Australia’s large emissions aren’t really so big.

Professor John Quiggin made the following claim in a recent thread titled, ‘The litterbug argument”.

…………… Australia currently generates about 2 per cent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. That’s comparable to Britain or France. The fact that these countries have several times our population is cancelled out by our much higher emissions per person.

Maybe I’m wrong, however I think the professor makes some startling errors of omission with that claim.

France produces around 99.8% of its energy needs by nuclear power while according to the link; the UK produces 19% of its power by nuke and imports 8% from elsewhere in Europe.

In France, as of 2002, Électricité de France (EDF) — the country’s main electricity generation and distribution company — manages the country’s 59 nuclear power plants. As of 2004, these plants produce 99.8% of both EDF’s and France’s power production (of which much is exported), making EDF the world leader in production of nuclear power by percentage. In the same year, 425.8 TWh out of the country’s total production of 540.6 TWh was from nuclear power (78.8%).

I then checked out the UK.

UK electricity production is about 400 TWh gross, from 74 GWe capacity. Net imports are about 8 TWh. Annual consumption is 355 TWh, or about 5750 kWh/person.

In 2006 UK nuclear plants generated 19% of UK electricity (69 billion kWh of some 380 billion kWh net), compared with 36% from gas and 38% from coal. In 2007 this dropped to 15% (57.5 TWh). There are 19 UK reactors totaling 11 GWe capacity. In addition, about 3% of UK electricity demand is met by imports of nuclear power from France, so overall nuclear total in UK consumption is about 22%.

As far as I know neither France nor the UK are large producers of aluminum, which accounts for around 13% of our energy consumption. Neither possesses any large-scale mining operations that happen to be big emitters, as in any energy intensive mining operation, while Australia’s does obviously (our mining/aluminum industry is export oriented).

Surprisingly our cattle industry, which is also basically export oriented accounts for about 12% of Australian emissions through cow farts according to a recent claim.

It is fairly simple to figure out where lies the emissions differential between the three countries. We don’t produce any of our energy by nuclear reactor. We have a large aluminum/mining industry that chews up a lot of power and we have 25 million head of cattle. So no wonder we’re a larger emitter than either France or Germany.

We could reach the same emission levels of France or Germany easily enough. All we have to do is introduce nuclear reactors, close down our mining industry and kill off our cattle herd ☺

It seems to me this comparison is not only invalid. It is downright misleading.

To get a proper comparison one would have to adjust for industry composition, the nuclear issue and many other factors.

Surely the professor obviously understands some of the most basic economic laws. It would surprise only a few that export industries like Agriculture and mining are the result of Australia’s comparative advantage in those sectors. In particular Aluminum would be, as Al requires a large energy input component. We happen to be “blessed” with cheap to use and abundant coal deposits providing a cheap energy source, lots of agricultural land and plenty of minerals in the ground. All these export sectors are emissions intensive. France and the UK aren’t. In fact I would argue that our cheap energy source is actually an absolute advantage.

Let me make this prediction : The Aluminum industry will move to some place like China or India after the ETS with the overall effect that the global emissions situation would worsen, as I’m more than a little suspect these countries wouldn’t be as careful or worried.

But perhaps the law of comparative/absolute advantage has been made redundant. If it has I would like to know.

102 thoughts on “Australia’s large emissions aren’t really so big.

  1. Mining emissions don’t relate purely to energy usage. Certain types of mining release CO2 in there own right. For instance underground coal mining frequently releases methane into the atmosphere.

    I would agree that declaring who is morally superior/inferior based on per capita emissions is folly. Although without a link to the actual context of Quiggins comment it is not entirely clear if this is what he was doing.

  2. I don’t think we should adjust for nuclear power (we’re blessed with that too) — it’s a good cheap(ish) source of power that produces far less externalities than other sources (like coal) in most places of the world. It should be treated like any other source of power, including advances in technology (like cheaper/greener disposal of the waste). The fact that Australians hate it more than coal is because they are under the false impression that if they stop producing CO2 it will suddenly drop from the sky tomorrow and that they don’t realize that all the shit from burning coal is also bad for your lungs (and some is also radioactive).

    Also, when you say the alu industry will move offshore, I’d like to see some numbers here (I don’t anything about it). If it is like much of the other stuff that needs to be smelted, then surely the cost of moving huge amounts of ore overseas would be astronomical, especially if it is of low grade. What’s the margin China could make it for versus Oz using Oz ore?

  3. “Also, when you say the alu industry will move offshore, I’d like to see some numbers here”

    http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11581408

    “Only a few industries—metals, paper, chemicals, cement and the like—are both global and profligate enough to be at risk. These accounted for just over 3% of America’s output in 2005 and less than 2% of its jobs. Much the same is true in Europe: those industries, plus refining, account for less than 5% of output and an even smaller share of jobs, according to the interim report* of a group of academics studying the effects of Europe’s carbon-trading scheme.

    Even those supposedly vulnerable industries do not seem to have wilted in the face of a carbon price, according to two contributors to the study, Richard Baron and Julia Reinaud of the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based consultancy-cum-watchdog for energy-consuming nations. Ms Reinaud cannot even detect any impact on aluminium, which is as energy-intensive and widely traded as any good. She points out that a shuttered smelter in Germany reopened in 2007, despite the rising cost of emissions.”

    “A study sponsored by Resources for the Future, an American think-tank, has tried to describe how American industry would meet a carbon price, albeit one of just $10 a ton—much less than the European price of over €25 ($39). Based on economic modelling, it concludes that industrial output would fall by less than 1%. The hardest-hit industry would be metals, but even that would shrink by only 1.5%. Better yet, the damage could be offset by granting energy-intensive firms enough free permits to cover just 15% of their emissions.

    Another study under way at the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, another think-tank, sizes up a $15 carbon price using data on the past effects of rising energy prices on industry. It concludes that output would fall by 2% or less in 80% of cases. Paper and glass would face a bigger contraction, of 5%. Still, even the most vulnerable industries would not suffer the Armageddon that lobbying groups are predicting.

  4. I don’t think we should adjust for nuclear power (we’re blessed with that too)

    Conrad, nuclear power is a banned substance in oz. It supposed to be worse than heroine.

    The Alu industry has already said that their production will have to move off shore. I take them at their word on this.

  5. The point I was making, Terje is that mining is basically satisfying the needs of overseas consumers like the English and the French who the professors claims are more holy than us.

  6. “I take them at their word on this.”

    That’s very trusting on you — I would want to see the figures first, in which case it should be rather simply to evaluate whether they are just saying that to try and get around legislation, or whether it is really true. I think there’s huge difference between transporting manufactured goods around the world (as in the UK case), versus transporting ore for refining.

  7. If this was science fraud, which it is… but if it wasn’t then our contribution would most easily be made by reducing coal exports. Very simple and we could hold our head up.

    But the point is that this is science fraud. And we ought to be fighting against it on that basis. So we can stop this nonsense forwith if we sack anyone on the public tit caught spreading it.

  8. I think there’s huge difference between transporting manufactured goods around the world (as in the UK case), versus transporting ore for refining.

    Yes, there is a large difference. However it isn’t that difficult to work out. Simply compare the marginal costs.

    Conrad , ore is being exported now. As I said, it’s simply a question of figuring out the marginal costs. If it was cheaper to process the iron ore here instead of China we wouldn’t have seen China develop as the largest steel producer in the world.

  9. “Also, when you say the alu industry will move offshore, I’d like to see some numbers here”

    http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11581408

    “Only a few industries—metals, paper, chemicals, cement and the like—are both global and profligate enough to be at risk. These accounted for just over 3% of America’s output in 2005 and less than 2% of its jobs. Much the same is true in Europe: those industries, plus refining, account for less than 5% of output and an even smaller share of jobs, according to the interim report* of a group of academics studying the effects of Europe’s carbon-trading scheme.

    Even those supposedly vulnerable industries do not seem to have wilted in the face of a carbon price, according to two contributors to the study, Richard Baron and Julia Reinaud of the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based consultancy-cum-watchdog for energy-consuming nations. Ms Reinaud cannot even detect any impact on aluminium, which is as energy-intensive and widely traded as any good. She points out that a shuttered smelter in Germany reopened in 2007, despite the rising cost of emissions.”

    “A study sponsored by Resources for the Future, an American think-tank, has tried to describe how American industry would meet a carbon price, albeit one of just $10 a ton—much less than the European price of over €25 ($39). Based on economic modelling, it concludes that industrial output would fall by less than 1%. The hardest-hit industry would be metals, but even that would shrink by only 1.5%. Better yet, the damage could be offset by granting energy-intensive firms enough free permits to cover just 15% of their emissions.

    Another study under way at the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, another think-tank, sizes up a $15 carbon price using data on the past effects of rising energy prices on industry. It concludes that output would fall by 2% or less in 80% of cases. Paper and glass would face a bigger contraction, of 5%. Still, even the most vulnerable industries would not suffer the Armageddon that lobbying groups are predicting.”

  10. May be so, Jarrah.

    However that wasn’t the core part of the post.

    The central core is the question of how we should account for the emissions differential between France & the UK and Australia.

    In other words are we being less efficient/more profligate than the poms and the frogs?

    To me the answer isn’t available by simply looking per cap emissions as the professor has done and make that assertion.

    It’s quite a surprising error, doncha think? It left me open mouthed in wonderment.

  11. I also don’t think you can use Europe as an example of what happens with ETS as ours sounds as though it will be a lot more stringent. Europeans were unusually generous in handing out credits. In fact the price of carbon credits collapsed after it became obvious to the market that you could obtain them through lobbying efforts.

    The real question- as the whether Alu will will move overseas is dependent on the cost of emissions per ton. I think they will move overseas and their threat should be taken seriously. I’m not sure moving overseas will be a good thing in terms of global emissions though as I can’t see the Chinese or the Indians being as emissions conscious as we are.

  12. I’m rapidly coming to the view that the Australian economy will be profoundly harmed by the introduction of any kind of carbon emission reduction “incentives” prior to China, India, Brazil and the US doing the same. The reduced emissions in Australia will simply be replaced by increased emissions in those countries.

    (I’m ignoring the question of whether carbon emission reduction by government intervention is warranted at all.)

    As there seems to be no major political party saying anything along those lines, it might fall to the LDP to be the first.

  13. If Australia goes at this unilaterally without making much of a difference to any other countries and it ends up losing production to some developing economies that are less environmentally friendly than Australia, then the world could actually end up with *more total emissions*. What an irony that would be. Rudd is taking a big gamble here that somehow Australia sacrificing itself will have a ‘demonstration effect’ galvanising other countries to follow.

  14. Rudd is taking a big gamble here that somehow Australia sacrificing itself will have a ‘demonstration effect’ galvanising other countries to follow.

    And you can just imagine how impressed the Chinese, Indians and Brazilians will be by Australia’s example. After they look up an atlas to find where it is.

  15. He is taking a gamble here, David, especially if the giga countries don’t follow through.

    I just hope the government is getting better advice than being told the Australian public are large emitters because that’s simply laughable nonsense.

    I wish I was able to dig it up as I can’t recall where I read it….

    If we adjust for per cap wealth differentials the US is a lesser polluter than the fury, cuddly and cute looking Europeans. The US component of energy usage per US1 million of GDP produced is less than Europeans.

  16. What is the current price of carbon – $20 seems to be an old estimate, $32 per tonne is more realistic.

    Just planting trees and cutting all carbon subsidies, taxes and total income taxes and funding this from productivity gains from cutting regressive taxes like tariffs seems more attractive every day.

    This would cost society (Australia) $750 pp p.a as opposed to $12 800 pp p.a with the carbon tax or cap and trade.

    It would be interesting to see if the charity could raise the required $1.5 billion on it’s own and the Government can cut taxes further by that amount.

    Microgeneration will probably see a lot emissions go away, but this is 30-40 years away until we see this widespread through society.

    Remember, until any plan passes a CBA, we are better off doing nothing. No it is not saying that nothing will happen, rather that doing nothing will see incomes rise quickly enough to overcome problems like rising sea levels, and the tax would reduce incomes to a level where we would be worse off than having a rising sea level.

  17. “as I can’t see the Chinese or the Indians being as emissions conscious as we are.”

    Actually, I think you are wrong on this one. China is now massively polluted from coal. It’s so bad it effects weather patterns as dust apparently does bad things to clouds, so it doesn’t rain as much — this is very important (and even moreso for India). Given this, it seems reasonable to suspect that whilst new coal plants will undoubtedly be built by China, so will every other form of power too (presumably mainly heavy nuclear plants which recycle uranium for the big cities on the coast). Given this, the proportion of power coming from low emissions sources is likely to be far higher in China than Australia, simply due to necessity. Thus moving smelting to China is likely to reduce overall emissions.

  18. Conrad
    Last I read china is building coal plants at a furious clip like one a week.

    Are your saying they are now listening to Garnaut’s apocalypse by stopping the construction of new plants, tearing down the present ones and morphing into a France by producing nuke generated power all within the space of a few years?

    Or are they going with wind power?

  19. JC, I wasn’t responding to the post, but to Conrad’s query regarding numbers. And it seems the problem of trade-exposed industry isn’t as big a problem as we might suppose, based on the only studies I’ve seen so far.

    But you are right that comparing Aus to Frogs is apples and oranges, re economy composition. Though I’m confused by the quote you give that says France is 99.8% nuclear and at the same time 78.8% nuclear. But whatever, it’s clearly a different proposition to Australia’s energy make-up.

    David Leyonhjelm, India and China won’t do anything AT ALL until the West does, and they probably will if we do first. And then there’s the moral imperative – the West has benefited most from falsely-cheap fossil fuels, so should lead the way in weaning ourselves off them.

    Interestingly, India has promised to never exceed the West’s per capita emissions. Very canny indeed, I’d say. Obviously the sooner we start limiting ourselves the better.

  20. Though I’m confused by the quote you give that says France is 99.8% nuclear and at the same time 78.8% nuclear.

    Yes it’s not very clear, however I assumed it’s do with the portion they export and or timing difference (2002 vs 2004).

    And then there’s the moral imperative – the West has benefited most from falsely-cheap fossil fuels, so should lead the way in weaning ourselves off them.

    If it is looked on an individual basis there is no moral imperative. None. I or you have no responsibility to the Chinese or Indians in terms of having to limit our emissions at their expense.

    It’s not Australia vs India (or China). It’s about individuals living in Australia being wealthy enough to afford high living standards. No government has the moral right to demand it’s citizens place limits on their living standards at the expense of other people in the world living in other countries. Similarly foreign governments have no right to ask this of other people.

    Your proposition is no different than coercing Australians to be taxed at higher levels and sending the proceeds to people in other countries. In other words it is a massive international redistribution scheme.

    That view is basically a 21st century form of socialism and it’s repellent.

  21. “No government has the moral right to demand it’s citizens place limits on their living standards at the expense of other people in the world living in other countries.”

    Fair enough. It’s a personal viewpoint – I believe it’s moral for the West to start cutting emissions first.* But it’s also realpolitik – the Indians and Chinese are not going to accept giving up on falsely-cheap fossil fuels (ie the easy growth inherent in their use) when it’s the West who have contributed the most to AGW and benefited the most.

    * I think of it as analogous to debt – we’ve been living the good life by borrowing from the future, like funding living expenses via a credit card. And now it’s time to pay our debts.

    “Your proposition is no different than coercing Australians to be taxed at higher levels and sending the proceeds to people in other countries.”

    Considering we have polluted the world in general to our specific benefit, it’s more like paying our dues. But I see your point – if China et al never join up to a global effort, it’s a straight transfer. But I truly don’t think they won’t join up, eventually. And if it did look like they weren’t going to, then (and only then) we should consider the options available (like carbon import tariffs). We are not helpless.

    And as Quiggin has pointed out, we are already at the tail end of action, we’re not leading the way by any means. Even with Rudd’s ill-conceived ETS.

  22. Fair enough. It’s a personal viewpoint – I believe it’s moral for the West to start cutting emissions first.* But it’s also realpolitik – the Indians and Chinese are not going to accept giving up on falsely-cheap fossil fuels (ie the easy growth inherent in their use) when it’s the West who have contributed the most to AGW and benefited the most.

    You should first stop using subjective references such as ” the west”. That’s basically an artificial construct in this context. “The west” are people, individuals who have a relatively higher living standard than Indians or Chinese on balance. The state doesn’t give us our high standard of living, we do by work, toil and our ability to organize ourselves in more efficient way.

    You seem quite prepared to take a moral standing that Australian citizens should live with a lesser living standard at the expense of people in other countries. Have you asked Australians if they are prepared to make this sacrifice?

    You’re basically asking us to make a permanent redistribution transfer.

    Any government that chooses that route based on that premise deserves to lose every single seat in parliament. Every single one.

    Considering we have polluted the world in general to our specific benefit, it’s more like paying our dues.

    To let others pollute? That’s a mighty but twisted moral perspective you have. So you would rather an Indian, Chinese, African or Brazilian pollute than your neighbor next door.

    And if it did look like they weren’t going to, then (and only then) we should consider the options available (like carbon import tariffs). We are not helpless.

    Terrific idea. Not! Let’s rekindle Smoot Hawley as that gave us a good part of the great depression. And we’re going to retaliate with what exactly? Stop shipping coal or energy to them. There has already been a war because of trade restrictions on energy that resulted in a nuclear bombing. The war with Japan was essentially about energy and raw material embargoes.

    Look, free trade is difficult even in the best of times as people are essentially trade restrictionist. Imposing other burdens such as carbon tariffs on imports etc. will turn trade into a shambles.

    And as Quiggin has pointed out, we are already at the tail end of action, we’re not leading the way by any means. Even with Rudd’s ill-conceived ETS.

    To be perfectly honest and blunt, if the professor isn’t able to adjust for industry composition when comparing France& the UK to Australian per cap emissions I would hardly rely on him for much else on this subject.

    As far as I understand it we aren’t doing to badly in cutting our emissions down compared to France or the UK as they gained a head start because of nuclear energy for historical reasons (having nothing to do with AGW at the time). There has been a great deal of cheating going on in the European ETS since its inception.

  23. You don’t seem to understand my points at all. I’ll leave it to others for the moment – I’m sure there are people who want to contribute their particular opinion to this discussion who will bring a different viewpoint, and perhaps give us some insight that we can benefit from.

    But if they don’t comment, rest assured I will have a rebuttal for you. 🙂

  24. The important thing to remember is that this is a hoax. Not only will this do great damage in and of itself. But the precedent of going belly up for hoax science is what you want if your goal is to usher in some sort of dark ages. We need a new political correctness. Once that is intolerant of appeasing this hoax in any way.

  25. We in the west are richer in a good part because of the long term compounded effect of capital accumulation and infrastructure construction. China could be as economically liberal as the USA tomorrow but it would still take many, many decades to match the current per capita wealth of the USA. Just as the USA started out very economically liberal and is richer today even whilst being far less economically liberal.

    Having said that I don’t think we necessarily have any moral imperative for going first. Places like China have been given a big technological head start by virtue of the fact that the west lead the way to prosperity. And there was never anything immoral about emitting CO2 when there was no know consequence. If (and it’s still an if) we now know that CO2 emissions are a problem it is only action after the acquisition of that knowledge that has any moral question attached to it.

  26. jc, you’re post in no way shows errors or missions from John Quiggin. The Professors point was that Australians emit more than our fair share of carbon, and this remains true regardless of whether we use nuclear or the composition of our industry.

    You seem to imply that by exporting the products we produce, then we don’t “own” those emissons. Bad news, but we benefit from selling those products, we don’t do it for free. That means that each and every participant in the Australian economy owns their fair share of the emissions produced in export industries.

    Nuclear is a completely separate argument, if we are not willing to go down that path then we still need to find alternative emission light energy sources. And remember that even comparable to the first couple of decades of projected carbon costs under emissions trading, nuclear is not so cheap. Especially on the small scale of the Australian energy market.

    The cost of building a new aluminium plant ain’t cheap, whilst we may see less growth in Aus Aluminium, the likelyhood of plant closing to be replaced overseas seems quite small. Especially when they are given 90% of their carbon permits free.

    And one more point for the China commentators: Yes, China are building a crap load of coal plants, but they are also on track to have more wind generation than the rest of the world combined, and have a developing nuclear industry. We can’t deny chinese people the right to electricity just becase they are not australian, so we need to cut emissions ourselves.

  27. “The state doesn’t give us our high standard of living, we do by work, toil and our ability to organize ourselves in more efficient way.”

    Sorry jc, but it’s also been our willingness but put craploads of carbon into the atmosphere and f**k it up that has given us our high standard of living. And the Government has facilitated that.

    “To let others pollute? That’s a mighty but twisted moral perspective you have. So you would rather an Indian, Chinese, African or Brazilian pollute than your neighbor next door.”

    More than happy to have an Indian, Chinese, African or Brazilian pollute the same amount as my neighbour. Unfortunately current science now tells us that means my neighbour needs to cut his emissions. Me too.

    “To be perfectly honest and blunt, if the professor isn’t able to adjust for industry composition when comparing France& the UK to Australian per cap emissions I would hardly rely on him for much else on this subject.”

    jc, you have put forward no reason that the professor should adjust for industry composition. We need to acknowledge that industry composition is different, but the only outcome of that thought is that we need to change our energy sources if we want to maintain that industry composition. Status quo is no excuse to delay change, the status quo got us into this mess in the first place.

  28. What mess is that exactly, Joe/P? .65 degrees of warming? You’re getting a little panicky, over a problem that is supposed to be a problem 50-100 years from now.

    The issue of industry composition is more than a little important in determining just how profiligate we are compared to the professor’s silly two examples.

    It’s also more than a little important when we are considering ulilaterl actions seeing there is the possibility that our attempts at mitigation will make things worse from a global perspective if energy intensive industy move overseas.

  29. “To be perfectly honest and blunt, if the professor isn’t able to adjust for industry composition when comparing France& the UK to Australian per cap emissions I would hardly rely on him for much else on this subject.”

    Sorry for hogging the comments guys, but jc, really, are you serious? You think you can sideline a legitimate point (that there is no risk at all of Australia being a leader on climate change), by distraction attacking a completely different part of the debate.

    Australia are only now starting to talk about catching up with climate change action. The EU have emissions trading. China have more renewables than us, and a higher percentage of their energy mix is renewable. California (who have more people than Aus and a comparable economy) have said no more coal until it is at least as clean as gas whilst we approve brown coal plants for the La Trobe valley.

    Australia are well behind the peloton.

  30. Are you actually being serious here, JoeP or simply obtuse because it’s Monday morning and you hate being at work? 🙂

    1. China is building one coal fired plant a week. Their intense use of coal is the mian reason coal prices have hit US$200 per ton. I would also bet their renewbales/ carbon based balance is not that materially different to ours save for nuke. In addition they are now close to being the world’s largest polluter which is quite a bit scary. The US is able to produce US$13.5 trillion of GDP while China is only able to create around $US3.5 trillion using about the same energy input.

    2.The EU emissions scheme has been a sham with lots of cheating going on. This is well known.

    3. California is a disgrace. While pretending they are a clean state, they import a larger percentage of their energy from out of state with the result that national US emissions remain bascially unchanged.

    4. We can’t all convert to gas as there isn’t enohug gas around. If the world did that we would end up with gas prcies being measured in the same way as we price gold 🙂

    Are you getting all your ideas from Green Left Weekly or the Australian Green’s website, Joe/P? Which is it?

  31. JoelP, define what you mean by “our fair share of carbon” ?

    Per capita ? Absolute levels ? Relative to other countries ?

    If France and England are part of the analysis, why can’t I use your information to conclude that those two countries aren’t emitting their fair share of carbon and thus should increase their emissions ?

  32. “I would also bet their renewbales/ carbon based balance is not that materially different to ours save for nuke”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Gorges_Dam#Total_generating_capacity

    You can see where their power is coming from from the graph. Also, it’s senseless to exclude nukes in this comparison. In some countries, people would want to exclude hydro (it’s bad for the environment) and wind power (it’s ugly), but that should have no bearing on a cross-country comparison. The fact that Australians don’t happen to like nuke power and burn coal instead simply means that if they want to reduce carbon emissions they will have to use other methods.

  33. “JoelP, define what you mean by “our fair share of carbon” ?”

    I’m saying that if we produce a product in Australia for export overseas, then then people who benefit from producing that product (i.e. both the buyer overseas and the seller in Australia, and the beneficiaries of wages, tax etc generated by that sale) have a responsibility to a share of the carbon released producing that product.

  34. Conrad:

    You exclude nukes simply because we aren’t allowed to have nuke power seeing it frightens many of our fury and cuddly little friends on the left.

    They’re worried they may be vaporized 🙂 It’s not really an option for us so we ought adjust for it when making a comparison. It’s like handicapping the Melbourne cup. In this case the market doesn’t have the option to introduce nuke. You wouldn’t exclude it if we did.

  35. I’m saying that if we produce a product in Australia for export overseas, then then people who benefit from producing that product (i.e. both the buyer overseas and the seller in Australia, and the beneficiaries of wages, tax etc generated by that sale) have a responsibility to a share of the carbon released producing that product.

    Why? The people producing are not the people demanding the product or consuming it.

    Good thinking let’s price our exporters of the market to allow second raters to enter and produce far more emissions.

    If you’re idea is to reduce emissions and not wear a hairshirt because you like the feel of scratching yourself to death it a silly way to do things. You’re basically hamstringing the most efficient producers by imposing all sort of tariffs on them and then allowing the not so efficient to supply say China’s needs. That’s a dumb idea as the net result will be worse than your starting point.

  36. “Are you actually being serious here, JoeP or simply obtuse because it’s Monday morning and you hate being at work? :-)”

    Yes, it is monday, but I have to say I don’t quite mind being here. Working in the Australian energy market can be quite an interesting place. 🙂

    China derives two thirds of it’s electricity from coal, whereas Australia derives 85% of it’s energy from coal.

    The EU ETS may contain see cheating, but it is in place and it is reducing emissions, and it is being reviewed for improvement to learn from mistakes.

    California do import energy from other states, just as SA import from Victoria, Queensland import from NSW, etc. I’m not sure how that makes them a disgrace, especially as they import a lot of nuclear in that mix, and have a higher percentage renewables than Australia.

    And, umm, I don’t remember saying anything about gas, although I will add that we can afford to use much more gas to fire base load power stations. In fact, that’s exactly the plan, it’s just not as cheap as coal is.

    And no, you’ve fallen short on the sourcing there jc. However I’m still curious about proof for the Aluminium smelters and other industry relocating offshore, considering your only point of reference is that that’s waht they said when they were asking the government for some of the cash raised through the sale of permits?

  37. “Good thinking let’s price our exporters of the market to allow second raters to enter and produce far more emissions.”

    jc, I’m left wondering if you have read the green paper, or any of the commentary on it, because you would have realised that emission intensive trade effected industries are to be compensated?

    http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11581408
    http://business.smh.com.au/business/rudd-sails-through-greenhouse-test-despite-lack-of-green-flagellation-20080720-3ias.html

    So why the scaremongering on industries going overseas? Can I ask, do you believe in climate change? Is your scepticism the reason you suppose me as a green?

    Isn’t it easy to just swipe everyone who asks you questions as a popularly accepted group of derision.

    And isn’t it easy to use China as an excuse to do nothing whilst the sand heats around our feet.

  38. Yes, it is monday, but I have to say I don’t quite mind being here. Working in the Australian energy market can be quite an interesting place. 🙂

    It would be interesting, I’m sure.

    China derives two thirds of it’s electricity from coal, whereas Australia derives 85% of it’s energy from coal.

    The point being what exactly? That China can use nuke power and we can’t because some people get frightened? We know that already.

    The EU ETS may contain see cheating, but it is in place and it is reducing emissions, and it is being reviewed for improvement to learn from mistakes.

    So it’s ok to cheat as long as you look good. That reminds me of Alan Bond driving around in Rolls when he was broke.

    California do import energy from other states, just as SA import from Victoria, Queensland import from NSW, etc. I’m not sure how that makes them a disgrace, especially as they import a lot of nuclear in that mix, and have a higher percentage renewables than Australia.

    California import their power for the reason that they want to appear greener than what they are. In other words it’s a crock of shit because as I said, total US emissions are not down. If our are states are doing the same thing for identical reasons than they’re just as bad as California.

    And, umm, I don’t remember saying anything about gas,

    You did Joe/P. Right here.

    California (who have more people than Aus and a comparable economy) have said no more coal until it is at least as clean as gas whilst we approve brown coal plants for the La Trobe valley.

    although I will add that we can afford to use much more gas to fire base load power stations. In fact, that’s exactly the plan, it’s just not as cheap as coal is.

    That’s the stupidest plan I’ve ever seen. But I guess we can use gas depending on where the market sets the price of the credits. Set it high enough and we may have to start using pedal pushers and hope they don’t exhale very often.

    I keep telling you that there isn’t a lot of gas around to burn it for energy as the price will soar. Gas is a rarity in relative terms. It’s actually very precious and if we set the price of carbon too high we may find we end up being short of gas.

    However I’m still curious about proof for the Aluminium smelters and other industry relocating offshore, considering your only point of reference is that that’s waht they said when they were asking the government for some of the cash raised through the sale of permits?

    So you basically take the opposite view of what some one tells you something even if they present the figures? ☺ Go back to what I originally said you’d realize that I said I was making a prediction. It’s not as though we don’t have any evidence of entire industries moving offshore, do we?

    This is silly, you actually think there isn’t a price that would force them to move?

    So far you haven’t defended any of the professor’s arguments very well, Joe/P in fact you set him back a couple of miles.

  39. jc, I’m left wondering if you have read the green paper, or any of the commentary on it, because you would have realised that emission intensive trade effected industries are to be compensated?

    I haven’t read the Green paper as I read what Garnaut had to say and I simply didn’t think it was worthwhile based on his scarmongering and his bad premises. He didn’t even do a C/A for Christ’s sake, let alone use an appropriate cost of capital. His report is basically as useless as a tit on a bull.

    In fact Garnaut was more interested in reporting what he thought of the science. Foe that reason alone the government ought to hold back payment as they didn’t get what they paid for it seems to me.

    So why the scaremongering on industries going overseas?

    Don’t ask me, ask the smelter owners.

    Can I ask, do you believe in climate change?

    yes I do.

    Is your scepticism the reason you suppose me as a green?

    No, I see your talking points as identical to the farthest reaches of the green left.

    Isn’t it easy to just swipe everyone who asks you questions as a popularly accepted group of derision.

    Not at all as I think I answered your questions politely. It’s your assertions that are the issue.

    And isn’t it easy to use China as an excuse to do nothing whilst the sand heats around our feet.

    It’s not a matter of it being easy or hard. These are basic facts we’re dealing with: facts you seem to be willing to ignore.

  40. Garnaut was paid to provide (the appearance of)independent support for emissions trading so it would be easier for the Government to sell to the public. That’s what he provided.

    You’ll be happy to know that the Green Paper ignored much of the Garnaut report. They were separate processes. Thus the compensation for EITA industries.

    If supporting the introduction of an emission trading scheme is only the view of the hard left, it confuses me as to why it is being proposed by a right Labor Party, with the support of a conservative Liberal Party, with the support of 77pc of the Australian population?

    http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/general/public-backs-emissions-trading-but-doesnt-understand-it/1060908.aspx

    I’ve promoted nothing more than the views of the people above, yet you consider me to be on the fringe? Interesting.

  41. Joe/P

    The core of the post was about what I consider to be the professor’s incorrect assertion in comparing the UK& France to Australia’s per cap emissions. I think I have done more than a decent job to show why it he is plainly wrong. In fact it’s sophomoric.

    It doesn’t matter who supports ETS as that hasn’t been my criticisms of your claims. Your other points are.

    Do I like ETS? No I think it’s a horrible way to set up mitigation as Jeffrey Sachs plainly showed recently. It’s basically unworkable globally.

    As for the Liberal party: Well they are the stupid party after all. They had plenty of chances to set up a carbon tax with income tax set offs and they didn’t. The ALP right ought to know better too so they deserve just as much scorn.

  42. Saying that you have to take into account the differences in energy production and so forth isn’t catching an error by Quiggin. It’s redundant. It’s tautological.

    The economic differences (power, industry, whatever) aren’t some kind of complicating factor you need to adjust for – they’re the entire reason why emissions are different! France (or whoever) has fewer emissions BECAUSE they use nuclear power, BECAUSE they don’t have our industry mix. If you did ‘adjust’ for all the economic factors, the per capita emissions would of course (tautologically) be equal!

    Quiggin’s point (which you’ve missed entirely) isn’t that he’s passing a moral judgement that the English and French are “more holy than us”. That’s completely wrong (but on par with your normal level of understanding). He’s just seeing where logic leads when you start with “but we don’t contribute much when you look at the global picture”. Did you even read past the first few paragraphs?

  43. First of all it would be good if you used one ‘brandname’ per post Fats. Choose whichever you like as I don’t care which.

    Saying that you have to take into account the differences in energy production and so forth isn’t catching an error by Quiggin. It’s redundant. It’s tautological.

    Well you would say that wouldn’t you.

    Secondly, you last comment seems the opposite of what you said in your earlier comment.. here:

    But you are right that comparing Aus to Frogs is apples and oranges, re economy composition.

    You are the same person aren’t you, fatfingers?

    So let me know which argument you’re choosing today and I’ll respond.

  44. So what fats – you seem to open up more questions than you answer.

    Don’t we have comparative advantage in uranium?

    Are we not a net exporter of agricultural goods to other rich countries?

    Why don’t we use nuclear, who do we sell uranium to and how much of our energy intensive food is eaten by other rich countries?

    France and England can’t produce bauxite. India can.

    Do you trust India?

  45. JC, I’m on a different computer, and didn’t notice this one had a different name before I posted. I’m not like you or Mel.

    “you last comment seems the opposite”

    No, it’s not. It IS apples and oranges, and I just foolishly believed you when you said that Quiggin was ignoring they were different (when in fact he’s implicitly accepting that as a starting point, since the whole basis of our higher per capita emissions is BECAUSE of the differences). Plus I was in a better mood back then, so I was trying to be polite.

    Mark, I don’t see your point of your questions (to which the answers are yes, yes, political reasons, those who agree to strict conditions, lots, what’s trust got to do with it?). The concerns raised by Quiggin are legitimate – can we justify free-riding, and can we afford it?

  46. First of all fats, I didn’t find any of the professors assertions at all complicated. In fact they were very simple really.

    The economic differences (power, industry, whatever) aren’t some kind of complicating factor you need to adjust for – they’re the entire reason why emissions are different!

    Well I disagree and here’s why you’re basically wrong. In order to determine profligacy/efficiency, which is what the good professor implied you really do need to look at the composition of our industries then look to see how efficient they are in doing what they do and go from there. It’s no good comparing say a lawyer’s office to a mining company, then look at the amount of power they use and suggest the lawyers office is far more efficient than the mining company (on a per cap usage) because they use less energy. That’s really silly and/or misleading. But that in a nutshell is what the good professor was essentially doing in putting up that proposition. I think he’s wrong but then again I’m always pretty quick to accept I am if indeed it’s proved to be so. This becomes especially obvious when you consider we aren’t allowed to switch to nuke power because some fury cuddly little creatures are scared of being vaporized.

    France (or whoever) has fewer emissions BECAUSE they use nuclear power, BECAUSE they don’t have our industry mix.

    That’s correct.

    If you did ‘adjust’ for all the economic factors, the per capita emissions would of course (tautologically) be equal!

    You need to be adjusting for efficiency purposes in order to determine just how efficient we are in producing aluminum or extracting Iron ore and selling it overseas. You can’t say and/or insinuate we are profligate by suggesting our emissions are almost twice the amount of those two countries without talking a closer look and seeing why. Another example: it would be like comparing the energy usage of say the area around Olympic Dam (one of the biggest mining towns in the world and Pitt Street on a per cap basis and surmising the Pitt Street workers are more energy efficienct. That is a self evidently silly comment to make, right? Well that’s what I believe the good professor is doing. That’s also why I raised the issue of comparative advantage.

    The professor’s comment would only work if the world stopped making the things we do such as Alu production. If it doesn’t happen global emissions would simply stay the same. Alu would be extracted and processed elsewhere with the net effect being that global emissions staying the same.

    Quiggin’s point (which you’ve missed entirely) isn’t that he’s passing a moral judgement that the English and French are “more holy than us”. That’s completely wrong (but on par with your normal level of understanding). He’s just seeing where logic leads when you start with “but we don’t contribute much when you look at the global picture”. Did you even read past the first few paragraphs?

    Did you read mine, Mr. Tautology?

    One last thing about this earlier point you raised:

    If you did ‘adjust’ for all the economic factors, the per capita emissions would of course (tautologically) be equal!

    That’s my point entirely. If think carefully next time you would realize that I was actually suggesting that very point: that in fact we are probably very equal. Do you now appreciate why or do I have to explain this point to you again?

  47. JC, I’m on a different computer, and didn’t notice this one had a different name before I posted. I’m not like you or Mel.

    Well you’re more than you think Fats, but fair enough. I don’t care if you call yourself Pamela Anderson.

    What I do find intriguing in all this is how you changed your mind overnight.What happened? Did you awaken from a blog induced nightmare and realized you had agreed with me? LOL.

  48. Sorry, This should read:

    France (or whoever) has fewer emissions BECAUSE they use nuclear power, BECAUSE they don’t have our industry mix.

    That’s INcorrect.

  49. “In order to determine profligacy/efficiency, which is what the good professor implied”

    I have to stop you right there. I already told you that’s not what he was saying (though it’s amazing you don’t get that just by reading his article). He’s not making any claim about energy efficiency, let alone comparing ‘ours’ to ‘theirs’.

    What Quiggin did was say yes, we only contribute 2% of global emissions. To put it into context, he showed how that absolute size compared to other places. In case anyone was silly enough to think it odd we had the same as France or California or southern China, he mentioned that we had higher per cap emissions. It’s just a side note, one you’d hardly think necessary, but it’s confused you totally.

    “that in fact we are probably very equal”

    (Groans and wonders why he bothers) You are essentially saying “if we were the same, we would be the same”. See the tautology yet?

    I do see your point – we have comparative advantage doing certain (emission-heavy) things. BUT, that wouldn’t change under global full-cost accounting, and should only change slowly and minimally under local full-cost accounting (like an ETS, or better, a carbon tax). Slowly enough that free-riders are pushed to join (as we would be if we went down that route instead).

  50. I didn’t change my mind, Poodle. I’ve already explained that. What changed was I read Quiggin’s article and realised you had got the completely wrong end of the stick (as usual) and that he didn’t do what you’re claiming he did. I’m being generous here in assuming you’re just confused, and not lying, because we all know how much you hate liars.

  51. Fats/ jarrah or whoever you are please stop the ad homs or I’ll remove you comments without hesitation.. Now play nice like everyone else. Please.

    Now what are your issues?

    I already told you that’s not what he was saying (though it’s amazing you don’t get that just by reading his article).

    You mean this doesn’t mean what it says?

    The professor:

    Australia currently generates about 2 per cent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. That’s comparable to Britain or France.

    So comparable doesn’t essentially means comparing

    Okay, strike one

    What Quiggin did was say yes, we only contribute 2% of global emissions. To put it into context, he showed how that absolute size compared to other places.

    Okay so he was comparing then?

    That’s strike two.

    It’s just a side note, one you’d hardly think necessary, but it’s confused you totally.

    No it wasn’t. It wasn’t a side note at all. It was in he body of the thread.

    That’s three strikes, Fats/jarrah. I’m sorry bud but in baseball it’s a strike out which means you’re out for the innings.

  52. Of course Mark, it couldn’t possibly be a lack of clarity on your part, it must be the pointlessness of querying the feasibility of free-riding. Glad that’s settled.

  53. I do see your point – we have comparative advantage doing certain (emission-heavy) things. BUT, that wouldn’t change under global full-cost accounting,

    But isn’t that part of the issue, Fats? We’re unilaterally going into an ETS when all the largest polluters and many others are staying out.

  54. “So comparable doesn’t essentially mean comparing”

    He compares the absolute size, yes. So that ‘2% of global emissions’ is put in context. It’s just illustrative. He doesn’t compare ‘efficiency’ or comparative advantage, or any of the things you’re getting worked up about.

    The whole point of his article was to show how, in his opinion, to say “we are too small to make a difference” is a invalid argument. He notes, in passing, the bare facts about our emissions and how they compare to other places. I repeat, for the umpteenth time, that he wasn’t making a moral judgement about that. You seemingly took offence, and went off on an irrelevant tangent before coming around to dubious conclusions about aluminium and comparable industries.

    So let’s recap – you failed to understand Quiggin’s point. You made redundant points on a par with “if we were the same, we’d be the same”. You’ve made dozens of comments defending your intial errors, sounding more and more confused each time. That’s three ACTUAL strikes – time to get out of the game for good, I reckon.

    And what ad homs?

  55. “all the largest polluters and many others are staying out”

    1. The Bush administration is going to be replaced by people who will do more, no matter who wins.

    2. China (as others have pointed out, but perhaps you’ve forgotten) is moving aggresively into renewables and nuclear, and has said it will join global action… as long as the industrialised countries (rightly, IMO) move first.

    3. The changes should be slow enough to get free-riders on board. The research says that any reduction (and the statistics say it isn’t much at the ETS levels current pollies favour) in emmissions-heavy industry will come from less future investment, not shifting factories overnight.

  56. Fats – if we deregulated the energy industry and used full cost accounting, Australia would come out smelling like roses.

    Australia currently exports enough uranium to France every year to meet the electricity use of 7 million Australians or 10 million Frenchmen. (The ratio with respect to electricity is a little better for Australia). That is only 13% of current total production/exports, however.

    France and Britain also have high density housing which relies on high carbon emitting concrete and steel, which needs energy and coking coal. Full cost accounting would see French and British emissions rise and third world competitors to Australia as far dirtier producers of steel.

    If France and Britain had a cap and trade or a tax, they would prefer to buy from us than the Chinese.

    I wouldn’t be so flippant about “political reasons”. They make us financially poorer and contribute to carbon emissions.

    I see no reason why Australia should be first to sign onto such a plan, when all it will do is shift production offshore, possibly increase emissions, is inferior to a carbon tax and no such scheme has passed a cost-benefits test. Part of the reason why any such scheme would actually pass the analysis is because of unscientific, anti nuclear bias.

    A new regulatory regime or tax is not the way to correct an old, populist regime that masks full cost accounting.

  57. 1. The Bush administration is going to be replaced by people who will do more, no matter who wins.

    Fine by me, so let’s wait and see they sign on the dotted line.

    2. China (as others have pointed out, but perhaps you’ve forgotten) is moving aggresively into renewables and nuclear, and has said it will join global action… as long as the industrialised countries (rightly, IMO) move first.

    Again fine by me so let wait until the sign on the dotted line.

    3. The changes should be slow enough to get free-riders on board.

    Really? Qantas and banking analysts say that the cost of mitigation is going to be 100 million a year from 2010. Analysts also suggest they’re going to make around $700 million in 2010 so that’s 15% after EBIT. That doesn’t sound slow to me. Or small.

    The research says that any reduction (and the statistics say it isn’t much at the ETS levels current pollies favour) in emmissions-heavy industry will come from less future investment, not shifting factories overnight.

    Who are you reading? I’m happy to send you some investment bankers reports on the effect of ETS and what they say will be the impact on firms profits. It isn’t a pretty sight by the way.

  58. “all it will do is shift production offshore”

    My very first comment on this thread was about the data contradicting this “common sense” conclusion. Not that they’re saying nothing would change, but the studies’ results surprised even me with the small effect found.

    Yes, an ETS is inferior to a carbon tax, no disagreement from me. I did say it was “ill-conceived”. And I also agree that other dereg measures would be helpful. But that’s a topic for a different thread, as is the nuke debate.

  59. “Who are you reading”

    The Economist’s article about several studies on the subject. I linked to it twice, and have mentioned it many more. Methinks you’re not reading, period.

    And what ad homs? Or don’t you want to get into that, given your record? 😉

  60. Fats/ Jarrah

    And what ad homs? Or don’t you want to get into that, given your record?

    I asked you to please stop this sort of nonsense on this thread. Different blog different rules. Please keep to the topic without snark or ad homs. Last warning or I’ll begin deleting your comments pertaining to this post.

    The Economist’s article about several studies on the subject. I linked to it twice, and have mentioned it many more. Methinks you’re not reading, period.

    You mean the economist has done a ‘ special ‘ on Australia’s unilateral actions and the effects on business? Where? I think you’re referring to a global system they have spoken about before. It’s not what we’re talking about. Please try to be clear.

  61. Jarrah,

    Quiggin didn’t say anything incorrect. I don’t think he meant it to have a lot of depth – it doesn’t. It is quite shallow. Using it as the basis for an argument to be the first to sign up to a successful ETS seems misguided.

    Also Jarrah – the economist mentioned America and Germany. Australia is more energy intensive than these countries to begin with, France and Britain. The trade-offs and decisions to offshore production are more sensitive than these other rich countries.

  62. “so let’s wait”

    How do you respond to Quiggin’s criticism of that approach

    You mean the litter bug analogy? If you want my opinion it’s not very good as they are two entirely different actions he tries to marry (to make it seem as though they are related).

    As I see it there are two choices with littering. You dump it on the road which is littering or you dump it in the trash. The cost of dumping it on the road is pretty high while the choice of throwing it in the nearest garbage bin is a big fat zero.

    Let’s compare that to unilateral ETS.

    We either mitigate in 2010 and it costs us money but even more if the others don’t follow. Furthermore there is almost zero benefit to global emissions if we go ahead. Even if the others follow there is still little effect from our unilateral move.

    Somehow I don’t see how these two actions could even be compared. You do obviously.

    If you do please explain how our voluntary action will have any effect either with or without the big guys following?

    The litter bug example is more aligned to picking up a piece of paper from a dump site hoping it will make a difference. In other words it will make SFA difference.

  63. “Please keep to the topic without snark or ad homs.”

    Fine, but I still don’t see where I’ve used ad homs. And I don’t think asking where I’ve gone wrong is being snarky – if I don’t know the rules, I can’t keep to them.

    “It’s not what we’re talking about.”

    You brought up the carbon-leakage problem. I showed you that the problem is overstated, according to econometric studies. Quite pertinent, wouldn’t you say?

    “The trade-offs and decisions to offshore production are more sensitive than these other rich countries.”

    Mark, maybe so (though Europe in general was looked at, not just Germany). However, they did look specifically at aluminium, one of the biggies. Obviously more data would be welcome, but it’s interesting to see the first attempts to measure the carbon-leakage effect have come up with a small impact.

    “You mean the litter bug analogy?”

    I actually meant his concrete arguments – if we can say we won’t make a difference, so can plenty of others, some with more moral force; we won’t in fact be acting alone; we give up the benefits of moving slowly if we are forced to act faster later; we lose bargaining power by not acting; we will have costs imposed on us by those who object to free riders. Disclaimer: I don’t support all of those arguments, or place different emphasis on them.

    “Somehow I don’t see how these two actions could even be compared.”

    Then I think you’re pretty much alone in that.

    “please explain how our voluntary action will have any effect either with or without the big guys following?”

    1. CO2 is that much reduced.
    2. A communal response in probably inevitable, since it’s a tragedy of the commons (a commons – the atmosphere – that defies privatisation), so we’ll have to join up anyway.
    3. We have a moral obligation to start the ball rolling (though by now we will have to run to catch up)
    4. We will find it easier to get everyone else on board sooner.
    5. If everyone joins, we might solve the problem.

  64. Fats:

    It’s not a moral problem, so please stop being so melodramatic. It’s a pollution issue that we simply have to find a way of dealing with if in fact we need to at all at the present time. As Mark has argued a number of times acting now rather waiting and allowing GDP to accrue unmolested may be the better alternative. It certainly is as mark has shown when the true cost of capital is fully taken into account.

    This moral hair shirt doesn’t cut the mustard as you’re then not allowing for trade offs.

    Then I think you’re pretty much alone in that.

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

    I actually meant his concrete arguments – if we can say we won’t make a difference, so can plenty of others, some with more moral force; we won’t in fact be acting alone; we give up the benefits of moving slowly if we are forced to act faster later; we lose bargaining power by not acting; we will have costs imposed on us by those who object to free riders.

    Nonsense. And as you said yourself a new administration is coming in soon so why not wait and see what they come with.

    And how do you begin ETS when we don’t allow some technologies on the table. What’s the point of trying to change behavior to less carbon based energy when nuke isn’t allowed in the suite of alternative sources.. It’s a joke. Furthermore it’s even more of a joke when the professor uses those two examples that are largely using nuke power to produce their energy needs. The irony is overwhelming.

  65. Jarrah’s done a good job here. The Quiggins article really was just about the litter bug analogy, and I don’t understand what your beef is JC. Seems like you are going after something that isn’t there.

  66. Sorry, Trinnifar but you need to explain why you think that rather than living under the self delusion that people at a libertarian blog will simply accept your opinion because YOU think it holds value.

    You’re supporting a guy who struck out three times because he didn’t understand the meaning of compare (see 56)

  67. On a more reflective note, I seem to recall a great deal of angst not to mention doom saying when the great deregulation of the economy happened under Hawke/Keating. I bet you boys were singing from that songbook. Well we’re all still here with no serious injuries. Now you boys are all sounding just as hysterical over the ETS and the left did back then. Well you all need to calm down, history does not abound with examples of Government policy bringing about a complete flight of industry or some other catastrophic economic event. In fact more often then not it’s you friends in big business who give us all a right royal rogering (sub prime crisis anyone, who’d like a global credit crunch?).
    Some sit down, watch a bit of telly and stop talking yourselves into a frenzy otherwise you’re all likely to end up painting water colours with your toes.

  68. On a more reflective note, I seem to recall a great deal of angst not to mention doom saying when the great deregulation of the economy happened under Hawke/Keating. I bet you boys were singing from that songbook

    Don’t be silly PartickB. Most people who ascribe to the libertarian songbook would have applauded all those major economic reforms introduced by Keating and Hawke.

    And please explain how you could possibly analogize reducing trade protection and opening up markets to competative forces with ETS. Frankly I’m astonished at your association.

    Well you all need to calm down, history does not abound with examples of Government policy bringing about a complete flight of industry or some other catastrophic economic event.

    Really/ So you think capital flight is rare do you? Then please explain Total’s decision not to invest in Iran only announced last week.

    In fact more often then not it’s you friends in big business who give us all a right royal rogering (sub prime crisis anyone, who’d like a global credit crunch?).

    Who are our friends in big business, PatrickB? Sub-prime was caused by a lot of things, but not the things you think or suggesting.

    ETS may prove to be a choke point on the most vital sector of our economy- energy. You should think about it a little and demonstrate more than self awareness if you want to be taken seriously.

  69. Thoughts on Freedom – the blog where you get deleted for pointing out the weakness of other’s arguments. Has it hired Andrea Harris now? 🙂

  70. No fats,

    You can pretty well say anything you like as long as it’s pertinent to the thread and not bringing up all your old grudges from other blogs. So please stick to the thread/ general course of discussion or you will be deleted without hesitation.

    Bird is moderated here and you’re behaving in a similar way on this thread. So I ask you to please abide with the request or your comment will get deleted like the last irrelevant snark.

  71. All I did was point out you hadn’t answered the criticisms. I did so in a sarcastic manner, but since when is sarcasm a deletion-worthy offence?

    Just had a quick look at your comments on this very thread, and there’s a fair bit of snark coming from you (though admittedly far less than usual), so I don’t see why my comments are objectionable.

  72. Patrick B. “History doesn’t abound with government policy …. bringing about a catastrophic event”.

    Actually, I would argue that it certainly does. It’s easy to show negative economic impacts of government policy. eg/ the unfair protections given to Fannie Mae and Fredy Mac (both grown from government policy) obviously artificially lowered the market risks and caused problems down the line that we are seeing now.
    People not being able to trust the exchange value of money can be catastrophic, they lose their houses and businesses.

    On a larger scale, all of the biggest economic disasters of history that I can think of, all relate back to government policy and I’d sincerely hope you don’t need examples of this.

    In addition, even if the ETS scheme does little harm (I think it will be much more harmful than people realise, and that this harm will be very difficult to assess because it will be lost potential) – Why is a little harm OK? It’s still a bad outcome based on bad principles.

  73. I responded to one specific point he raised that I considered was wrong, Fats. That’s what this thread is about.

    As far as his analogy is concerned I have discussed it see 68. It’s simplistic and quite shallow.

    Not much interested in the rest otherwise i would have raised it in the thread.

  74. “that I considered was wrong”

    Except, as I’ve proved time and again, your thread topic is a non-starter, null and void, pointless. So we might as well talk about relevant tangents. But if you want to shut down debate, go ahead, it just makes you seem even more like you-know-who.

  75. No, I don’t want to shut down debate at all, Fats, but it seems it’s waste of time with you.

    1. You appeared on this thread under two different names with opposing views and then apologize for the “error”.

    2. You seem unable to comprehend the meaning of “comparable” and its derivatives.

    3. You want to debate other facets of the professors thread which is not what this post was about

    4. You seem more interested in snark and running grudges from other blogs.

    5. You are unable debate in good faith without resorting to silly word games.

    So please, feel free to leave the thread and shut the door behind you as I really can’t see what else you need to say.

    Thanks

  76. No not at all, Fats. You’re welcome on this post but please stick to the thread or the train of the conversation …. as I keep reminding you.

    Thanks

  77. I don’t remember asking either of you to have an opinion. To make up for this JC, you can release my previous comment from moderation…

  78. Hi Mark:

    I don’t see any comment of yours in moderation. Checked spam too and nothing seemed to be there. New at this but pretty sure i checked things. The only comment in the moderation bin was one or Bird’s abusing me for suggesting there is AGW.

  79. Mark, it may be a bug in WordPress. Some of my comments haven’t been appearing either. Did you use html tags? Because that seemed to prevent mine being accepted.

  80. JC:

    France produces around 99.8% of its energy needs by nuclear power while according to the link;

    How about correcting that? France produces 79% of its electricity by nuclear power. Another way to say it is that nuclear power supplies 39% of Frances total energy consumption. I can’t fathom where the 99.8% comes from (it was in the Wikipedia article which has since been updated) and it defies common sense. It’s startling enough that four fifths of the electricity produced in France comes from nuclear.

    From the source that is used in the Wikipedia article you link to:

    In 2004, France consumed 11.2 quadrillion Btu of total energy. Nuclear energy was the largest share, representing 39 percent, followed by oil (36 percent), natural gas (16 percent) and hydroelectricity (5 percent).

    For what it’s worth, France exports 18% of the electrity it produces (same source).

  81. Wow, Andrea, I can’t even offer advice about posting comments? I was trying to help Mark, for Christ’s sake, despite the fact that he was going to disagree with me! You’re getting petty in your old age.

  82. Wait – my comment about comments not appearing due to a WordPress bug may not have appeared due to the WordPress bug. If so, I take back all of #94.

  83. Correcting what, Trinnifar, the wrong WIKI comment? You want me to go into WIKI and edit it?

    If you mean I should correct it in the body of the post, well I’m not. The comments section will make people aware.

    But thanks for the advice.

  84. jc, if you find bad information in a Wikipedia article why wouldn’t you correct it? That’s exactly the idea of Wikipedia and it’s very easy to do.

    Similarly, if you find that something’s wrong in a post, why not fix it? It’s common practice and a courtesy to everyone who subsequently reads the post — many or most of whom will not look at the comments. Not doing so puts both your credibility and the credibility of the blog at risk, leaves the impression that you don’t care about accuracy. It’s also very easy to do; WordPress has an excellent editing interface.

    Why don’t you talk to your co-bloggers about it? I suspect they are interested in producing a high quality blog (I know at least two of them are). Clearly fixing mistakes is critical to showing you care about what you’re writing and your readers.

    I’d like to know that when my feed reader shows me there’s a new post on AlsBlog by JC I can expect something good.

  85. JC – I haven’t done so recently but I used to edit Wikipedia on a nearly daily basis. As Trinifar says that is the point of the wiki system. Everybody is a potential editor.

  86. “I’d like to know that when my feed reader shows me there’s a new post on AlsBlog by JC I can expect something good.”

    Just keep wishing, maybe it will come true one day.

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