Unlike the deniers in the Liberal party, I understand climate science well enough to know that we should give our only planet the benefit of the (very little) doubt. It’s time to act. But not with an ETS. I hope that the Liberals (== conservatives, for my US readers) defeat the ETS a.k.a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).
The heart of the problem is that the Emissions Trading Scheme doesn’t help to reduce pollution. Why? ETS Traders have no skin in the game – you don’t have to be a polluter or seller to participate. Why would those traders be interested in carbon reduction. Over time, the value of the market will go up due to speculation and moves by the traders, making it more expensive for the Australian Government to buy back emissions credits to reduce the total emissions pool, or even worse, short changing the folks who need to acquire those credits. The folks who buy these credits on the open market will need to pay more, and we pay double through increased taxation and higher bills for pretty much everything even if you’re doing the right thing.
The Coalition have introduced a bunch of get of jail free cards to the heaviest polluters to provide their denying colleagues some carrots.
- Coal fired power plants are largely exempt, despite emitting about 50% of Australia’s total CO2 emissions
- Heavy users of power have tax credits to help pay for their credits, often up to 90% of the value of them or even free in the case of aluminium producers. Where’s my 90% reduction in my electricity bill? This is corporate welfare at the worst
- Agriculture has a wide range of exemptions, despite many inefficient processes that could benefit from better alternatives. They also get money for carbon offsetting, so in reality, they can be paid for sequestration activities, but have no economic harm from releasing that captured carbon. Way to go to buy the rural vote, Rudd.
So no matter what I do to reduce my carbon footprint, it will have little impact, as the largest polluters can simply keep on going on doing exactly what they’re doing today. I – and all Australians, even if you’re off the grid, grow your own food and don’t drive or fly will end up paying for this dumb scheme.
The Government should not distort an entirely new unproven market. Let it distort the current market:
- Announce the Government will only buy electricity from renewable sources as of 2015 or so
- Announce no more coal fired power stations will be built and approve nuclear power stations
- Set power consumption targets for the heaviest power users in the average business and house (computers, lights, fridges, ovens, aircons, etc)
- Require standby to be < 0.1 W (or it’s off), and prohibit clocks on things that don’t need them (like microwaves, fridges, ovens and toasters) so they can turn off when not used
- Ban crappy computer PSUs and require 80-Plus only PSUs. Make rackable servers like Google’s – no PSU in the device, and the power supply is > 90% efficient.
- Ban non-LED downlights (also have a positive impact on # of house fires from cheap iron core transformers setting fire to insulation)
- Fund or provide serious rebates for solar hot water for everyone with an electric water heater.
- Fund or provide serious rebates for passive solar cooling for every home, rented or owned.
- Continue the serious rebates for solar panels, and extended it to rented and owned properties.
- Required states to tax the hell out of cars that chew more than 7.5 l/100km
- Only buy cars with average fuel consumption of less than 7.5 l/100km from now on – there’s hundreds of thousands of cars in the government car fleet
- Mandate employers allow telecommuting where possible. This would eliminate hundreds of thousands of wasteful trips every day, and free up freeways for freight and necessary journeys. I enjoy my ten second commute and I don’t have to start the car most days.
- Provide incentives to get road freight back onto rail
- … anything other than an ETS
Trading schemes (like NEMMCO) have a proven history of epic failure. In California, traders caused widespread blackouts and damage not to mentioned sky high electricity bills. There is no incentive for an ETS to reduce carbon pollution. The market relies upon carbon being emitted. It will fail, not reduce CO2 emissions as the largest polluters don’t have to participate properly, and cost us billions.
ETS == Epic fail with our future. Bring on a double dissolution election.