Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gimmicks are no answer to green dogma

Comment from Britain

Hard facts puncture soft opinions. As long as the ‘green’ dogma was just a theory, most people sympathised with it.  Now it is costing them money, they are not so sure.

Nobody wants to destroy his own planet and the man-made global warming movement is skilful at getting its views heard.

Green propagandists have even reviled this newspaper for its repeated exposures of their dubious statistics and economy with the truth. But who was right?

In recent months, the public have learned that – as we warned – green ideology, while friendly at first sight, is arrogant and demanding on closer acquaintance.

First, there was the explosion of ugly windfarms, blighting lives for questionable benefits. Now the public discover that much of the increase in their fuel bills is a green Poll Tax that cannot be blamed on market forces or corporate greed.

This taxation was enthusiastically enacted by MPs of all three parties.

Events beyond our leaders’ control have accelerated the growth of these levies just when prices were rising anyway. And so it is no surprise that our Survation poll shows a growing reaction against green taxation, combined with a justifiable cynicism about both Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze power prices and David Cameron’s plan to repeal some green taxes.

The Miliband plan will at best postpone increases. Mr Cameron’s suggestion is likely to mean higher taxes elsewhere.

This newspaper’s warnings and doubts have been repeatedly borne out. Our politicians need to consider the whole climate change issue with a sceptical eye, instead of scrabbling for votes with cosmetic measures and temporary freezes.


Green Tea:  Greenies masquerading as conservatives

Jobs. Enlarging the tax base. Market access. Energy choice. Fair compensation. Options. Make money. These words and phrases represent ideas or concepts that are attractive to Republicans, conservatives, limited-government and free-market supporters, and even fiscally minded Democrats—which is exactly why they are being used to get buy-in from these groups for something that is 180 degrees from their core values. This approach, I believe, is part of an organized plan by the left to hoodwink the right.

If supporters of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, said it was heavily subsidized on both the state and federal level, had an artificial market created by government mandates, would help mitigate global warming, was the recipient of taxpayer dollars through Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill that funded projects like Solyndra, and was marred by cronyism, the right would run. Instead the wily tactics have won over a few Republicans with strong conservative résumés. Those sell-outs are working hard to bring their peers into the fold.

Let this be a warning. While they may be hitting the right notes, they are singing the wrong song.

I first became aware of this scheme back in July—then, I thought it was just an anomaly. The Georgia Tea Party Patriots, cofounded by Debbie Dooley, partnered with the Sierra Club in support of increased solar in the state. When I talked to her for a column I wrote addressing it, she told me it was all about choice. With a sneer, she called the utility company “a monopoly” and explained that solar would give them competition while consumers would get options. Recently Dooley found her way on to Fox News, where she touted the Green Tea Coalition and claimed to be battling “big energy.”

In addition to Dooley, the Green Tea Coalition’s launch featured three other organizers:

 * Shane Owl-Greason—Co-founder of Georgia Solar Utilities, a solar energy company that will benefit from activities of the Coalition.

 * David Blackman—Environmental activist since graduation from college. He said he was connected to the Citizen’s Climate Lobby—an organization founded after assistance from former vice-president Al Gore.

 * Seth Gunning—Beyond Coal organizer for the Georgia Sierra Club. Another environmental activist since graduation from college.

But, Dooley is the one getting the news coverage because she’s from the right. The media loves that they have a convert, and she loves the attention.

So, the Georgia story was when I first became aware of this type of discordance. But it is not as unique as I first thought.

In Texas, the poser is Jeff Clark, who served as a member of the advance staff for the campaign of George W. Bush and was later appointed by Bush to co-chair the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council. At an October 16 panel discussion on the future of wind power in Texas, hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and attended primarily by small government proponents, Clark touted his Republican bona fides, as he argued that wind energy promoted economic activity. According to a report from my friend and mentor Robert Bradley, who was also a panelist, Clark made a case for wind power by “providing all the statistics of how his industry had rescued poor rural areas in the state by providing income to struggling farmers and enlarging the tax base.”

While most true conservatives are opposed to government subsidies, Clark intoned the two-wrongs-make-a-right view by citing that since all forms of energy have received or do receive government subsidies, wind should, too. However, as Bradley points out: “this begs the question of how much, and whether subsidies for one energy source are gravy and for another are meat-and-potatoes.”

Clark’s most unique appeal to the conservatives in the room came when he implied that God is on the side of wind power: “The Bible tells us to wisely use our resources and to conserve.”

The biggest shill yet can be found in Arizona in the form of former Republican Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr. An article from the left-leaning Mother Jones magazine says: “His support for solar comes from conservative free-market principles rooted in ‘creating choice for the American consumer.’” Goldwater, son of five-term Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, whose name is synonymous with conservatism in America, is chairman of the advocacy group: TUSK (short for Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed). Tusk’s logo is a red, white, blue elephant. (Note: the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. Coincidence? I don’t think so.)

Arizona’s specific battle is over net-metering—which the Mother Jones story on Goldwater describes as “a policy that allows homes and businesses with their own solar power systems to send excess energy they generate back to the grid and make money off it.” This sounds like an appealing capitalistic venture that free-market conservatives would support. And they would, if the owners of those solar panels bought them with their own hard-earned money and when they “make money off it,” the rate the panel owners received was a reasonable wholesale rate—not the current retail.

In fact, as even the New York Times acknowledges: the economics of rooftop solar “depend on government incentives or mandates.” But you won’t find that in Goldwater’s support of solar. Instead he’s trying to appeal to his fellow Republicans by talking about choice, competition, and making money—despite the fact that those who can afford the upfront costs of rooftop solar installation are doing so because of the state and federal taxpayer dollars that subsidize the purchase and installation. The entire rate-paying base must pick the grid (and other maintenance) costs for the growing percentage of solar users—as I’ve previously covered.

One story is an anomaly; two, a coincidence; three, a trend.

Why the push to deceive and convert those whose small government and fiscally conservative principles are in opposition to subsidies and cronyism found in green energy? Because the production tax credit for the wind energy industry ends on December 31, and like solar, it is dependent on the government largess. With D.C. focused on debt and spending, those subsidies—which barely received a one-year-extension as a part of last December’s fiscal cliff deal—are a likely place to cut. After the Republican’s embarrassing fumble on the Continuing Resolution and Debt Ceiling deals—they should be looking at cutting or they should be looking at switching parties.

In Arizona, the all-Republican Corporation Commission is considering changes in the net-metering policy that would remove the favored treatment solar users receive—with a decision expected in November. For solar to survive, rank-and-file Republicans must be won over to the solar-subsidy side. If that happens, the Commissioners might fear an election upset and, therefore, not change the policy that allows those with solar power systems to “make money off it.”

In Georgia, the vote has already taken place. The Georgia Public Service Commission—with Republican support—voted to add solar to Georgia’s electricity generation. The Georgia victory makes the Arizona fight to persuade Republicans imperative.

These are just three stories of which I am aware. If my postulation that there is an organized effort to convince conservatives to support subsidies is correct, there are likely—or will be—similar stories in other states.

If you hear a free-market sounding pitch for green energy that includes the words or phrases listed in the opening—beware! It is probably part of the left's plan.

Borrowing from Bradley’s report on the future-of-wind-power panel, I’ve developed a series of simple questions Republicans, conservatives, limited-government and free-market supporters, and fiscally minded Democrats should ask themselves when considering appropriate energy policy:

1.Should energy policy be based on government intervention or voluntary transactions between buyer and seller?

2.Can an intellectual case be made—without climate alarmism—for renewables, such as solar and wind, knowing that we do not have the perceived 1970s' energy shortage and the pollution of the 1970s has been cleaned up?

3.In the worst economic crisis of most of our lifetimes, should we be subsidizing energy generation that is inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical?

4.Should we be using more-economical energy or less-economical energy?

5.Should we support:

·a polluted tax code and government mandates favoring one energy resource over another?

·the use of taxpayer dollars subsidizing favored energy sources?

·the transfer of wealth from average citizens to supporters of President Obama, Harry Reid, and other high-ranking Democrats, through green-energy crony-corruption schemes such as Solyndra and the more than 50 other green-energy projects funded through the 2009 Obama stimulus bill that have already gone bankrupt or are circling the drain? and/or

·the limited-energy strategy of climate alarmists such as Al Gore and President Obama?

6.When countries with the best human health and the most material wealth are those with the highest energy consumption, why does the Obama administration continue to push for reduced energy consumption, increased energy costs, and intermittent energy availability?

When a so-called conservative Republican talks green energy and sounds like he or she is hitting the right notes, be careful. It’s probably the wrong song. Don’t get suckered into joining the choir.


The strange death of the bag-for-life

Comment from Britain

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. And there is no greater descent into insanity than among the sirens of the elf’n’safety industry.

It would appear that not a single area of human endeavour is immune from their ministrations. These vigilant guardians of our well-being can detect mortal danger lurking in every microbe.

Over the years, this column has had fun documenting the wilder excesses of the public safety sentinels. They have become almost impossible to parody. From the epidemic of hi-viz clothing to patronising leaflets advising us how to wash our hands, they appear to believe that we are incapable of getting through the day without injury unless we follow their idiotic instructions.

Every week, readers send me fresh examples of elf’n’safety stupidity. For instance, Allen Hanley emailed enclosing a three-page safety manual published by the Univar chemicals company. This spells out precise details  for the correct handling of one of its products, a liquid used widely in a number of manufacturing processes.

Under 18 separate sub-headings, the document lists the proper way to deal with everything from spillage to what action to take if the liquid comes into contact with bare skin.

Protective gloves are recommended and ‘splash-proof goggles’ should be worn at all times. ‘Self-contained breathing apparatus and full protective clothing must be worn’ in the event of it catching fire.

You really can’t be too careful, not when you are dealing with an unstable substance described as:  ‘Appearance: Clear Liquid. Colour: Colourless. Odour: Almost odourless. Solubility: Soluble in water. Boiling point (C): 100.’

After use, the product must be disposed of ‘in accordance with local authority regulations’. So what is this highly flammable, toxic liquid which must be handled with such meticulous care?

Purified water.

But then, you’d probably worked out we weren’t talking sulphuric acid here.

Only yesterday, Martin Higgs wrote from Shaldon in Devon. Stopping at a service station on the M5, he spotted two employees pulling on hi-viz jackets to complete the hazardous task of transferring doughnuts from a trolley into a plastic display cabinet.

It’s as well as they weren’t handling bottled water, too, otherwise they would also have had to wear protective gloves and ‘splash-proof goggles’ and keep the breathing apparatus handy in case it caught fire.

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, up pops another ‘expert’ with a new dire warning of imminent disaster waiting to strike. Consider the latest threat to our health they have discovered: Bags-for-life.

For the past few years, the Daily Mail has been campaigning to rid the country of the scourge of disposable plastic shopping bags. Supermarkets have responded by selling customers reusable hessian bags for a modest fee.

This has helped reduce the number of discarded bags littering the streets and clogging our countryside and waterways.

Admittedly, there is still some way to go. For some unfathomable reason, the Government is dragging its feet over plans to make all shoppers pay 5p for plastic and paper carrier bags. Although the scheme has already started in Wales and Northern Ireland, it will not be introduced in England until 2015.

But, by and large, the switch to bags-for-life has been embraced enthusiastically. Until now.

Step forward Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen. His department has been investigating the use of hessian bags and has concluded that they pose a serious threat to public health.

The boffins tested a number of reusable bags and pronounced them ‘highly contaminated’ with bacteria. Shoppers who use bags-for-life to carry raw meat and vegetables with dirt still on them are dicing with death. Bacteria from meat and veg can be transferred to other foods, such as fruit, and cause severe food poisoning.

Professor Pennington said that such bags should be ‘machine-washed’ after use. Washing them by hand, even using anti-bacterial spray, is not good enough to kill 100 per cent of all known germs.

He warned: ‘They are really rather difficult to clean. If they are looking a bit grotty, they should be thrown away.’ Doesn’t that rather defeat the object of bags-for-life?

The Aberdeen research follows a study by Pennsylvania University, that found a 25 per cent rise in hospital admissions from bacterial infections and a 46 per cent increase in deaths from ‘food-borne’ illnesses after San Francisco banned plastic bags.

Of course, there is a school of thought which holds that increases in bacterial infections are a direct result of excessive hygiene. We need to be exposed to dirt and a few bugs to build up our immune systems.

I wonder what our mums and grandmothers would make of this latest health scare. My grandmothers used the same shopping bags every day of their lives, without poisoning their families. How long before supermarkets are forced to sell hessian bags-for-life with haz-mat stickers and pages of safety instructions?

I suppose you could always try rinsing them out with purified water. Just don’t forget to wear your hi-viz jacket, protective gloves and splash-proof goggles.



by John O'Sullivan

As public concern over man-made global warming continues to fall independent scientists speak out against relentless pro-green censorship in the mainstream media. Sinking ever deeper into such unethical bias is The Los Angeles Times which will no longer publish letters from climate change deniers, Times letters editor Paul Thornton wrote earlier this month.

Among independent scientists enraged by such a blatant anti-science and undemocratic approach are respected analysts, Professor J. Scott Armstrong and Dr. Martin Hertzberg.Dr Martin Hertzberg

Prof. Armstrong, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and an expert in the field of Long-Range Forecasting, says that such “Censorship of skeptic global warming views by the press has been going on for many years.”

While former U.S. Navy meteorologist, Dr Hertzberg, agrees with Armstrong that the climate alarmist case is now shown to be “so weak that even with widespread censorship, citizens are not persuaded.”

Like Armstrong, Hertzberg is delighted to see that more savvy citizens are turning to alternative sources of information and open debate on the Internet to better inform their decisions.

It is on the world wide web where readers can freely find Armstrong's study into the reliability of the alarmist claims of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Independently scientists found that the IPCC “violated 72 of 89 relevant scientific forecasting principles" despite claims by the LA Times and others that government-sponsored climatologists are reliable scientific authorities. Armstrong lamented that there is only one published peer-reviewed paper that claims to provide scientific forecasts of long-range global mean temperatures. That paper is a 2009 article in the International Journal of Forecasting by Kesten Green, Willie Soon and Professor Armstrong, himself.

Armstrong reveals that his study showed that “for forecasts 91 to 100 years ahead, the IPCC forecast errors were over 12 times larger than our forecast errors. Perhaps that qualifies as relevant evidence for citizens. And it would be “news” for 99% of them. Yet our forecasts received virtually no mass media coverage. Meanwhile, non-scientific climate-scare “forecasts” regularly get widespread attention from the mass media.“

The Denver Post was quick to react to the latest dishonesty by the LA Times, with editorial page editor Vincent Carroll pleading, “Surely readers should be free to debate such points.” Carroll argues that “properly credentialed experts who question whether humans are largely responsible for the warming” must be heard. Dr. Hertzberg, co-founder of Principia Scientific International (PSI) and a respected climate researcher agrees. Hertzberg points not only to his own and his colleague's impeccable scientific credentials, but he is also a Democrat and vociferously condemns any kind of politicization of science.

Hertzberg wrote to Carroll welcoming the Denver Post's plea for a fair hearing to experts from all sides saying, ”Your article was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dismal atmosphere. It is tragic that what should be an impartial evaluation of the data on the question of "global warming / climate change" by objective scientists, has instead degenerated into a partisan, political diatribe. It is not just the LA Times that displays a lack of journalistic integrity by refusing to publish letters from "deniers" but the NY Times, The Washington Post refuse to publish such letters, and virtually daily MSNBC hosts denounce those of us who deny human caused "climate change.””

Dr Hertzberg continues:

    "I am one of those skeptics whose letter you did publish, and I thank you for that. Nevertheless, the opinions of qualified scientists rarely find their way into the Print or TV media. Most of the articles or opinions in the matter are from environmental activists or politicians, most of whom are lacking in scientific background. For the opinion of some 130 of the world's most distinguished scientists including a Nobel Laureate in Physics, go to www.tinyurl.com/bv8n2tl. Their letter to the Secretary General of the U. N. states: "The incidence or severity of extreme weather has not increased ..... the hypothesis that our emissions of CO2 have caused or will cause global warming is not supported by the evidence". Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant but an integral part of the Earth's ecosystem on which virtually all life depends.

    In virtually every article about global warming, it is claimed that CO2 is a "greenhouse gas", yet rarely if ever is the term defined. It is usually taken as an undefined "given". In our book "Slaying the Sky Dragon - Death of  the Greenhouse Gas Theory", Stairway Press (2011), some 19 different definitions of the term from different sources are summarized. Yet none of the physical phenomena described in those definitions actually occur in reality.

    Similarly, in all the articles written about climate change, you will not find a scientific definition of the term. Climate is changing all the time: from hour to hour, from day to night, from day to day, from week to week, from season to season, from year to year, from decade to decade, and from century to century. Which of those changes is climate change? We just transited from Summer to Fall. Now that's real climate change! Is that what they are talking about? And was that caused by our sinful combustion of fossil fuels? Look for yourself at the data in www.climate4you.com . There you will find several decades worth of data for temperatures, ice area coverage, snow cover, rate of sea level rise, etc."

There is nothing dramatic or remarkable in the recent data: just their normal variability that has been present for all earlier decades. The term climate change seems to mean whatever the writer wants it to mean: hardly an objective or scientific definition.

    "Both situations remind me of the opinion of a Supreme Court Justice, who was deciding a case involving pornography. When asked for a definition of pornography, he replied: " I can't define it, but I know what it is when I see it." But clearly, one man's art is another man's pornography."



Like hermit crabs, climate alarmists scramble to find new ways to hide, when put in a box

As children playing on the beach, we discovered a fascinating behavioral pattern among hermit crabs. Place a dozen in a cardboard box, and within minutes the crabs exit their shells and try to occupy another. This mild stress-induced response probably reflects their life-long drive to continue growing by repeatedly commandeering larger shells, to protect their vulnerable soft bodies.hermit crab

Similarly, climate alarmists are now scrambling to find new shelter from the stress coming from a public that increasingly realizes their doom-and-gloom predictions of climate chaos are based on shoddy data, faulty computer models and perhaps outright deception. The alarmist scientists have put themselves in a climate cataclysm box, and are desperate to protect their reputations, predictions and funding.

Despite the absence of warming in actual measured temperature records over the last 16 years, and near-record lows in hurricane and tornado activity, they still cry “wolf” repeatedly and try to connect every unusual or “extreme” weather event to human emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide. (Actually, people account for only 4% of all the CO2 that enters Earth’s atmosphere each year.)

Alarmists used their predictions of climate catastrophe to demand that the world transform its energy and economic systems, slash fossil fuel use, and accept lower living standards, in response to the politically manufactured science. Even as growing evidence conflicted with their dogma, the money, fame and power were too good to surrender for mere ethical reasons.

The impact on energy prices, national economies, jobs and people’s lives has been profound and negative. For example, in response to the unfounded alarmism, Germany moved aggressively toward wind and solar energy over the past 15 years – both politically and with taxpayer and investment spending. It also shied away from more nuclear power and saw its economy contract and energy-intensive companies shed jobs and threaten to move overseas. Now Germany is burning more coal and building new coal-fired power plants, in an attempt to reverse the economic disaster its “green” and “climate protection” policies unleashed, but its actions are still sending shock waves at investors around the world.

In Spain, every renewable energy job the government’s climate alarmist policies created was offset by two jobs lost in other sectors of the economy that were punished by soaring electricity prices. The demise of a Spanish economy so committed to wind and solar power finally caused reasonable people to reevaluate why these decisions had been made, and the renewable subsidies were slashed, just as they have been in Germany.

How does Brazil’s future look with biofuels? As reality finally overcomes media bias and political correctness, the naive excitement of a few years ago – when anything “green” was portrayed as lower cost, clean and superior in every technological sense – has given way to more rational thinking. Brazil is now going more for oil and gas, via conventional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, onshore and offshore.

Why are so many countries deciding to abandon or diminish the fools-golden eggs of green-tech? First, green technology power has been grossly oversold on reliability, cost, capacity, job creation and environmental impacts. A stable economy requires all of these power characteristics. Second, speculative alarmism about CO2 has been exposed by the hard data of the past couple decades.

The NIPCC Climate Change Reconsidered-II report presents the facts, so that even non-scientists can appreciate the relevant range of the climate components – and the ways people have been conned into believing we faced a manmade climate Armageddon that hasn’t materialized and was never a threat.

Nevertheless, insisting that “climate chaos” was real, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson wailed that her agency would need at least 240,000 new EPA employees (each making some $100,000 per year, plus benefits) that she said would be needed just to administer new carbon dioxide regulations – and control nearly everything Americans make, drive, ship and do!

EPA currently employs some 20,000 people at an annual budget of over $8 billion. The new hires alone would cost taxpayers another $24 billion annually – plus hundreds of billions of dollars in economic pain, manufacturing shutdowns and new job losses that EPA’s CO2 regulations would inflict.

Year after year, alarmists have changed their protective shells for more absurd answers regarding where the Earth has mysteriously stashed all the energy that greenhouse gases supposedly trapped. For years, alarmists said ocean waters were storing the missing energy. But when the ARGO project demonstrated that the heat was not in the ocean, at least down two kilometers (1.2 miles) beneath the surface, one prominent alarmist responded, “We are puzzled at the results.” We are not puzzled.

When the data consistently conflict with their hypothesis, reputable scientists revise the hypothesis. Five-alarm climate scientists desperately seek new shells, and new excuses.

The “puzzling” facts triggered the predictable alarmist tactic of attacking the data and claiming the heat was hiding in the really deep ocean. Ignoring the physics of the problem – how the asserted heat was transferred from atmospheric carbon dioxide, through the sea surface, and beyond the first mile of ocean waters, without being detected – they expect us to believe that fluid thermodynamics is akin to magic.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has released its 2013 report Climate Change Reconsidered II. The world finally has a chance to see the actual science – not the kind that’s hidden, massaged and filtered through alarmist shell games.

Unencumbered by political pressure and mega-lobbyists, this 1,018-page review by 50 serious and highly accomplished scientists has exposed the alarmists’ fraud. These real scientists have also exposed as illusory the alarmists’ mystical “tropical hot spot.” This sacred cow turns out to be as fanciful as planetary warming hidden in the deepest ocean, or the infamous hockey stick of Michael Mann’s hidden data and secret computer codes.

Have we forgotten that 1998 was to be the “tipping point,” after which Earth would warm uncontrollably? The 1988 hearing in Washington one hot summer afternoon was dominated by the always sly James Hansen, who wiped his brow furiously, in a room made stifling by Senator Tim Wirth’s cheap trick of turning off the air conditioning. Politics, theatrics and manipulation had replaced honest science.

Because Al Gore switched his CO2 and temperature curves to make it look like rising carbon dioxide levels caused planetary temperature increases – when in fact increasing temperatures always preceded higher CO2 – shouldn’t he have corrected his mistake, returned his ill-gotten millions, and shared his 2007 Nobel Prize and money with Irena Sendler, who should have gotten it for saving 2,500 Jewish children during World War II? Shouldn’t his accomplice, IPCC director and pseudo-Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, be held accountable for trumpeting made-up stories about melting Himalayan glaciers?

But when you’re an alarmist, being wrong, lying, cheating, misleading the public and killing jobs simply does not count against you – even when the alleged human-caused global warming stopped in 1996.

We literally laughed aloud at a so-called “documentary” that’s about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. It’s called “Do the Math: Bill McKibben and the Fight over Climate Change.” For McKibben and his comrades, “doing the math” is really a matter of “counting the cash” the alarmists rake in.

The serious money has always flowed to alarmists, guilt-ridden environmentalists and control-seeking regulators, whom the world’s taxpayers are generously and unwittingly funding. That’s also the real meaning of the “green” movement and “green” energy.


Australia:  Labor Party (Leftist opposition) set to bury carbon tax

Labor is expected to support axing the carbon tax, with senior figures - including leader Bill Shorten - now convinced that its case for action on climate change will be more easily sold if the politically toxic tax is abolished.

The opposition has been wrestling with what to do on the repeal of the tax, with some saying it must hold the line to show voters and demoralised supporters that it still stands for something.

They argue that Labor proposed to "terminate" the tax at the last election and to simply block its repeal would allow the government to continue to punish it politically.

Mr Shorten is also worried that continual focus on the tax will distract from serious flaws in the government's $3.2 billion "direct action" policy, which Labor will oppose.

Under direct action, taxpayer dollars are used to pay polluters to reduce emissions and to fund other initiatives in forestry, carbon capture and recycling.

A survey of economists by Fairfax Media found only two of 35 supported direct action over an emissions trading scheme, which uses a floating carbon price driven by the global market.

Labor will continue to back some form of carbon pricing but reserves the right to deliver its policy closer to the election. Meanwhile, it will scrutinise direct action.

Independent analysis of direct action suggests it will not be able to reduce emissions by the bipartisan target of 5 per cent by 2020 without more funding - which has been ruled out by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

A senior Labor source said the party would not countenance weakening the target, amid concern that the legislation to repeal the carbon tax will change the status of the 5 per cent target from a legally enforceable cap to merely an aspiration.

"We are happy to get rid of the tax but we do think there should be a cap on pollution," said one Labor insider.

Mr Abbott has made the repeal of the tax his legislative priority when Parliament resumes in two weeks. He has urged Labor to "repent" and support the government.

A number of Labor sources acknowledge there has been a shift in sentiment since the election. Even so, the shadow cabinet is yet to finalise Labor's position and wants to see the final shape of the government's legislation before making any commitment.

Labor's climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, hinted strongly at the weekend that the option of backing the repeal bills was being considered, saying that the final policy "will be informed by the fact that we took to the last election a commitment ourselves to terminate the carbon tax".

John Scales of JWS Research said polling showed that the carbon tax had dominated the climate change debate in recent years and undermined support for action.

He said the tax was widely seen through the prism of former prime minister Julia Gillard's broken promise when she introduced the impost, and through its impact on electricity and other prices.

Mr Abbott has already begun to call Mr Shorten "Electricity Bill" as he goads him to support the repeal of the tax. With it gone, Mr Scales said Labor would have clear air to make direct action its target and to develop its alternative.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: