Direct Action riding to rescue us from carbon emissions

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has just launched an Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper.  The reference group formulating it was co-chaired by Danny Price of Frontier Economics, who forged many of the bullets used by the lobbyists promoting carbon taxes, and David Green head of the wind farm lobby group, the Clean Energy Council.

In their (undated) letter of transmittal, the co-chairs say, “Climate change is an issue with potential to touch the lives of all Australians. We believe that it is important that the policy response is implemented in an efficient and effective way, which allows Australia’s climate change commitments to be met in ways which engage Australians and support sustainable economic growth.”

Rushing out a report hours prior to the ANZAC Day public holiday would lead some deluded cynics to think that there is something here that the government wants buried.  It is not clear what though.

Noting that Direct Action is the centrepiece of the government’s emission abatement policy, the Executive Summary loftily claims, “Our ability to build a strong Australia depends on our success in lowering business costs, improving competitiveness and protecting the environment for current and future generations.”

In spite of discarding the carbon tax and (presumably) emasculating the renewable rort, the government is still planning to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent of business-as-usual by 2020.  A budget of $1.5 billion is committed to this with a further $1 billion to be considered.  This is planned to be a very efficient use of funds.  It replaces:

  • some $10 billion a year in carbon taxes,
  • over $3 billion a year in direct budget support,
  • Jillian Broadbent’s $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (one of the Directors of which is Anna Skarbek, head of the ALP government funded lobby Climateworks and also on the Energy White Paper Panel)
  • And the (hopefully) to be repealed Renewable Energy Target which is on course to costing some $5 billion a year by 2020

The $1.5 to $2.5 billion fund will be used to buy out emissions from those sources best able to sell them most cheaply.  And it is said it will do so for only “Genuine emissions reductions  …  that make a real and additional contribution to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions”.

The White Paper says “The Emissions Reduction Fund is founded on a presumption of economic growth as a positive and inevitable good for Australia.” Phew!

It is barely conceivable that any such opportunities exist at the low cost one-off payment that $2.5 billion entails.  The budget means the 131 tonnes a year are to be bought at a one-off payment of $20 per tonne.  What a bargain when Treasury is talking of buying the emissions at over $70 per tonne per year by 2020 and The Treasury assisted Garnaut report had a price of $250 per year per tonne by 2050!

There is a safeguard provision that “will ensure that emissions reductions paid for by the Emissions Reduction Fund are not displaced by a significant rise in emissions elsewhere in the economy.”  If properly enforced that should ensure that no money is actually squandered in pursuit of this will o’ the wisp. But then again the outlays are to be overseen by a government agency that has a firm belief in the merits of unilateral emission reductions so this is likely over-optimistic.

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42 Responses to Direct Action riding to rescue us from carbon emissions

  1. Gab

    Environment Minister Greg Hunt has just launched an Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper. The reference group formulating it was co-chaired by Danny Price of Frontier Economics, who forged many of the bullets used by the lobbyists promoting carbon taxes, and David Green head of the wind farm lobby group, the Clean Energy Council.

    That’s like asking a skulk of foxes to formulate the best way to repair a henhouse.

  2. Andrew

    Let’s assume there are projects out there which would have a short economic payback and (as an accidental side effect) reduce emissions. I’m thinking things like a Council replacing flouro street lights with LED, to pay for themselves in lower electricity consumption over 3 years.

    The most economically effective (and least libertarian) way is to simply pass a law forcing them to do so – borrowing if necessary. Sort-of like when they had to force pensioners to put their money in 3% deeming accounts because the morons were holding it at 0% to avoid the 40% effective MRT.

    The next best is to have a programme to fund / buy into the exercise from a central pool of capital. With full cost recovery of the funds.

    Third best is to give them a grant to do it.

    Much further back in 4th place is the “free market” solution in which the economic rent is captured by the project sponsor (less of course all the carpetbaggers in the chain) by buying and selling “carbon credits.”

    And then comes the Green “solution” – don’t do Direct Action at all (except by a different name) and instead hand the money to windmill farms instead so they can send the $$$$ to China and produce no abatement at all.

  3. Greg James

    I still don’t understand why that soft-cock Warmist Greg Hunt is in charge of the LNP’s climate policy.

    Frankly, the fact that there is still even an LNP “policy” on climate pretty much says it all.

    We all know that it is a screaming scam and that the entire thing should be binned immediately, so why is the LNP continuing with this obscenity?

  4. steve

    @ Greg James – hear, hear

  5. Alfonso

    Sack the thumbsucking Hunt, he’s a straight up leftard social engineer.
    The Libs long ago admitted the CAGW MSM has them terrified to their genetic core, I’m finished with them.
    LDP or informal.

  6. tomix

    LDP or informal.

    = ALP gov’t in 2016.

  7. Alfonso

    So be it.
    You reward bad behaviour as the lesser of two evils you will never change the lesser.

  8. caveman

    So sick of this climate change shit. Ditto, Hunt is a friggin soft cocktail.

  9. caveman

    And sick of predictive text….cock

  10. Zaphod

    , so why is the LNP continuing with this obscenity?

    Rhetorical question?
    It’s one of Abbott’s “signature policies”. *We voted for it.

    Hunt on ABC now.

  11. Merilyn

    Agree with Greg James, he beat me to it. Greg Hunt is wrong as the LNP Minister for the Climate he has shown he is more inclined to agree with Labor/Greens when it comes to the crunch.

  12. Uh oh

    And global temperatures will decrease by how much?

  13. Ant

    Is Direct Action Y2K compliant?

  14. 2dogs

    The Libs are in the unfortunate position of having inherited the Kyoto Protocol (remember that?) commitments after Rudd sign Australia up for them. They can’t do a barefaced abandonment of them, so they arranged, initially, to replace the carbon tax with direction action.

    So, they repeal the carbon tax in July.

    They then honour their promise by introducing Direct Action. The senate votes it down.

    This vote down forms sufficient justification for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol under article 25.

    On being questioned over the matter, the Libs can simply say: “well, we tried to do something, but the ALP and Greens voted against us”.

  15. blogstrop

    On being questioned over the matter, the Libs can simply say: “well, we tried to do something, but the ALP and Greens voted against us”.

    OK, Dogs. Now can you recast that into a plan for shutting down the ABC?

  16. 2dogs

    * “Direct Action” in first paragraph and “article 27″ in fourth paragraph

  17. 2dogs

    For that, Blogstrop, they need to replace the board with right-wingers. Like Rudd did with the Australia Council on 28 June 2013.

    No breach of promise there, still fully funded.

    ABC24 becomes an around the clock Bolt Report. After that, the ALP and Greens will want it shut down.

  18. entropy

    I thought Kyoto ended in 2012. We were one of the few countries that met our target, as
    1. we stopped a lot of tree clearing;
    2. we weren’t the Euro-weenies economic target (i.e. the USA) which was the real purpose of Kyoto;
    3. Howard was smart; and
    4. we were so irrelevant to the Euro-weenies that when the protocol was adopted, they let us have a reduction target that actually allowed for an increase in emission of 5%.

  19. blogstrop

    I can’t believe that we’re reading this crap in The Australian. They’re right up Hunt’s …
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/greg-hunt-releases-climate-white-paper-but-cloud-hangs-over-emissions-safeguard/story-e6frg6xf-1226895227777
    A cloud hangs over the emissions safeguards aspect because not enough is being done about the “big polluters”?? WTF?

  20. blogstrop

    Just the board won’t do it, Dogs.

  21. Lawrie Ayres

    How is it that Hunt doesn’t get a Carter or Plimer on his advisory panel. The world knows now that CO2 has bugger all to do with AGW or “Climate Change”. Jensen should be taking him round the back of the boys toilet and belting some sense into the dummy.

  22. Uh oh

    I can’t believe that Abbott has forgotten the uproar the day before he defeated Turnbull for the leadership. In case it has slipped his memory, Tony we do not want to see one cent spent on carbon dioxide reduction and just like Malcolm Turnbull you will he consigned to history if you pursue it. Do not believe those who think they know better and stop wasting our money. Oh, and Greg Hunt; goodbye.

  23. Andrew

    LOL, even if we believed CO2 emissions were an issue, the money is so insignificant to make any difference even if what the Government’s intention on what will be spent on becomes a reality. The only cost effective way is Nuclear and everyone deep down knows this.

  24. James B

    This is fucking retarded. They have a great excuse to dump this fuck up of a policy: Palmer has announced he’ll block it. Yet they’re pushing ahead with it any way they can, showing that Greg Hunt, at least, is just another leftist greenie.

  25. Gab

    Palmer has announced he’ll block it.

    As I understand it, Palmer has announced he will block the carbon tax repeal unless Abbott gets rid of DA. Palmer could, instead, vote to repeal the carbon tax and also vote against Direct Action, but that would be too logical for Palmer.

  26. Helen

    I felt quite ill when I heard Hunt talking and being lectured by school marm abc personage, because if I was hearing him for the first time I would have thought he was a greeny lefty. He, like Turnbull is in the wrong party. Sort this, Tony, or you will be out on your ear, in spite if stopping the boats.

  27. .

    Tomix

    If you don’t like Alfonso’s tough “LDP or informal”, YOU have a duty – join the LNP, win preselection and go hard or go home in the election.

    I bid you good luck to rid the LNP of left wing greenies like Hunt.

  28. tomix

    Palmer wouldn’t have much credibility with dyed in the wool Liberal voters but his appeal to old school Labor voters could be a different story.

  29. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Heard the Head of Acoss in a full-on green rant on a Sky News discussion show tonight (young people really ‘get it’ re CO2 she tells us), holding the floor for more time than any of the other three participants. I thought her job was to worry about the disadvantaged, not to proselytse for the Greens (and the Libs ffs) wasting yet more tax money on thin air lunacy.

    Clive, honey, do us a favour. Stop them.

  30. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I am so sick of seeing perfectly good and scenic rolling pastures along the coastlines of Eastern Australia being turned into scrubby bushland again to satisfy CO2 fantasies and mendicant farmers accepting this degradation of their land in return for green dollars. It’s environmental vandalism.

  31. James B

    Palmer is right to threaten the Carbon Tax repeal. I want it gone as much as anyone, but Greg Hunt and his band of fuckups deserve a defeat if they insist on pushing through this fucking ludicrous Direct Action policy. It would be humiliation and they’d deserve it. Greg Hunt is a communist.

  32. 2dogs

    I thought Kyoto ended in 2012

    No, there is a whole new “commitment period” of 2013-2020 which Rudd signed us up for.

  33. Tel

    Palmer could, instead, vote to repeal the carbon tax and also vote against Direct Action, but that would be too logical for Palmer.

    I rather suspect that Abbott has enough brains to tie them into a single package and prevent the obvious cherry picking.

  34. Senile Old Guy

    In spite of discarding the carbon tax and (presumably) emasculating the renewable rort, the government is still planning to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent of business-as-usual by 2020. A budget of $1.5 billion is committed to this with a further $1 billion to be considered. This is planned to be a very efficient use of funds.

    Plainly ludicrous. In SIX years, we are somehow going to replace 20% of CO2 producing energy sources with what? Unicorn power? And despite population growth. Anyone who claims that seriously should be treated kindly but kept away from children and sharp objects.

    And there is no way that an expenditure of $2.5 billion on a non-problem can in any way be “efficient”.

  35. Tel

    In SIX years, we are somehow going to replace 20% of CO2 producing energy sources with what? Unicorn power?

    To me it seems two methods are apparent… nuclear power could easily do it, or just doctor the figures with “adjustments” the same way climate scientists doctor the temperature figures. After all, it’s not like anyone can go back and check where all those carbons went, too many of them.

  36. Senile Old Guy

    To me it seems two methods are apparent… nuclear power could easily do it…

    Quite true but politically impossible in this country.

  37. brc

    To me it seems two methods are apparent… nuclear power could easily do it, or just doctor the figures with “adjustments” the same way climate scientists doctor the temperature figures. After all, it’s not like anyone can go back and check where all those carbons went, too many of them.

    Even if you started today you wouldn’t have nuclear power online by 2020. There is zero chance of the energy mix changing substantially by 2020. That’s just 5.5 years away.

  38. Andrew

    And there is no way that an expenditure of $2.5 billion on a non-problem can in any way be “efficient”.

    That’s simply not true. It merely requires the abatement activity (intrinsically useless) to have $2.6bn of positive externalities. If they spent $2.5 bn making cars so efficient that we reduced emissions by 80Mt, our trade balance would improve massively.

    As for nothing being able to reduce emissions by 20%, what about USC?

  39. Adrian

    I thought we were facing a fiscal crisis?

  40. Ken N

    I would have thought that Abbott could have wriggled out of this promise by saying that in the light of new evidence – “the hiatus” – it is prudent to delay. Those who would be outraged aren’t going to vote coalition anyway.

  41. brennan

    Abbott seems to have gamed pretty well so far, and my own feeling is that all of this is part of a carefully managed scheme to get rid of the carbon and mining taxes as well as finding a way to not have to implement direct action without making it obvious they’re changing their minds. Gets rid of DA, but in a way that the Pieman can make political advantage out of.

  42. AndrewL

    Looking for you to become Free Energy Commissioner any day now, Alan. That was an heroic consumption of a turd sandwich. There has to be a plum Government job at the end of that meal.

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