Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Nelson nibbles away at a 2010 start on carbon trading

Brendan Nelson seeks to gain appeal by abandoning all principle. He has now reverted to the Howard position of not endorsing controls on carbon emissions before other large polluting countries (China, India, Russia) do so. Nelson warns of economic peril in ‘going ahead of the pack’. Nelson's warning is simply opportunism.

As the Garnaut Review suggested the climate change issue is ‘diabolical’. We don’t need to act on warming problems today - we can apparently delay until tomorrow so there are endless procrastination probabilities. In addition we need international co-operation, there is much uncertainty etc etc. It is just all too hard!

But the bottom line is that the probable costs of not taking action are huge and the costs of taking action are relatively low. The costs of constantly postponing are accumulating and this is making decisive actions more difficult and expensive.

The issue of carbon leakages has probably been exaggerated and leakage effects can be dealt with anyway by applying destination accounting in taxing carbon. This means exempting exported energy intensive outputs and placing tariffs on imports from countries that do not price carbon emissions correctly.

Update 1: It seems Penny Wong, the Australian Worker's Union and Labor's Michael Costa are all backpedalling on Garnaut's proposed 2010 startup date for carbon trading. It is a pathetic display and an indictment of that miserable branch of humanity comprising Australian politicians.

Update 2: Nelson continues to dig himself a deeper hole. He rejects the position of the Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull that Liberal Policy is for emissions trading to begin unconditionally in 2012.


Anonymous said...

Yep, the Libs made a big mistake in not going for Turnbull. Nelson and principle have only ever been distant acquaintances.

AS I've said elsewhere, I reckon there is a huge political void that neither party seems interested in filling - a socially and economically liberal party. Social conservatives, in particular, are greatly overrepresented in both parties.

Jacques Chester said...

The fun part is that Nelson probably imagines himself a master strategist for taking this approach.

Anonymous said...

Alas, why do people give so much importance to a small short term economic advantage?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely on all of those things. The Liberal party would be better off if they gave Nelson the boot, and the Labor party is becoming more disappointing by the day. I really can't see what the big deal is taking a few steps towards reducing emissions -- Australia has so few constraints compared to other countries (huge amounts of space, sunshine and wind) it just shows how useless our politicians are.

Anonymous said...

Harry you know full fucking well that this anti-CO2 deal is a totally baseless lie.

You know this because when I tried to shake you down for evidence not only did you not have any, you couldn't find any.

Therefore what disgraceful nonsense are you talking now?

Why come towards the end of your career as a fraud?

There you are signing idiotic petitions run by two idiots you know yourself to be beyond the pale.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear, the psychotic bird got through your filter.

Harry I still think the ALP is the lesser of two evils, just as you think the Libs are. But I have to agree - we have politicians who are too easily suckered by noisy vested interests.

The real worry is that I believe we get the government we deserve. It doesn't, therefore, reflect well on our fellow Australians.

Anonymous said...

Nelson is such a fool, he probably doesn't realise that it's not the trading of carbon permits that will create (a tiny bit of) pain, but the restrictions on carbon emissions.

So, just to please Brendan, no carbon trading until 2012. But restrictions on carbon emissions start in 2010.

Anonymous said...


What's your view on Garnaut now getting into the name calling routine by referring to Costa as a denier.

Garnaut should be sacked hard for that alone.

Since when did he become the science adviser to the government?

Anonymous said...

The cost of Australia taking action alone is that we go broke.

The result of Australia taking action alone is that it will make no difference.

Anonymous said...

What is this nonsense about Australia taking action "alone"?

All of Europe is taking action, si there's 300 million people for starters.

JC, Costa is a denier, and a bully to boot. Good on Garnaut for taking the fight to him. Costa must think Garnaut is some mild mannered academic. He was the ambassador to China in the 80s. You don't deal with the Chinese by being a shrinkig violet, and they are a good deal tougher than Michael bloody Costa.

Garnaut's also been Chairman of a bank and a minig company, so he has a few business smarts.

Anonymous said...


It's not Garnaut's role to get into an argument with a politician.

he ought to be fired for that.

Anonymous said...

that was me.

It doesn't matter what Costa said. Costa is a pol. Garnuat was paid to write a report, not get into scrapes with pols.

Anonymous said...

"The cost of Australia taking action alone is that we go broke."

Says's who? Neither Germany nor California have gone broke.

Anonymous said...

Logic tells us that we have to keep circling back to the initial assumptions.

Where is the evidence?