Greenhouse response? Just ask the miners, bankers and power firms.

28 05 2007

This week will see the release of findings from Australia’s carbon emissions taskforce.

An appropriate time then to remind ourselves what the Sydney Morning Herald had to say about the PM’s self-appointed taskforce at its inception:

“THE Prime Minister, John Howard, has chosen miners, bankers and power industry representatives to advise him on a possible carbon emissions trading system……..”

“Mr Howard said the group’s “sole remit will be to tell us what the shape of a global emissions trading system might take“.

He said it would be “looked at against the background of preserving the natural advantages Australia has in areas like fossil fuels and uranium“.

The members include: Xstrata’s Peter Coates; the managing director of International Power, Tony Concannon; the director of Australian Pipeline Trust, Russell Higgins; the executive director of BHP Billiton, Chris Lynch; the chief of Alumina Limited, John Marlay; and National Australia Bank’s John Stewart.”

Despite the appalling lack of environmental, scientific and ecological expertise and representation on his taskforce the PM is making noises suggesting Australia will re-invent the wheel and implement its own domestic carbon trading scheme.  Yet another election year backflip – great stuff.

The real question will be targets of course.  Anything less than 60-90% reduction by 2050 is selling us short.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

9 responses

1 06 2007
Helen Deane

Well,…unfortunately selling us short is a massive understatement with the recent announcements made by Howard. But you know… I’m sure we and the rest of the world can afford to just sit around holding our (insert appropriate object here) for the next five years. Much better than spending a few extra bucks a year on our electricity bills which would naturally create an economic and social collapse of biblical proportions…yeah right! Howard is lying through his teeth on an even grander than usual scale! I guess, as expected, it is up to us as individuals to make the changes he won’t move on…(it makes me very cranky)

4 06 2007
Verdurous

Helen,

It’s just classic Howard isn’t it. Apearances rather than action. Will it fool the punters? Not sure. Just read he picked up a bit in the polls. AHHHHHH ! The IPCC says that to have a shot at avoiding dangerous climate change, emissions need to start dropping by 2015 at the latest. I read somewhere this plan MIGHT see emissions dropping by 2020. Stop the world, I wanna get off.

10 06 2007
Fleeced

60 – 90% is obscene, and totally unrealistic. It isn’t simply a case of putting the ecomomy ahead of the environment – the two are closely linked. History has shown that evironment actually improves with economic wellbeing. Poor countries are naturally concerned with survival above all else – and it’s vital for them to get out of their poverty before they can start improving other areas.

Also, there seems to be this misrepresentation of the conservative’s position on this as being interested in “making money now at the expense of future generations”. But economic growth is compounded yearly – just like bank interest. We presently have a trillion dollar economy. A reduction in GDP from 3% to 2.5% would, over 100 years, have a staggering effect on future generations. My back-of-the-envelope calculations (may need checking):

– 1 trillion dollars * 1.030^100 = 19.2 trillion
– 1 trillion dollars * 1.025^100 = 11.8 trillion

That’s almost half your grandchildren’s wealth squandered. That’s a real great legacy to leave them!

Even if the weather models are correct, many of the suggested options would only delay warming for 15 to 20 years – but future generations ability to handle this situation when it comes will be greatly reduced with only half the wealth!

What Rudd has proposed with a target of 60% reduction would require a much greater cut to growth that 0.5%. Of course, he has no intention of delivering on the promise – that’s why he puts the target so far out.

11 06 2007
Verdurous

Fleeced, thanks for joining the conversation.

My response and further comment are here:

http://fleeced.wordpress.com/2007/06/04/the-garrett-recession/

19 06 2007
Nada

My favourite thing about the economic argument is the premise that growth is unlimited. I’m yet to find anything to suggest that any organism or thing, naturally occurring or otherwise can keep getting bigger. Indefinitely. The human ego ????

It’s like cheap coal….cheap by what standard. Even classical economists admit that ‘waste’ should be included in the balance sheet but then again they want to make the carbon price cheap….unless of course it’s the price of diamonds.

24 06 2007
Magne Karlsen

I’ve been thinking about this for a quite a while now: most people seem to be “very concerned” about the environment. At the same time, it’s fair to say that doing something good in terms of the same environment requires government efforts which are going to have to be very unpopular with Jane and Joe Public. People want the politicians to do something about the state of the environment, but only so long as they aren’t personally affected. I collect evidence of this apparent fact every time I open a newspaper. People are good at thinking straight, but DOING … hell, that’s quite a different matter …

25 06 2007
Verdurous

Nada,
Growth is a sacred cow but growth in material consumption and depletion of the natural world is patently a dead end street. Neoclassical economics appears unable to deal sensibly with this problem. Fortunately there is a strong movement against this hyper-rational model of the world.

25 06 2007
Verdurous

Magne,
You’re right. For example, we demand climate change action but scream if the price of petrol goes up. The whole idea of carbon pricing is that it must be high enough to make us radically change what we buy. If it isn’t doing that, then it isn’t working. Price rises will hurt, but not nearly as much as ecosystem breakdown.
Just about all of us are driven by selfish needs in addition to the needs of society. This balance will need a radical reworking if we’re to leave future generations with a rich, flourishing Earth.

16 07 2007
Ode to Planet Earth | A Year in a Day

[…] as many personal actions and almost no political ones,…apart from lending my 2c on various blogs, taking part in polls and generally informing everyone I run into that the political policy being […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: