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EYE-BALL Guru on – Climate Change Minister Greg Combet – The Carbon Tax – Emissions Trading scheme –

October 24, 2012
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Title:
– Climate Change Minister Greg Combet –
– The Carbon Tax – emissions Trading scheme –
| Author: EYE-BALL Guru | 24th Oct 2012 |
The Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Industry, and Innovation – Mr Greg Combet, gave a speech to the 4th Annual Australian and New Zealand Investment Conference at the – SHERATON ON THE PARK, SYDNEY today.

Mr Combet’s Ministerial office provided a full text of the speech and it can be read using this link [opens a PDF file.]

Mr Combet was addressing Financial Market Executives and expressed the Government’s position in how they see climate change policy interacting with Market initiatives and products.  Mr Combet’s speech was commented on by ‘The Australian’ journalist Scott Murdoch when he filed the following Story:

Carbon tax repeal a threat: Combet


| Author: Scott Murdoch | Date: 24th Oct 2012 | Link to On-Line Story. |

CLIMATE Change minister Greg Combet has warned Tony Abbott’s promise to repeal the carbon tax will threaten Australia’s sovereign risk rating because of the major uncertainty created by the move.

In a speech to the Citigroup conference, Mr Combet attacked the opposition’s climate change policy which centers on a direct action plan rather than Labor’s planned transition from the carbon price to an emissions trading scheme in 2015.

Mr Abbott has promised to scrap the carbon tax, now set at $23 a tonne, if he wins the election due next year.

However, Mr Combet said businesses and industry leaders were now supporting the carbon tax after the “sky didn’t fall in” once it came into effect in July this year.

“It creates so much uncertainty, people are making very large investment decisions in the energy sector for example in assets with a life of 30 to 50 years,” he said referring to the coalition’s plan.

“If he (Mr Abbott) is doing what he proposes then it creates uncertainty and people will stand back and go ‘what’s going on here?’.

“Those investors are international investors and they know what’s going on. They know the carbon prices around the world, they know it’s inevitable and they know that this is rational policy response.”

Mr Combet said he would campaign against the opposition’s carbon policy “every day until the next election”.

This news report by journalist Mr Murdoch is no more than a ‘headline’ grab and is representative of the mono-logic lip service journalists have these days to a real story.

This speech was about so much more and there was as much not said as what was said and this is where the mainstream media are completely out of touch with what their job description requires them to do.

Whether it be Editors having ‘control’ issues, or proprietors having political agenda’s journalists are required to report about – the result is that we can no longer trust our media to be both objective and perform to a standard the keeps us informed about the real issues the we should all be concerned about.

What I derived from this speech is summarised hereto … Mr Combet made the following comments as his Introduction –

Page 1 …

Introduction

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at this investment conference.

What do fund managers, bankers, financiers, analysts and investors have to do with climate change?

Everything.

Climate change is a classic example of how we can harness the power of markets, and investment markets in particular, to reduce risks, underwrite economic prosperity and deliver social welfare.

Climate change is the most serious environmental problem the world faces today.

Left unchecked, it will impose significant economic, environmental, social and human costs on future generations.

The scientific advice is clear: to tackle climate change, the world needs to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere.

In turn, this requires the world to invest in cleaner ways of producing the goods and services of modern economies:

  • We need to adopt cleaner sources of energy.
  • We need to use energy more efficiently in our factories, offices and homes.
  •   And we need to commercialise the innovative clean technologies and production processes

that will decouple economic growth from growth in carbon pollution.

The investment community has a large part to play in bringing about these changes.

So does government.

Indeed government policies to tackle climate change will be central to the investment decisions you and your clients make in coming years.

That is why it is important to understand that there are two sharply different policy approaches on offer in Australian politics today for driving the economic transformation needed to tackle climate change.

Under the first approach, the government places a price signal on carbon pollution and allows the choices and investment decisions of individual businesses, investors and consumers – in other words the market – to drive the economic changes needed.

Under the second approach, the government eschews markets, decides which businesses should take which actions to reduce pollution and hands out taxpayer subsidies to finance those actions.

The first approach – according to institutions like the federal Treasury, the Productivity Commission, the OECD and the IMF – is the most efficient and lowest cost way of reducing carbon pollution.

The second approach has been widely criticised as imposing higher costs, delivering less efficient outcomes and offering no certainty that the pollution reductions will even be achieved.

It may seem strange to some, but it is the Labor Party which has implemented the low-cost market-based approach while the Liberal Party wants to scrap this and replace it with the high-cost, anti-market approach of subsidies and central planning.

To help you understand the importance of this policy choice, and its relevance for the investment community, I want to use this speech to do three things.

First, to explain how the Government’s carbon price and wider Clean Energy Future package works.

Second, to outline the central role of investment in tackling climate change.

And finally, to make the case for why investors should support the Government’s pro-market climate change policies and reject the Opposition’s anti-market nostrums.

Perhaps I should state my position before I comment on Mr Combet’s speech and views.

I was a climate change supporter from the mid-90’s and up until the Carbon Tax debate began three years ago. I began to read material from both sides of the debate and when I understood where the concerns of the pro lobby group in the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere I began to ask more questions and failed to get the answers needed to convince me.

I don’t support the Carbon Tax – I do not think it will in any way reduce carbon emissions in any time frame that this Government and International Climate Change action groups see as a need to prevent further environmental damage.

You see – I can accept that humans have had an impact due to fossil fuel usage and that is as much a population problem as an energy need problem. Yet in all the global debate I have read and searched – nobody is talking about a population ceiling/reduction as a means to contain energy needs of the reduction of carbon emission.

This is where the Carbon Tax proposal lost creditability in my opinion. Creating a new tax as a deterrent to try to induce carbon polluters to switch over to a cleaner energy source has no real function or purpose.  Especially when subsidies are introduced to offset the cost of the carbon tax to smaller polluters and pensioned consumers, and only the largest polluters are levied the new tax.

Yet the passed on cost of the new tax still feeds directly into the consumer energy market in a real way that forces up electricity/energy prices and adds to all essential cost of living expense.

So – when Mr Combet speaks to a room full of Financial Market executives trying to have them embrace a ‘carbon’ market via an emissions trading scheme, I ponder whether Mr Combet and his Government really has put the chicken before the egg …

Further into Mr Combet’s speech he made the following comments:

How the Gillard Government is acting

The scientific advice is that the world faces significant impacts from climate change unless carbon pollution is curtailed.

Governments around the world have agreed to seek to limit the average global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The science indicates that stabilising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million gives a 50/50 chance of not exceeding that temperature goal.
Countries around the world are acting. Ninety countries, accounting for over 80 per cent of global emissions, have committed to reduce or limit emissions by 2020.

And at last year’s climate change conference in Durban, the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change decided to negotiate a new international agreement – this new agreement will impose binding obligations for emissions reductions from 2020.

Importantly the two biggest emitters, the United States and China, agreed to this mandate.
Australia needs to play its part: as a responsible global citizen; as the world’s 15th largest emitter; and as the highest per-capita emitter of all developed economies.

We also need to play our part because a new global climate change regime is coming.
If we do not prepare for the imposition of binding obligations to cut emissions from 2020 we will face a significant economic shock and potential trade retaliation.

It is in Australia’s economic interests, especially given the importance of our trading relationships in the Asia-Pacific, to deal effectively with this issue.

In fact, it is pivotal to our economic future that we foster investment in clean technologies.

That is why the Gillard Government has designed, legislated and implemented a comprehensive policy package to achieve this transformation: the Clean Energy Future plan.

This plan comprises four key elements:

  • a carbon pricing mechanism that will create the incentive for businesses to cut pollution and invest in cleaner energy sources;
  • strong support for renewable energy including the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation which will invest in businesses seeking to get innovative clean energy proposals and technologies off the ground – this support, together with the carbon price and the Renewable Energy Target, will drive $20 billion of investment in renewable energy over the next eight years and $100 billion to 2050;
  • measures to encourage energy efficiency in businesses and households, including the $1 billion Clean Technology Investment Programs which is driving investment in energy efficient and low pollution equipment in manufacturing businesses;
  • the Carbon Farming Initiative and other measures to promote the storage of carbon on the land through improved agricultural and land management practices.

These policies will ensure Australia meets its bipartisan target of reducing emissions to at least five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

Carbon pricing is at the heart of the Government’s Clean Energy Future package.

A carbon price effectively means the country’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases must buy a permit for every tonne of pollution they release into the atmosphere.

This creates a powerful financial incentive for businesses to reduce their emissions. Individual businesses will decide the cheapest way to achieve this.

Carbon pricing will also spur investment in clean energy by making it more competitive with coal-fired electricity generation.

The carbon price will initially apply to around 350 of the nation’s biggest polluters – mainly facilities that emit 25,000 tonnes or more of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases a year.
With the start of the carbon price, large emitters have a choice: reduce emissions or pay the carbon price.

Where it is cheaper to reduce a tonne of emissions than to buy a carbon permit, businesses will make the reduction.

This not only drives emissions reductions, it ensures they occur at the lowest cost.

For the first three years, the carbon price will be fixed, starting at $23 a tonne in 2012-13.

The three year fixed price period is transitional. It gets Australia on the road to an emissions trading scheme (ETS) where the carbon price is set by the market.

Under the ETS that will start on 1 July 2015, the Government will set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore the number of permits that are sold. This cap will be reduced each year, which is how we will meet our emissions reduction targets.

An ETS also enables nations to link their efforts to cut emissions. With linking, a business that is a large emitter in one country can purchase a permit in another, leading to a common carbon price.

The Government has secured agreement to link Australia’s ETS with the European Union Emissions Trading System.

This means that from 1 July 2015 Australia’s carbon price will be the same as the carbon price in 30 other countries – including Great Britain, Germany and France – and the same as applies to 530 million people.

Linking our ETS with Europe is a historically significant outcome. It is a major step in countries joining together in their efforts to tackle climate change.

In time the Government intends linking with emissions trading schemes in New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, with Australia’s largest trading partners.

We are now seeing increasing evidence of the development of carbon markets in key trading partners like Korea and China precisely because it is the least cost way to reduce emissions.

I make the point again – there is no discussion or thought in any plan to tackle perceived reasons for the carbon emission problems that hinge on a population ceiling as a means to tackle the problem.

Australia do not have a population problem – in fact we could live for another 4-500 odd years and still struggle to meet the population numbers of the USA and Europe basis our current immigration and birth renewal numbers.

We could feed ourselves and with the island isolation from the Northern Hemisphere polluters – our air becomes contaminated via their pollution as opposed to what we ourselves generate.

To me this whole debate is askew – it does not make sense that a small Nation and small polluter like Australia in gross terms, not per capita terms – that we are out in front of this debate and so much so that we have committed billions in forward spending estimates.  And this done when the PM made a pledge before the 2010 election that there – ‘would be no carbon tax under a parliament I lead.’

This policy has become an anchor weigh around the PM’s neck when she did a deal with the Greens Bob Brown that allowed her to form Government.

When one looks to the Green’s vote – some 11.8% of first preferences at the 2010 election – far less than the informal – @ [5.6%] and no-show’ @ [7.3%] – for a total of  12.9% of voters – why then is the Government allowing the Greens to dictate a policy that is so decisive?   A question that remains for all Australian’s and want to ask is – why is this Government pursuing this new ‘carbon-tax’ in the aggressive way it has?

Any solution to any perceived human induced carbon emissions responsible for climate change cannot be based on Australian pollution emissions.  Yet the debate to solve the global problem does not include a debate on a global population ceiling and a number for a sustainable global population that can be agreed upon.   Why Australia with a population of 23 million out of a global population in excess of 8 billion is in front of this carbon tax revolution to restrict CO2 emissions can only be really explained by those responsible for its introduction.

Wars will be fought over trying to solve a problem like population control in Nations around the world.   One can understand this … but to base any solution to the human influence toward climate change has to embrace this question and resolve the answers.

But the reality is that this Government is looking to the future with no idea, or vision to a future with no understanding as to what the planets sustainable population can or might be.   What if we have already past a sustainable population number?

In addition and as a statement of fact – this Government has no electoral mandate to pursue this Carbon Tax policy.

A chart below exposes the explosion in Global population in the last 100 years demonstrates this theory.

‘… The human population growth of the last century has been truly phenomenal. It required only 40 years after 1950 for the population to double from 2.5 billion to 5 billion. This doubling time is less than the average human lifetime. The world population passed 6 billion just before the end of the 20th century. Present estimates are for the population to reach 8-12 billion before the end of the 21st century. During each lecture hour, more than 10,000 new people enter the world, a rate of ~3 per second! …’

Read more …

Mr Combet has a Unionist background – his opinion on Climate Change and carbon emission damage is relying on the science written by scientist with a vested interest in supporting the Government for their livelihood.   Many independent studies refute the science and as more Government funds are thrown at scientist to write more confirming evidence, the sceptics are on the side of a losing battle because Government’s won’t fund their research to disprove the findings the want to believe in.

The rest of Mr Combet’s speech is related and directed at the Financial Markets and what they can do and how they can play their part in supporting the Government’s policy.  The whole speech can be read using this link.

Society has become this beast that looks upon the world through the eyes of our Media presentations – TV news, TV Current affairs, and Social Media interaction.   It is hardly unbiased or not presented with an agenda in mind.   It’s corrupted and winning the media over is how politics is played these days.

In the recent US Presidential debates – the winner is declared on who had the better posture, and eye contact … volumes have been written and all to fed an insatiable appetite of the public’s demand to have their news delivered in video or 140 character or less …

Te Globe went viral over the speech the PM gave on ‘misogyny’ and directed at the Opposition Leader – yet nobody on the world stage understands that the speech was based on a hypocrisy support for The Speaker who is a serial misogynist text tweeter as court documents released with the content of his text messages revealed.

The World has got it so wrong on this speech – I can agree that is was great theatre and Gillard excelled – but when you become aware that as she was speaking to the House – the Speaker was already making up his mind to resign anyway … and yet the PM continues to stand on her soap-box and accepts the praise with no-mind to correct the misinterpretation attached to her oration.

The PM wants to bathe in the spotlight and take advantage of the media profile in a popularity contest with Mr Abbott – and the media foster her efforts to do so.

This is what is wrong with the world – truth and justice is but a distant memory – it’s all about wining the minds of a senseless population dumbed down to a level where vision is all that is needed to sway opinion.

Sorry Mr Combet – to win my vote and those who support this blog site – you and your Government will have to be more forthcoming …


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Have your say where it counts: – contact your Local Federal Representative via the links below and let them know how you feel about this, or any other topic that you feel strongly about – or you can just post a comment below and let off some steam.


The EYE-BALL Guru …

  1. Gerry Hatrick
    October 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Eyeball-Guru you have been coming from the prospective of targeting population for some time. For mine I tend to agree. This is where I find this week’s debate on baby bonus to be missing.

    Australia’s population growth is growing at a clip. It wasn’t that long ago when a population of 38,000,000 by 2050 was shocking people. Given the refugee issue which has grown dramatically since Peter Costello introduced the baby bonus, dynamics have changed.

    More than any of this, the baby bonus represents middle class welfare. It is not targeted, and is not an economic stabiliser, and it is not means tested. If it were means tested, it creates different social welfare problems. It would create baby birthing as a very lowly paid industry, often left to those with the least employment prospects and possibly unstable child rearing domestic scenario.

    Reverting to Greg Combet’s speech, from the snippets you have included, he assumes he is talking to the converted. Get excited, an ETS represents new traded markets, new profit opportunities. It does not address efficiency, other than acknowledging free markets do tend lead to efficiencies and innovation. The externality of polution is still decades away from truly being addressed. We still dump our sewage in deep ocean outfalls, and then de- salinate our oceans for drinking water. What might occur if our sewage was treated on land and therefore directly returned to agriculture? What are the potentiality of the resultant methane being captured to create electricity? What might the excess liquids do to our rainfall patterns and affects on wetlands and afforestation?

    The recent logics to move rice growing from the Riverina where water is scarce to Far North Queensland and the top end is inspiring. Only pricing water in the Riverina has lead to that. The argument about Water licenses on the Murrumbidgee, Darling water system has developed those logics. Now we can focus on the pestilence problem of growing wheat in the tropics.

    The Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Industry, and Innovation might do well to look at the other words in his title. I am getting sick and tired of hearing about Carbon Tax.

    Until the next Federal election Climate Change and hence Carbon Tax is but one of the issues. Not the only one. At the next election it is fair to say should ALP be returned, they are at liberty to continue the Carbon tax leading to ETS. Should they be thrown out, we will get to see what the other side can do. Should we say, when they get thrown out.

  2. October 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Links were provided for the content of the whole speech .. and comments made about the unpresented portion –

    Gerry – it seems you missed the point of the story as well – Global Population ceiling … if humans are responsible for climate change – ho can any solution not include a debate on an agreed approach to a population ceiling for a sustainable population level …

    Fo me the debate jumped to the third or forth Act and we are still to discuss the main causes of the perceived climate change influences …

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