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Carbon trading for Australia
July 11, 2011 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Clean Energy Future. Australia has embarked on a tradeable carbon permit system, covering about 60% of emissions, beginning on 1 July 2012, and mixing in substantial progressive tax reform, putting a line under a very long debate on this matter indeed.
posted by wilful (100 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
There was a whole bunch of info I could have put into the post, decided to keep it a bit focused. Something I should ahve bmentioned was taht the 2050 target has now raised to an 80 percent reduction (from 60 percent) on 1990 levels, and that by 2050, i think the modelling suggests almost half of reductions will be purchased offshore. In fact, Australia will only have a 2 percent reduciton in emissions from domestic sources. But that's in context of a major population increase, so it's not too bad.

The best thing about the package to my mind is the development of independent bodies to advise the government. The Productivity Commission will be making recommendations on ongoing assisance, and they're much nastier than any pollie ever would be.
posted by wilful at 9:12 PM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


A plan so good, even The Australian had to come out with a cautiously optimistic editorial:
Julia Gillard has succeeded where her predecessor failed, in a remarkable display of determination and pragmatism. It has brought out the best in a leader whose negotiating skills are proving to be her strongest asset.

The Prime Minister has settled on a plan that attempts to put economic credibility ahead of gesture politics to deliver low-impact incentives to drive innovation. That said, there is little sense in pretending the government's plan is perfect, or to expect that policy purity could survive this finely balanced parliament. The package contains some costly compromises, but retains its integrity by respecting fiscal discipline, acknowledging that adjustment must be gradual and recognising that the market, not the government, should eventually set the carbon price.
posted by vidur at 9:13 PM on July 11, 2011


As to the politics of the matter, I reckon Gillard is goooone. Tony Abbott will be our next PM, however I don't think the election result will be bad enough that the Libs control the Senate, so this scheme is here to stay. And surely people will see through the mad monk eventually, wont they? Maybe Turnbull for PM?
posted by wilful at 9:13 PM on July 11, 2011


Hooray for paying more money now to help prevent something that will happen after I'm dead. And as a long letter in today's SMH points out, if we're so serious about this why are we ignoring nuclear power?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:28 PM on July 11, 2011


I'm glad this will finally get up, although it's still a year away from starting. I hope that there is enough time left after that for people to get used to it, and for Labor to return to favour.

I think the thing that has stood out for me is just how many people think that "business" and "the economy" are pretty much the only things that are important. Maybe that's my sheltered comfortable middle class blindness, and for those struggling any small negative effect of the carbon tax / trading scheme will have a large impact. I just can't help but feel though that at the moment we are not paying the fair value for the resources we are consuming and pollution we are producing.

@Lovecraft I think nuclear is very out of favour at the moment following the Japanese tsunami effects. I hope it does become more acceptable soon.
posted by trialex at 9:32 PM on July 11, 2011


Lib, I know, I've said this before, but please, can you just STFU about climate science and the impacts of climate change until you've bought a clue?
posted by wilful at 9:35 PM on July 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


For reference, because this will come up: List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita
posted by vidur at 9:38 PM on July 11, 2011


Hooray for paying more money now to help prevent something that will happen after I'm dead.

What are you, 60? And a chain smoker? Hanging by one hand from a cliff?
posted by IjonTichy at 9:40 PM on July 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


It was unacceptable before that because of Australia's knee-jerk fear of change and progress.

Must we do this every time?

Do you realise that, every single time you breeze in (without a basic knowledge of the issue in discussion or having read any of the articles) and make one of these idiotic blanket statements, you are insulting all the other Australian MeFites, who are actual real people on the other end of the magic box that makes words?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:41 PM on July 11, 2011 [10 favorites]



Do you realise that, every single time you breeze in (without a basic knowledge of the issue in discussion or having read any of the articles) and make one of these idiotic blanket statements, you are insulting all the other Australian MeFites, who are actual real people on the other end of the magic box that makes words?


You think any of my friends or acquaintances share my views? I'm not going drinking every weekend with Andrew Bolt. I call it like I see it. If you want a better recitation of those views look at the letter in today's SMH.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:42 PM on July 11, 2011


After I die the world could explode, and I'd probably prefer it that way.

Your narcissism is showing.

Now run along, there are grown-ups talking.
posted by pompomtom at 9:42 PM on July 11, 2011 [15 favorites]


I don't give a shit about the impacts of climate science. After I die the world could explode, and I'd probably prefer it that way. What matters is what effects me and my short life.

And people who feel differently than you should...?
posted by jsturgill at 9:43 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't give a shit about the impacts of climate science. After I die the world could explode, and I'd probably prefer it that way. What matters is what effects me and my short life.

indeed, but unless you're already brain dead, the effects of climate change are already being felt, and will be increasingly felt over the next few decades.
posted by wilful at 9:43 PM on July 11, 2011


Hey everyone, could we please all do ourselves a favour, not respond to our favourite yank?
posted by wilful at 9:43 PM on July 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Knew it wouldn't be long before we got a response to the prat-signal…

The Oz has been prevaricating a bit of late, stuck between its default position of sticking the boot into everything Labor does and a growing awareness that a sizeable proportion of its readership thinks that climate change may be worth thinking about. Their cautious optimism is pragmatism based on their own self-interest.

But yes, we should be thinking about nuclear. A large, mostly empty, geologically-stable, politically-stable country with a respectable fraction of the world's uranium reserves should be seriously considering nuclear power, especially if it has the opportunity to look at new 'safer' technologies currently being experimented with. The fact that we don't verges on criminal short-sightedness - largely, I'll point out, due to Labor's own policies.

Personally, I think we should start collecting the world's nuclear waste. There's a good chance that near-future fission technologies will require some of what's in there; being paid to take it away, stockpile it, refine it, and sell it back later appeals to my sense irony
posted by Pinback at 9:44 PM on July 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you want a better recitation of those views look at the letter in today's SMH.

Link (letter from Clive Simon Eastwood)
posted by vidur at 9:46 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair, he's not a troll, he's being a jerk (to the next generation of humans). There's a difference.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:48 PM on July 11, 2011


Lovecraft in Brooklyn, I like your comments on certain other subjects too much to support the idea of you dying tomorrow. Or in fact, the idea of you finding a way to time travel and retroactively ensure that you won't be born. Which is what you would need to do to make sure that climate change wouldn't affect you in your lifetime.

Anthropogenic climate change is affecting Australia right now, and has been for years. Even if you yourself have not been directly impacted by property damage due to drought or flood, you are paying for climate-change-driven natural disasters every day in the form of record high prices for food. It's awfully hard to grow cheap grain in the middle of epic drought, epic flooding, or wildfires.
posted by BlueJae at 9:55 PM on July 11, 2011


Wilful (and everyone else), how up to speed are you on the industry compensation proposed?

It seems (to me on my initial review) that the compensation removes any incentive to improve processes and reduce carbon production, thus making the entire scheme a wealth transfer to big business.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:56 PM on July 11, 2011


I've never watched the show, but for those interested in following this thing closely, the PM is on the 7 PM project tonight. katter was on last night I'm told, Abbott and Bandt will be on later this week. Some people ahve observed aaht that's where most people seem to get tehir new from these days.
posted by wilful at 9:58 PM on July 11, 2011


I was really impressed with Julia Gillard on Q&A. When she gets into negotiating mode and speaks with real conviction and passion, she rules. I've cringed for months at some of her pronouncements, but she made me a believer last night. I'm conflicted over the compensation packages to coal and steel, but have to keep reading to figure out the details. Thanks for the post Wilful.
posted by honey-barbara at 9:59 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


HTWRT, the business compensation is a mixed bag. Steel industries are quite possibly over-compensated, to teh tune of $300M. Coal is getting something like a billion a year. EITEIs (emissions intensive trade exposed industries) are well covered for the time being. But there's still both a) a strong profit incentive to reduce emissions now, and more importantly b) good governance mechanisms to reduce the pork within a decade.

So overall this is a package I could endorse (if I was influential).

There's definitely no significant wealth transfer aspect. Overall it's revenue negative for several years (a strange sort of tax!).
posted by wilful at 10:01 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm interested in why the Government and commentators think this reform effort is difficult to explain, particularly in terms of it being (in the Opposition's words) a big new tax.

Certainly, if government wants to influence behaviour, one of its big clubs is the tax system.

Businesses in particular will will figure the certainty of taxation into their decisions, and quiet reasonably most will look closely at ways to avoid being taxed (ie change their behaviour).

Compensation measures are much less certain to be continued or are otherwise limited in time.

Taxes do also raise money for government, so the Australian Government has sought ways to use this money to further influence behaviour.
posted by jjderooy at 10:05 PM on July 11, 2011


OMG THEY'RE CLOSING METAFILTER DOWN!!

The brown coal that is used to supply base-load-power here in Victoria will eventually be taxed meaning that not only people like me will end up paying something like $11 a week, but Chinese and Indian electricity producers will be far more competitive! Meaning that we will be forced to go off shore for our electricity!

All that extra tax - $11 a week I *DEFINITELY WILL NOT* be able to afford the NBN!! Thanks JulLIAR thanks a bunch for closing down Metafilter and totally destroying Australia.

I'm not going to vote for you, I'm going to vote for Tony.... (ahh shit, we're screwed)
posted by the noob at 10:34 PM on July 11, 2011


I've always found it vaguely amusing that the main complaint is that coal mining or coal powerplants might be affected, or that some business are reconsidering expansion, or airlines might have to change their flight coverage.

That's like the whole point of the carbon tax - to influence behaviour. If the effects of the tax are so minor as to not be noticed, or be completely mitigated by compensation, then no change in behaviour will result, no change in CO2, and the whole scheme would be a failure. The pain is a feature, not a bug.
posted by xdvesper at 10:35 PM on July 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


What matters is what effects me and my short life.

Exactly LiB $11 a week!

but for me - I would really like it if my kids got to take their kids to the barrier reef, or had a chance at seeing a lyre bird run across a snowy bush track. Small things.
posted by the noob at 10:39 PM on July 11, 2011


That's great news. I'll be watching the October elections with my fingers crossed.

(Here in British Columbia, Canada, it was the centre-right provincial government that brought in a carbon tax three years ago, starting at $10/tonne and increasing $5/tonne each year. When first announced, it was surprisingly popular, but it ran into heavy opposition due to soaring gas prices. In the end, the government survived the subsequent election, and the left-wing opposition party has reversed itself, saying that it won't try to get rid of the carbon tax.)
posted by russilwvong at 10:47 PM on July 11, 2011


You know what's scary, I couldn't tell if the noob was joking or not because I've heard people say things eerily similar while being perfectly serious.
posted by liquorice at 10:48 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interestingly enough, it looks like the carbon tax will actually drive Australia's move into cloud computing.

Cloud computing is more efficient than the traditional model of everyone having their own servers and running their own storage - so there's already an incentive to shift. But, data centres still use a lot of power, so using an Australian cloud provider will become more expensive than using a provider in a country without a carbon tax. And offshoring your data is a comparatively easy thing to do.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:49 PM on July 11, 2011


Exaggerating slightly, but not much. Things are pretty close to the bone money-wise, and everything is really expensive here. Plus I've always resented the world existing after I die. I'm not exaggerating about the nuclear power thing though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:49 PM on July 11, 2011


A carbon tax SHOULD hurt, it SHOULD change our behaviour, it SHOULD provide an incentive for all of us to pollute less - but apparently it's not allowed to cost us anything. Heated arguments with the in-laws over Q&A last night made me really, really want to punch Tony Abbot in his gurning gob
posted by JustAsItSounds at 10:57 PM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Peter Martin has a post I possibly should have included frst up: Who's ahead? Who's behind?

As a "high income earner", I get a wooo hooo $3 a year tax cut. But overall, those modelled numbers don't reflect my personal reality, we're reasonably low carbon already, I think we'll do OK out of it.

russilwvong, I don't know what you know about Australian politics, but the Right, which have traditionally been associated with free market economics, are all into "picking winners" and government direct action. The Left (not that Labor are left any more) and the Greens (whho certainly are economically Left) are the ones that have put together this package that is intellectually driven by orthodox free market economics. The Right has now left the reality-based world view. Which some of us think is a bit of a pity (but mostly just good for a laugh).

LiB, you may be surprised (you may be not, I don't know what your perceptions of me are) but I actually support you on the idea of nuclear power for Australia. With one significant exception - I think the market can sort it out, I don't want the government picking winners either way, mandating any solutions. As it happens, they're deliberately excluding nuclear power from the renewables pools (ARENA and Clean Energy Foundation), I wish they'd been "no carbon" rather than "renewable". But the political price of Greens support was contingent on that, and I accept that Australia wont have a nuclear power plant in the next ten years, action on this is too important to delay till then. We will have nukes eventually though, once the low hanging fruit of efficiency has been plucked, and renewables haven't lived up to their promises.
posted by wilful at 10:59 PM on July 11, 2011


Actually JustAsItSounds, a well designed carbon tax doesn't have to hit consumers directly to be at least moderately effective. Much of the reform can happen internally within business, and not be strongly represented on the supermarket shelf. The behaviour changes they're most looking to impact on are the company accountants/buyers, not the end consumers. This can be hugely transformative.

A common misconception.

But yeah, when people say "oh my god a coal fired power station could close!!!!1!!1?!", the correct answer is "precisely".
posted by wilful at 11:02 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm doing my bit by installing an enclosed wood-burning fireplace. Not only will this reduce usage of (carbon taxable) electricity, but the plantation firewood grown will have spent years cleaning the CO2 from the atmosphere, making my cozy fireplace the second greenest heating option available on the market.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:04 PM on July 11, 2011


ubu, what's the first greenest? I think wood wins on all accounts.

Can anyone believe "Our ABC" prints this shit: CareFlight fears carbon tax impact.

posted by wilful at 11:06 PM on July 11, 2011


Also: keeping the Hills Hoist, so that backwards & anti-progressive nature can dry my clothes, instead of a power-hungry clothes dryer.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:07 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, the Right in Australia took a fairly long time to be really pro-market. The Fraser government failed to float the dollar and deregulate.

Australia is really odd in that a lot of the welfare state was built by the right under Menzies and the post 1970s deregulation was undertaken by the ALP.

Mumble was interesting today on where the current 58-42 split ranks. As far as the future of the government goes he points out that no one has ever won after a 58-42 TPP.

So for the future you wonder if the ALP will ditch Gilard given their predilection for dumping leaders when it gets hard.

Also there is the possiblility of some ALP defectors scuttling the scheme which is probably very slim.

Finally further off there is the probability of a strange parliament where the Libs have government but get blocked in almost everything by the Greens and the ALP unless the Libs win by so much that they gain their own majority in the Senate.
posted by sien at 11:07 PM on July 11, 2011


Reverse-cycle airconditioning is supposedly #1 for heating.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:07 PM on July 11, 2011


CareFlight fears carbon tax impact

I thought that perhaps they were channeling the HSN. but yes - that prompted my "metafilter will close" prediction
posted by the noob at 11:11 PM on July 11, 2011


Metafilter: I DID IT FOR METAFILTER.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:12 PM on July 11, 2011


Ubu, definitely not. Wood is 100% renewable, it's sequestered carbon and a bit of steel plate for your fire box. Reverse cycle air con is surprisingly efficient, but unless it's from a totally renewable electricity source it's still fossil fuels, and don't even think about the lifecycle costs of all that complex engineering and circuitry from Japan or China. Or the PV cells etc. Wood wins, totally, unless you're harvesting old-growth forest and turning it into a dairy farm (which no one in Australia is).
posted by wilful at 11:14 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


definitely not. Wood is 100% renewable

Sorry, it seems I was confusing efficiency with greenness. Reverse-cycle is more energy-efficient than wood, but that doesn't make it greener, as you point out.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:20 PM on July 11, 2011


That Peter Martin link really rams it home.

Why exactly do pensioners get such a massive tax cut? They aren't more severely affected tha younger demographics.

A pensioner couple on $80,000/year gets a $1779 tax cut.

A couple with two kids on $80,000/year (who apparently will experience the same increase in costs due to the carbon tax as a pensioner couple) gets a $588 tax cut.

What gives? Other than shameless vote buying from the fastest growning demographic, I mean.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:21 PM on July 11, 2011


Wood is 100% renewable, it's sequestered carbon and a bit of steel plate for your fire box

Plus shipping.
posted by pompomtom at 11:28 PM on July 11, 2011


That Peter Martin link really rams it home.

Yup. As an 'individual' I get sweet FA. And not just sweet FA, I'm paying for it!

I'm thinking of having a kid by 1 July 2012 so I can qualify for some sort of single mum pension (oh and a baby bonus).

(Some) businesses are paying, sure, but unless you're a "battler" or a "family" you're paying through the nose for for it too.

I know something's got to be done and am glad that something (anything) has finally got somewhere but I'm sick of (and seriously pissed off about) being in the demographics that governments of all stripes consistently forget and ultimately screw over.

(Let me be clear: I'm not earning six figures. Not even close.)
posted by prettypretty at 11:30 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah exactly. I'm single, with no kids and no family. There's never anything for me in these packages. Unless I want to take $7000 and go to the country.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:36 PM on July 11, 2011


prettypretty - I suggest that you try for single mum status, 'cause come the Abbot government that will be one demographic that will get a lot of mention - not too much benefit mind - just lots of attention.
posted by the noob at 11:37 PM on July 11, 2011


Unless I want to take $7000 and go to the country.

You're not eligible for that one either, since you don't own your dwelling.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:39 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unless I want to take $7000 and go to the country.

You're not eligible for that one either, since you don't own your dwelling.


I think it is possible to buy a metropolitan home, live in it, sell it, buy a regional home, live in it and claim the 7000 bucks:
All applicants must have entered into an agreement to purchase a home within a regional area, on or after 1 July 2011 and on or before 30 June 2015

All applicants must have owned and occupied the metropolitan home as their principal place of residence within 12 months before the commencement date (contract exchange date) of the regional home purchase

All applicants must sell the metropolitan home either before or within 12 months after the completion date of the regional home purchase

All applicants must occupy the regional home as their principal place of residence for at least 12 continuous months commencing within 12 months after the completion date of the regional home purchase
posted by vidur at 11:48 PM on July 11, 2011


Julia Gillard won the last election by the skin of her teeth because a handful of right leaning independents had personal issues with the coalition in general and Tony Abbot in particular and knew they could screw bigger concessions out of Labor to buy themselves local support in their seats. She was always going to get thrashed at the next Federal election - much as Labor was humiliated in New South Wales a few months ago - but the carbon tax merely puts the last nails in her political coffin. Labor is ruthless in kicking out leaders or policies which might lose it power - look what happened to the blessed St. Kevin of Rudd - so don't put any money on either this policy or the current PM surviving until it's put to the electorate. Every poll suggests that Labor is already toast so they might as well go down with all guns blazing but anyone who thinks that Labor puts principle before party advantage here obviously doesn't know much about Australian politics.
posted by joannemullen at 11:51 PM on July 11, 2011


I think it is possible to buy a metropolitan home, live in it, sell it, buy a regional home, live in it and claim the 7000 bucks:

Well, yes, but any possible benefit would be almost completely wiped out by conveyancing and moving costs.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:54 PM on July 11, 2011


Think of it as a bulk discount on the stamp duty.
posted by pompomtom at 11:56 PM on July 11, 2011


Labor is ruthless in kicking out leaders or policies which might lose it power - look what happened to the blessed St. Kevin of Rudd - so don't put any money on either this policy or the current PM surviving until it's put to the electorate....

...anyone who thinks that Labor puts principle before party advantage here obviously doesn't know much about Australian politics.

Methinks you don't know that much, joannemullen; historically at both a state and federal level Labor is certainly not more or less ruthless with leadership changes than the coalition. Indeed, from a federal perspective, Beazely remained opposition leader for far longer than Nelson or Turnbull did...
posted by smoke at 11:59 PM on July 11, 2011


I think it is possible to buy a metropolitan home, live in it, sell it, buy a regional home, live in it and claim the 7000 bucks:

Well, yes, but any possible benefit would be almost completely wiped out by conveyancing and moving costs.


I agree. But I was hoping LiB might try this anyway. And now you've ruined my prank.
posted by vidur at 12:03 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Julia Gillard won the last election by the skin of her teeth because a handful of right leaning independents had personal issues with the coalition in general and Tony Abbot in particular and knew they could screw bigger concessions out of Labor to buy themselves local support in their seats.

An unusual interpretation.
posted by wilful at 12:15 AM on July 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why the whinge that "I'm paying for it?"
If you have a low carbon lifestyle, you will likely be better off.
If you don't, why not?
posted by bystander at 1:08 AM on July 12, 2011


Why the whinge that "I'm paying for it?"
If you have a low carbon lifestyle, you will likely be better off.
If you don't, why not?


I probably do have a 'low carbon lifestyle', but if not than who cares? We're HUMAN BEINGS. We build roads and cars and spaceships. We control the Earth and sit atop the food chain. I'm not going to wear sackcloth and ashes to appease Gaia and tiptoe around the world, hoping I don't step on a butterfly or blade of grass.

Fuck that. I've got enough stuff to deal with.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:15 AM on July 12, 2011


Bystander, I'm not sure if your comment is directed solely at me, but there are economies of scale available to households of more than one person that aren't available to single person households, especially when it comes to energy and water consumption. (There's a limit to how low you can go when a significant proportion of the cost is fixed.)
posted by prettypretty at 1:19 AM on July 12, 2011


I'm not going to wear sackcloth and ashes to appease Gaia
The tax is asking the average consumer to pay $11 a week. You have the option of avoiding that extra payment by choosing low carbon products/services (which will increasingly be available as business has an extra incentive to provide them).
You personally LiB are likely to make a profit from over compensation while making zero lifestyle change because of your oft remarked poverty. You could benefit substantially from this tax if you also choose lower carbon choices.
Or you can be an arse on Internet message boards.
posted by bystander at 1:21 AM on July 12, 2011


prettypretty, I wasn't especially directing it at you, but I'll reiterate. If you earn substantially less than six figures as you said, and you already have a low carbon lifestyle, this tax is likely to benefit you financially.
posted by bystander at 1:24 AM on July 12, 2011


A pensioner couple on $80,000/year gets a $1779 tax cut.

This confuses me. How can a pensioner couple be on $80,000 a year?
posted by crossoverman at 2:16 AM on July 12, 2011


Welfare fraud.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:35 AM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why the whinge that "I'm paying for it?"
If you have a low carbon lifestyle, you will likely be better off.
If you don't, why not?


That's not entirely fair. At least in NSW, the state government owns some of the coal-based power generators, and their revenue will be affected by the new tax. And since O'Farrell can only cut costs/services back so far, there will be a price to be paid by the taxpayer, one way or another.

I'm not saying I'm against the reform because I'm not. I think it's cool that we're the first country to try pricing carbon, and I'm curious to see how it plays out. But it's going to have a complex effect, and I would take Gillard's spiel about how most households won't be affected with a healthy dose of skepticism.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:34 AM on July 12, 2011


It looks like out of all the Americans that we could have had grace our shores, we were unfortunate enough to end up with the one most arrogant, ignorant, solipsistic nihilist they had to offer.

Just for your information LiB (since your knowledge of the country that you live in seems barely to extend beyond your local video game store) I would like to remind you that in the past couple of years we have been experienced the worst floods, the worst cyclones, the worst bushfires and the worst droughts in this country's recorded history. The Queensland floods and cyclones of the summer are the most expensive natural disaster that Australia has ever experienced, resulting in billions of dollars of damage. Catastrophic weather events are becoming increasingly severe and frequent. So if you think climate change is something that is only going to being felt after you're dead, you're wrong, the effects are well and truly underway. You're in your twenties. Assuming that you live for another several decades, you can expect to witness more and more of the effects of climate change. And yes, the severity of these effects will be worse in the years after you have died, to the point that runaway climate change may indeed make much of the planet uninhabitable for future generations. For most people who aren't pathologically selfish sociopaths the future of our species is a matter of concern. Not everybody is so emotionally stunted and mentally ill that they care nothing about the survival of others.

It was unacceptable before that because of Australia's knee-jerk fear of change and progress.

Oh that's fucking rich. Get back to us when the USA manages to overcome its fear of the metric system. In the meantime, enjoy your free universal healthcare.
posted by moorooka at 3:49 AM on July 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


This confuses me. How can a pensioner couple be on $80,000 a year?

Welfare fraud.

Let's assume it's a couple where each is earning $40,000 via regular employment, and earn that evenly split out across fortnightly pay packet - $1538 before tax each fortnight per person.

From the 1 July 2011 changes to the work bonus, the first $382 ($264 combined amount halved plus $250 work bonus amount) of that for each person isn't counted as income for the purpose of taper tests, leaving us with $1156 per fortnight that is subject to income taper tests.

The income taper test is a reduction of the pension by $0.25 for every $1 you earn subject to the taper test. With a maximum pension rate of $545.70 each fortnight (including the pension supplement), you'll be left with $256.70 per person per fortnight of pension entitlement [545.7 - (1156 * 0.25)]

If that $80,000 was earned by one of the pension couple via employment, then $3077 a fortnight, of which $2563 is taper-income, which means you'll have zero pension.

Now, if that $80,000 a year wasn't from employment income, but from super or investments or what have you, then it's much simpler: $3077 a fortnight, of which $2813 is taper-income, which means you'll have zero pension.

The numbers will be a little different for when this scheme is introduced (pensions indexed in March and September each year), but the general principles will still apply.
posted by kithrater at 3:51 AM on July 12, 2011


Get back to us when the USA manages to overcome its fear of the metric system.

Oh, it's easy to accuse the US of being stagnant if you cherry-pick your examples.

What about the rapidity with which American science textbooks are being amended to include "intelligent design"? That's a country moving forward if ever I heard of one!
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:55 AM on July 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


that we're the first country to try pricing carbon
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Certainly Europe has had emissions trading schemes for quite a few years now, e.g. Finland since the 1990s, Netherlands since 1990. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax If anything, Australia is a bit of a laggard.

The comment about ownership of power generators is a little misleading. The treasury modeling linked up thread on Peter Martin's site shows the cost to various members of the community if the costs are passed through and no mitigations are made. It suggests the $10 a week figure for individuals earning $100,000, less for any other household type at that rate. A more typical individual on $60k would be better off.
As a tax payer owning a power station, these figures assume you pass the tax on to power consumers. Some of which is included in the tables, the rest flows to businesses (and any they pass on flows through to the household tables).
posted by bystander at 3:58 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


If that $80,000 was earned by one of the pension couple via employment, then $3077 a fortnight, of which $2563 is taper-income, which means you'll have zero pension.

Messed up the single-earner rates.

Redone:

Pension couple, primary earner makes $80,000 via employment: combined entitlement of $458.30 a fortnight.

Pension couple, primary earner makes $80,000 via superannuation: combined entitlement of $396.15 a fortnight.

Granted, if you're earning $80,000 via investments or super then the asset test is likely to eat in to that amount as well.
posted by kithrater at 4:11 AM on July 12, 2011


Just for your information LiB (since your knowledge of the country that you live in seems barely to extend beyond your local video game store) I would like to remind you that in the past couple of years we have been experienced the worst floods, the worst cyclones, the worst bushfires and the worst droughts in this country's recorded history.

LiB is, by his own admission, pre-singularity. He lives outside the environment (or anticipates doing so), so these petty problems are none of his concern.
posted by bystander at 4:12 AM on July 12, 2011


I agree. But I was hoping LiB might try this anyway. And now you've ruined my prank.

Damn it! We need some organisation up in this joint.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:22 AM on July 12, 2011


I probably do have a 'low carbon lifestyle', but if not than who cares? We're HUMAN BEINGS. We build roads and cars and spaceships. We control the Earth and sit atop the food chain. I'm not going to wear sackcloth and ashes to appease Gaia and tiptoe around the world, hoping I don't step on a butterfly or blade of grass.

Seriously, do you have some sort of severe personality disorder? Are you completely deaf and blind? Have you even read this thread? Many, many people care about whether this country, and this planet, remain habitable beyond the the short term.

If you have no interest in discussing the topic like a grown up, then leave the thread.

And if you hate Australia so much, then maybe leave that too.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:33 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone upthread mentioned Mumble's take on the polls, and I think Labor is in an interesting position where it's going to be able to get the carbon legislation through, but is likely in a popularity tailspin it won't be able to pull out of by the next election. I'm not a big believer in the accuracy of the polls myself, especially this far out from an election, but it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Labor will win.

But, the Greens aren't likely to lose the balance of power in the Senate any time soon (even if Abbot wins and he manages to force a DD, I think he'll still end up with a hostile Senate), and it's unlikely that, should Abbot win the next election, he'll be able to abolish the carbon tax. That's not likely to stop him saying he will abolish it, but it'll cause him no end of grief if he does get up.

There does seem to be this pattern emerging, though, of Labor getting into power, pushing through major reforms, and then being cast back into the wilderness for decades for their trouble.
posted by damonism at 5:08 AM on July 12, 2011


I'm with the noob.

I've got the occasional significant problem with this country "if you don't love it, fuck off" leaves me a bit uncomfortable - I don't have anywhere else to go. I disagree with almost everything LiB says but he's welcome to spout drivel if he wants to.
posted by deadwax at 5:08 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, Annandale's a perfect spot for it - a crusade against nature there can't amount to much more than squashing the odd cockroach or poisoning a family of rats.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:09 AM on July 12, 2011


d'oh
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:10 AM on July 12, 2011


I would hope that the Labour government makes it strategy to simply focus on getting out there and selling its policy, rather than responding point-for-point to Abbott's opposition. All he's doing is selecting the drabbest parts of the new policy, exaggerating them into hyperbolic predictions about how it will affect Australian industry and average Australian families.

Here is some fairly astute commentary on the legislation itself, and how it affects the current politics of the two major political players. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2011/07/carbon-price-tim-tams-are-safe-not-sure.html

As far as this thread is concerned, I'd hoped there would have been a bit more level discussion about the issue and the policy itself, rather than having to read through the bullshit that it descended into. That's not what I keep coming back here for.
posted by Silverdragonanon at 5:32 AM on July 12, 2011


As far as this thread is concerned, I'd hoped there would have been a bit more level discussion about the issue and the policy itself, rather than having to read through the bullshit that it descended into. That's not what I keep coming back here for.

Indeed. I came here for the debate and analysis as well, but I lost my temper at some of the more idiotic contributions. I apologise for contributing to the noise.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:41 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


rather than responding point-for-point to Abbott's opposition - and that's what Labor will have to do

Abbot on PM tonight - The govt see's the coal industry declining over the coming years - Well yeah.

Abbot will parrot the Great Big New Tax™ line until he's sitting in the lodge. He knows he's on a winner. An unpopular government selling a large and confusing reform - especially if the the science isn't totally accepted, foreigners have an advantage. Fuck them. Maybe the country needs Abbot, maybe Labor can grow a pair. Combet will make a good PM.
posted by the noob at 5:44 AM on July 12, 2011



Indeed. I came here for the debate and analysis as well, but I lost my temper at some of the more idiotic contributions. I apologise for contributing to the noise.


The signal-to-noise ratio of discussion is generally what keeps me coming back. For what it's worth, I've done the same in a previous thread concerning Australia... even though I don't have terribly many comments to my name. Not to worry.


Abbot on PM tonight - The govt see's the coal industry declining over the coming years - Well yeah.


I see the coal industry declining over the coming years. Who doesn't? There isn't an unlimited supply of the stuff. We've been exceptionally lucky to have been able to rely on it over the last two decades, but it's worrying how heavily the economy relies on the minerals and fossil-fuels sectors. Abbott has tried to brand the Carbon Tax as a giant redistribution scheme, and even though you can trust him to misrepresent the heck out of it in order to distort the public's understanding of what it actually is (which may not be difficult, given how complicated the policy is), it's exactly that: redistribution. It's a method of changing the focus of the economy, by redistribution the country's wealth as investment in more sustainable areas.

What makes me really angry is the general conception that big, complicated reforms are undesirable. They are in comparison to the prospect of simpler reforms, but it's difficult to make this a simple reform when there are so many hands pulling it in different directions at once. So long as it goes in the same direction as the intent, I support it.
posted by Silverdragonanon at 5:54 AM on July 12, 2011


What makes me really angry is the general conception that big, complicated reforms are undesirable.

It's hard to sell policies that the electorate don't or can't understand. In that respect, complicated reforms are extremely undesirable for politicians, who want to be reelected.

They're also undesirable to the electorate, who don't want to think that they're too stupid ir ignorant to understand how things work or need to work, even though that may be the case. Abbott's hysterical message of "OMG LABOUR WILL TAX YOU TO DEATH" is a lot easier to digest than "we have put together a nuanced and complex package that will motivate societal change in the following ways; (a)...".

IMO, Labour haven't sold this well to date. But it's a forward thinking policy (if not a perfect one). If they can stop being shy, and call out the anti-science nutjobs for being nutjobs, and explain without being condescending or waffling, they might have a chance. But I'm not holding my breath.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:03 AM on July 12, 2011


I think that the overall issue for Labor in this is that Gillard naively ruled out introducing the ETS at the election. They need to stand for something, and pretending that they can sneak in by being all things to all people and stand for nothing is a disaster for this country. Abbot will be a disaster.
posted by the noob at 6:16 AM on July 12, 2011


At its heart, the carbon tax, and the ETS before it have been mishandled. Everyone skirted around the central issue: it is designed to provide an incentive to use less fossil fuel. The take home from that - heating/cooling bills go up, air travel costs more, grain fed beef is more expensive, etc. is profoundly upsetting if nobody mentioned that raising the prices of these items is the whole point.
I constantly hear and read about ordinary joes discovering another element of their lives that will cost more with a carbon tax, and their consternation that it is so.
The electorate never had it spelled out that this will cost you more if you don't change your habits. Instead, the sales line has been "you will be compensated so you don't have to change your habits." with the IMO predictable result that people are looking for areas where the compensation is not up to scratch, rather than accepting using less fossil fuels is what it is all about.
posted by bystander at 6:19 AM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Abbot will be a disaster.
I kept assuming people would wake up to this, I mean, he doesn't hide it. But because he is leader of the Libs, he gained a veneer of respectability. I've had a lifetime of disagreement with conservative voters, but on the whole they have had a consistent philosophy (even if it boils down to screw the vulnerable), but Abbot is so completely irresponsible I don't know where to begin. "well, maybe there is no climate change. Tony Abbot says the science is still out. He couldn't get into a top job like leader of the coalition if he had no substance."
And the gutless, unprincipled Labor party has let him get away with it.
posted by bystander at 6:27 AM on July 12, 2011


The electorate never had it spelled out that this will cost you more if you don't change your habits.

That's because that message goes like this - "You are too stupid, selfish or lazy to change your habits. Therefore, we must force you. This will cost you money, in the form of TAX and HIGHER COSTS OF LIVING and INFLATION".

That is a very, very hard sell.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:28 AM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


[bunch of comments removed - don't call people trolls here. LiB please make it clear that you're not doing something that looks like trolling next time please? MetaTalk is your option.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:40 AM on July 12, 2011


To be fair His thoughts... It's really more huge brown coal power stations in the Latrobe Valley than the odd selfish jetski.
posted by the noob at 6:44 AM on July 12, 2011


Thanks for this post. I've been sadly neglectful recently when it comes to the news, and although of course I'd heard about the proposed carbon tax I really had no idea what it was all about. I'm now informed.

I think this legislation is good. The very thought that people are throwing around the whole idea that this will increase individual income tax rates is ludicrous, as it is quite clearly stated that tax rates for the majority of Australians will be coming down! The first part of everyone's income, $18,201 in fact, will be tax free. This applies to everyone who earns income in Australia. At the moment the tax free threshold is $6,001. That seems like a pretty large tax advantage.

The government is proposing to tax large, carbon producing companies on their carbon output. This will be passed on by the companies as extra fees and charges. Or the companies could investigate alternative energy sources for which there are rebates and grants in order to cut costs and, just as an aside, help to not choke this planet in carbon levels that could not have been possible a mere few hundred years ago.

In order to offset the inevitable increase in the cost of utilities to consumers the government is also proposing to offer compensation to those consumers, in order of need. Smaller income, greater percentage of income going to essentials. There is more of an impact on cashflow to a low-income family than there is to someone earning many times more.

There are lots of families earning under $150,000 in Australia. If they give the message effectively ie. the facts about tax rates and pandering to everyone's desire for more disposable income (although some message to do with responsible conduct by those plundering the Earth would be good too) Labor should romp this thing in. They just need to be smart about it. And clear. Really fucking clear. Liberal scaremongering should be exposed as such.

Those earning over $150,000 should try and remember that as easy as it is to spend what you have, those who have to exist on less than you really do have it harder. It sucks to miss out on things, yes. But you have to remember you're earning more than the tax break is anyway! Percentage wise, in terms of what a $540 electricity bill means to you in comparison to someone on $32,000.

The question of converting to less carbon reliant energy is a merely a question of when, not if. The more incentive to do so the better. Money is a powerful motivator. Companies will relish the thought of having consumers getting used to paying extra for the carbon tax and then reducing costs by using alternative energy and then not passing on the savings. Don't think the mining industry won't think their way around this.
posted by h00py at 7:25 AM on July 12, 2011


By everyone, I meant everyone who is an Australian resident for tax purposes.

I Am Not Your Tax Consultant anymore oh thank god thank god
posted by h00py at 7:28 AM on July 12, 2011


That's because that message goes like this - "You are too stupid, selfish or lazy to change your habits. Therefore, we must force you. This will cost you money, in the form of TAX and HIGHER COSTS OF LIVING and INFLATION".

That is a very, very hard sell.


They've been doing it with alcohol & tobacco for years now.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:38 AM on July 12, 2011


They just need to be smart about it.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Sorry. I sure hope the Labor government is just ineptly advised by their spin doctors, because if it is the actual politicians who are setting the message I fear for our country from their ineptitude.
If they only had some guts.
posted by bystander at 4:53 PM on July 12, 2011


Brian Bahnisch at Larvatus Prodeo has a post up, with three essential points about the scheme
First, the government is selling permits to pollute, not imposing a tax. About 500 of the biggest polluters will have to buy permits to dump their waste carbon into the atmosphere. Annabel Crabb quotes Gillard as saying:

“Around 500 big polluters will pay for every tonne of carbon pollution THEY put into OUR atmosphere.”

As Crabb says:

WE are getting those polluters to pay for what THEY do to US.

You have to get your head around this aspect if you want to understand what’s going on.

Second, as the scheme proceeds each year there will be fewer permits available. That’s why pollution is sure to decrease. It WILL WORK.

Third, the 80% target by 2050 says that we are serious about climate change and want to go where the rest of the world is going.
posted by wilful at 6:27 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really liked this expletive-filled rant.
posted by h00py at 1:25 AM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nice rant, but I wish the guy had an editor - it could've been 1/3 the length without losing much.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:04 AM on July 14, 2011


Oooh, late to a thread I could have been really pissed off in. However suffice it to to do the little FTFY trick on a paragraph as my contribution:

You Major coal and gas power generators and emissions-intensive industries are too stupid, selfish or lazy profitable, if carbon pollution is a free externality, to change your habits to more efficient, advanced forms of power and industry. Therefore, we must force you introduce a set of market-based price signals as part of a broader industry reform and tax package...

Also, Ubu, isn't the major problem with wood-burning not that it's not green, but that it produces heavy particulate pollution (ash, embers, smoke) in densely populated urban areas? And aren't there rules against new solid fuel heating in the local government area we share? I'm asking honestly, I thought there was.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:10 PM on July 14, 2011


Fiasco: I've heard rumours about such rules, but there's nothing I can find on the council website, eg a search for "solid fuel" at site:www.councilname turns up nothing other than that there was a buyback program (that I think netted 5 whole fireplaces or stoves) and that avoiding new solid fuel heating should be a consideration in evaluating Development Approvals. So, no blanket rule that I'm aware of; at best just a guiding principle.

Besides, it was shown on the (approved) DA plans, and the certifier (private, but that's just an outsourced council function) has had nothing to say against it. In fact, the certifier insisted on some relatively expensive design changes to the hearth to make sure it's compliant with building codes (minimum clearances to nearby combustible materials) so there's no ambiguity whatsoever about it being intended for use, not just display.

Also, I get the caveat emptor principle and all, but the shop that sold us the stove is also within the local government area (there are at least a couple I can think of), knew that we're also local, and didn't mention any rules against it. It's a niche market, and I doubt any store would consciously sell big ticket items like that, if they knew that they're illegal in the area - that could very easily lead to a tort of negligence.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:42 PM on July 14, 2011


The Development Control Plan actually has solid fuel heaters as explicitly "exempt development" meaning you don't even need a Development Approval to install one - so long as it complies with AS 2918-1990.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:47 PM on July 14, 2011


IANYL
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:48 PM on July 14, 2011


In that case, cool. I love a fire.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:47 PM on July 14, 2011


I'd guess that councils don't have all that much to worry about, regarding solid fuel heating. There's a threshold of arseing around that probably acts as a disincentive to most: sourcing firewood in a city, setting up the fire daily, cleaning out the ashes, and getting your chimney or flue cleaned regularly. With other forms of heating available at the press of a button, these relatively small barriers surely discourage a lot of people.

There's also plenty of natural attrition as existing fireplaces fall into disuse, and their chimneys become unuseable (eg closed over, to keep water out) - out of hundreds of old terraces & other houses I've visited over the years, I can't recall a single one whose fireplaces were in working order. It's also very rarely that I even smell wood smoke around the inner city, so even though almost every house has multiple chimneys, they're mostly just relics of a bygone era.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:24 PM on July 14, 2011


there's a massiv difference between an older design 80s type wood box and a modern Australian Standard one. Regular servicing and appropriate use also makes a big difference.

Launceston has particular issues due to their geography, as well.

Overall, yes, even if all fireboxes were up to modern standards your State EPA isn't terribly happy about their particulate emissions.
posted by wilful at 9:28 PM on July 14, 2011


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