at $3 billion a year.

Clearly Australia outlays much more than the $473-694 million the PC used to estimate Australia's greenhouse abatement costs. Our expenditures are much higher than those of our competitors and the carbon tax would further increase the baggage we have to carry.

The outcome would be a spiralling down of our living standards relative to those of other resource rich countries.

But the carbon tax is only the latest blow. To restore the nation's competitiveness, a future Coalition government must both revoke any carbon tax that is introduced and purge the economy-killing measures that have been gathering moss over the past few years.

To start this ball rolling, the O'Farrell Government is calling for the repeal of the Commonwealth's 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target. And the Nationals Senator Ron Boswell has made similar moves in the Coalition party room by seeking to have support for the target reviewed by a policy committee.

With his 'direct action' approach Tony Abbott expects to achieve the Government 5 per cent reduction in emissions but at a lower cost than a carbon tax involves. That is implausibly optimistic. But more significantly he has announced a review of policies for 2015, an action which foreshadows an unwinding of the green juggernaut.

Alan Moran is the Director, Deregulation at the Institute of Public Affairs.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Carbon tax: Heat rises as voters reject Julia Gillard's plan

ANGRY Australians have vowed to vote Julia Gillard from office at the next election after yesterday's controversial carbon tax announcement.

Scores of voters rejected the plan soon after details of the $24.5 billion package to tackle climate change were revealed, with more than 80 per cent who voted in a national News Limited online poll saying Australia shouldn't have a carbon tax.

Almost 100,000 people voted across four polls in the national plebiscite by 5pm yesterday, with 87.1 per cent saying they planned to change their vote at the next election in light of the tax.

More than 70 per cent of voters, or 15,866 people, said they now planned to vote for the Coalition at the next election while just 8.51 per cent said they would support a Labor government.

Just 13 per cent of voters said they wouldn't change their vote at the next election.

Despite government claims that 90 per cent of Australians would receive compensation, and that 40 per cent of households would be overcompensated, voters said Julia Gillard had signer her fate at the polls.

"They're calling it 'Carbon Sunday' but I like to refer to today as 'Suicide Sunday' for a PM and three independents,'' one reader wrote.

"I cannot wait until the next election. The Labor Party the Greens and the Independants will answer to the Australian people for what they are inflicting upon us. Revenge is a dish best served cold,'' wrote another.

Eighty per cent of voters described the tax as "disgraceful'' while others said it was "inadequate''.

Just eight per cent of voters said they were confident it wouldn't affect their hip pocket.

An anti-carbon tax group said its website crashed after being overwhelmed with people trying to sign up to a campaign rejecting the tax.

The organisers of the site, no-carbon-tax.org, said the site crashed because of the "sheer numbers of people signing up.''

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Credits Trader: Alan Jones speaks to Lord Christopher Monckton about carbon tax and climate change.

Credits Trader: Alan Jones speaks to Lord Christopher Monckton about carbon tax and climate change.

Credits Trader: Lord Christopher Monckton interview with Adam Spencer

Credits Trader: Lord Christopher Monckton interview with Adam Spencer

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jobs at Risk From Carbon Tax: CSR Chief

The chief executive of CSR, one of the country’s largest building materials companies, has hit out at the federal government’s proposed carbon tax, saying it will not reduce world carbon emissions and would ultimately drive Australian manufacturing jobs offshore.

With the government set to announce details of the tax this weekend, Rob Sindel used his address to shareholders at CSR’s annual meeting in Melbourne to add to the chorus of business leaders in heavy industries critical of the tax.

He said trade-exposed industries must be given adequate assistance or a mass exodus of manufacturing jobs would result.

‘‘Our message to government is clear,’’ Mr Sindel said.

‘‘All trade-exposed industries must receive full transitional assistance until the rest of the world imposes a similar carbon cost.’’

Shares in carbon-intensive steel producers like BlueScope and OneSteel have rallied sharply in the past week over growing speculation they and other heavy polluters will be almost fully shielded from the carbon tax in the first few years through transitional assistance.

Mr Sindel said CSR’s glass and aluminium businesses was also likely to receive the highest level of transitional assistance but said the rate at which the assistance would be phased out was a critical factor.

‘‘The decay rate is the real sleeper in this,’’ he said.

If the assistance was phased out too quickly, Mr Sindel said 1 million manufacturing jobs, including 4000 from CSR, would be at risk.

‘‘We will fight to protect Australian industry and these jobs,’’ he said.

The country’s largest brickmaker, Brickworks has also made its stance clear against the tax, saying it will increase the cost of housing and spark an exodus of manufacturing jobs and foreign investment.

Mr Sindel said if the government was serious about carbon reduction, it would do more to increase energy efficiency in the building environment. Mr Sindel said buildings accounted for 30 per cent of the country’s energy consumption, of which 40 per cent was wasted.

The Gillard government's carbon tax is expected to start at $23 a tonne and be paid by 500 companies rather than almost 1000 liable under earlier estimates after it decided to remove fuel from the pricing scheme.


Carbon Trading Scheme: Andrew Wilkie Says Julia Gillard Must Improve Carbon Tax Sales Job to Regain Public Confidence

TASMANIAN independent Andrew Wilkie has told Julia Gillard to improve her carbon tax sales job amid plummeting public support for the measure.

As fellow crossbencher Rob Oakeshott played down the latest Newspoll - showing only 30 per cent support for the tax - Mr Wilkie said the government had to do something to restore public confidence in the measure.


Carbon Trading Scheme: Andrew Wilkie Says Julia Gillard Must Improve Carbon Tax Sales Job to Regain Public Confidence

Andrew Wilkie Says Julia Gillard Must Improve Carbon Tax Sales Job to Regain Public Confidence

TASMANIAN independent Andrew Wilkie has told Julia Gillard to improve her carbon tax sales job amid plummeting public support for the measure.

As fellow crossbencher Rob Oakeshott played down the latest Newspoll - showing only 30 per cent support for the tax - Mr Wilkie said the government had to do something to restore public confidence in the measure.

“Clearly the government does need to do a better job at selling a price on carbon if it is to regain the broad-based support it enjoyed last year,” he told The Australian Online.

Today's Newspoll survey reveals 78 per cent of Australians believe in climate change but 60 per cent oppose Labor's proposed carbon tax.

Mr Oakeshott urged voters to recognise the “economic opportunity and economic importance” of the carbon tax.

“No-one in this business is trying to do anyone any harm,” he said.

“We are trying to do public good in the long term and sometimes that requires some difficult decisions along the way. Everyone is trying to do a public good here.”

Mr Wilkie also offered conditional support for the tax.

“I continue to support a price on carbon so long as the settings are right,” he told The Australian Online.

“Most relevant to me is that Tasmania's overwhelming reliance on renewable energy, and capacity to lock up carbon through forestry, be properly factored into the settings being developed.”

The government will need the support of both MPs, plus independent Tony Windor and Green Adam Bandt, if its carbon tax is to get through the House of Representatives.

As the government seeks business support for the plan, Nationals Leader Warren Truss today accused it of leaving families and small businesses out in the cold.

Mr Truss said the Prime Minister's dinner invitation to big polluters at Kirribilli House tonight showed she was increasingly out of touch with the needs of everyday Australians.

“While Julia Gillard cosies up to the big end of town tonight, wining and dining big business to woo carbon tax support, small business and families are on the outside looking in,” he said.

“Ordinary Australians are already struggling with rising household costs and now they face the prospect of a double whammy from the carbon tax and looming interest rate rises.”

Responding to a Newspoll survey in The Australian yesterday, which showed Labor's primary vote at 33 per cent and her own satisfaction rating at a new low of 38 per cent, Ms Gillard conceded she had “a lot of hard work to do as Prime Minister”.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, whose satisfaction rose six percentage points to 42 per cent in the past month, said the poll was “field evidence” of people's carbon tax concerns.

“I think it's the good sense, the common sense, of the worker which is coming to the fore here,” Mr Abbott said.

The Prime Minister seized on Newspoll's finding that 78 per cent of respondents believed climate change was real.

“What today's poll shows - and I don't normally comment on polls - but I'll say this if you look at today's poll it shows clearly that Australians believe climate change is real,” Ms Gillard said in Sydney.

“That's a pretty big contrast with Mr Abbott, who has said in the past it is absolute crap.”

She said she understood major reform made people anxious, but the public would soon have better information upon which to judge the plan.

“In the middle of this year we will be able to give everyone full details of how the carbon pricing system will work,” she said.

“They will be able to sit at their kitchen table and work out all of the dollars and cents for them.”

Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said plummeting support for the carbon tax was “Labor's own handiwork”.

“The Australian people are smart,” he said.

“They look at a carbon tax and they say, yes, that means higher costs for me and everyday life. And the Australian people can see through the Labor Party. This is all of the Labor Party's making.”


Credits Trader: .Controversial climate sceptic Lord Monckton Set to Speak at National Press Club

CLIMATE sceptic Christopher Monckton has been offered a prime speaking slot at the National Press Club in Canberra on July 19, despite a spate of cancelled public appearances.

Lord Monckton - who recently accused Julia Gillard's climate adviser Ross Garnaut of “fascist” views - is set to debate the Australia's Institute's executive director, economist Richard Denniss.

Credits Trader: .Controversial climate sceptic Lord Monckton Set to Speak at National Press Club

Carbon Trading Scheme: Taxpayers Fund Focus Group Testing of Gillard Government's Carbon Price Campaign

TAXPAYERS are paying nearly $1 million for focus group testing of the Gillard government's carbon tax sales pitch.

The Australian Online has learned a major contract has been awarded to a Melbourne-based market research company to test the resonance of a planned “Clean Energy Future Campaign”.


Carbon Trading Scheme: Taxpayers Fund Focus Group Testing of Gillard Government's Carbon Price Campaign

Andrew Wilkie Sets out Conditions to Support Carbon Tax

JULIA Gillard can secure the final vote she needs to pass the carbon tax if she promises to protect a zinc mine in Hobart.

Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie last night met the Prime Minister to discuss his terms after she won support from the Greens and independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor for the package.

Mr Wilkie also wants to make Tasmania a renewable energy hub and guarantee compensation for low-income earners.

Should there be an election over carbon tax? Tell us below

Ms Gillard last night called premiers to postpone a planned meeting next week on health reform. It will allow her to go on a national tour to sell the carbon tax.

Government MPs and staff yesterday were briefed to be on a "war footing" for a major campaign after the package was unveiled on Sunday. The PM will make a televised address to the nation on Sunday night.

Ms Gillard said she would spend next week directly answering questions from the public.

"I will be wearing out my shoe leather, literally," she told Parliament.

Victorian Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer, from Higgins, challenged the PM to attend a town hall meeting in her electorate.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the PM was "running away from scrutiny" by refusing to announce it before Parliament began a five-week recess tomorrow.

He wrote to Ms Gillard and urged her to recall Parliament next week.

Liberal climate spokesman Greg Hunt said: "When it comes to cost of living, this will be Sunday bloody Sunday."


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Taxpayers Fund Focus Group Testing of Gillard Government's Carbon Price Campaign

TAXPAYERS are paying nearly $1 million for focus group testing of the Gillard government's carbon tax sales pitch.

The Australian Online has learned a major contract has been awarded to a Melbourne-based market research company to test the resonance of a planned “Clean Energy Future Campaign”.

A second contract has been awarded to an internet design company to develop a “Clean Energy Future Website”.

The contracts, worth $927,000 and $18,000, are expected to form part of a $12 million public information campaign.

Julia Gillard has admitted she faces an uphill battle to sell her carbon tax after she unveils details of the plan on Sunday.

The language of the contracts points to the likely theme of the government's campaign - a simple focus on a clean, green future with as little confusing detail as possible.

Read full story

Carbon Price Announcement on Sunday

AUSTRALIANS will learn how the proposed carbon tax will hit their back pockets when the federal government unveils its policy on pricing pollution on Sunday.

The announcement comes 136 days after Labor, the Australian Greens and two independent MPs first formed the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC) to investigate carbon pricing.

"This weekend the Gillard Government plans to announce a price on pollution as the central element of a comprehensive policy to tackle climate change, cut pollution and drive the transformation of the Australian economy to a clean energy future," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a statement on Monday.

"After hearing a report on the discussions of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, Cabinet agreed tonight that sufficient progress had been made to allow an announcement date to be set for Sunday 10 July 2011."

Ms Gillard said talks between MPCCC members during recent weeks had been fruitful.

The committee comprises Ms Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, Greens senators Bob Brown and Christine Milne, and independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.

"While there will be additional discussions with the MPCCC this week, followed by further Cabinet consideration, it is expected that the remaining details will be finalised in these discussions ahead of Sunday's announcement," Ms Gillard said.

The scheme will start with a fixed price on carbon emissions on July 1, 2012, followed by an emissions trading scheme with a flexible price and an emissions target starting three years later.

The news comes after Ms Gillard revealed on Sunday that the carbon tax would not be placed on fuel for cars and light industrial vehicles.

The prime minister said Mr Windsor had been influential in that development, which blunts Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's argument that a carbon tax would increase petrol prices for motorists.

But Mr Abbott and other coalition MPs questioned the government in parliament on whether trucks, buses and boats would be exempt from the carbon tax, and how long the exemption would exist.

The impending announcement of the carbon policy was a great relief, Ms Milne said.

"Now at least we are in a position to be able to go out there and deliver on what we said we'd deliver at the time we signed the agreement with the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, saying we would have a multi-party climate committee, that it would deliver a carbon price mechanism and that the emissions trading scheme would begin on July 1, 2012," Ms Milne said.

But the Greens senator would not reveal any details about the carbon price.

Ms Gillard said last week nine out of 10 households would receive tax cuts or rises in benefits, and the three million lowest paid households would be over-compensated for increases in their cost of living due to the carbon tax.

Opposition Environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the government's announcement of its carbon price policy at the start of the five week winter break from parliament was a "cynical move".

"It is deliberately running away from the parliament and it is deliberately running away from scrutiny," he told AAP.

Mr Hunt said the government would not give the full impact on the costs of living up to 2020 on Sunday.

"The only thing that matters is the full impact on electricity prices, gas prices, on grocery prices, on general cost of living between now and 2020 because each year, every year the carbon tax is going to go up and up and up."

Commenting before Ms Gillard's announcement, Mr Abbott said a coalition government would finance its $10.5 billion carbon emission reduction scheme from Budget savings and not from an imposed tax.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Credits Trader: No Carbon Apology Needed, says PM

JULIA Gillard has declined to apologise for her pre-election declaration that "there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead" and has warned that it may take "months and months and months" to convince voters on the merits of the policy.

Asked yesterday why she didn't just apologise, the Prime Minister said: "I've explained, of course, to the Australian people that I never meant to mislead anybody during the last election campaign about carbon pricing".

She told the ABC that carbon would be priced "through a path I didn't expect during the election campaign".


Credits Trader: No Carbon Apology Needed, says PM

Carbon tax relief to end at $150,000

JULIA Gillard has indicated that most families on incomes above $150,000 will miss out on compensation under the proposed carbon tax plan to be unveiled next month.

This comes as Tony Abbott today will promise tax cuts from a Coalition government when it scraps the carbon tax and accompanying compensation measures.

Ms Gillard has strongly defended the $150,000 figure, saying people earning that amount are not rich but ''they're a lot better off than the vast majority of Australian families''. She pointed out that the average household income was $68,000 and only one in 10 households earned more than $150,000.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has indicated carbon tax compensation will be cut-off at $150,000. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The Prime Minister, in comments to The Saturday Age, confirmed the compensation package would include income tax cuts and family payment increases, as well as increases in pensions and allowances.

''By providing tax cuts and increases in payments this way, we can take account of people's different family circumstances - whether they're on high or low incomes, whether they're bringing up kids or not,'' Ms Gillard said.

Mr Abbott's pledge of tax cuts is to counter the government's potentially damaging refrain that he will ''rip away'' people's compensation when he scraps the carbon tax.

By getting the promise out before the package is released, he aims to limit the government's ability to run a fear campaign on what people would lose under the Coalition. The opposition has said people won't need compensation if the carbon tax is gone.

In a speech to the Liberal federal council today, the Opposition Leader will say: ''At the next election, the Coalition will deliver tax cuts that are not just compensation. It will be a tax cut without a carbon tax. Our tax cuts will recognise the cost of living pressures that are hitting families and small business hard.

''Our tax cuts will be designed to restore people's hope, to reward harder work with higher pay.''

Mr Abbott will say voters will understand that a tax reduction to compensate for a tax increase, as planned by the government, ''is not a cut but a con''. He will say his tax cuts will be funded from ''prudent economies in government spending'' and ''policy-driven improvements in the productivity of our economy''.

Under the government's compensation package, the income threshold of $150,000 is not a precise cut-off point, but families earning more than that should not expect help for higher power bills and other costs flowing from a carbon tax.

The opposition criticised the budget for freezing the $150,000 income threshold on primary earners for eligibility for family tax benefit B, but this week allowed the legislation through Parliament.

Ms Gillard said that ''there are people in our community doing it much tougher'' than those on $150,000 and ''most of my attention is on looking after people who really need that extra bit of help''.

Pre-empting criticism about not providing compensation for those further up the income scale, Ms Gillard said: ''I want to make sure that ordinary working families can make a difference and help tackle climate change without having to make financial sacrifices along the way.

''It's people on lower incomes who spend the highest proportion of their income on energy. They are the people who most need financial help … That's why our assistance will be focused on pensioners, low-income earners and middle-income earners.''

Mr Abbott will say that his Coalition government would ''build on the Howard legacy of reducing personal income taxes for everyone and especially delivering a fair go for middle-income earners with children''.

Source http://www.smh.com.au

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Australia Releases Rules for CO2 Credits from Culling Camels

Killing camels to earn carbon credits might seem an extreme way to fight climate change, but the Australian government on Thursday issued detailed rules that will help investors do just that.

Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon, a carbon project developer, has developed the rules, or methodology, governing a strict camel culling programme that would also cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Like cows and sheep, camel digestive tracts produce large amounts of methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with adults producing about a tonne of methane a year.

With no natural predators, camels now number more than one million in Australia's desert centre and the population is growing quickly.

The methodology is one of many being developed under the government's Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), the country's first nationally regulated carbon offset programme that aims to reward farmers and investors for steps that cut greenhouse gas emissions on the land.

The government, which supports Northwest Carbon's 63-page methodology, released the rules for public consultation on Thursday.

Legislation for the Carbon Farming Initiative is being debated before parliament, and it is likely to be approved. The scheme is far less controversial than a separate carbon pricing programme the government is struggling to win support for.

Camels, introduced in the 19th century, have become a major pest in Australia. They trample large areas of vegetation, damage water holes and compete with native species for food.

Camel culling under the methodology could generate up to 18 million carbon credits, with more than 650,000 created per year during the initial three to five years, Northwest Carbon said in a statement on Thursday.

Cutting methane from landfills, better management of grassland burning and tree plantations are also approved methods under the CFI, in addition to feral animal management.

Once the CFI is running, polluters will be able to buy offsets from approved projects or they can be sold overseas. But the scheme is expected to start off slowly until parliament also passes the separate laws that put a national price on carbon emissions.
Agriculture can comprise a large portion of a country's greenhouse gas emissions. In Australia, it is about 15 percent, while in New Zealand dairy farming, sheep grazing and other activities generate about half the country's total, mostly methane from livestock. One cow can emit 1.5 tonnes of methane a year.

Credits Trader

Credits Trader

Monday, March 21, 2011

Silver Investment News by GaleForceSales: New Carbon and Mining Taxes to drive up Commodity Prices

Silver Investment News by GaleForceSales: New Carbon and Mining Taxes to drive up Commodity Prices

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Australia Going Green - progress towards a sustainable Australian Future: Gillard Unveils Carbon Price Details

Australia Going Green - progress towards a sustainable Australian Future: Gillard Unveils Carbon Price Details

People's revolt looms on Australian carbon tax, Tony Abbott predicts

TONY Abbott has predicted a "people's revolt" over Julia Gillard's proposed carbon tax, saying the measure is a breach of faith with the Australian people and an assault on their standard of living.

The Prime Minister today announced Australia would have a carbon tax for three to five years before the introduction of a full emissions trading scheme.

But this afternoon Mr Abbott moved to suspend question time in parliament to censure Ms Gillard, saying she had broken a pre-election promise.

The Opposition leader said that under a $26-a-tonne carbon price, power bills would jump $300 a year and petrol prices would rise 6.5c a litre.

He said voters had believed Ms Gillard when she promised before the election that she would not introduce a carbon tax.

"Today's announcement is an utter betrayal of the Australia people," Mr Abbott said.

"We will fight this tax every second of every minute of every day of every of very month.

"I think there will be a people's revolt against this carbon tax and I don't think it will every happen because the Australian public will be so revolted by this breach of faith."

In a 2010 election-eve interview with The Australian, Ms Gillard said she would not introduce a carbon tax.

"I don't rule out the possibility of legislating a carbon pollution reduction scheme, a market-based mechanism,'' she said then. "I rule out a carbon tax.''

Moving the censure motion, Mr Abbott asked whether it was the “real Julia” who made the pledge in the first place.

“Nothing is more fake than making a promise to the Australian people before the election and breaking it after the election,” Mr Abbott said.

Ms Gillard said Mr Abbott only wanted to “wreck”, comparing him unfavourably to former prime minister John Howard.

"He wanted to be remembered for the things he created, not the things he destroyed,'' the prime minister said.

She said Australia could not be left behind as the world moved to a low-carbon future.

A price will be put on carbon from July next year under a framework agreed with the Greens and key independents.

The carbon price will apply to the energy sector, transport, industrial emissions and waste. It will not hit the agricultural sector.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet today left the door open for fuel to be included in the cap-and-trade system.

"That is not a settled issue at this point in time, but it is an issue the committee will consider," he said.

Mr Combet said the committee would consider phasing in emissions trading for different sections of the economy.

A review one year before the end of the fixed price period would consider if there were any reasons to delay moving to a cap-and-trade scheme.

The starting carbon price, the length of the fixed period and assistance measures for affected individuals and firms are still to be determined.

The Prime Minister said Australia had to put a price on carbon because "history teaches us that the countries and economies that prosper are those that get in and shape and manage the change".

"I'm determined to price carbon," she told reporters. "The time is right and the time is now."

Ms Gillard predicted a tough fight ahead with Mr Abbott, saying he would wage a sustained fear campaign.

"Can I make it very clear that in the debate that will ensue I am not intending to take a backwards step," she said.

Ms Gillard made the announcement at Parliament House flanked by the Greens, Mr Combet and key independent MPs.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne said the deal would not have occurred without the party's input.

"It's happening because we have shared power in Australia," she said.

"Majority governments would not have delivered this outcome. It is because the Greens are in balance of power working with the other parties to deliver not only the aspiration but the process to achieve it."

A climate change committee - comprising the government, Greens and independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott - has held four meetings since it was set up in September last year.

Ms Gillard said the government's emissions reduction target was unaltered at 5 per cent by 2020.

She said the system would not remain a simple carbon tax, as it was "hard wired" to shift to an emissions trading system.

Crossbenchers Mr Windsor and Mr Oakeshott will be crucial in securing a parliamentary agreement on a carbon price.

Mr Oakeshott endorsed the framework, declaring "I would vote for this tomorrow".

Mr Windsor was more circumspect, saying his support was not guaranteed.

"Please don't construe from my presence here that I will be supporting anything," he said.

He said there was "a whole range of unanswered questions" still to be answered.

Both independents welcomed the exclusion of agriculture from the framework agreement.

Greenhouse Gases - Counter