Search
Twitter
Post archive – by topic

Entries in climate change (20)

Monday
Mar252013

States of decay: Complementing the federal carbon policy

Updated on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 23:10 by Registered CommenterMCJ

With the centrepiece of Australia’s climate policy not even a year old, most Australians are sick of it, or sick of hearing about it – fewer than 13% trust what politicians say about major public issues like climate change. And in the shadow of the Clean Energy Future package (CEF), state and federal governments are quietly letting other climate policies slip.

This “abdication of climate policy”, as Tristan Edis calls it, wouldn’t be so bad if Australia’s climate policy were perfect. But it isn’t; no policy is. The carbon price, while worth having, is a broad, blunt tool that covers but two-thirds of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The rest of the CEF fills in some gaps, but there is ample room for further complementary climate policy at a state and federal level.

I wrote last year on this topic, giving reasons why state (or other federal) climate policies could still be worthwhile under the CEF. This would mean innovative approaches:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug282012

Why Drop the Price Floor? Taking a Gamble on the EU

Updated on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 14:28 by Registered CommenterMCJ

Updated on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 16:27 by Registered CommenterMCJ

I couldn’t make much at first of today’s announcement by Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, that Australia was going to link its ETS with the EU ETS, and oh, by the way, we’re dropping the price floor.

That Australia and the EU will link their schemes good news, but it’s an expected development. Dropping the price floor, on the hand, had been speculated about (notably by the AFR; well done, Marcus Priest), wasn’t really part of the original plan.

As I wrote back in May, a price floor has some good things going for it, despite being technically challenging, and as it’s only regulation the government has the numbers to pass it even with Rob Oakeshott’s opposition. So my initial reaction was that the floor price had been put in the “too hard” basket and the ETS linkage was just used to hide the announcement somewhat.

I’ve since heard, however, that dropping the price floor was a condition of the EU agreeing to link the schemes. This makes more sense.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul242012

Laggard to Leader: a Review

Updated on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 16:41 by Registered CommenterMCJ

Beyond Zero Emissions, the non-for-profit climate change group, yesterday released the latest in their series of plans to get Australia to a state of zero emissions (or below): Laggard to Leader; How Australia can lead the world to zero carbon prosperity.

The report springs from the observation, also reported by e.g. Crikey on Friday, that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is failing to achieve the actions required to prevent dangerous anthropogenic climate change. It then goes beyond this to suggest new means of addressing the problem, in which Australia leads the world to a zero carbon future.

Sound utopian? It’s actually reasonably well argued, by and large, even if it’s difficult to see our current crop of politicians implementing many of the report’s suggestions.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun302012

Pricing Carbon Has Passed the Acid Test

I am quoted in today’s Sydney Morning Herald piece on the carbon pricing scheme.

Tomorrow, the nation steps over the threshold of carbon pricing into a domain where pumping out greenhouse gas has an economic price as well as an environmental one. The federal government’s Clean Energy Bill is a compromise with which no one is entirely happy. But the consensus of economists is that it is likely to work well enough to cut emissions by 5 per cent, the minimum supported by the major parties.

“If you assume the political will to implement the scheme is there, a huge ‘if’, then the question is whether the scheme is designed well enough to achieve its goals - I think it is,” says Martin Jones, a researcher at the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets and University of NSW. “The mechanism is an effective one: emissions trading schemes have proven records of reducing emissions.”

 

Wednesday
Jun272012

Does It Make Sense for Australia to Restrict Its Export of Fossil Fuels?

Once we dig up and sell the coal, are we still responsible for the emissions? ‘Stop exporting fossil fuels’ has not just economic, but moral components, given that much of our fuels go to developing countries.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May112012

Surrendering to the Idea of a Price Floor

From July 2015, the Australian federal government will set the price of the permits in its emissions trading scheme free – within limits. The government intends to introduce a price floor and price ceiling until at least 2017/18.

This is good news for emission reduction activities whose viability depends on prices several years hence, such as larger, more complex projects. Further, the goal of abatement at least-cost should be balanced against the goal of abating as rapidly as possible; should reaching current targets be cheaper than expected, a floor price can ensure a minimum level of spending on abatement.

Last December, the government released a discussion paper and called for submission on the price floor, which combines a reserve price for Australian carbon units at auction with an ‘international unit surrender charge’ that ensures international carbon credits cost at least as much as domestic units. Four options are being considered for the international unit surrender charge.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar292012

State Climate Schemes Are Still Worthwhile under a Carbon Price

In justifying their recent abandonment of state-based climate schemes, the governments of Queensland and Victoria have both claimed that the schemes will be redundant under the federal emissions trading scheme (ETS) that begins in July. Yet this justification is only a smokescreen, as a carbon price can well exist with other environmental and climate schemes.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb042012

More Personal Carbon Offsetting

A year ago I looked into offsetting my GHG emissions from, and detailed my experiences with First Climate.This month I wanted to repeat the process, but for a smaller volume of offsets. This made First Climate, with whom I was otherwise happy, inconvenient, as, to quote them:

the reality is that our key focus in the Australian market is at the corporate/wholesale level and as such we are unable to provide alternatives for transactions via our Frankfurt trading desk, which can only be achieved via international bank transfers.  As you highlighted this obviously presents a problem for retail buyers seeking to make purchases of less than $500 which fail to trigger the threshold for most banks.

I believe that it would be best if in these circumstances we refer you directly to our retail channel partner The Carbon Reduction Institute (http://www.noco2.com.au), who is more than capable and willing to assist in this regard.  CRI are recognised as one of the best carbon offset retailer in the Australian market.

I called the CRI, registered my intent to purchase six tonnes of offsets, and waited for a call-back. After a week, I chatted with a bloke I play football with who happens to work at the CRI, and a few days later he took over my query.

The easiest way to purchase offsets from The Carbon Reduction Institute is via their online calculator: https://secure.noco2.com.au/?Calculator

Though the CRI essentially just deal with First Climate, they won’t sell Gold Standard Verified Emission Reductions under volumes of ~100t. However, the will sell Verified Carbon Standard offsets. The differences – and more about the CRI’s offsets – are explained in this guide [PDF]; also useful is Carbon Offset Watch’s independent rankings of offset providers.

I wasn’t as impressed with the CRI as I was with First Climate. Next time I’ll probably try Climate Friendly, as they sell Gold Standard VERs.

Tuesday
Nov222011

Pulling Carbon Offset Figures Out of the Air

Measuring just the running costs isn’t the best way of accounting for the environmental effects of air travel. Taken in combination with the vast difference between the apparent abatement costs for our airlines and the cost of carbon internationally, I’m highly sceptical of the efficacy of the carbon offsets our airlines offer.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov082011

Australian Carbon Price Legislation Passed

The Senate has just passed the primary piece of legislation for the carbon pricing mechanism.

Well done, Australia :-)