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Feb 24, 2011

Gillard, Greens unveil fixed carbon price

The Greens' proposal to adopt an initial fixed carbon price from July 1, 2012 has been adopted by the government -- but not necessarily by the cross-benches.


The government and the Greens today unveiled the first concrete result from the cross-party “Climate Change Committee” process established following the 2010 election, a commitment to start carbon pricing via a fixed carbon price.

The agreement announced this morning proposes a process involving:

  • a carbon pricing scheme to start on July 1, 2012, based on an emissions trading scheme with a fixed price (as yet undecided) for permits;
  • an initial fixed carbon permit price for 3-5 years — possibly out to 2017;
  • fixed price period to be followed by a transition to a flexible price-based scheme with a price linked to international markets and a 2020 carbon reduction target;
  • the length of initial period to be established in coming months;
  • scheme “hard-wired” to move to a flexible price system but with a review of transition to cap-and-trade a year out from commencement, with the possibility the transition may be delayed depending on the outcome of the review;
  • agriculture omitted from the scheme; it will cover the stationary energy sector, transport sector, the industrial processes sector, fugitive emissions (other than from decommissioned coal mines) and emissions from non-legacy waste. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet noted that a phased approach may be adopted in relation to different sectors;
  • compensation yet to be determined but “the overall package should take appropriate account of impacts on the competitiveness of all Australian industries, and the principle of energy security recognised that the introduction of the carbon price should be accompanied by measures that are necessary for maintaining energy security.”

The framework has been agreed between the government and the Greens but other members of the Climate Change Committee, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, have only agreed to the release of framework to enable consultation.

This first, heavily caveated and detail-light announcement of a carbon price commitment reflects Labor’s decision late last year to abandon its pre-election recalcitrance on carbon pricing and participate in a process proposed by the Greens to break the Parliamentary deadlock on passing a carbon pricing scheme to start by  July 1, 2012, legislated after the Greens take the balance of power in the Senate on July 1. It represents a win for the Greens, who proposed an initial fixed price followed by a cap-and-trade scheme in 2010, and received the backing of Professor Ross Garnaut in doing so.

It also reflects a shift in thinking not merely within official circles but more widely that a fixed-price/carbon tax-type approach may be a simpler and more workable carbon abatement mechanism than a more complex cap-and-trade scheme until there is a robust international agreement for carbon trading. The Rudd government’s refusal to explain its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and sell the case for climate change action set the scene for a political shift against Labor on the issue, climaxing in the Rudd government abandoning the CPRS in May last year.

Windsor insisted he was not yet committed to the proposal, saying today’s announcement was only “the start” of further discussions.


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114 thoughts on “Gillard, Greens unveil fixed carbon price

  1. Peter Phelps

    LOL. Gillard must really hate Keneally.

  2. Dr Strangelove

    Applies to transport sector as well. Interesting – can already hear Abbott’s Army squealing about petrol prices now. zzz.

    A momentous day. Hooray!

  3. Astro

    Here we go again another Labor tax that will make Australia uncompetitive on global markets

  4. Jim Reiher

    Something very positive out of the minority government! If this does actually get through, then it will be a good encouragment that such a form of government can actually get things done. And things that just would not have been done if Labor or Liberal alone were ruling.

  5. S

    What happens if there is a big bushfire? Does carbon emission become more expensive?

  6. Roger Clifton

    It also needs a leakage clause: that imports pay carbon tax and exports get a rebate.

  7. paddy

    Let’s just hope, that in years to come, this morning’s press conference proves to be as important as it felt while watching it. The fact that the govt has finally *begun* to grasp the nettle of CC, is a bloody good start. Meanwhile, it will ensure a lively question time in parliament today. 🙂

  8. Astro

    Bob Brown is PM of Australia, and Gillard knows it.

  9. Jim Reiher

    Astro: there are some of us who actually wish it were true!

  10. Frank Campbell

    Mr Keane omits the intellectual banalities contained in Gillard’s statement today. He seeks to spare Crikey readers bouts of nausea, but I have no such qualms.

    Gillard justified her carbon tax thus: the pioneering countries of the industrial revolution jumped straight in. They seized the day. Billionaire Bill Gates didn’t say “I’ll wait 15 years and see if this computer thing takes off”- he seized the garage.

    Dishonest as well as banal. Seeking to rationalise a damaging, pointless tax with specious analogies. Get in on the ground floor, she says. But the lift’s going down, not up.

  11. Jimmy

    Astro – “another Labor tax that will make Australia uncompetitive on global markets” what are the others?

    “Bob Brown is PM of Australia, and Gillard knows it.” – when the Greens will hold the balance of power in the senate and a crucial vote in the lower house it makes perfect sense that the ALP negotiate with the Greens otherwise nothing would get done.

    Jim Reiher – “Something very positive out of the minority government!” – to me the minority govt seems to be working pretty well so far, Gillard is being pragmatic and the minor parties are being realisitc with their requests. By the end of the year the govt will have been able to get this through, plus the MRRT (which will probably be beefed up a bit by the greens) plus the flood levy and be well ahead in the polls as Abbott’s oppose everything approach will become irrelevant.

  12. Hogarth

    I love this bit…. “agriculture omitted from the scheme”.

    The only sector that actively sinks carbon, gets exempted so they cannot paid for the carbon they store.


  13. Apathy

    Astro – can you please provide details of previous Labor (or Liberal for that matter) taxes that has made us uncompetitive in world markets. From where I stand, Australia seems to be competing on world markets quite nicely. It is not a personal attack, just wanting you to back up that statement with hard evidence. So many times in the past, vested interest groups have destroyed any meaningful debate we had with blanket statements of “Makes us uncompetitive” “Cost Jobs” “Bad for the Economy” etc. They said it about the FBT, CGT, tariff reduction, Native Title, Waterfront Reform, GST, even Gun Control was allegedly going to cost Australia export dollars. As history has shown, none of their dooms day predictions have come true. I’m happy to be convinced if you can back it up with independently verifiable data, not just political rhetoric.

  14. Astro

    One person stood for a Carbon Tax in the House of Reps at the 2010 election and was elected. Gillard the day before election, said she would not introduce a carbon tax. Either Gillard was not telling the truth or other forces are at play.

  15. Barry 09

    Apathy , you want Astro to back up that statement with FACTS ???? Astro don’t do facts. Just look at when he was a “Telstra Worker ” and bagged the NBN with his “Liberal Talking points ”
    Hogarth – GO back and read the article , they are removed from PAYING the Carbon Price , BUT will be able to make money from this and their land.

  16. Jimmy

    Hogarth – “The only sector that actively sinks carbon” While agriculture has the ability to sink carbon (the success of which is still being debated) it would require a shift from current farming practices and belching from cows and sheep is a massive source of emmissions, I don’t think you will see to many farmers complaining about the exemption.

    Astro – “Either Gillard was not telling the truth or other forces are at play.” – Not sure if you have noticed but the ALP does not have a majority in either house, so Gillard can either keep her word that there will be no carbon tax and achieve nothing or keep her word that there will be action on climate change and achieve something. I think it will only be the climate change deniers who will be upset with the current path.

  17. Astro

    Hi Barry09

    Its is facts mate, turn on ABC1 and hear it for yourself. She ruled out a Carbon Tax on August 20, 2010

  18. Barry 09

    Go the Julie and Bob show.

  19. Jimmy

    Astro – We are asking for facts on the other economy crippling taxes you referred to not Gillards promise!!

  20. Hogarth


    ” While agriculture has the ability to sink carbon (the success of which is still being debated) ”

    There is no debate. Pastures and cereal crops sink huge amounts of carbon. A modern rye grass can grow 1 mile of roots in 24 hours during peak growing periods.

    Most horticulturists and crop farmers in Australia are moving to a “terra preta” model for soil composition.

    I can see the ALP’s logic in removing it, no one gets a carrot… just big sticks to the back of the head.

  21. Captain Planet

    The most important news story of 2011, and possibly this century.

    Astro, Bob Brown isn’t PM of Australia yet, but there is still a chance that he, or his Greens successor, one day will be. The sooner the better.

    Roger Clifton, very good point.

  22. Astro


    The Mining Tax – a wildcat tax to fix a budget hole – causing uncertainly regarding Australia and our stability and certainty.

    The Flood Tax – using a National disaster to grab more tax, when we should have been funding reconstuction from other savings and means. They was no Cyclone tax.

    The Gun Buyback tax and others like it on both sides also fall into the same category.

    There is too much waste in Australia. State Governments are a waste as well.

  23. Barry 09

    Astro , how come you didn’t whine about Howard’s GREAT BIG TAX the GST or the 6 levies he slugged us with ?? Remember the -Gun Levy
    Stevedoring Levy
    East Timor Levy
    Milk Levy (11 cents a litre )
    Sugar Levy (3 cents a kilo )
    Ansett Levy
    and the Bail out of Howard’s Brother’s company levy.
    Astro , BOB has spoken. We will catch up to the rest of the world some day .

  24. Dr Strangelove


    Bushfires would only be included if LULUCF were included in the accounting framework, which at this stage it is not.

    That whole area of emissions reductions/expansions is pretty hard to accurately determine and very easy to fudge the numbers – hence Howard wanting to include it in the kyoto protocol… Australia met its targets when Beattie pulled out of land clearing: VOILA!

  25. Jimmy

    Hogarth – “Most horticulturists and crop farmers in Australia are moving to a “terra preta” model for soil composition.
    I can see the ALP’s logic in removing it, no one gets a carrot… just big sticks to the back of the head.” As I said it will require a change in current farming practises and as Barry 09 said they will be able to get the carrot they just don’t get the stick.

    Astro – The Flood tax raising $1.8b in a $1 trillion economy for one year only and aimed largley at the wealthy is going to make us uncompetitive?! Every economist I have heard has said it will make almost no difference do you have some evidence to back you up or are we just to take your word?
    The mining tax – this will have very little impact on investment in the miinng industry and will fund a tax reduction for other companies and provide funds for infrastructure spending are you sure this will make us uncompetitive or are you just going on what Tony said!!

    The Gun buyback – so now a howard govt tax is a Labor tax or did you just run out of examples

  26. Captain Planet

    The omission of Agriculture from the scheme is a huge mistake, and Australia’s primary producers and rural towns are going to miss out on very significant investment and job creation as a result. There is an opportunity to revitalise many of our declining rural areas, going begging.

  27. Kevin Herbert

    flip flop flip flop…the sound of Labor climate change policy developments.

    Who can believe anything these incompetent bastards decide.

  28. Scott

    Look, its only the release of a mission statement at this stage but still nice to get something off the ground that isn’t too adverse to any of the stakeholders.
    The devil will be in the detail as it always is, and this statement is as vanilla as it can be. I’m just glad that there are some pro-business and pro-investment principles in there however and just hope that the Government/Greens don’t over reach in their pricing of carbon and/or industry subsidies.

  29. Jimmy

    Captian Planet – Here is an extract from the agreement

    “Another important matter to be determined is how to maintain and enhance the carbon carrying capacity of the landscape, which would have important sustainability and biodiversity conservation co-benefits. Land use and water issues are also important. Options
    to provide economic value to activities which store or reduce carbon in the land sector could potentially include the use of Kyoto-compliant credits in the carbon price mechanism or alternative funding arrangements for the land sector.”

    Unless I am reading this wrong to me it seems to say that agricultural activities that store or reduce Carbon probably will get some economic value.

  30. Liz45

    @ASTRO – I have a SMH article prior to the ’98?Election, where are 16 months Costello answered a question from Simon Crean re Costello’s pledge to know introduce any new taxes or increase charges etc. There was a total of (from memory) 30. Some were new taxes, others were increases in charges already in place. Where were you then? Howard was the biggest ‘taxer’ ever!

    Very selective in your opposition to taxes aren’t you? BHP Billiton has just announced, what $5 Billion in profits and that’s just for 6 months? Why shouldn’t they pay a super tax on their super profits? If workers get a pay increase, they pay more tax? Why shouldn’t the billionaires pay more on huge profits of OUR resources? They cried poor, bellyached and belched over it – spent millions on a lying crusade, and Gillard ‘took to the hills’?

  31. jimD


    The reason agriculture is omitted from the scheme is that many farmers would pay very significant amounts for their carbon emissions, before any method for compensating those who are effectively sequestering carbon exists. Including agriculture in the scheme under these circumstances would have been a political nightmare. I suggest that if farmers see your proposal to include them now, they might ask you quite impolitely to refrain from helping, right now.

  32. Jimmy

    Jimd – there is also the question of measurement and also reporting for farmers.

  33. Apathy

    Astro – your comments are in the same genre as political rhetoric. You haven’t addressed the question with any numbers and the data.

  34. Hogarth


    I don’t buy your premise. You start out with the fact the government will tax them for emissions first. A government bureaucrat may think like that, but it does not have to be that way.

    There is plenty of data already available on the various capacity of crops and soils to sequester carbon.

    Organic, low input and tree farmers would cheer, high input farmers (the NPK mob) and high density feed lots would cop most of it.

    Most farmers have only 2 heavy carbon inputs. Fuel and Fertiliser.

    If I remember correctly, during the Koyto protocol meetings, there was a big argument over the carbon capacity of the Nullabor plain. It has since been shown to be a huge sink.

  35. Astro

    @ Hogarth

    Cattle produce huge methane emissions as do elephants etc.

  36. Jimmy

    Hogarth – Firstly I’ll point out again that under this agreement farmers will get access to the benefits just not pay for emmissions so it is a win win.

    Secondly – “Organic, low input and tree farmers would cheer” What is the percentage of Organic farmers currently, pretty low, tree farmers have all gone broke since the industry was largely supported by unrealisitic tax incentives and I would need a better definition of low input before I could comment on that.

    Thirdly – Fuel and Fertiliser are the two major carbon inputs but they are massive expenses for farmers, especially crops so just because there aren’t many in number doesn’t diminsh their impact, plus you are excluding the production of methane.

    Finally soils only sequester carbon if they remain untilled and your assertion earlier that “Most horticulturists and crop farmers in Australia are moving to a “terra preta” model for soil composition” doesn’t mesh with my experience in dealing with them daily in both a professional and personal capacity but if you have some evidence I would be happy to see it.

  37. Hogarth


    The Queensland DPI recently released a report showing that beef farming in Queensland is almost carbon neutral.

    With a bit of selective breeding and better pasture management, zero is not far away.

    Even the “hardcore” can see that agriculture has a bright future in a carbon taxed world.

    My next door neighbor is an organic farmer of 30 years and his reaction was this:

    “If farmers cannot make money from a carbon tax, then we are all screwed.”

  38. Liz45

    @ASTRO – On this I agree with you. A steak is an inefficient way to get protein, as is a lamb chop etc in many ways, some of which are the cost to the environment. I eat very little of it myself. I heard on ABC Country Hour(NSW) that there’s investigations being conducted as we speak to try and gauge what is causing flatulence in cattle; that is, what sort of food and how much are they eating. This may lead to ways in which it can be reduced – the same would be done to sheep. (I’d also like to know how much of the antibiotics given end up in the meat? Could be a contributory reason as to why so many antibiotics aren’t working any more?) I know this has nothing to do with emissions, just interested. Also, are animals given growth hormones that could lead to people being overweight or obese?(I recall at least one documentary in yrs past, about boys in Brazil growing ‘breasts’ due to hormones in chickens.)

    The website is ABC Rural I believe!

  39. Hogarth


    Sorry about the lingo…

    Tree farmers = Non cash crops (multiple reproduction cycles). e.g grapes, fruit, nuts etc…

    Definitely not forestry. Most of them just create monolithic environments and fire material.

    “low input” = Not quite organic yet. Manure as fertiliser and permiculture metholodiges such as competition based pest management. (Wasps etc…)

    “Finally soils only sequester carbon if they remain untilled”
    That is not correct. Untilled soils collect “more” which does not mean that tilled soil does not sequester carbon.

    Tillaging depths have dropped dramatically in the past 20 years, leaving a substantial part of the root structure in the ground.

    “but if you have some evidence I would be happy to see it.”
    Only anecdotal I am afraid….
    The Northern Rivers (NSW) has seen a huge shift towards low input farming. The demand for chook poo is enormous and the volume of herbicides has dropped as farmers realise the benefit of having constant ground cover.

  40. denise allen

    Hey Astro..your mate Johnny Howard ruled out a GST too….remember the never, ever, ever GST??? You guys have such short memories or is it just ok when your side do it?

  41. Hogarth


    Johnny took it to an election. Will Julia & Wayne?

  42. denise allen

    So Kevin Herbert – would you rather be paying a GREAT BIG NEW TAX that will be imposed on all working people in Australia for years to come just to give wealthy women a huge maternity leave pay??? That’s Abbotts idea…I think it is far better idea to save the planet…

  43. Cuppa

    Thanks for informative, unbiased coverage, Crikey.

    This is why people keep coming back to Crikey.

    Your balanced journalism is in contrast to the ABC’s partial, tabloid style:

    Carbon tax will inspire people’s revolt: Abbott

  44. denise allen

    Hogarth – he had stilled ruled it out and changed his mind…besides the voters were only concerned about rallying behind Howard’s xenophobic rhetoric to notice that the GST was going to be a definite…and when they realised it was too late…

  45. denise allen

    That said…both sides of Govt need to embrace a Natural Fibre Industry that will revive our ailing manufacturing industry and give farmers another alternative…thousands of jobs would be created if both sides would be game enough to stand up to Monsanto…

  46. Jimmy

    Hogarth & Astro – Gillard went to the last election saying she would introduce a price on carbon, yes she did say that she wouldn’t have a carbon tax but a price on carbon none the less.

    To the end consumer, ie the voter, what is the difference between a ETS generated carbon price and a carbon tax generated carbon price, bugger all.

    So as I said earlier ““Either Gillard was not telling the truth or other forces are at play.” – Not sure if you have noticed but the ALP does not have a majority in either house, so Gillard can either keep her word that there will be no carbon tax and achieve nothing or keep her word that there will be action on climate change and achieve something. I think it will only be the climate change deniers who will be upset with the current path.”

  47. Astro


    I am no fan of ANY politician that lies and does not keep promises. Further, I am against all State Governments they are unnecessary and a bloody waste of money and counter productive and do not help Australia’s competitiveness.

  48. Hogarth


    I remember the subtle difference in her utterance. I suspect a majority of Australian’s missed it.

    Judging by a lot of comments on MSM website feedback, this appears to be the case.

    All they heard was “no carbon tax”.

  49. Astro

    @ Hogarth

    Windsor and Oakshott both know they if they cross the floor and back the Coalition on substantial issues, Gillard will go to the GG and call a snap election, probably before Abbott can go to GG and say he has a majority.

    Oakeshott will loose his seat (guaranteed) and Windsor may as well. Gillard may be returned or may not. Therefore most of the independants are treading a fine line and Gillard jumps to what they and Bob Brown want.

  50. Jimmy

    Hogarth – It’s not just on MSM, Abbott is out there saying there will be a “peoples revolt” and that this is a “betrayal” etc. The right seem to forget that at the election the Greens were given the balance of power in the senate and 4 out of 6 independents in the lower house are por a carbon price and they sided with the Labor party which is also went to the election with a carbon price policy, in short the majority of us voted for this, if not in the form it is now.

  51. jimD


    As Jimmy points out, most farmers will be financially advantaged by being excluded from the carbon scheme. Those who can reduce net emissions below some yet-to-be determined benchmark, and/or can increase their capacity to sequester carbon (again, some sort of benchmark or standard will be required), will benefit when the measurement issues and many others are resolved, and the payment or trading scheme can deal with this.

    The fact that the Nullarbor is a carbon sink is neither here nor there: you could equally argue that Australia should be able to claim huge carbon reduction benefits from the parts of the oceans that are within our maritime territory. We cannot do that: Australia is a Part I country under Kyoto and will remain in that category under whatever replaces Kyoto. Part I countries cannot claim existing sinks as credit.

    Hopefully, they will also not be permitted to repeat the disgraceful racket that the Australian Government got up to under the first Kyoto round, obtaining permission (by holding the whole negotiation process to ransom in most obnoxious ways) to claim reduced deforestation. This, you will recall, was a phenomenon that was occurring as farmers reduced their land clearing programmes in Queensland for reasons that had nothing to do with climate change, Government intervention or any such thing. Recognition will be given to reduced deforestation in developing countries – and protection of other major sinks (e.g. peat areas in Indonesia) – so long as significant changes in loss rates can be verified, but we are not a developing country.

  52. JeffT

    Well Ladies and Gentlemen,
    If you must celebrate P.M. Gillard’s implementation of a carbon tax for Australia, make sure you celebrate it with a Kiwi, and a good Kiwi beer or two, and some good Kiwi food.
    They need the money.
    Since the outgoing Labor Government of Helen Clark left New Zealand with a parting present of an ETS that they can’t get rid of so far, the county is in debt.
    There will very few countries with an ETS, leaving Australia and New Zealand as the poor relatives, all on the dole or maxxed out Bankcard.
    Why can’t we be like Cameron’s UK – culling the superquangos and the Climate Change dept.
    Oh, that’s right, – that took a change of government, didn’t it ?

  53. Liz45

    @ASTRO – I am no fan of ANY politician that lies and does not keep promises.

    I’m no fan of any politician who doesn’t take something to the election, but upon winning both Houses brings in the WorstChoices Laws that caused havoc to many people, particularly women and the young. Howard lied about what would constitute a workplace to be affected by Unfair Dismissal Laws(or lack of them) from 100 prior to the election, and reduced it to 20 after. He deliberately lied to us – bastard! And he did it many times! He didn’t take the so-called Anti-Terrorism Legislation either? Ever had a look at that? Scary stuff! The Labor Govts haven’t even removed any of it as far as I know – they should be ashamed!

    How is it, that Rudd lost support after he announced putting the ‘care of the planet’ until 2013; Howard lost his job over it as someone has previously stated, Gillard is being responsible, and now you’re belly aching too! Gee, damned if she does or does not! Abbott is a shrill immature pain in the neck(at best). He’ll do and say anything to get elected. He cares not about this country or its people – just him and his grab for power!

    Finally, someone is going to act responsibly re the environment. My grandkids, and yours, may have a future after all! I hope so! We’re using up their future with such greed and don’t give a toss! Despicable! Go Julia and Bob & Co – just get on with it now!

    Incidently, I agree with you re State Govts. Waste of money; duplication of services, beaurecracies etc. I like the idea of Federal and Local Govts. We’re one of the most over-governed nations on earth, for our size! It’s dumb!

  54. shepherdmarilyn

    Does anyone want to keep count of the number of times each day the ABC starts “opposition say”.

  55. Cuppa

    JeffT wrote:

    the outgoing Labor Government of Helen Clark left New Zealand with a parting present of an ETS that they can’t get rid of so far


    New Zealand’s ETS was put in place by the National conservative government.

  56. Gederts Skerstens

    The Tax will be there for a good reason. Our citizens will be paying more and going without to produce a better environment; cooler summers, fewer disasters and less submerged islands.
    Those effects will get confirmed at an increased number of conferences, with ample funding now.

  57. Kevin Herbert

    Denise Allen:

    I would favour both, save for the fact that based on curent available data, I know that maternity leave can be delivered by rich OECD economies.

    However, can you tell me what is the compelling scientific data which allows you to say that we earthlings can ‘ save ‘ the planet via carbon reduction?

  58. T_C

    seems that the libs would destroy the earth if it could get them back in power

  59. Liz45

    @JEFFT – Of course you omit to mention, that there’s about 23 people in the Cameron Cabinet who are millionaired. The people paid the millions/billions to get the banks etc out of the s**t, and now they have to pay the way again. Funny how none of the “necessary” policies tax the rich, or make those who either caused the GFC or contributed to it are asked to pay. Funny that? Cameron and his wife come from very wealthy families – they’re worth several millions themselves and will inherit more. Sad about the public servants, pensions, superannuation, health, education and other necessities isn’t it? But, making the rich pay, why that’s socialism isn’t it? God, we can’t have that? The Conservatives(everywhere) only believe in socialising the debts and privatising the profits. This lot know who they represent, and they’re doing a good job by them as usual!

    @CUPPA – Good for you!

    JEFFT – and who do you think should pay? My grandkids with a world we leave them, that’s stuffed! I’m always amused by conservatives or climate change deniers who scoff at us at last taking responsiblity for our cock ups, but don’t mind using up the air and ability to grow food etc that we’re stealing from the next generation/s. Howard was going to introduce it, or was that just another of his lies?

    Marilyn, I agree with you. Sickening isn’t it?

    I’m listening to PM with Julia Gillard taking Abbott on – go get ‘im Julia! Abbott at his grotty nasty little best! What a gross bastard he is!

  60. psyclaw

    Astro! Yes “other forces are at work”. The PM’s no carbon promise related to the election of a Labor government which did not occur. We have a hung parliament which was negotiated (or in Mr Abbott’s case, he was unable to be negotiate) between various parties and independents. Thus, the policies being implemented are composites of tye views of all members of the minority government.
    Not too hard to understand, unless you don’t want to.

  61. Johnfromplanetearth

    What an act of betrayal, the Australian people have been told porkies before, but none as blatantly as the lies Gillard told the electorate pre election. The insanity of Greens policies are at work and you can clearly see the strings attached to our puppet Prime Minister. It is utter madness!

  62. Jonty Smits

    A very good reason agriculture is excluded is to prevent large polluting companies buying up productive farm land to claim a carbon credit. The last thing rural communities need is more Collins Street Farmers buying up large swathes of farm land based on tax exemptions and the like. Timbercorp and the like destroyed many small communities. I can only hope a carbon tax will not lead to more of the same.

  63. freecountry

    For those who keep asking about which taxes that make Australia uncompetitive …

    KPMG modelling for the Henry Tax Review (( taxreview.treasury.gov.au/content/html/commissioned_work/downloads/KPMG_Econtech_Efficiency%20of%20Taxes_Final_Report.pdf )) found that company tax costs Australian consumers 23% more in welfare than it raises in revenue, mainly because of the international mobility of capital.

    This “excess burden” or inefficiency loss gets worse the higher the rate is, so the “marginal excess burden” (MEB) of company tax at its current rate is 41c for each dollar of revenue.

    KPMG did not model Capital Gains Tax for some reason (and its distortions are hard to count, let alone model) but Erwin Diewert and Denis Lawrence of British Columbia University estimated it to be 72% in 1998 (( cdi.mecon.gov.ar/biblio/docelec/az1228.pdf )) which would make it easily Australia’s most anti-competitive tax.

    It’s widely understood that taxing capital is stupid. These losses are compounded over the long term so you end up even foregoing more revenue from income tax than you’ll ever raise from capital gains tax. Reductions in the rate of CGT usually cause its revenue to increase, the opposite of what you would expect. But voters think they know it all, so governments tax capital just to indulge voters’ sense of fairness.

    If you compare those excess burdens to that of GST (6%) or council land rates (1%) you can start to see that by “revenue recycling”–exchanging one tax for another–you can get a double dividend, collect more revenue while placing a lower burden on the welfare of Australians.

    That means it’s specious for Tony Abbot to talk about a “great big new tax” in isolation from the larger tax system. But it also raises questions as to how serious Labor ever was about a tax review and tax summit excluding Australia’s best revenue source, GST, from the terms of reference.

    So what’s the marginal excess burden of a carbon tax? For New Zealand it’s been modelled at around 15% (( economics.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/wpapers-05/937.pdf )) and while Australia has a much more carbon-based economy than NZ does, and would pay a higher excess burden, it’s very unlikely to match the inefficiency of company tax or capital gains tax.

    That means even those who do not believe in human-driven climate change should support a carbon tax if it can be accompanied by a reduction in company tax, and ideally, further concessions (or abolition) of capital gains tax.

    It also means there is no need to pay special “compensation” to carbon-exposed industries. Simply reduce the company tax rate for all companies, aiming for a revenue-neutral exchange, and leave it at that.

    A clear path of ascending carbon-tax rates should be defined, so that businesses–and consumers–can plan ahead and respond efficiently to it. Switching to an ETS should only be done when (and if) a big portion of the developing world can be included, so that they (and we) can make the biggest possible emission cuts for the lowest cost to everybody.

  64. JeffT

    You’re right, it was a Clark Labour government proposal, the public acceptance was about 30%. When John Keys took the helm, the legislation was rewritten to ETS-lite, and then put into law. The percentage reduction was initially 12.5%, it is now 15%. There was some negotiations with the Maori Party to keep the reduction low.
    NZ outputs about 0.1% of the worlds M. M. carbon dioxide. If New Zealand closed down and everybody left, it would make not one iota of difference to temperature.
    Australia outputs 1.4% of the worlds M. M. carbon dioxide. If Australia closed down and everybody left, it would make virtually no difference to temperature, that difference would be covered by a few days operation of coal-fired power stations in China. (and China is buying coal from everywhere including Australia )
    Recently Canada and Japan have stated they will not ratify Kyoto 2 – 2012. India with her 1.2 billion population, has backed away from the IPCC and Kyoto, and now has their own Climate dept. to replace the IPCC.
    Why should Australia be the poor relative, with a carbon tax/ETS hanging around her neck, making Australia uncompetitive in the market place, and moving the carbon dioxide and manufacturing to China ?
    You emotive ‘what sort of world are we leaving our grandchildren’ doesn’t gel, if you look at just moving carbon dioxide to a different address. As they haven’t fixed the Asian Brown Cloud, that you can see from satellite, as yet and no time soon, what chance is there of reducing carbon dioxide, a colourless, odourless gas.

  65. William Logan

    When China goes green, it’s going to go Green *very* quickly. They have operational experimental pebble bed nuclear reactors, and are investing heavily in solar and high speed rail. They’re not going green because they have a rapidly growing economy and don’t want to choke it, but I would bet money that in about a decade or two they will also be one of the major exporters of solar and nuclear technology, and probably end up with a falling CO2 emissions rate.

    Australia can either be a strategic partner, supplying technology and expertise to them, or we can be a net importer, as their coal imports dwindle to whatever they need to make Steel until biomass conversion kicks in.

    The Communist system may suck for the people, but it does mean that once they decide to do something they do it fast.

  66. Liz45

    @FREE COUNTRY – Do you think sometime soon you just might grow up, and do us all a favour? What sort of drivel is this?

    Australia per capita emits huge amounts of Cos in the atmosphere – then there’s the rest that we export via our coal exports. The atmosphere doesn’t have borders mate. There’s no fence around Australia that isolates us from the crap from other countries, and vice versa. Stop playing us for fools, it’s not a good look! If you want to disagree with the scientists, put forward your credentials? All the nonsense you go on with, prove it! Or shut up! You bastards will stoop to the lowest level to protect your ‘interests’ which have nothing to do with me!

    Either put up, or shut up and grow up! You’re boring! And I doubt that you give a damn about anyone apart from yourself?

    Other countries are taking action. Other countries have led the way. It’s time we started to act responsibly. If you don’t want to, move over mate, because the younger generation are serious! You are obsolete! They want a future, and I’m with them!

  67. Liz45

    @WILLIAM LOGAN – Way to go! China is the home of the Australian/Chinese who couldn’t get any financial support from the Howard govt with his ‘special’ solar panels. He’s now worth squillions and has his factory in China. How about that FC?

    Then there’s Professor David Mills, who had to go to California for the same reason. He’s been involved with a multi billion dollar company since the end of ’07 re solar energy for base load power. They believed it would be ready in five years – we’re now into year 4! Howard wouldn’t support him either, but of course he helped his mate who owns the ethanol plant, Manildra! A happy little union that turned out to be?

    Your turn FC!

  68. freecountry

    By the way, just to clarify something above: that excess burden of a carbon tax assumes that no environmental good will come of it. So, even if you completely disbelieve everything the IPCC says, a carbon tax would still be no more costly, and probably less costly, than its equivalent amount of revenue in company tax and capital gains tax right now. If you believe it will do environmental good, then the burden is merely an adjustment for externalities and its excess burden is zero.

    If compensation is paid in the form of rebates to trade-exposed industries, rather than a revenue-neutral reduction of taxing capital, then there will be a precedent to compensate the next increase, and the next, and the next … That means no excess burden, but it also means no revenue, no environmental good, nothing but window dressing and red tape.

  69. William Logan


    I’ve actually been of the opinion for quite some time that any CO2 emissions reduction taxes should be compensated by reducing company tax by a proportional amount.

    If there’s an easy tax break to be had by reducing CO2 emissions, then corporate australia will find it. Any bonuses to GDP from a reduction in effective corporate tax would be just gravy.

  70. GlenTurner1

    Global warming will effect Australia proportionally more than other countries. We are a coast-hugging nation. So much so that 50cm of ocean rise will see Port Adelaide under water and the Port River slosh through 20,000 homes. That’s roughly the Brisbane flood disaster, but permanent. And that’s just the effect on my home town.

    This makes Australia a supplicant nation. But we’ve been acting the opposite, firmly placing Australia in the “problem child” tent requiring “special supervision”.

    If we want to persuade the rest of the world to act to save our sorry butt then we need to show that action on CO2 emissions is politically, economically and technically possible. Then we can say “we did this, you can too”.

    And today we made a start on that.

  71. Captain Planet

    Just a quick link to a relaxing and eye opening video showing what other countries in the world are doing by way of emissions reduction.

    This proves once and for all that all those who have been banging on about how renewables can’t supply baseload power, have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.


    This is a Solar Thermal Baseload Power Station presently under construction in Spain. It’s a very, very impressive piece of engineering.

    A robust Carbon Price will mean hundreds of these, coming to an otherwise underutilised desert near you. Also coming will be the thousands of jobs and investment dollars to drive our economy into the low carbon future.

    Bravi, Julia. Bravo, Bob and the Greens. Forwards at last.

  72. Johnfromplanetearth

    There goes all our industry to India and China, they will never put a carbon on their people. Business will just move their operations out of Australia. Julia lives in fantasyland, she needs to look seriously at the Nuclear option, even Bob Hawke isn’t dismissing that one. Bob Brown has her arm locked and she has submitted. Not only do the USA have a wimp as President.. we have a puppet here in Australia!

    “there will be no carbon tax under the Government i lead”~ Julia Gillard August 2010

    We have just witnessed first hand the power of the people in Egypt and Libya!
    Don’t think it cannot happen here! We have been betrayed!

  73. mickfrombayside

    This is not correct. This is not democratic. This is not fair. All as Gilard did was weaken a nation. Other countries have a greater advantage in terms of trade. Everything will go up, shops wont operate in the dark and turn HVAC off they will just pass it on. The energy companies lobby for this as they will simply make more money and after the Rudd govt said we would have a carbon tax they invested more in renewable’s only to be halted by no price on carbon, now they have it and will charge more. The only losers here are mums and dads, and to give low income earners money to afford this is just being hypocritical. This tax should be taken to a public vote. The earth managed to survice the ice age without a carbon tax and just maybe we will survive this. Scientist can’t agree that climate change is man made so what give politicans the right to impose a tax?

  74. Jimmy

    John from Planet Earth – “There goes all our industry to India and China, they will never put a carbon on their people” Have a look at the “world today” website from yesterday and you will see that China already has what is referred to as a shadow carbon price in it’s economy. It is also looking at a 5% tax on coal.

    Mick from Bayside -“This tax should be taken to a public vote” The govt and the greens went to the last election with a policy to price carbon, Wilkie, Oakeshott & Windsor all support a price on Carbon – the fact that is in the form of a tax rather than an ETS to begin with is completely irrelevant.
    “Scientist can’t agree that climate change is man made” – credible scientists do agree.

  75. Jimmy

    Oh and the “world today” intereview also pointed out that the uncertainty around a carbon price has been causing a lack of investment from power generators which has been leading to the increased electricity prices, so in effect we have been paying a carbon tax already except without the benefits.

  76. Rohan


    Oh no! How the hell am I going to buy my morning coffee?

  77. stillhere

    did the government even bother to consult with their top/head scientist on this subject that quit recently, from what I have read she only met with rudd once and never with julia as PM . so is this all economic or is this just the green push.
    australia seems to have a new tax or levies on a weekly basis.
    I cannot imagine how much money this government makes from fuel tax and GST which is payed from already taxed money

  78. Jimmy

    Stillhere – “did the government even bother to consult with their top/head scientist on this subject” Given that she was a former Astrnomy researcher probably not.

  79. no_party_preferred

    First off, I can’t believe people are arguing about Labor, Liberal and Greens back flipping or breaking election promises. They all do it, they’re all liars, get over it.

    What’s going to be interesting to me is whether or not solar power subsides are going to be brought back in and expanded so that those of us who pay power bills will have the option to break away from the grid – at least in part. At over 40K for a grid connect setup the power bills will have to be pretty high to justify it.

    Also, I would like to see just how transparent the use of the revenue raised from this tax will be. I’d hate to see it just go to the pile and be pissed up against the wall with the rest. It should go to a completely separate fund, exclusively used for subsides of low emission energy.

  80. syzygium

    @Free Country: Well put. Let’s not forget here that the point of this exercise is to reduce carbon emissions, not impose a GNBBTOE (Great new bloody big tax on everything). In an ideal world it will cost the battler, business, etc. nothing because they will reduce carbon consumption to compensate.

    The world is not ideal and so it will cost us in the short term, and a good argument can be made for compensating vulnerable people, maybe businesses, to a degree. But if it doesn’t bite, there will be no incentive to reduce emissions. In a restructured economy, the tax should be close to revenue neutral. In the mean time, revenue from the carbon tax should go into promoting greater efficiency and low-carbon technology.

    I hardly see where this is an attempt by Labor to “make Australia suffer” – that’s patently ridiculous. It is an attempt to make Australia reduce its carbon emissions, and in the future suffer less. Imagine if we keep getting major category 5 cyclones wiping out crops and towns in the northeast every three years – that’s what’s in our future under present climate change scenarios. Talk about suffering.

    @Mick From Bayside : Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t make it undemocratic. Our policy on refugees, as loathsome as I find it, is also democratic.

  81. Marrickville Mauler

    @Liz45: Bit puzzled what FreeCountry said to deserve your spray?

    Unless I have missed a post, FC did not deny the science, or the need to act, or say Australia should wait until the developing world acts, but rather is presenting arguments for acting now via a fixed carbon price / tax and then move to a trading scheme once there are more countries in the loop to trade with. I thought that was the position the Greens had come to as well?

    Plus FC was arguing quite nicely I thought why there should be no special compensation for polluters, but rather use some of the revenue to reduce company tax overall as the means of compensating for increased business costs. Same principle that the original version of the mining tax package included. The business community missed their chance on that one, perhaps they will be smarter this time instead of all lining up behind a few dirty power station owners.

  82. syzygium

    Correction: “A cyclone every five years” – my God is it 2011 already?

  83. twobob


    lol at the astroturfers

    no real person could so willfully ignore the rational arguments of others, esp you john who posts drivel right below an eloquent explanation of why you drivel is drivel

  84. freecountry

    Jeff Fenech, is that really you? Great to hear from you. If you can take all those punches in the ring, then I can take a bit of verbal abuse from a heckler, though it is distracting, and I thank you for your defence.

    The government can totally outflank the Coalition if it gets this one right, leaving Tony Abbott without a leg to stand on. Here’s how to do it.

    In taxation theory there is an important difference between where a tax hits and who actually pays. Company tax hits mainly capital investment, but capitalists have lots of choices where to invest and they simply reallocate their capital for optimum cost and return. Consumers actually end up paying company tax. It’s hidden in the cost of a loaf of bread or anything else you buy which is produced by companies.

    Capital is one of the “factors of production” which try, if they can, to minimise a tax hitting them. Other factors are labour, land, mineral resources, and the one we’re interested in here: carbon emissions. The “excess burden” I spoke of occurs when factors of production try to minimise their tax by shifting from a more cost-effective allocation to a less cost-effective allocation, causing the price of goods and services to rise, and reducing the standard of living for consumers who end up paying the difference.

    When the government was selling the original RSPT they promised to offset it with a reduction in company tax and an increase in superannuation guarantee, both positive for capital. Why didn’t it work? Because the RSPT would have hit partly mineral resources and partly capital. The difference between RSPT and its replacement MRRT is subtle but very important: MRRT hits mainly mineral resources, not capital.

    A carbon tax hitting CO2 emissions will cause a distortion in the allocation of emission activities–but unlike the distortion on capital, this distortion is a good thing, it’s exactly what we want. But the burden will still fall in the same place company tax does–on consumers.

    The “marginal excess burden” of company tax is 40c for every $1 of revenue. What does that mean? It means that for every $1 of revenue the government gives up in company tax, consumers will be $1.40 better off. How good is that? Is there any other mechanism you can think whereby the government can give you $1, not by handing it to you directly but by recycling it through the economic machine, and $1.40 ends up in your pocket?

    Therefore, do not pay any compensation in cash, and do not direct it to particular companies or industries. Do not pay compensation directly to households for high electricity prices. Either of those will defeat the whole purpose of the carbon tax. Instead, pay the compensation in the form of company tax reduction, so that every $1 turns into $1.40 for Australian consumers.

    If you think that sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. It’s well established economic knowledge. Anyone who doubts it, please see this page from the Henry Tax Review: (( taxreview.treasury.gov.au/content/Paper.aspx?doc=html/publications/papers/report/section_3-01.htm ))

  85. horse

    Seems to me like putting carbon in the atmosphere is like shi**ing in your own nest. Big nest and the kids will be the ones who drown in it. To me this is undesirable and if it costs money for a sewer system so be it. Well done Julia and Bob.

  86. Captain Planet

    Without having researched the company tax system in depth, what you say makes sense to me, Freecountry.

    The point is that (as the more hysterical commentators can’t seem to realise) A Carbon tax should be brought about as part of a change in Australia’s tax mix – it won’t just be “Great Big New Tax on Everything” (when did the Australian electorate become so incredibly, mindblowingly STUPID that such a vacuous, opportunistic load of laughable waffle, almost won an election? Geez).

    The revenue brought in by a Carbon Tax will be returned to the economy in the form of reduced taxation in other areas (as advocated by Freecountry) or as spending to facilitate the rapid development of the new industries which are necessary to avoid the Carbon Tax (and thereby achieve its aim).

    Anyone who is petulantly crying “everything is going to go up!” just hasn’t thought about it. Not everything is going to go up, only those things with a significant CO2 emission associated with its manufacture, growth or distribution. That’s not everything, and it will become less of most things, as the economy transitions to a low carbon future.

  87. freecountry

    One other thing: the design of the carbon tax should try, as far as possible, to fall on the end use of CO2 emissions (even though the taxing point will have to be upstream to estimate the emissions meaningfully). That means for example, imported oil or manufactured products should be carbon-taxed according to our best estimate of the emission inputs; but the taxation of exported products such as coal should be left for the end-user’s jurisdiction to tax (which many of them won’t do, not yet anyway). A similar principle to GST, in other words. The Greens will take some convincing of this, but that’s where so-called “carbon leakage” and loss of jobs occurs, if you tax exports.

  88. Jimmy

    Free COuntry & Captian Planet – “the more hysterical commentators can’t seem to realise” If you saw the Herald Sun today you would be in doubt as to News Ltd’s view on things, they have Terry McRann saying how badly in will effect household’s for no benefit and as Gillard has said some of the funds will be used to reduce carbon emmissions it clearly means that not all of it will be used in compensate for the effect of the tax and therefore she is ripping people off (no mention of the fact that by reducing emmissions the amount of tax paid will be reduced) and they have Andrew Bolt claiming that “Gillard stole the last election on a lie”. Clearly no sign of hysteria there.

    “The government can totally outflank the Coalition if it gets this one right” especially as they won’t need the oppostion to get it through parliament and they will have 18 months of operation to show the sky hasn’t fallen in before the next election.

  89. freecountry

    Yeah, I know. There are hysterics on both extremes whom you will never be able to please anyway and should simply be ignored. If it’s implemented the way I suggest, the business groups will mull it over, some of them may try their luck asking for special favours, but in the end they’ll give it the thumbs up. And that will be that.

  90. freecountry

    Correction to above. I said: “A carbon tax hitting CO2 emissions will cause a distortion in the allocation of emission activities.” What I meant to say was: “A carbon tax hitting CO2 emissions will cause a distortion in the allocation of capital between high-emission and low-emission activities.” Sorry for any confusion. This by itself would tend to push some capital out of Australia, but a revenue-neutral reduction in the company tax rate would compensate in the other direction. The net effect should be either neutral or positive for both capital and consumers in Australia.

  91. the man on the clapham omnibus

    Good points FC, it is like a smoking tax, it’s meant to hurt a bit and change your behaviour.

    There should be strong resistance to any efforts to ‘compensate’ any one who cries out that they can’t burn as many fossil fuels as they used to. Consumers and companies who change their behaviour should be rewarded with paying less tax.

    The target of it should be a proportionate reduction in the ‘broad’ taxes you mention, company, income or GST.

    One question though, if targeted at Company Tax how do we make sure that the smart companies that change their behaviour and reduce CO2 emissions pass the savings on to consumers effectively rather than just pocket the difference or direct it only to shareholders?

    In more competitive markets like the US or Europe I would not see this as an issue where there is more incentive to pursue market share but we have some almost ‘oligarchal’ sections of our economy that in the past have not been above price collusion and cartel behaviour.

    I like the idea of the price to attempt to solve one of the classical market failures of pollution as an externatlity but think it will be quite a challenge to get the mix right.

  92. freecountry

    Man on the Clapham Omnibus – Fair question. Paul Keating pretty much cut company taxes in half during his time as treasurer and PM. The result was, as predicted by microeconomic theory, more companies were able to enter markets and they became more competitive. Prices of goods and services went down because of that competition. Real incomes rose. After a while some industries started to pay workers above-award wages because of the increased demand for labour. Many shareholders and executives also became richer, some obscenely so, but they are generally last in line for the benefits of a company tax cut, because of the increased competition for consumer market share and workers.

  93. Barry 09

    Captain Planet , thanks for the link to the Spain power plants videos. They must not have BIG COAL running the country ? Base load too ! If my budget can some how find the $1600.00 offer on a 1.5 Kw system in Sunny QLD before July this year , i will get them on my shed roof. I already have solar hot water on my roof ( 11 yrs + ) and don’t use to much power , but have 2 A/c ‘s ( 1 old box in the wall and a split ) in a small 3 bedroom queenslander with insulation in the roof and 2 whirly birds and is on small stumps. My shed’s lights are 2 big 400 watt bulb factory lights , scored them when delivering stuff to a factory that was getting stripped out and gutted. I call that recycling . I only use 1 at a time. My last bill was about $120 , so i think i could actually get some money every year ( paid out in a lump at the end of year ) after using the free power to wind my meter backwards . Should take about 6 years to pay off and then a small bonu$ every year after that and 1 less bill to pay. If only i could disconect from the Water Baron$. Just hope the Fiberals don’t get back in and sell the sun to Mac Bank .

  94. ukto

    Dear Julia, I am a pensioner livng off the grid and pay for fuel for my generators..and 2 cars…I own 15 acres of fully grown trees as my personal carbon offsetting scheme…

    will I recieve adequate compensation ? and what levels of support could I expect under the new scheme..?

    I also self funded a small Solar powered system but it doenst make any power if the sun doesnt shine and i used FF’s to keep the battery levels up.

    Whats the chance on a government approved plan to increase available sunlight and thus reduce FF costs?

    If indeed the new Ctax will ‘control’ climate change then I dont see more sunlight as an unreasonable request…do you?

    Of course i would expect to pay an appropriate sunlight tax and recieve adequate compensation raise by said tax…


  95. galeg

    I am still at a loss of what we are trying to achieve, and over what period.
    Firstly, are we trying to reduce our emissions on a per capita basis (individual) to x% below 2000 levels, or are we trying to reduce emissions for the whole country to x% below 2000 levels.

    Secondly, over what period are we trying to achieve the desire reductions, when should we notice measureable reductions, and who is to do the monitoring.

    There seems to be a lot of talk and not much action or plans for monitoring / publising results achieved.

    Finally, I suppose the big question now is, will the Australian public / electorate and business accept the carbon tax. If they do not then the tax is doomed. You only need to look at the Super Mining Tax. Companies would not accept, so the Gov had to water down to such a level, it effectively does not, and will not exist.

  96. Liz45

    @BARRY 09 _ Your ‘whirlygigs’ on your roof? Are they the ones advertised in the papers(usually on Sunday) or purchased from a major hardware store? I’ve heard that the more expensive ones are more efficient, as they have motorised fan/exhaust in them? Is this right!

    I rent a dept of housing unit, a villa, which is self contained and I don’t share any walls etc. I don’t want to spend too much, but would like one of those things – I have insulation in the roof! Gas hot water, stove and heater! I think the cost is $299 (on special) vs about $100?

  97. Liz45

    @GALEG – So far, too many people want the change for the sake of the planet, but don’t want to contribute to it via using less and paying a bit more – selfish! We need to lower the overall emissions in the country – we’ve all ‘lived off our kids future fresh air’ for too many years. Now it’s pay up time – it will mean sacrifices by all of us! I want my grandkids to see the Barrier Reef, Tasmania’s beautiful forests etc and lots of other great things – whales and dolphins for example. The way we’re warming up the oceans, there’ll be no fish left, and no krill for the whales – the end! Only a couple of degrees warmer could do it! Some fish species couldn’t survive. Unthinkable isn’t it? Polar bears – people in the Pacific – drowned?

    There’s lots of progress re solar power for base load use. We just need a govt to want to do it! If HOward hadn’t either cut funding or refused to fund research over his almost 12 years, we’d be further down the track than now. Prof David Mills had to go to California. He said it would be about 5 yrs – we’re now into year 4. His interview and that of the company in California is on the 7.30 Report in October 2007 – go to the archives of Oct that year! Germany is doing exciting things as are some other countries. 10 major states in the US are also! Even China is doing more than us!

  98. Frank Campbell

    “Germany is doing exciting things as are some other countries. 10 major states in the US are also! Even China is doing more than us!”

    If only, Liz. Everyone would be delighted with baseload renewables (for many reasons), but decades of R and D neglect can’t be made up by hype: they are not ready. If solar was (for eg) , Germany and UK would not have back-flipped and gone back to nuclear-just a couple of months ago. If wind worked Denmark wouldn’t have the most expensive power in Europe as well as rising emissions…China is building a coal power plant every week…and Australia thinks its future depends on FF exports on a gigantic scale.

    It’s not about “selfishness”…it’s about the level of technological development and the inertia of a global FF system.

  99. Captain Planet

    @ Barry 09,

    Good on you Barry. Some idiot was posting on here the other day that rooftop solar panels would never take off because nobody could afford the $40,000 to install them. Obviously hadn’t bothered doing any research.

    From what you’ve described, I’d suggest your $1600 system will pay itself off in about 3 to 5 years at the most.

    That’s a 20% – 30 % rate of return per annum, an outstanding investment if ever there was one.

  100. Gederts Skerstens

    Australians giving the Government more money won’t make any difference to the atmosphere.
    That’s been admitted. So our going without is mostly to make a difference in other countries’ behaviour.
    In what fantasyland would a larger electricity bill in Melbourne slow down the production of power stations in China?
    And why should it, when the evil of power stations is a fantasy to begin with?
    What’s truly black-balloon evil is the mindset of the progressive faithfull, where nothing operates but their dogma. As progressive as medieval priests.

  101. Liamj

    @ Gederts Skerstens – your incomprehension act was almost believable, but then you sank into the name-calling so commonplace from the loopy Right. You can cling to denial till your dying day, the rest of us are getting on with the work that has been shirked for too long.

  102. freecountry

    It’s very unfortunate that they’re already promising household compensation–means tested, even–before they’ve decided just what will be taxed, how much, and how. Not a good sign.

    Gillard and Combet, a warning: if you screw up the economy by turning this into a wealth redistribution game or a rentseekers’ paradise, you are finished in 2013. Finished. There’s no excuse, when there are such golden opportunities for productivity gains to offset the carbon tax.

  103. Astro

    60 Minutes even stuck boot into lying Gillard tonight, mentioning she was forced by Bob Brown.

  104. Gederts Skerstens

    Liamj loved believing: “…You can cling to denial till your dying day, the rest of us are getting on with the work that has been shirked for too long.”

    Holy Work, Brother, Holy Work.

  105. freecountry

    If the carbon tax revenue is used as a pork barrel it won’t be redirected into low-emission alternative investments. Could somebody please point out this bleeding obvious fact to Labor and the Greens before they do a Rudd and mess it all up.

  106. Liamj

    @ Gederts Skerstens – I should have known you were religious, explains why reason doesn’t work for you.

    @ astro “60 Minutes even stuck the boot ..” – as if billionaires media would do anything else! e.g. Alan Jones, Neil Mitchell, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Courier Mail, yada yada. We need a royal commission into media bias in this country.

  107. Liz45

    @FRANK CAMPBELL – Go to the interview on the 7.30 Report of October 2007 – click on archives and select 2007, then go through October – it’s either near the beginning or the end. The claim was that solar energy for base load power would be ready in 5 yrs – that was in 2007. We’re into year 4 now!

    Solar is ideal for this country. Incidently, I heard a bloke on ABC local radio – (on a Sunday morning from 10 am) say that there are solar panels that can be put on the roof even if they don’t get much sun – they are special technology and actually work better without sun. These are different to the ones we’ve had for some time. I think that’s exciting! The discussion is probably still there – on http://www.abc.net.au/sms

  108. Frank Campbell

    ‘You can cling to denial till your dying day, the rest of us are getting on with the work that has been shirked for too long.’

    Superb. This exposes the psycho/sociological root of climate millenarianism: Protestant guilt, redeemed through work.

    But punishment, with the usual Protestant hypocrisy, is served on the poor and the weak.

  109. freecountry

    Environmentalists are going to have to ditch Bob Brown at some point. Like Moses in the Old Testament, he has had a good run but he will not be able to accompany you into the promised land.
    [“Our job is to ensure that the average Australian household and car user is not punished by a carbon price,” he told Channel 10 today. “The idea here is to make the polluters pay.”]
    Brown does not even have the ghost of a clue how these things work. He should listen to the far more educated Andrew Wilkie, the thinking man’s (or woman’s) progressive.
    [In an interview with The Australian Online, Mr Wilkie said overly-generous compensation defeated the purpose of trying to price carbon.
    “I would not support a proposal with what I regard as excessive compensation for the big polluters, because there is no incentive then for them to be cleaner,” Mr Wilkie said.
    He said if the level of compensation under Kevin Rudd’s carbon pollution reduction scheme was replicated: “I couldn’t see myself supporting that”.]
    Now let’s add two points here. One of the biggest polluters is the Australian public, those who run air conditioners all summer and heaters all winter, much of it in temporate coastal cities which hardly ever get really hot or cold (not by inland standards).

    The second point is that it’s one thing to have an incentive to change; another thing to have something to change to and the means to do so. Rising fuel taxes in recent years have not brought about any noticeable change from cars to public transport. There has been a rise in scooter use but that seems to have been a response to congestion, not petrol tax.

    After Sydney City’s big expansion of motorcycle parking in 2009, there was a surge of mode-switching to scooters, which then seems to have flattened after the increase in parking capacity was taken up. There was a temporary respite in road congestion, which now seems to be have been back-filled after a time lag, with more road congestion than in 2008, and an increasing proportion of vehicles seem to be Hummers and 4 wheel drives. People are responding to congestion by engaging in a sort of arms race for inertial mass, so that they can “win” in a two-car collision.

    If compensation is linked to cost-of-living increases or cost-of-doing-business increases, then next year’s compensation will counterbalance the carbon price signal, and the same the year after that and the year after that. We will bear the cost of the tax inefficiency but there will be no behavioural change, either by companies or consumers.

    The only way behaviour will change is if money is given back to the entire economy in a way that is completely independent of any emissions behaviour now. Either compensate the entire economy, or forget the whole thing.

    This is the great test of Julia Gillard: can she resist the enormous political pressure to play pork barrels. She failed the test in the election with the Parramatta-Epping link. This is her last chance.

  110. Scott

    “I heard a bloke on ABC local radio – (on a Sunday morning from 10 am) say that there are solar panels that can be put on the roof even if they don’t get much sun – they are special technology and actually work better without sun”

    If you believe this Liz45, I’ve got a nice bridge you may want to buy! No solar cell works better without sun. There are some that can work with indirect light (like the coloured solar cells from GreenSun in Israel, 12% efficiency apparently) but even they produce more energy under direct sunlight.

  111. Liz45

    @SCOTT – This bloke is experienced in solar energy, for both heating of hot water and electricity – he works with Newcastle Council I believe, and he was a guest on Helen Clare’s Sunday Morning Statewide last month sometime. Before you get really sarcastic and act like a smart arse, go and listen to his advice etc to people ringing in, and advice in general. It was over two Sunday mornings for about 30 minutes or so each time! Helen Clare works out of Newcastle ABC – ring them!

  112. PipBoy


    ‘there are solar panels that can be put on the roof even if they don’t get much sun – they are special technology and actually work better without sun.’

    So who gets to pay for this new technology? You?

  113. Liz45

    @Pipboy – Go and play games with the traffic!

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