Sunday, May 29, 2016
Climate change could destroy Statue of Liberty, Venice and many other parts of the world's heritage, UN report warns
And pigs could fly. There is NO evidence for any of the prophecies below. It is just speculation based on global warming theory -- a theory with so many holes in it, it might as well be a sieve.
The present day events described are just cherry-picking. One could easily pick other events leading to the opposite conclusion -- like the fact that the world's biggest body of glacial ice -- Antarctica -- is INCREASING in size, suggesting a future sea-level FALL. Or how about Munshi's demonstration that the increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are NOT the result of burning coal and oil?
You cannot prove a generalization by picking a few bits of data here and there. You need statistics that cover ALL events of the type discussed. And sea level rise is not ordinarily detectable in most of the world
The Statue of Liberty and many of the world’s most important heritage sites could soon be destroyed by global warming, the UN has warned.
Historic sites including Orkney and the world’s most important coral reefs already feeling the effect of the increasing temperatures and climate disruption that is coming with global warming. But that same trend could completely destroy them and other parts of the world’s heritage, according to a new report.
The danger shows the “urgent and clear” need to address climbing temperatures to protect many parts of the world’s heritage, according to the report, which was compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), UN heritage body Unesco and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The study took in 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites, spread across 29 countries. It looked at the ways that the effects of climate change – including intense weather and damage to animal’s habitats – would effect them in the future.
Climate change will - or is already - exacerbating problems faced by some of the world's most famous and popular heritage sites, such as the Galapagos Islands, which helped Charles Darwin form his theory of evolution, the study found.
Threats to the unique wildlife caused by 205,000 visitors a year, invasive species and illegal fishing are now being joined by rising seas, warming and more acidic oceans and extreme weather.
In the UK, at Stonehenge, warmer winters are likely to boost populations of burrowing animals that could disturb archaeological deposits and destabilise stonework.
Hotter drier summers could increase visitor numbers and change the plant species which stabilise the chalk downlands, causing more soil erosion, while Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill face increased rainfall and flash floods.
More severe problems threaten the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site, where many archaeological sites are on the coast due to the importance of the sea in Stone Age life, and at least half are under threat from coastal erosion
Five-thousand-year-old Skara Brae, the best-preserved Stone Age dwelling complex in Western Europe with houses and stone furniture, is the most high profile site at risk of eventual loss of coastal erosion, the study said.
Lead author of the report and deputy director of the climate and energy programme at UCS, Adam Markham, said: "Orkney and the whole of Scotland is the poster child for eroding archaeology sites.
"There are thousands of them and many of them are being lost to coastal erosion and storms.
"If sea level rise and storms get worse because of global warming then we are going to be losing huge amounts of British heritage directly into the sea," he warned.
Other sites around the world that are at risk from coastal erosion include Easter Island, with its famous head statues, many of which are situated close to the sea, he said.
The Grand Canal in Venice by sunset. © Getty Images The Grand Canal in Venice by sunset. Elsewhere sites which bring in important tourism revenue could be particularly badly hit, such as Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where rising temperatures could affect the habitat of endangered mountain gorillas.
Mr Markham said: "The report is representative of the kind of threats these iconic places are experiencing, some are in direct and immediate danger.
"At every one of these sites we can see the impacts of climate change already. Not in every place is it threatening it yet but it will threaten it in the future."
New York's Statue of Liberty was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy, with £68 million given for repairs and protection to the area, while more intense hurricanes are expected with climate change and sea level rises likely to cause more significant storm surges.
And Venice, with its extraordinary Byzantine, gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture, is under immediate threat from rising sea levels and work to protect it from flooding has cost £4 billion, the report said.
Mechtild Rossler, director of Unesco's World Heritage Centre, said: "Globally, we need to better understand, monitor and address climate change threats to World Heritage sites.
"As the report's findings underscore, achieving the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global temperature rise to a level well below 2C is vitally important to protecting our world heritage for current and future generations."
It takes The Donald
Republican presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, acknowledges love from a fan while speaking to 7,500 people at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck on Thursday. Trump, whose support from North Dakota national convention delegates put him over the top for securing the party’s nomination earlier Thursday, told the crowd he’d eliminate regulation he says is killing the fossil fuel industry as well as be favorable to additional pipeline projects and exports of American oil.
Trump, whose support from North Dakota national convention delegates put him over the top for securing the party’s nomination earlier in the day, told the crowd he’d eliminate regulation he says is killing the fossil fuel industry as well as be favorable to additional pipeline projects and exports of American oil.
Thunderous applause greeted Trump’s declaration that in his administration there’d be an “America-first energy plan.”
“We will accomplish a complete American energy independence,” Trump said. “We’re going to turn everything around. We are going to make it right.”
He thanked the North Dakota delegates for putting him over the top. “I will always remember that,” Trump said.
For those hoping to witness a dose of the sharp rhetoric that’s been a staple of his unconventional and eyebrow-raising campaign, he didn’t disappoint.
Trump vowed to reverse the energy policy of President Barack Obama’s administration, which he said has been devastating to industry and inflicted pain on states such as North Dakota that rely heavily on the energy sector.
“If President Obama wanted to weaken America, he couldn’t have done a better job,” Trump said.
Among the policies he’d push to undo is the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions rules targeting coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year voted 5-4 to halt implementation of the rules governing new and existing power plants for now.
“How stupid is that?” Trump said of the emissions rules.
He also slammed the Environment Protection Agency’s Waters of the United State rule, which he said would cause significant damage to American energy production and kill jobs.
Trump had the crowd in the palm of his hand, a sea of people dotted with Trump hats and shirts with his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” He drew wave after wave of raucous applause when outlining how optimistic he is at the prospect of North Dakota and the country’s energy future.
“You’re at the forefront of a new energy revolution,” said Trump, adding that the country has unlocked energy reserves previously unimaginable with new technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing. “We’re loaded. We had no idea how rich we are.”
The first 100 days of a potential Trump administration also riled up the crowd: He said he’d rescind executive orders by Obama that he believes are job killers as well as work to eliminate the emissions and water rules.
When considering any federal regulations, Trump said his litmus test would be simple.
“Is this regulation good for the American worker?” Trump said.
Those who heard Trump speak gave his speech an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
“I think from what we see on TV he had a much more detailed presentation. He was really well-informed on the issues,” Whitney Bell, of New Town, said.
Bell said the crowd was fantastic and responded well to Trump's message, which he reiterated was more detailed than mere sound-bites.
Jason Bohrer, president of the Lignite Energy Council, said he was impressed with Trump’s focus on deregulation.
“I heard what I wanted to hear and more. Trump is a different kind of politician; he communicates in a way that a lot of other people don’t,” Bohrer said.
North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness said he was thrilled by how the speech went as well as the overwhelming reaction from the crowd.
“I’ve been to a lot of Class B state championships in this building; this was equal to that,” Ness said. “The energy just rolled in.”
Ness said his America-first message resonated with people and he expects it to become a staple of his campaign.
“That speech was loaded with specifics. He backed that up with a lot of numbers. I didn’t hear anything that isn’t achievable,” Ness said.
Trump tapped Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., earlier this month to help in providing him with energy policy advice. Cramer wrote a white paper on energy policy relating to federal regulations, the importance of the fossil fuel industry and other topics, which hasn’t yet been released.
Cramer was one of the first members of Congress to openly endorse Trump prior to his last opponents dropping out of the race.
North Dakota Republican Party chairman Kelly Armstrong said he heard what he needed to hear from Trump on eliminating government regulations, reducing taxes and protecting the energy industry. As chairman, Armstrong is one of North Dakota’s 28 delegates to the national Republican Party convention July 18-21 in Cleveland.
“Tremendously good for the people of North Dakota,” Armstrong said of Trump’s positions.
Independent Scientists WARN: ‘Most Currently Published Research Findings Are FALSE…’
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of [The New] England Journal of Medicine” — These are the words of Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), which is considered to be one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed science journals in the world.
psi 1The Lancet, another top, well respected peer-reviewed medical journal also publishes research findings that are unreliable and many times false. The current editor-in-chief, Dr. Richard Horton recently spoke out about the fake science often published in the prestigious medical journal. “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness,” he warns, as reported by Collective-Evolution.com.
Many of the industry-sponsored studies being published today are used to promote new drugs and vaccines. One thing is for sure: Money has its influence on “science.” To make matters worse, what ultimately gets published and promoted is what is ultimately believed by medical professionals.
The most disturbing realization about today’s leading published “science” is that it’s leaving out important information from the public. Dr. Horton points this out, extensively. This scientific fraud exists in the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals, and it’s been going on for decades. He has observed instances where data is manipulated to promote a particular theory. He says there’s hardly any accountability when bad practices are used. He even calls himself out for being part of the problem, aiding and abetting some of the worst behaviors.
It’s not just theory. Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, from the Neural Dynamics Research Group in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia, reveals that pharmaceutical companies and vaccine manufacturers explicitly know about multiple dangers with their products but that information is withheld from the public.
In her research paper, “The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds?” Tomljenovic reveals eight disturbing assertions obtained from documented meetings between 1983 and 2010 involving the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
For many years, the two health authorities have been engaged in “Deliberately concealing information from the parents for the sole purpose of getting them to comply with an ‘official’ vaccination schedule.” Lucija Tomljenovic points out that this “could thus be considered as a form of ethical violation or misconduct.”
“Instead of reacting appropriately by re-examining existing vaccination policies when safety concerns over specific vaccines were identified by their own investigations,” Tomljenovic points out, the “JCVI either a) took no action, b) skewed or selectively removed unfavourable safety data from public reports and c) made intensive efforts to reassure both the public and the authorities in the safety of respective vaccines.”
The fraudulent methods by which drug and vaccine research is conducted and published is appalling. Peer-reviewed studies consistently downplay safety concerns of new drugs while over-inflating vaccine benefits. Even though many vaccines have “unresolved safety issues,” they are pushed just so health authorities can increase vaccination rates. This is clearly not scientific or in the public interest.
The drug makers would like you to think that you are deficient and in need of their formulations, but you are not their property, and you are not their experiment.
Party of Science?
The argument over Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) has exposed an interesting method of delegitimizing opposing points of view. For many supporters of AGW, “the science is settled” because 97% of scientists have decreed man-caused catastrophic climate change to be stone-cold fact (despite overwhelming evidence of fraud, data manipulation and deceit .)
Yes, they have “SCIENCE!” on their side and only a fool or a Luddite would argue with “SCIENCE!” Therefore, if you disagree with them, you are, by definition, a fool and your argument can simply be ignored.
It’s an incredibly simplistic, yet effective tactic. By assuming the mantle of the “Party of Science”, they attempt to claim the intellectual high-ground , making their beliefs beyond reproach. How could anyone argue against the facts unless they deny “SCIENCE!”?
Lately, however, “SCIENCE!” seems to have taken a back seat to “feelings”, as these “Party of Science” members repeatedly deny honest-to-goodness science in deference to their agenda. A few examples:
For years, we’ve been told that fracking is hazardous to the environment. The process of fracturing shale rock miles below the surface of the earth to increase oil production has driven many of the “Party of Science” into fits. Movies have been made decrying this “evil practice” and professing to show the harm this process does to ground water. Of course, those movies are nothing more than Michael Moore-esque agitprop, virtually devoid of anything that approaches actual facts.
But that does not stop such high-ranking members of the “Party of Science” as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, as he continues to uphold his ban on fracking in his state, to the detriment of his state’s economy and citizens, even in the face of a federal report showing that that it is not harmful.
Recently, the University of Cincinnati completed a three-year study into the potential harm of fracking to local water supplies. The results? There is absolutely no evidence that fracking contaminates local ground water whatsoever. Great news, right? Well, not to those who funded the study.
Under pressure from the backers of the study, the University will not release the results. According to lead researcher Amy Townsend-Small, “our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results. They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”
Women in Combat:
In a move referred to as “another historic step forward”, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ruled that women would now be allowed to serve in all combat roles in the US Military, including front-line roles. The stated reason for this decision was to increase the potential pool of people upon which to draw to fill these roles. The unstated reason, of course, is to increase diversity within our armed forces, whether it makes sense to do so or not.
And, of course, it doesn’t make sense. Recently, both the US Army and the US Marine Corps conducted studies to determine the impact that women serving in front-line combat positions would have on those combat units. The results showed that, while some women can perform at or above the minimally required levels currently in place, the overall effectiveness of the combat unit is dramatically reduced.
Well, to be fair, that was the result of the Marine Corps’ study. It turns out that the Marines, as they tend to do, took their job seriously and actually performed comprehensive and complete testing, in accordance with the Department of Defense’s required methodology. And then released the full and complete report for analysis.
The Marine Corps study has been and continues to be ignored.
The US Army’s study, however, came back with the politically desired results. But soon after that study was released, it was discovered that the women in their tests were given extra training, special treatment, and were held to lower standards. When the details of this now-questionable study were requested by Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK), a former Army Ranger, he was informed, after weeks of delay, that the records had been destroyed. Convenient, don’t you think?
But how old-fashioned to think that facts should mean anything when the “Party of Science” knows what’s best for us. Putting women in front line combat roles is fair and diverse and stuff. So what if it puts all of our military men and women at a greater risk?
Minimum Wage Laws:
The push for a so-called “living wage” has become almost a mantra among the “Party of Science” crowd. Someone, somewhere, somehow decided that $15/hour is a “living wage.” Where that number came from is still a mystery, but who cares? #Fightfor15! #LivingWages!
And as fun as it has been to watch rich, well-positioned politicians and other members of the community formerly known as “reality-based” pretend to live on what they assume to be starvation wages (“oh my, when did the price of dried kiwi and quinoa become so high?”), this fight is causing real harm in the real world.
For example, the city of Seattle, WA recently implemented a $15 minimum wage. The result? Huge job losses inside the Seattle city limits, compared to huge job growth in the surrounding communities. Also, business growth inside Seattle has slowed to a crawl, while it is booming elsewhere. So instead of helping low wage earners, higher minimum wages actually hurts them. Who could have seen that coming?
And it will only get worse. Businesses that normally depend on unskilled and younger workers are looking at automation, in order to reduce their staffing needs. Yes, Virginia, when it costs less to buy a machine to do your job than it does to hire you, business owners will buy the machine.
It is interesting to note that some “Party of Science” members do recognize their cognitive dissonance. As he signed into law an increase in the California’s minimum wage, Gov. Jerry Brown freely admitted that higher minimum wages are not economically viable. But who cares about that? It makes sense morally and politically! (Try saying that from the unemployment line as opposed to the Governor’s mansion.)
Genetically modified crops are safe. Party of Science doesn’t care. Vaccines do not cause autism. Party of Science doesn’t care. Gender identity is not fluid and transgenderism is a psychological disorder similar to anorexia and should be treated as such. Not so, says the Party of Science, and you shall not only accept, but celebrate the choices made by these brave yet tortured souls.
I could try to analyze why so many people work so hard to make the rest of us reject reality for their fantasies, but I think the motivation behind this effort was explained quite brilliantly many years ago:
“You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self- destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.” – O’Brien (George Orwell – ‘1984’)
Bill Nye the Scientism Guy
Facts don’t support his hypothesis, so he shouts louder, changes subjects and attacks his critics
Willie Soon and István Markó
True science requires that data, observations and other evidence support a hypothesis – and that it can withstand withering analysis and criticism – or the hypothesis is wrong.
That’s why Albert Einstein once joked, “If the facts don’t fit your theory, change the facts.” When informed that scientists who rejected his theory of relativity had published a pamphlet, 100 authors against Einstein, he replied: “Why 100? If I were wrong, one would be enough.”
In the realm of climate scientism, the rule seems to be: If the facts don’t support your argument, talk louder, twist the facts, and insult your opponents. That’s certainly what self-styled global warming “experts” like Al Gore and Bill Nye are doing. Rather than debating scientists who don’t accept false claims that humans are causing dangerous climate change, they just proclaim more loudly:
Our theory explains everything that’s happening. Hotter or colder temperatures, wetter or drier weather, less ice in the Arctic, more ice in Antarctica – it’s all due to fossil fuel use.
Climate scientism aggressively misrepresents facts, refuses to discuss energy and climate issues with anyone who points out massive flaws in the manmade climate chaos hypothesis, bullies anyone who won’t condemn carbon dioxide, and brands them as equivalent to Holocaust Deniers.
In a recent Huffington Post article, Mr. Nye “challenges climate change deniers” by claiming, “The science of global warming is long settled, and one may wonder why the United States, nominally the most technologically advanced country in the world, is not the world leader in addressing the threats.”
Perhaps it’s not so settled. When the Australian government recently shifted funds from studying climate change to addressing threats that might result, 275 research jobs were imperiled. The very scientists who’d been saying there was a 97% consensus howled that there really wasn’t one. Climate change is very complex, they cried (which is true), and much more work must be done if we are to provide more accurate temperature predictions, instead of wild forecasts based on CO2 emissions (also true).
Perhaps Mr. Nye and these Australian researchers should discuss what factors other than carbon dioxide actually cause climate and weather fluctuations. They may also encounter other revelations: that climate science is still young and anything but settled; that we have little understanding of what caused major ice ages, little ice ages, warm periods in between and numerous other events throughout the ages; that computer model predictions thus far have been little better than tarot card divinations.
As for Nye’s assertions that “carbon dioxide has an enormous effect on planetary temperatures” and “climate change was discovered in recent times by comparing the Earth to the planet Venus” – those are truly bizarre, misleading, vacuous claims.
The relatively rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 over the last 30 years has produced only 0.2°C (0.4°F) of global warming – compared to a 1°C (1.8°F) total temperature increase over the past 150 years. That means the planetary temperature increase has slowed down, as carbon dioxide levels rose. In fact, average temperatures have barely budged for nearly 19 years, an inconvenient reality that even the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) now recognizes.
This is an “enormous effect”? By now, it is increasingly clear, the proper scientific conclusion is that the “greenhouse effect” of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is very minor – as a recent article explains. Mr. Nye and his fans and fellow activists could learn a lot from it.
Objective readers, and even Mr. Nye, would also profit from reading a rather devastating critique of one of The Scientism Guy’s “science-is-easy” demonstrations. It concludes that the greenhouse effect of CO2 molecules is of course real, but Mr. Nye’s clever experiment for Al Gore’s “Climate Reality Project” was the result of “video fakery” and “could never work” as advertised. When will Messrs. Nye and Gore stop peddling their Hollywood special effects?
For that matter, when will they stop playing inter-planetary games? Mr. Nye and the popular media love to tell us that carbon dioxide from oil, gas and coal could soon turn Planet Earth into another Venus: over-heated, barren, rocky and lifeless. Princeton Institute of Advanced Study Professors Freeman Dyson and Will Happer show that this is utter nonsense.
For one thing, Venus is far closer to the sun, so it is subjected to far more solar heat, gravitational pull and surface pressure than Earth is. “If we put a sunshade shielding Venus from sunlight,” Dr. Dyson notes, “it would only take 500 years for its surface to cool down and its atmosphere to condense into a carbon dioxide ocean.” It’s not the high temperature that makes Venus permanently unfriendly to life, he adds; it’s the lack of water.
Second, the amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide are grossly disproportionate. Earth has barely 0.04% carbon dioxide (by volume) in its atmosphere, whereas Venus has 97% and Mars has 95% CO2. Mars much greater distance from the sun also means it has an average surface temperature of -60°C (-80°F) –underscoring yet again how absurd it is to use planetary comparisons to stoke climate change fears.
Third, Earth’s atmosphere used to contain far more carbon dioxide. “For most of the past 550 million years of the Phanerozoic, when multicellular life left a good fossil record, the earth’s CO2 levels were four times, even ten times, higher than now,” Dr. Happer points out. “Yet life flourished on land and in the oceans. Earth never came close to the conditions of Venus.” And it never will.
Fourth, Venus’s much closer proximity to the sun means it receives about twice as much solar flux (radiant energy) as the Earth does: 2637 Watts per square meter versus 1367, Happer explains. The IPCC says doubling atmospheric CO2 concentrations would be equivalent to just 15 W/m2 of additional solar flux. That’s nearly 100 times less than what Venus gets from being closer to the Sun.
Fifth, surface pressure on Venus is about 90 times that of the Earth, and strong convection forces increase the heating of surface air, he continues, making Venus’s surface even hotter. However, dense sulfuric acid clouds prevent most solar heat from ever reaching the planet’s surface. Instead, they reflect most sunlight back into space, which is “one of the reasons Venus is such a lovely morning or evening ‘star.’”
Of course, none of these nerdy details about Earth-Venus differences really matter. We already know plant life on Planet Earth loved the higher CO2 levels that prevailed during the Carboniferous Age and other times when plants enjoyed extraordinary growth.
However, even burning all the economically available fossil fuels would not likely even double current atmospheric CO2 levels – to just 0.08% carbon dioxide, compared to 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, 0.9% argon and 0.1% for all other gases except water vapor. And doubling CO2 would get us away from the near-famine levels for plants that have prevailed for the past tens of millions of years.
Carbon dioxide is absolutely essential for plant growth – and for all life on Earth. Volumes of research clearly demonstrate that crop, garden, forest, grassland and ocean plants want more CO2, not less. The increased greening of our Earth over the past 30 years testifies to the desperate need of plants for this most fundamental fertilizer. The more CO2 they get, the better and faster they grow.
More than 70% of the oxygen present in the atmosphere – and without which we could never live – originates from phytoplankton absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Keep this in mind when Bill Nye The Junk Science Guy tells you carbon dioxide is bad for our oceans and climate.
Dr. Willie Soon is an independent scientist who has been studying the Sun and Earth’s climate for 26 years. Dr. István Markó is a professor of chemistry at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and director of the Organic and Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory.
Australia’s secret ETS starts in five weeks
Quietly, surprisingly, Australia’s climate change policy has become a bipartisan emissions trading scheme, or ETS … well, almost. The parties might try to manufacture differences for the election campaign, although they haven’t yet, and anyway they don’t really exist.
From July 1, coincidentally the day before the election, the Coalition’s “safeguard mechanism” within its Direct Action Plan will come into force.
One-hundred and fifty companies, representing about 50 per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions, will be capped by legislation at their highest level of emissions between 2009-10 and 2013-14.
If they emit less than their caps, they will get credits, called Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), which were created by the Gillard government’s 2011 legislation; if they emit more, they have to buy ACCUs on the market.
The caps specifically include the electricity sector and the ACCUs are “financial products” under both the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act, and can be traded, so an ETS market will be established from July 1.
It is, in short, a classic cap-and-trade ETS, similar in effect to the one legislated by the ALP in 2011, but which unwisely started with a fixed price that could be labelled a carbon tax, and was repealed on July 17, 2014 by the Abbott government, with high-fives and champagne.
What hasn’t been announced or included in the Coalition’s legislation yet is that the caps will start to be reduced from next year, which will make it even more similar in some ways to the Gillard government’s Clean Energy Act 2011.
The legislation that included the Coalition’s ETS was passed by the Senate — with the support of both the ALP and the Greens — on its last day of sitting in 2015, in December.
As it happens, that was the day before the Paris climate conference, called COP 21, got underway, at which an agreement to keep the global temperature increase to 2 degrees was signed by 189 countries, including Australia.
The emissions caps imposed on 150 companies are described by the government as a “safeguard mechanism” to support the Emissions Reduction Fund that is the centrepiece of the Direct Action Plan, in which companies bid at auction for the right to be paid to reduce their emissions. Those auctions have so far resulted in 143 million tonnes of abatement at an average price of $12.10 per tonne, which is much lower than had been forecast by the scheme’s opponents.
The Department of Environment’s website says: “The safeguard mechanism will protect taxpayers’ funds by ensuring that emissions reductions paid for through the crediting and purchasing elements of the Emissions Reduction Fund are not displaced by significant increases in emissions above business-as-usual levels elsewhere in the economy.”
But depending on the gradient of cap reduction that is decided next year, the safeguard itself could end up becoming the central pillar of Australia’s response to the Paris agreement.
That’s because the government almost certainly can’t afford to pay for enough abatement under the auction system to meet its Paris commitments, given the state of the budget.
In fact, the safeguard mechanism becomes a way for the government — Coalition or Labor — to adjust the budget deficit: reducing the “safeguard” caps faster would reduce the amount that the ERF would have to pay out.
The interesting question is why no one is talking about any of this. Obviously the 150 companies involved know about it, and it’s all described in full on the department website, but the fact that Australia has effectively legislated an emissions trading scheme is virtually a secret.
So far, climate change has been absent from the election campaign and will probably remain so — because fundamentally the parties agree now. The only disagreement is likely to be rate of the reduction in the caps, and no one is ready to talk about that yet.
In fact, the idea of a cap-and-trade scheme has been part of the Coalition’s climate policy since well before Greg Hunt went from shadow minister to Minister for the Environment in 2013. He made it a condition of his appointment by Tony Abbott that the science of climate change would be accepted and the emissions reduction target would not change.
Within that, he and Abbott constructed a policy position that could more or less credibly be argued as achieving the abatement targets, while at the same time satisfying three requirements: differentiating their policy from the ALP, not increasing electricity prices and not upsetting the far right of the Coalition.
When Malcolm Turnbull became leader and Prime Minister last year, amazingly, he did not fully understand his party’s climate policy, and in particular the inclusion of a cap and trade ETS, because Hunt had never discussed it in Cabinet. Apparently, he was pleasantly surprised, but decided to maintain radio silence, as part of his broader efforts to keep the conservatives onside.
The whole process has been a remarkable strategy by Hunt: he has effectively steered an emissions trading scheme into Australia’s response to climate change through a ferociously polarised political debate.
It’s arguably a bit like Nixon in China — only a conservative minister could have done it.
The key has been not talking about the ETS part of the policy and to emphasise the lack of a price on all emissions. He hasn’t exactly kept it secret, since it’s in the legislation, but nor has he talked about it publicly and nor has anyone else.
Both the Greens and the ALP passed the legislation in December, even though they probably could have blocked it. Why? It’s because they basically agree with it and want to use the mechanism if elected.
Will it work? That depends on the gradient of the cap reductions when they start. The key is that an ETS has now been legislated in Australia and can be adjusted to fit requirements, either budgetary or political.
Will it result in higher electricity prices? Almost certainly. Shhh.
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
Posted by JR at 12:31 AM