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Entries in politics (14)

Monday
Nov182013

Carbon Pricing: It Works, Bitches (redux)

Updated on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 10:55 by Registered CommenterMCJ

I dragged the sign out for yesterday’s climate change rallies, and while I wasn’t parading it as prominently as in 2011, pictures of me ended up online again. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

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Wednesday
Sep042013

How I'm voting (election resources)

(Note: This post suggests a decion-making-process, not a particular decision.)

For my lower house vote I’m going to Below the Line to check out my candidates and draw up a list. There are few enough candidates that I can just remember what order to put them in.

For my upper house vote I’m putting a bit more effort in. I’m using Senate IO instead of Below the Line here. Senate IO  also lets your start from a party’s registered preferences list, but it also lets you start with a blank ballot and add parties one at a time. I prefer that, since it’s easier to see which parties you still need to make decisions about, and easier to compare them to existing choices

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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.

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Thursday
Aug092012

A Comment on the Political Discussion of Electricity Regulations

With her speech to the the Energy Policy Institute of Australia on Tuesday, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard has moved (or at least expanded) the discussion of electricity regulations from the roundtable meetings and conferences of industry, academia, and government to the political arena. Hurrah..?

A few points:

Are there problems with dividend policy, reliability standards, and peak demand? Yes.

Have the incentives in the existing regulations led some states to act in a manner that has unnecessarily raised prices for consumers (and thus led to increased profits for the states)? Very probably.

Has this been going on for several years, including under Labor governments? Yes – but so what?

Why shouldn’t we fix these problems now, regardless of why they’ve been raised?

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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.

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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.

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Monday
Jan022012

The Fundamental Question on Asylum Seekers

Australia’s dog of a policy on asylum seekers – at least, those arriving by boat – appears set to be a continued topic of political discussion this year, so I’d like to echo the sentiments of Guy Rundle as expressed just before Christmas:

The Australian asylum seeker discussion is wrongly framed. As signatories to the Refugee Convention, we have a categorical moral imperative to allow any potential refugees that reach our shores to claim asylum; this is their right.

However, the policy debate revolves around whether we can

“wholly negate someone’s rights (that we have explicitly promised them), in a situation where their life and freedom will be wholly annihilated indefinitely, all as a strategy for dissuading unknown future persons from making a possibly perilous journey.

By that definition we are using the ‘deterrent’ — the people locked up for years on Manus, Nauru, in Malaysia, or god knows where — as a means to a utilitarian end. It is a clear use of human beings in their totality, as means to other ends, and cannot in any sense ground a moral policy.

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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 :-)

Thursday
Nov032011

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.

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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