There is an enormous advertisement in The Australian today, surrounded by pictures of melting ice. It is signed by John Hewson, ex-patriate, Josh Gans, productivity guru, Saul Eslake, Glenn Withers from Universities Australia and assorted others giving us a five point plan entitled Supporting a Price on Carbon Pollution 2011. (Don’t get me started.)
The advertisement is sponsored by WWF-Australia (gosh, you couldn’t expect the concerned economists to reach into their own pockets, would you?)
There’s some great language there, characterised by that specificity so loved by the Ruddster. One example is technology neutral complementary measures may be necessary. Que? Are they supporting the RET or something else? Big fat subsidies to renewable energy? Who knows?
And then there is this sentence that doesn’t seem to make any sense: “Certainty on quantity targets can only be achieved by allowing the price to reach a level which is consistent with that target.” Is this saying a low fixed price won’t get you to the quantity targets you set?
Having prattled on about the need for the citizens of Australia to adjust their consumption to this new carbon constrained world, the authors support “compensating low income and vulnerable [are they different] households for higher costs of living”. Substitution but no income effects for that lot.
The thrust of their five points is ETS, but large up-front tax is OK. And no exemptions – transport in, agriculture in, everything in, actually. And get this all administered by something that resembles the RBA.
I guess for all other economists not on the list, we must be unconcerned.