Being the odd man on Climate Policy

Tony Walker has a piece in the AFR where he argues that Australia is the odd man on climate change policy in the G20.

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde drew attention this week to reputational issues involved in Australia stepping back from its role as a global leader in efforts to build a climate consensus, bearing in mind Labor’s own stumbling efforts in putting in place an emissions trading scheme. The scheme foundered when European carbon prices collapsed.* “Australia was pioneering in this field, and I would hope that it continues to be a pioneer,’’ said Lagarde.

This is not a matter of whether you believe the science of global warming or not, but of what prudential measures might be taken to lessen the risk to future generations of weather disturbances caused by anthropomorphic climatic change. Dealing with the problem is a risk management exercise. In essence, argument revolves around actuarial calculations about the risks of action versus inaction. This is separate from debating points about whether you’re a “warmist’’ or not a “warmist’’, a “denier’’ or not a “denier’’, a “sceptic’’ or not a “sceptic’’. We should all be sceptics, and that goes for the arguments being advanced by zealots advocating on either side.

Notwithstanding rhetoric and posturing the fact remains that Australia is not just the odd man out, but well ahead of Europe – as this 2012 graphic in Nature: Climate Change makes clear (ungated version here).

Australia - carbon tax

When you look at that graphic it becomes very clear why the price floor had to be abandoned and exactly how out of step Australia is compared to the Europeans – who talk a good talk, but don’t pay nearly as much tax per tonne of CO2e as we have been paying.

* To place that collapse in context, the data source for the graph is Bluenext.fr – that organisation itself collapsed in December 2012.

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30 Responses to Being the odd man on Climate Policy

  1. Demosthenes

    In essence, argument revolves around actuarial calculations about the risks of action versus inaction.

    Speaking of which, Bjorn Lomborg updated his calculation last month.

    After year 2070, global warming will become a net cost to the world

  2. MemoryVault

    After year 2070, global warming will become a net cost to the world

    What global warming?

  3. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    I do a bit of risk modelling.

    Their risk model is garbage.

  4. Michaelc58

    I also understood the EU carbon carbon was for the power industry, in Australia it is for the entire economy.

  5. boyfromtottenham

    Regarding the Ms Lagarde comment above, did anyone notice on Q&A the other day that she quietly prefaced her strident warmist remarks with a disclaimer that “this is my just personal opinion, but”? When is the MSM going to start reporting her comments about AGW matters by saying “A middle-aged French woman said…”, instead of implying or even stating that she is making these remarks as the head of the IMF (which surely has no remit to lecture foreign governments on AGW matters)?

  6. jumpnmcar

    What global warming?

    The same stuff that’s making our normally predictable rain so chaoticallyfullnessfull!!.
    And don’t argue wid me, take it up wid Tim ” $$$desalinate$$$ ” Flannery.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    Lord Stern found himself in a spot of bother this week when it was noticed he was unethically granting his own organisation taxpayers money.

    I mention Stern now because it was he who so tortured NPV calculation to make it look like mitigation would be more economic than adaptation. He had to lower the discount rate to 1.4% in order to manage that. No one ever uses a discount rate that low.

    And that assumes lurid effects from CO2. Empirical data since the Stern report shows that CO2 has much less effect than Stern assumed. If anyone attempted now to recalculate the same assessment the numbers would be clear – we should do nothing except perhaps a bit of R&D. But no one in the consensus has attempted to recalculate the economics. Why? Because the results would be inconvenient to the cause?

    That is just one reason why the excitable statements of the climate fraternity should be dismissed. The other reason is of course that CO2 is effectively harmless, since empirical measurement of ECS shows it to be well below 1 C/doubling. But even if it was above 1 C/doubling it would not be morally appropriate to charge ourselves even $1/t for CO2 when there is no economic justification to support such a tax.

  8. cynical1

    Pioneering alright.

    Pioneering suckers.

  9. Beertruk

    This is not a matter of whether you believe the science of global warming or not, but of what prudential measures might be taken to lessen the risk to future generations of weather disturbances caused by anthropomorphic climatic change.

    Just when you think you have heard it all. Now they are trying the ‘you may not believe in it, but don’t you think we should do something anyway?’ The Warmistas must be starting to run out of steam. We can only hope.

  10. Fred Lenin

    Socialist pioneering! Stealing more money from the Poorer People ,and subsidising the extravagant lifestyle of the alp Grubs ,also giving swags of our money to the public servants at the crooked untidy nayshunsL suppose they all went to Third Rate universities with fifth rate teachers so they stick together ,bit like the Mafia you know but without the honour system! honour ? Whats that said the alpgreens?

  11. wazsah

    The price for Certified Emission Reductions on the euro-carbon exchange is now E0.33 or ~AU50c per tonne of carbon. Compare the Gillard carbon tax of – what AU$24?
    Price chart here
    https://www.theice.com/marketdata/reports/ReportCenter.shtml#report/94
    Definition – Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs)
    https://www.theice.com/productguide/ProductSpec.shtml?specId=814666
    Quotation Euro (E) and Euro cent (c) per metric tonne.

  12. egg_

    After year 2070…

    Joe Public: Yawn.

  13. egg_

    Their risk model is garbage.

    How’s their risk modelling coming along for ‘teh Hole in teh Ozone Layer’?
    Are we all dead of melanoma yet?
    Interested minds must know!

  14. jupes

    We should all be sceptics, and that goes for the arguments being advanced by zealots advocating on either side.

    This sentence contains two nuggets of rolled gold bullshit.

    Firstly there are zealots on one side only. To argue that there are zealots on both sides suggests that there is a sensible middle ground. This is crap, either AGW is a fact or it is not. The failure of any climate predictions to eventuate shows quite clearly it is not.

    Secondly there is no such thing as a sceptical warmist and nor can there be. If they had a sceptical bone in their body they would know that AGW theory fails at it’s first prediction – that man made CO2 causes global temperature to rise. Man made CO2 has increased every year for the last 17 years. Global temperture hasn’t.

  15. egg_

    We should all be sceptics, and that goes for the arguments being advanced by zealots advocating on either side.

    This sentence contains two nuggets of rolled gold bullshit.

    Obviously an advocate for the ‘half pregnant’.

  16. Andrew

    Actuary sez: We spend $1tr globally every 3 years. This money could eradicate stuff that ACTUALLY kills people. The emission abatement from all this spending is zero – the system is specifically designed to transfer economic activity from Kyoto to non-Kyoto countries, with likely net increase in CO2s. My multi-variate analysis suggests I will never see temps rise 1C (or even 0.5C) from here, but if I do I only need to contemplate a future living in the climate of (gasp) Gosford instead of Sydney. Statistically, historical GW has produced no effect on rain, and even seen a decrease in storm activity.

    Alarmist models are thoroughly discredited.

    Mortality data favours heat over the much more dangerous cold.

    While we didn’t study plant growth in actuarial studies, my biologist friends tell me that everything is growing much faster at the more appropriate modern CO2 levels compared to the plant-killing, famine-inducing pre-industrial levels.

    No wonder educated people are more likely to appear on the skeptical side of the debate, and the alarmists likely to be 19yo students of the Yarts with no scientific or mathematical training . But if I really wanted to argument from authority, 1 word: Lindzen

  17. blogstrop

    Dealing with the problem is a risk management exercise.

    There’s no problem, so no deal.

  18. Baldrick

    What Ms. Lagarde fails to appreciate is that Australia’s role as a global leader in efforts to build a climate consensus was based on a lie.

    We were told by Gillard and Swan that there would be no carbon (dioxide) tax several times before an election and indeed only one person running for election out of 150 wanted a carbon (dioxide) tax, Greens Adam Bandt.

    Then we were told a few months after the election we would have a carbon (dioxide) tax, not because of any great will to save the planet but purely for political expediency.

    So any notion of building a climate consensus and Australia being a world leader is another lie!

  19. .

    International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde drew attention this week to reputational issues involved in Australia stepping back from its role as a global leader in efforts to build a climate consensus, bearing in mind Labor’s own stumbling efforts in putting in place an emissions trading scheme. The scheme foundered when European carbon prices collapsed.* “Australia was pioneering in this field, and I would hope that it continues to be a pioneer,’’ said Lagarde.

    I told you she was a spiv and I was mocked.

    She is a spiv, and a gutless spiv at that.

  20. cohenite

    Not only is she a gutless spiv she is a stupid gutless spiv. And a hypocrite. Like everyone else she breathes in air which has a CO2 concentration of 400 PPM and exhales air with a concentration of CO2 of about 5000PPM. The dumb bitch should hold her breath if she were genuine.

  21. egg_

    The dumb bitch should hold her breath if she were genuine.

    Schroedinger’s catwoman?

  22. ProEng

    The Europeans cheat because they exempt CO2 from burning of waste or recycled material in all incinerators to produce electricity or in processes. They also exempt all CO2 emissions for district heating.
    But then the whole European climate policy is politics with an aim for an appointed (ie not elected) European Parliament which they hope will dominate the world and particularly crush the financial power of North America.
    There is no science in climate policy. As an engineer with experience in heat transfer I know that CO2, at the present level or even double that, has no measurable effect on the atmosphere.
    Lagarde has no technical qualifications and appears not to have much economic competence. She is a political operator supported by European political masters in Germany, France, Spain and Belgium.

  23. handjive

    The United Nations estimates it would cost $30 billion a year to end world hunger.
    That sounds like a lot, but the world spent more than ten times that amount in 2012 on global warming mitigation, according to a recent Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) study.

    According to the UN, this amount would end world hunger for nearly 20 years.

  24. egg_

    There is no science in climate policy. As an engineer with experience in heat transfer I know that CO2, at the present level or even double that, has no measurable effect on the atmosphere.

    Glad to see some practical experience amongst al of the AGW waffle.
    Ice core data show CO2 decrease lags temp decrease even greater than CO2 increase lags temp increase, i.e. CO2 concentration is totally unrelated to temperature.

    Mars is a convenient test lab for the half-witted modellers.

  25. Andrew

    The Europeans cheat because they exempt CO2 from burning of waste or recycled material in all incinerators to produce electricity or in processes. They also exempt all CO2 emissions for district heating.

    LOL. They also cheated by using a 1990 starting point (coincidentally the point when they ran out of coal and their emissions dropped sharply). This was a con by them trying to destroy everyone else’s economy trying to match abatement that Europe HAD ALREADY INCURRED while the French, Spanish and Germans sold windmills and solar panels. The huge commissions trading carbon didn’t hurt either.

    Unfortunately the Clean Energy Future blew up in their collective faces in 2008-2014. The trillions spent on rubbish turned out to have some economic impact after all. And nobody else was stupid enough to tax their industry to death just to watch a new plant open in China the next day – except of course Gillard. Which wasn’t enough – when the US didn’t fall for the scam, the EU was doomed.

    The other thing they didn’t envisage (besides the utter contempt for a “global” ETS by the rest of the world) was that the temperature models would be so wildly overstated. Even if they considered that the temp would flatten after the Late 20th Century Warm Period, they had assumed that there would be falling emissions and they could take the credit for the next cold period. This is the carbonocrats’ absolute nightmare – being held to account for the $trillions wasted, and there being conclusive proof that no good came from any of that money.

    That’s why they are fighting so hard and dirty.

  26. AP

    Did she really say “anthropomorphic climate change”??? She really is a dumb socialist.

  27. nerblnob

    I have to laugh when I visit Australia and hear some local Greenie saying that Australia is “behind” the rest of the world on CO2 reduction etc . In fact Australia is way out in front on a dead-end road.

    I live in Europe and nobody , repeat, nobody, is looking to Australia for leadership and guidance except for a few social media activists desperately looking around for backup.

    Europe has de-industrialised over the last 30 years which naturally means fewer emissions. That’s why they find it so easy to promote policies that hurt countries with thriving extractive or heavy industries. The Asian countries turn up to various climate conferences hoping to see the Western countries make themselves even more uncompetitive. When challenged to do something themselves, they play the “developing country” card.

    Only Australia is naive enough to swallow the whole thing.

  28. brc

    I was reading an old top gear Australia magazine today. It is supposed to be a car magazine but is obviously produced by some inner city grippers, as they like to pepper it with tony Abbott jokes. It’s worth reading for the Jeremy clarkson column at any rate.

    Anyway, I was reading the column of one of the more odious writers, and he confessed that he had bought into the belief that the big electric car revolution was just around the corner, so he had plunked down $20k on shares in some battery company ( or maybe it was lithium mining-whatever). This was in 2009 or so when the first electric cars were trickling onto the market. Anyways, he wrote the column admitting he had lost most of his dough and admits to being a bit caught up in the hype. Made me smile, it did. Mitsubishi sold something like 5 of their electric cars last year. Or maybe it was none. Who cares.

    Multiply this loss by thousands – perhaps millions – of people across the globe and you start to understand just why the wheels have well and truly fallen off the global warming bandwagon. People really did start beleiving the hype and investing with bright eyes and bushy tails. Now they have lost real money, and are battling with regret and sheepishness. And they are the nes who voluntarily parted with the money. There are millions who had the money confiscated.

    And all the big-mouths in the UN cannot get people to unlearn the lessons the believers got by losing their cash and, in some case, their jobs.

    Who is going to stick their hand up for clean coal investment? For desal plants? For large scale solar? For another geodynamics? Nobody, that is who. Even wind farms, with a formerly squeaky clean image are having trouble getting built now that people realize what they are like. The deal is done and dusted and the entire thing is over. There will be another 5-10 years if conferences and pledges and idiocy but nothing will come of it all. You just cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

    The best part of all of this is that there are legions of people who stuck it out in the face of unrelenting hype and pressure and now get the rest of their lives to wag their finger and say: I told you do, but you wouldn’t listen.

  29. Squirrel

    “nerblnob

    #1200366, posted on February 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I have to laugh when I visit Australia and hear some local Greenie saying that Australia is “behind” the rest of the world on CO2 reduction etc . In fact Australia is way out in front on a dead-end road.

    I live in Europe and nobody , repeat, nobody, is looking to Australia for leadership and guidance except for a few social media activists desperately looking around for backup.

    Europe has de-industrialised over the last 30 years which naturally means fewer emissions. That’s why they find it so easy to promote policies that hurt countries with thriving extractive or heavy industries. The Asian countries turn up to various climate conferences hoping to see the Western countries make themselves even more uncompetitive. When challenged to do something themselves, they play the “developing country” card.

    Only Australia is naive enough to swallow the whole thing.”

    Beautifully put.

    Interesting how “…Australia stepping back from its role as a global leader in efforts to build a climate consensus….” makes us an “odd man out” – I suppose it is odd that we should seek to stray from our more typical behaviour of leading with our chin.

  30. Robert O.

    Since there doesn’t appear to be any valid mathematical significant relationship between levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures a “Carbon” Tax will achieve nought, apart from line the shyster’s pockets.

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