Carbon Reduction

Caps Review Part 7: Complementary measures

Posted on 18 March 2013 by James Wight

This is the sixth part in a series about the Caps and Targets Review being conducted by the Australian Government’s independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) this year. Part 1 summarized the global climate crisis, Part 2 explained the importance of the review and how CCA should approach it, Part 3 outlined the role Australia should play in climate action, Part 4 debunked the economic justifications for inaction, Part 5 makes my central recommendations on emissions caps, and Part 6 makes recommendations on the design of the carbon price mechanism. This part argues for and suggests some complementary measures.

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Caps Review Part 6: ETS design flaws and pitfalls

Posted on 15 March 2013 by James Wight

This is the sixth part in a series about the Caps and Targets Review being conducted by the Australian Government’s independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) this year. Part 1 summarized the global climate crisis, Part 2 explained the importance of the review and how CCA should approach it, Part 3 outlined the role Australia should play in climate action, Part 4 debunked the economic justifications for inaction, and Part 5 makes my central recommendations on emissions caps. This part makes recommendations on the design of the carbon price mechanism.

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Caps Review Part 5: Emissions caps

Posted on 14 March 2013 by James Wight

This is the fifth part in a series about the Caps and Targets Review being conducted by the Australian Government’s independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) this year. Part 1 summarized the global climate crisis, Part 2 explained the importance of the review and how CCA should approach it, Part 3 outlined the role Australia should play in climate action, and Part 4 debunked the economic justifications for inaction. This part makes my central recommendations on emissions caps.

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Caps Review Part 4: Economics

Posted on 13 March 2013 by James Wight

This is the fourth part in a series about the Caps and Targets Review being conducted by the Australian Government’s independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) this year. Part 1 summarized the global climate crisis, Part 2 explained the importance of the review and how CCA should approach it, and Part 3 outlined the role Australia should play in climate action. This part debunks the economic justifications for inaction.

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Caps Review Part 3: Australia’s role

Posted on 12 March 2013 by James Wight

This is the third part in a series about the Caps and Targets Review being conducted by the Australian Government’s independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) this year. Part 1 summarized the global climate crisis, and Part 2 explained the importance of the review and how CCA should approach it. This part outlines the role Australia should play in climate action.

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Caps Review Part 2: Politics

Posted on 11 March 2013 by James Wight

This is the second part in a series about the Caps and Targets Review being conducted by the Australian Government’s independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) this year. Part 1 summarized the global climate crisis. This part explains the importance of the review and how CCA should approach it.

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Caps and Targets Review: A 7-part Series (Part I)

Posted on 9 March 2013 by James Wight

The Australian Government’s independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) is conducting a Caps and Targets Review this year. In this series I will explain why the review is important, outline what I think its recommendations should be, and attempt to deconstruct everything I believe is wrong with the Government’s climate policies and its underlying flawed beliefs about Australia’s role in climate action.

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Poster on Uncertainty at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco

Posted on 28 November 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

This post relates to a poster at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco in December 2012 that summarizes our work on uncertainty in climate science. (Thursday, 6 December, 1:40 PM - 6:00 PM, Poster Hall, Moscone South).

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The sky is not falling--but emissions are

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Today's headline in The Age, one of Australia's major newspapers, is Power pollution plunges. The article notes that the introduction of a price on carbon (currently $23/tonne) may have contributed to a fairly sharp drop in emissions intensity (i.e., the amount of of CO2 emitted per unit power generated). The article is accompanied by the following graph:

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Current climate action and the need for more

Posted on 14 September 2012 by Dana Nuccitelli

The Australian government's Climate Commission has recently released a new Critical Decade report about International Action on Climate Change.  The report notes that this decade is critical in reducing human greenhouse gas emissions, that we have all the technology necessary to do so, and examines the policies of various countries toward that end.  Their findings are summarized in Figure 1 (Figure 3.2 on Page 34 of the report).

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The European Union in international climate change negotiations

Posted on 13 September 2012 by Nathalie Latter

The European Union has been at the forefront of international climate change negotiations for nearly two decades. The EU capitalised on the leadership gap caused by the United States' early disengagement from the UN climate negotiations and has striven to maintain its claim to environmental leadership. EU diplomacy was vital to signing up Russia and Japan to the Kyoto Protocol, effectively saving it from an early death after the US renounced its signature and the international process as a whole. However, the EU struggled to maintain its leadership role at the Copenhagen negotiations in 2009, where the US and China snubbed the EU by negotiating the Copenhagen Accord without EU input. The EU now faces the challenge of maintaining a leadership role despite the increasing complexity of international climate change negotiations and the renewed (often obstructive) participation of the US in the UN process.

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Aviation’s emissions problem

Posted on 29 August 2012 by David Hodgkinson

Earlier this month (August 2012) the Commonwealth government and the coalition both supported a motion by the (conservative) National Party calling on Australia to “use all political, diplomatic, and legal tools at its disposal” to ensure that the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) is not applied to Australian aircraft.

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Climate Uncertainty and Emission Cuts

Posted on 2 June 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky

It is very clear that uncertainty is no one’s friend. We have seen that greater uncertainty about the evolution of the climate should give us even greater cause for concern. We have seen that all other things being equal, greater uncertainty means that things could be worse than we thought. We have also seen that greater uncertainty means that the expected damages from climate change will necessarily be greater than anticipated, and that the allowance we must make for sea level rise will also be greater than anticipated. All of those results arise from simple mathematics, and we do not even have to resort to any economic modelling to understand how greater uncertainty translates into greater risk.

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The Missed Oil Change and the Durban Bathtub

Posted on 11 December 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The climate talks in Durban have drawn to a close at around 5AM local time after a marathon all-night session.

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Nations roll the dice in Durban… Two degrees or seven?

Posted on 9 December 2011 by Fiona Armstrong

In the final week in Durban a sense of frustration is permeating the COP, where aspirations for a global deal remain high, but expectations swing between mildly hopeful and almost absent.

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Data for Durban

Posted on 7 December 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

There is a climate conference on in Durban, South Africa. This event has been difficult to miss because it has been accompanied by the usual distractions: First, we had another release of stolen personal correspondence among climate scientists (the two-year old rejects from the “climategate” non-scandal), presumably in the hope that this would torpedo the climate negotiations. No one has shown much interest in this very transparent attempt to malign scientists.

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COPping the heat (and the procrastination) in Durban

Posted on 3 December 2011 by Fiona Armstrong

The beachside city of Durban is packed, with 10,000 people from 194 countries in town for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to negotiate the next step in the process of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Kyoto is Dead-Long Live New Climate Change Arrangements

Posted on 30 November 2011 by David Hodgkinson

Failure at the Copenhagen and Cancun climate change conferences in 2009 and 2010 can be put down, broadly, to two reasons: concerns by developing countries about what binding emission reduction targets might mean for their economic development, and the deadlock over post-2012 targets for developed countries.

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The unbearable simplicity of carbon reduction

Posted on 29 November 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

In Australia, the sky will fall in on 1 July 2012 next year.

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Towards a climate change scenario that is ecologically sustainable, fair, and welfare-increasing

Posted on 19 November 2011 by Philip Lawn

Dr Phil Lawn visited recently from Flinders University and gave a lecture at UWA. The audio-video recording of the lecture can be found here, and the abstract of his talk is shown below.

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Carbon Free in the Desert

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Australia’s CO2 emissions are among the highest in the world, when expressed on a per capita basis. When our historical responsibilities are taken into account, we are 14th—out of about 200 countries in the world. Nonetheless, political figures and the media like to point fingers at other countries whose per capita emissions are even higher than ours. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) spew out nearly 30 tonnes of CO2 per capita, compared to our 19 tonnes (but don’t rejoice—the Swiss get by with about 5 tonnes, or nearly 75% less than us!).

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Carbon tax will have a negligible impact on the cost of new homes

Posted on 12 August 2011 by Alex Bruce

Discussion of the proposed carbon tax is practically inescapable for most Australians at the moment, but the proliferation of information doesn’t mean that things become more understandable.

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Saying Yes to Nuclear: One Option to Mitigate Climate Change

Posted on 28 July 2011 by David Hodgkinson

PART I

I set out here the climate change problem and the role of nuclear power, or nuclear energy, in addressing that problem. My argument is that nuclear power (with renewable energy) is an important option for achieving electricity production with a small carbon footprint – for reducing emissions. As a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2009 makes clear,

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What are Other Countries Really Doing about Carbon Emissions?

Posted on 26 July 2011 by John Gregg

Given the mass of conflicting information surrounding Australia’s climate change policy; one might want to try to find out what the rest of the world really is doing.  Unfortunately, currently missing from the online information about climate change policies around the world is one non partisan website that compares and contrasts the policy action being undertaken by governments around the world. However, there are various Wikipedia sites that do a reasonable job of aggregating ETS, RETs, carbon tax and other policy instruments commonly utilised around the world. These include;

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The ABC of tomorrow’s world: Amphibians, Bailouts and Carbon

Posted on 21 July 2011 by Steven Smith

Three seemingly unconnected news items caught my attention this week, but they each tell us something about the stresses on our world.

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Reducing Electricity Use in Households (and Businesses)

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Carmen Lawrence

Well before the recent fuss about increases in energy prices, the reduction of electricity use by households and businesses had already been identified as an important national policy goal, with benefits for the climate, the electricity supply sector, business costs and household budgets. However, despite increasing costs to both users and producers and warnings about the impacts of climate change, consumption of electricity continues to rise and is predicted to continue rising over the coming decades. This increased demand, and the need to shift away from fossil fuel sources, is driving costly investment in the electricity generation and distribution networks, further increasing the cost of power. These higher electricity prices, in turn, are causing heightened community sensitivity to price, and problems for some household budgets, particularly those of low income earners (although as a proportion of household budgets, power costs are not rising). While the probable effects on prices of the introduction of a price on carbon are being wildly exaggerated by the tabloid press and political opportunists (and the compensation overlooked), it is clear that helping households and businesses cut their electricity consumption would assist in reducing the impact of rising prices. And by all accounts, there is plenty of room to move without compromising current standards of convenience and comfort.

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Greenhouse gas emission pricing, tax cuts and economic growth in Australia

Posted on 11 July 2011 by Adam McHugh

One of the most studied topics in the field of economics is the impact of a per-unit tax when it is applied to one product and not to others.  It is well understood that such a tax increases the costs of production for the taxed product thereby leading to an increase in its price.  This discourages demand for the taxed product while encouraging the consumption of alternatives.

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German Energy Priorities

Posted on 6 July 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Germany has decided to phase-out its nuclear power plants by 2022.  Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would need to replace a substantial amount of this phased-out energy with coal and natural gas power plants.

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A Detailed Look at Renewable Baseload Energy

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

The myth that renewable energy sources can't meet baseload (24-hour per day) demand has become quite widespread and widely-accepted.  After all, the wind doesn't blow all the time, and there's no sunlight at night.  However, detailed computer simulations, backed up by real-world experience with wind power, demonstrate that a transition to 100% energy production from renewable sources is possible within the next few decades.

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How sustainable is your solar passive house?

Posted on 17 June 2011 by Alex Bruce

So you've worked hard with solar passive design concepts to achieve an 8 or 9 star rated house and you feel comfortable you won't be needing any air-conditioning. You've got layers of insulation, double glazed windows, they are in the right spots to keep the sun out in summer and let it in during winter, you can make use of the lovely cooling breeze, and it's so air tight you could take it to Mars and be comfortable. You've also dropped a massive polished concrete slab on the ground for thermal mass, keeping things nice and warm in winter. You've then complemented the lovely house with a lovely solar hot water system (perhaps Australian made) and maybe even some solar photovoltaic power panels.

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With Courage We Can Build a Post-Carbon Australia

Posted on 10 June 2011 by John Wiseman

How many wake up calls do we need? The latest International Energy Agency figures, published recently in The Guardian newspaper, show global carbon emissions are at their highest ever levels.

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Australia's Emissions in Context: Our Present Responsibility

Posted on 5 June 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

Australia's sum total of historical emissions places us near the top of the world's polluters. Despite our small population and the relatively small size of our economy, across history, we have emitted more CO2 from burning of fossil fuels than 94% of all other countries.

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Zero Carbon Australia: We can do it

Posted on 20 May 2011 by James Wight

Britain has just announced an emissions reduction target of 50% by 2025. Germany has adopted a renewable energy target of 35% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Japan is talking about moving away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy, toward renewables. Even China is investing in equally massive amounts of fossil fuel and renewable energy capacity. These are four of the top ten economies and greenhouse gas emitters of the world. Certainly they could be doing more, but they are leaving Australia for dead.

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Germany Over-Achieves Again

Posted on 19 May 2011 by John Gregg

News updates on Germany’s renewables achievements and objectives to 2020 caught my attention because I had recently drafted a policy paper on solar PV feed in tariffs in WA, and naturally a quick literature review highlighted Germany as the pace setter in clean energy policy delivery and outcomes.

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Ecological Footprint Analysis and Obesity

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Glenn Albrecht

Modern humans have rapidly changed the conditions that were prevalent during their emergence as a species some 200,000 years ago. For tens of thousands of years humans lived within the constraints of their bioregions and made adaptive adjustments to climatic and biophysical changes. Within the last 10,000 years, humans have successfully colonised nearly every type of ecosystem and bioregion on the planet.

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Cutting Emissions and Growing the Economy

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

Putting a price on carbon emissions is often discussed as one of the main solutions to anthropogenic global warming.  Carbon dioxide is a pollutant and in economic theory, pollution is considered a negative externality – a negative effect on a party not directly involved in a transaction, which results in a market failure.  The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change concluded that climate change represents "the greatest example of market failure we have ever seen."

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A Plan for 100% Energy from Wind, Water, and Solar by 2050

Posted on 27 March 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

We recently examined how Australia can meet 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020, and the Ecofys plan to meet nearly 100% of global energy needs with renewable sources by 2050.  Here we will look at another similar, but perhaps even more ambitious plan.

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Northeast USA Carbon Pricing Benefits Exceed Costs

Posted on 3 March 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

The key obstacle to the implementation of carbon pricing in the USA is the fairly widespread myth that it will result in ballooning energy bills and cripple the economy.  These myths perservere despite the fact that as we have previously explored, economic studies consistently conclude that the costs of carbon pricing proposals are very minimal, and the benefits consistently outweigh the costs several times over.

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