Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Australia finally gets a price on carbon

The minority government in Australia has delivered a reform that no "majority" government (Labor or Coalition) could or would deliver.   This is a good day for those who want some action on climate change rather than endless political bickering and even denial.

The impetus for the carbon price legislation has been provided by many over a long period.  There have been several "Walk against warming" events over the last decade which demonstrated public support for real action on climate change.

The Australian Climate Action Summit in 2009 called for Labor's fatally compromised CPRS to be ditched, and for investment to be directed towards 100% renewable energy.  Both these objectives have now been met:
  • The Greens opposed the CRPS and it was voted down.  
  • The Clean Energy Future package that has just been voted for is greatly superior to it, and includes significant funds for investing in clean energy.   
Here is an interesting quote from Crikey:

Pretty much all the innovations in the package are Greens ideas, the fundamental one being targets recommended by the Climate Change Authority and the big renewables funds with independent boards determining how the money should be spent. And the expanded Productivity Commission role in immediately reviewing compensation to emissions intensive trade-exposed industries. And the Australian Energy Market Operator will include scenario planning for 100% renewable energy. Four key advisers - Milne policy adviser Oliver Woldring, Bandt spinner Damien Lawson, powerful Bob Brown chief-of-staff Ben Oquist and Milne media adviser Tim Hollo - were at the centre of the negotiations.

This would not have happened but for the people in Melbourne who voted Green for Adam Bandt and for the Greens in the Senate in 2010.

And this would not have happened without broad public support and a long history of community pressure to steer us away from a fossil fuel-addicted economy towards a clean green renewable energy-based economy.  So lets celebrate!

But this is only one step.  The next one should be to immediately protect Australia's native forests from logging and allow them to restore their carbon stocks. This alone could reduce Australia’s emissions by 5%.

The benefits of a minority government will be further demonstrated when Labor's ridiculous, inhumane and very expensive legislation for offshore processing of asylum seekers will be voted down later this week.

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Grant said...

Yep it will be passed, and survive at least till the next election.
Not sure what will be achieved, taking into account:
1. Business will be passing all cost increases to the electorate.
2. Business will not invest large summs when the opposition has vowed to repeal legislation (already advised to Fed Gov).
3. The Fed Gov is going to compensate the electorate for any cost increases+.
4. Coal fired power generation cannot be shut down till replacement gas fired comes on line.
5. With the published payback period in Vic for a PV 1.5kw system being around 12 - 16 years, and about the same for a 3kw system (refer, people are not going to rush to install a PV system. In our section of the suburg (around 10 blocks of houses), I have counted 5 PV systems.
6. We buy around 900k new vehicles a year in Australia, which will increase as population increases, and there is not any viable alternative.
7. High volume public transport (trains which by the way need huge quantities of electricity) is nearly running to capacity and generally cannot be expanded (SE suburbs), just fiddled around the edges eg. larger capacity carriages, or stand up only.

Then when you add to the above that Australia's population is expected to near 36mil in the next 20-30 years, and all these additional people will be buying millions of, fridges, freezers, flat screen TVs, aircons, heaters, washing machines / dryers, ovens, motor vehicles, need huge quantities of lighting for new homes and suburb street lighting, I would suggest that our total emission output today will only be a small fraction of what we put out in 20-30 years.

Of course the Fed Gov will need to produce figures that show we have reduced our per capita emissions so will employ companies to do creative accounting but you can fool some people some of the time, but you cannot fool all people all the time.

Anyway let it roll on for a year or so, until the next election, as I can do with the extra money(Fed Gov compensation).

Grant said...

Sounds fine, but what is the contingency if the vast majority of the Australian Electorate :
1. Ignore the increased costs, and buy cheaper o/seas goods not impacted by flow on cost increases
2. Use up their disposable income to cover the increased costs for utilities, medical services, fuel, food, public transport etc, etc.

The Australian Electorate has stayed away in droves from Solar PV units, electric / hybrid cars, and with around 900,000 new vehicles being sold each year, 2 things you can be sure of,
a. Very dangerous to ride a bicycle (say 6 hail Mary's and tighten the helmet before you ride)
b. The public will get very agro with the Federal Gov for the cost increase flow ons.