Politics

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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Worldviews and the (Economic) Merchants of Doubt

Posted on 20 December 2012 by Mark Edwards

In the previous two posts, I made two principal points: In the first post, I noted that doubt about the efficacy of government intervention to address HICC may become as much a barrier to action as the denialist strategy of manufacturing doubt about the scientific basis of climate change. In the second post, I illustated this notion by surveying the range of climate policie across the entire spectrum.

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Climate Policy: Points along the Spectrum

Posted on 17 December 2012 by Mark Edwards

In a previous post, I noted that doubt about the efficacy of government intervention to address HICC may become as much a barrier to action as the denialist strategy of manufacturing doubt about the scientific basis of Human Induced Climate Change (HICC).

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The Climate Change Policy Spectrum: Worldviews, Ideologies and the New (Economic) Merchants of Doubt

Posted on 13 December 2012 by Mark Edwards

In a study of the responses of farmers to changing weather patterns Rogers, Curtis and Mazur found that, “Personal values and worldviews were found to be the most frequent factors linked to adaptive behaviour.” (Rogers, Curtis & Mazur 2012, p. 258)

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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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Unexpected connections: Income inequality and environmental degradation

Posted on 13 February 2012 by Jaqueline Haupt

Ensuring that natural resources are consumed and waste is produced at sustainable rates represent major contemporary challenges. Recognition of these challenges resulted in the endorsement in 2000 of environmental sustainability as one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved by 2015. However, by 2003 global rates of consumption and waste production were estimated to be at least 25% higher than the capacity of the planet to provide resources and absorb waste (Kitzes, et al., 2007) and this rate may have risen as high as 50% by 2007 (WWF, 2010). A vital aspect of achieving sustainability is widespread social change, yet the current theoretical knowledge of societal transformation processes is limited. In order to improve nations’ environmental performance, a better understanding of socioeconomic and behavioural forces driving such unsustainable development is required.

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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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Australia's West in 2031

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Peter McMahon

I was recently asked to talk about Western Australia in 2031 focussing on climate change. Before I spoke on this topic I made two important points: firstly, that due to the convergence of various critical trends at the global scale, it is difficult to make any kind of reasonable guess for 2020, let alone 2031; and secondly, even a future without global warming or peak energy promises to be scary because of these trends.

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Risk, Rorts and Realities in the Climate Debate

Posted on 4 November 2011 by John Connor

This is the text of a speech given by John Connor at Notre Dame University in Fremantle, Western Australia, on 28 September. It is reproduced in full with the exception of some introductory remarks.

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Scientists on Trial: Risk Communication Becomes Riskier

Posted on 29 September 2011 by Michael Smithson

Back in late May 2011, there were news stories of charges of manslaughter laid against six earthquake experts and a government advisor responsible for evaluating the threat of natural disasters in Italy, on grounds that they allegedly failed to give sufficient warning about the devastating L'Aquila earthquake in 2009.  In addition, plaintiffs in a separate civil case are seeking damages in the order of €22.5 million (US$31.6 million). The first hearing of the criminal trial occurred on Tuesday the 20th of September, and the second session is scheduled for October 1st.

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Avoiding Regulations: Try Meta-Regulating

Posted on 23 August 2011 by Mark Edwards

As Carmen Lawrence has pointed out here in her series on economic growth and human well-being, the issue of climate change is directed related to that of economic growth.  Our endless quest for growth is leasing us up against planetary limits in resources (resource limits) and in the earth’s capacity to absorb the outputs of that growth (sink limits).  Climate change is essentially an atmospheric sink limit that demonstrates the planet’s growing inability to absorb further emissions of carbon dioxide without significant disruption to the climate system. Growth and climate change are running into each other and this impasse will not be solved without a transformation in the way we define, measure and regulate economic growth. 

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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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U.S. Congress Looking after the World (or Not?)

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

The American Association for the Advancement of Science reports today:

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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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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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Communicating about Uncertainty in Climate Change, Part II

Posted on 22 June 2011 by Michael Smithson

(This is a two-part post on communicating about probability and uncertainty in climate change. Read Part I.)

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No One Likes Taxes But Sometimes People Don't Mind

Posted on 6 June 2011 by John Gregg

"Read my lips, there’ll be no new taxes”

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Historical Responsibilities: Carbon Emissions in Context

Posted on 1 June 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

It has often been claimed that Australian annual CO2 emissions are such a tiny fraction of the world’s total, around 1.5%, that there is no need for us to take action. If we are only responsible for such a small proportion, why should we bother with a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme?

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Communicating about Uncertainty in Climate Change, Part I

Posted on 31 May 2011 by Michael Smithson

(This is a two-part post on communicating about probability and uncertainty in climate change. Read Part II.)

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Giving climate change the right health treatment

Posted on 26 May 2011 by George Crisp

Leading public health organisations and the peer reviewed health literature have increasingly recognised the serious impacts for our health and quality of life should we fail to tackle climate change.

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Addressing the “Balanced Coverage” Issue in the Media

Posted on 17 May 2011 by Michael Smithson

The tactics and techniques for manufacturing doubt in the face of a scientific consensus were perfected by major tobacco companies during the 1950’s and 60’s, in their efforts to discredit cancer researchers’ burgeoning evidence of the link between smoking and lung cancer. In his 1995 book “Cancer Wars,” Robert Proctor documented the influences of professional, economic, and political interest groups on American governmental priorities and funding of cancer research. An infamous 1969 memo from one corporate executive declared that “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

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China, Carbon, and the Carbon Tax

Posted on 12 May 2011 by Ben McNeil

This week’s Australian budget, with its withdrawal of subsidies for renewable energy, has left many commentators wondering if we’ve turned our back on carbon-neutral power. They should focus on the main game – the introduction of a carbon tax later this year. Without this, our renewable industry really will be left behind.

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Environmentalism: The Case for Radicalism

Posted on 6 May 2011 by Clive Hamilton

The difficulty and importance of the global warming campaign is many times greater than every other environmental struggle. Controlling carbon pollution requires a wholesale industrial restructuring and defeat of the most powerful industry coalition ever assembled.

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