Saturday 30th of August 2014

not as efficient as carbon pricing... actually not efficient at all — but much costlier...

blowing cash...


From the subject of prime ministerial launches promising solutions for the moral challenge of a generation, to a lonely minister holding an afternoon press conference in the shadow of the nation’s most revered public holiday: climate change policy has fallen so far in Australia’s political life that the government gives a good impression of hoping we ignore it.

In this case, the low-key treatment probably makes sense.

Whatever the faults of the Labor-Greens-independents’ carbon price scheme, it is designed to play Australia’s part in a global push to cut carbon dioxide emissions out to the middle of the century.

The Coalition’s ‘‘direct action’’ policy, by contrast, looks like a solution to a different problem - something shorter term, of much less magnitude and inherently political.

Its goal is to help reach the emissions target of a 5 per cent cut by 2020, though no funding has been committed beyond the next four years and at least two analyses have found it is unlikely to be equipped to achieve it.

The emissions reduction fund white paper released on Thursday, four years after the policy was first announced, raises more questions than it answers.

It proposes to allow businesses to bid at a reverse auction to be paid by taxpayers to cut emissions. The lowest-cost bids would win a subsidy from the fund worth $2.55 billion over four years, with most of the cash available at the back end.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt promises a committee will be set up to ensure the proposals have integrity and the cuts are delivered. He expects the cuts to come from a list including making buildings and industrial sites more energy-efficient, reducing emissions from power plants, planting trees and storing carbon in soil.

But the policy does not require big industry to cut emissions. And the crucial question of how the government will make sure the cuts it buys are not undone by other businesses increasing emissions is deferred.

The white paper promises a ‘‘safeguard mechanism’’ that will ‘‘encourage’’ businesses to keep emissions at historic levels. But there are few details of how the safeguard will work – they will be thrashed out during consultation with business over the next year – and the government has decided only the biggest-emitting 130 companies will be covered.

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something loopy in the carbonated fish habitat...

Behavioural impairment in reef fishes caused by ocean acidification at CO2 seeps


Philip L. Munday, Alistair J. Cheal, Danielle L. Dixson, Jodie L. Rummer & Katharina E. Fabricius
Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2195

Received 11 December 2013 Accepted 13 March 2014 Published online 13 April 2014

Experiments have shown that the behaviour of reef fishes can be seriously affected by projected future carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the ocean1, 2, 3, 4. However, whether fish can acclimate to elevated CO2 over the longer term, and the consequences of altered behaviour on the structure of fish communities, are unknown. We used marine CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea as a natural laboratory to test these questions. Here we show that juvenile reef fishes at CO2 seeps exhibit behavioural abnormalities similar to those seen in laboratory experiments. Fish from CO2seeps were attracted to predator odour, did not distinguish between odours of different habitats, and exhibited bolder behaviour than fish from control reefs. High CO2 did not, however, have any effect on metabolic rate or aerobic performance. Contrary to expectations, fish diversity and community structure differed little between CO2 seeps and nearby control reefs. Differences in abundances of some fishes could be driven by the different coral community at CO2 seeps rather than by the direct effects of high CO2. Our results suggest that recruitment of juvenile fish from outside the seeps, along with fewer predators within the seeps, is currently sufficient to offset any negative effects of high CO2 within the seeps. However, continuous exposure does not reduce the effect of high CO2 on behaviour in natural reef habitat, and this could be a serious problem for fish communities in the future when ocean acidification becomes widespread as a result of continued uptake of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
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the greens are seeing red with abbott blue-tie regime.

Environmental groups are preparing to launch a series of court cases to frustrate the Abbott government’s agenda, targeting its plans to ditch the carbon tax and devolve approvals for new coal mines to the states.

In a significant hardening of its approach to a government it views as instinctively anti-environment, the conservation movement has signalled it will move away from lobbying in favour of legal confrontation.

The Environment Defenders Office, a legal network which had its public funding removed by the Coalition in December, has reported a surge in private donations, which it will use to take on the government over climate change, environmental regulation and community health issues.

The Victorian office of the network is to rebrand as Environmental Justice Australia, using a crowdfunding model in place of government support.

Meanwhile, Earth Justice, a long-established litigation group from the US, visited Australia last week to advise the Wilderness Society on legal tactics.

It is understood partnerships with environmental groups in the US and UK will be forged to help facilitate challenges to the Coalition’s agenda.

“Talking niceties has got us nowhere with this government,” said Brendan Sydes, chief executive of the new Environmental Justice Australia office. “Business as usual isn’t satisfactory, so we’ve got to look outside the box, including legal action and divestment campaigns against fossil fuels.

“We will be looking at legal avenues to challenging the dismantling of the clean energy package without having any credible alternative. We’ll also be looking carefully at the one-stop environmental shops. The government is going completely in the wrong direction.”

Environmental groups have voiced dismay at the government’s approach, including the attempted repeal of the carbon price in favour of its “direct action” policy, the bid to delist parts of Tasmania’s forest from World Heritage protection and the handover of development approvalsto state governments.

The shark cull in Western Australia, approved without an assessment by Greg Hunt, the environment minister, and Tony Abbott’s comments last month that there are too many trees “locked up” in national parks have also caused widespread green chagrin.

Lyndon Schneiders, national director of the Wilderness Society, said the group was looking to challenge a raft of coal and gas projects it sees as being “disastrous for the global climate” if they go ahead.

“For the government to wash its hands of these responsibilities and hand over power to blatantly pro-development state governments is set to have significant legal implications,” he said. “We’re getting advice on that now.

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the mafia would be proud of hunt...


Greg Hunt is no climate-change sceptic. The federal Environment Minister must be commended for respectfully disagreeing with the strident claims of the Prime Minister’s hand-picked business adviser, Maurice Newman, who said last week: ‘‘The fact remains, there is no empirical evidence to show that man-made CO2, man-made emissions, are adding to the temperature on Earth.’’

The fact remains, Mr Newman is no expert on the subject. In any case, the Abbott government’s official position is that greenhouse emissions created by humans are contributing to the dangerous warming of the planet, and that it must do something about it. Precisely what this government proposes to do is a matter of great public interest.

So it was unhelpful that Hunt chose to release those details – as scant as they were – shortly before the close of business on the eve of the Anzac Day long weekend. 

Taxpayers have every reason to be sceptical about his motives. They, after all, will be the ones paying for the government’s so-called Direct Action climate change strategy. Its centrepiece is an ‘‘emissions reduction fund’’, a pool of $2.55 billion of taxpayers’ money in the first four years, from which some of the nation’s biggest polluters will be paid incentives to cut their greenhouse gases.

To be clear, creating this fund will transfer the cost of cutting emissions from the polluter to the taxpayer, should the government succeed in pushing its bill through the Senate. 

The fund would displace both the carbon tax and the emissions trading scheme that had been advocated not only by Labor but by the Howard government in 2007. ‘‘To reduce domestic emissions at least economic cost, we will establish a world-class domestic emissions trading scheme,’’ the Howard policy had promised. 

The Liberals now in power may still believe in market forces, but not yet for carbon abatement. Instead of making the biggest emitters pay, they are asking taxpayers to reward them for reducing their pollution. This would be done by means of a ‘‘reverse auction’’. The firms proffering the lowest bids – the least expensive way to reduce emissions – would get government subsidies.

It was Hunt who in 1990 co-authored a prize-winning university thesis, A Tax to Make the Polluter Pay, which concluded: ‘‘Ultimately it is by harnessing the natural economic forces which drive society that the pollution tax offers us an opportunity to exert greater control over our environment.’’ 

Now Hunt says he is ‘‘focusing on incentives’’ rather than penalties. He does foresee the possibility of penalties, yet to be defined, but they would apply only to the 130 biggest-emitting companies. It would still leave the rest of the nation’s polluters, who create about half of all emissions, free to increase their carbon output with impunity. 

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Hunt's "direct action" is like a Mafia extortion scheme... "You pay us money and we don't break your windows..." I think I've seen that con-artistry somewhere before...

they are truly, truly awful people...


Today we saw more Liberal Party corruption exposed by the the NSW ICAC — meanwhile, the same party continues with its misguided plan to pay polluters. Bob Ellis says this is a wide gateway to corruption.

IT’S HARD TO THINK of a wider gateway to corruption than the paying-the-biggest-polluters legislation pitched to us by Greg Hunt.

A company has to cut back by, say, one per cent the carbon it puts in the air and someone has to measure this.

If he says: yes, too right, it’s down to 99 percent, that company gets fifty million dollars. If he says: no, bad luck, it’s as bad as it was, or worse, the company gets nothing, not even a fine.

It would be hard to find a job more suitable for Arthur Sinodinos, provider of clean sewage to Nick Di Girolamo in times past, or John Elliott, say, or Jodee Rich.

Who gets this job? And what is he paid? How do we know he’s not paid extra, a half million, say, as ‘commission’ for drop-kicking fifty million a big polluter’s way?

What is truly amazing is the penalty for a big polluter that pollutes even more — which is no penalty at all.

Killing the planet, it seems, is not even a misdemeanour now. If you do it, you pay less than a parking fine — you pay nothing at all.

And next year, when the age of entitlement is over and corporate welfare is ended once and for all, a big polluting corporation gets $50 million for farting at the atmosphere one per cent less often and pays not a cent to the virtuous judge who signs the money over.


Not since Enron has there been a sillier set of numbers.

Everything that happens – new fighter bombers, offshore processing, sewage pipes to new suburbs, the brave new world of ‘infrastructure’, Australia being ‘open for business’ – is seen as a new open door to corruption by this, the Looters’ Party.

They have no purpose other on earth than these dirty backroom dealings, the $20 million for Sinodinos, these $1/2 billion to Wilson Security for beating children on Manus.

It’s what the Liberals do.

And now they’re giving the big polluters billions for killing the planet one per cent slower.

And it takes your breath away — literally. They are truly, truly awful people.

And so it goes.

read more:,6426



The Liberals (CONservatives) have been testing the water with what the budget is going to contain... Of course, there will be winners and losers... But I believe that they are still fiddling big time with the big picture of the budget... It's still being fiddled with  — as the age pension "cannot be touched (YET)" without a massive uproar in the community... Actually, the Abbott regime does not know what to do with the budget till the day they have to make hurried decisions on how to steal money from your wallet to pay for their extravagance.


Meanwhile one of the core policy of the Abbott idiot regime, the nanny cash supply — mostly designed to allow one bored house wife on the north shore ( see: the rich weather wafties...) to rejoin the work-force (creating unemployment for someone else?) by switching from having to play tennis all day while paying a hefty fee for a nanny to look after her crying brood, can now legitimately become the tennis club manager at the same time as palying all day — and her nanny will be paid for by the government. Of course, most of Tony's henchmen are getting nervous about the $5.5 billion  scheme... They see that this is going to enlarge the hole in the budget already dug deep with commitment to war planes we don't need and make every one (except the rich) tighten their waist beyond existing holes in their belt... Someone has suggested he wants to "levy" $800 per wage over 80,000 a year... It's with a heavy heart and your cash that Tony Abbott is going to break ALL HIS ELECTION PROMISES. He got elected because of these promises being tooted by the merde-och press setting the tone for all the MMMM (mediocre mass media de mierda) that killed off a fine tuned progressive Swan economic balance — and off course kill off the planet at the same time...


Tony's budget sounds more and more a bit like a family having to eat bake beans for a couple of years so dad can buy the bottle of cheap perfume mum has dreamed of — for mother's day...

As Bob Ellis says, we shall see... In the meantime Tony is an idiot. The "direct Action" scheme is far more idiotic than it looks. 


fossil fuel sing-a-long...


The age of entitlement is over in Australia — except for the dominant fossil fuel industry and those rich enough to be able to buy political patronage. Deputy editor Sandi Keane reports.

Treasurer Joe Hockey urges all of us to “share the pain” for his confected“budget emergency”, but, sadly, 'sharing' isn’t in the fossil fuel industry’s playbook.

Big Carbon has always balked at sharing profits from Australia’s mineral wealth.

In stark contrast to Norway, where a mining tax of 78% has resulted in a sovereign wealth fund twice the size of its GDP, Australia’s effective tax rate for foreign multinational miners is a mere 13%.

Instead, whilst crying poor, the mining industry managed to stump up $22 million for an anti-tax campaign and, in 2010, bring down a prime minister — Kevin Rudd.

This week, Australia's dominant fossil fuel industry threw down the gauntlet to Hockey’s razor gang after it threatened to trim the luxurious 38% diesel fuel tax rebate.

The speed and the manner in which Hockey and Abbott caved in left most in little doubt about who really governs this country.

From The Land (5/5/14):

'Correspondence leaked to the ABC between top mining executives warned of a “profound” political impact from cuts to the diesel rebate, greater than that faced by Labor with the mining tax. The letters showed the government faced a potentially damaging fight with the nation's biggest mining firms over the rebate.'

According to The Australia Institute, the fossil fuel industry receives more than$10 billion per year in government subsidies, with the mining industry hogging most of it. The diesel fuel rebate or Fuel Tax Credit Scheme, is worth $4 billion per year. It might have been designed originally for farmers, but the lion’s share goes to the mining industry.


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See also: If I Were a Rich Miner, pompomdom pomdapom...