Post archive – by topic

Entries in climate change (25)


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.

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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.

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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 (, 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:

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.


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.

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Australian Carbon Price Legislation Passed

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

Well done, Australia :-)


IETA GHG Market Report 2011

The 2011 report on the state of greenhouse gas markets by the International Emissions Trading Association begins with a chapter on Australia, of which I am the lead author.

The report is available online.


Details of the Clean Energy Future Package

The Clean Energy Future legislation is lengthy and boring, but it’s important: these 18 bills (and a few more to come in the first half of next year) lay the framework for what will be the primary driver of Australia’s attempt to mitigate dangerous anthropogenic climate change – assuming they pass, of course. This post is a summary of some of the CEF’s nitty-gritty details.

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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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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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Simple Visual Guide to Internalising Greenhouse Gas Pollution

My contribution to this week’s National Week of Action by the “Say Yes” campaign is the following simplified visual explanation of how a carbon tax/ETS would make the price of products reflect their true (environmental) costs.

Internalising pollution externalities with a carbon price: a simplified visual guide