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Entries in Australia (44)

Sunday
Aug072011

What Are the Visions of Australia’s Future Reflected in Our Parties’ Policies?

When the Government released its climate change package on July 10, it was under the moniker of a “Clean Energy Future”. This is, ostensibly, a fairly clear vision for where Labor sees Australia in 2050 and beyond. However, the package is a mish-mash of measures that don’t deliver clear policy signals to achieve this clean energy future. While this is partially a result of the multi-party committee that spawned the package, the rhetoric the Government employs is ambiguous as to precisely what sort of society they see Australia moving toward.

So where are we really going with all this? If the world follows the suggestions of science and reduces CO2-e emissions to constrain dangerous climate change, what place is this future do our parties foresee?

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Tuesday
Jul192011

Floor Pricing for Alcohol

A journalist whose views I usually respect today derided calls for an increase in the minimum price of alcohol as coming from the “killjoy” crowd, who “do not even attempt to … estimate the value of the pleasure given by alcohol to the vast majority of Australians who do not abuse it.”

This is balderdash. As with gambling, the problem is not with what the vast majority of Australians do, but with the problematic excesses of a few. In the case of alcohol, it is the problem of those who purchase litres of cask wine at 30c per standard drink and proceed to destroy their health and lives. Prevalently, these are people of lower socio-economic status, especially Aborigines. Coles, Woolworth, and IGA have already almost quadrupled this minimum price in Alice Springs by selling alcohol at no less than $1.14 per standard drink, without affecting the prices of beer, spirits, better wines, etc – the stuff the vast majority of Australians actually drink.

The Henry Review suggested that the final rate of volumetric tax should “be intended solely to optimise price signals facing consumers. It should be set without regard to the government’s fiscal position, and irrespective of any specific spending commitments related to alcohol abuse” (Australia’s Future Tax System, Chapter E5-3, 2010).

Floor pricing for alcohol is a sensible health proposal that deserves support, not to be dismissed out of hand as coming from the “killjoy” crowd.

Tuesday
Jul052011

Carbon Pricing: The Big Picture

Updated on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 18:58 by Registered CommenterMCJ

Updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 10:25 by Registered CommenterMCJ

To stabilise the concentration of CO2-e in the atmosphere at levels that would limit the chance of 2°C warming to 75% or less, the world must emit less than 3 tCO2-e per person per year; less than 2 tCO2-e to stop concentrations rising altogether. No-one is pretending that a domestic carbon price of $20-$30 per tonne will reduce Australian emissions from 25 tCO2-e pa to anywhere near two or three tonnes per year.

A balance must be struck between the need to decarbonise the Australian economy and the transitional difficulties that this will bring. Government policy, with the MPCCC’s scheme as its centrepiece, will – and should – be scrutinised on how disruptive the transition will be. But this disruption must be assessed in the long-term context of decreasing our CO2-e production, or else it’s merely politics, not policy.

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Friday
Jun172011

Carbon Pricing: It Works, Bitches

In which I create a placard for a rally, appear on Andrew Bolt’s blog, am denigrated by the right, congratulated by the left, and try and explain microeconomics to a lot of people.

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Thursday
May262011

Robust Response to Climate Change Risk and Uncertainty

The suggestion by sceptics that we should not act on climate change because the science is uncertain is at odds with sensible management of risk and uncertainty.

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Wednesday
May252011

Environment NSW versus Common Sense

Updated on Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 21:17 by Registered CommenterMCJ

As everyone does at some point, I have some chemical waste of which to dispose (batteries and fluoro lightbulbs). Being a good little greenie, I asked the New South Wales Environment Department what the recommended procedure is:

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Wednesday
Apr272011

My Favourite (Wonk) Things

For reasons of which I’m not entirely sure, I came up with this little verse yesterday:

Resource rent taxes, emissions reduction;

Sovereign wealth funds, NBN construction;

Henry’s review, letting refugees in;

These are few of my favourite things.

 

More public transport and Oz: The Republic;

Welfare for jobless not middle-class yuppies;

Euthanasia and plain cigs packaging;

These are few of my favourite things.

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Tuesday
Mar222011

Carbon Pricing 101

Follow me, gentle reader, through some introductory environmental economics as I explain how carbon taxes and ETSs work — and how they differ.

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Thursday
Mar032011

Give Us Something to Talk About

If you were hoping for some policy debate in federal politics last week, you were wasting your time. Our federal politicians were operating in a content-free zone, with nary the shadow of an intellectual framework in sight.

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Friday
Feb252011

Money, Meet Mouth

Updated on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 20:44 by Registered CommenterMCJ

So, I work as an environmental economist, right? I vote for The Greens, cycle everywhere, buy organic food, turn all my appliances off when I’m not using them, reuse my shower water, and generally try to follow the reduce/reuse/recycle motto. But, since 2006, I’ve flown from Australia to Germany (and back), between Germany and London several times, and between Melbourne and Sydney even more often. Oh, and driven Melbourne-Sydney and back. Against all those emissions (particularly the Australia-Germany flights), the marginal changes I’ve made to my life are paltry.

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