22/07/2013 - 06:43

Don’t look to Europe for emissions lead

22/07/2013 - 06:43

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There will be winners if Australia introduces an emissions trading scheme, but it won’t be the taxpaying public.

There will be winners if Australia introduces an emissions trading scheme, but it won't be the taxpaying public.

Kevin Rudd is desperately dashing around Australia, to Jakarta and Port Moresby, hoping to convince voters he’s no longer a wasteful, inept bungler, but someone with farsighted policies.

If only it were true.

He wants voters to believe he’s a reformed man, and that he’s adopted a new, more consultative direction.

So, where’s the evidence and what of his new, farsighted policy approach?

We still haven’t seen it, and are unlikely to because the policies he most likes are invariably copies of others he thinks have a feel-good appeal to television audiences.

An example is his intention to replace Julia Gillard’s CO2 tax with an emissions trading scheme to be driven by European bureaucrats and bourses.

Interestingly, a June 29 2013 report in the London Daily Express, headlined ‘If the lights ever go out so will this government’, warned of the dangers of dabbling with a UK electricity sector reaching crisis point.

“On Thursday, energy regulator Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) warned that our energy shortage is fast approaching the point when shops and factories may have to close early to avoid nationwide power cuts,” the Express reported.

“Last October, Ofgem said the risk of blackouts by 2015 was one in 12.

“That was already pretty alarming.

“But this week Ofgem explained the risk has trebled to just one in four, for the very obvious reason that not enough power stations are being built to replace the coal and gas plants that have been closed.

“This is a crisis, in other words, entirely of our own making.

“Both the [Liberal Democrat-Conservative] coalition and the previous Labour government have taken an energy framework that worked and smashed it to destruction with a mallet on the altar of global warming.

“To reduce carbon [dioxide] emissions they closed efficient, fully working coal and gas plants.

“And to make up the loss of power they concocted cockamamie wind farm schemes, which have been a total failure.”

So, dabbling has consequences.

Don’t assume things were better under Ms Gillard.

Remember her now infamous dishonoured 2010 pre-election promise: “There will be no carbon [dioxide] tax under the government I lead”?

Here’s what followed those words. “What we will do is we will tackle the challenge of climate change.

“We’ve invested record amounts in solar and renewable energies.

“Now I want to build the transmission lines that will bring that clean, green energy into the national electricity grid.

“I also want to make sure we have no more dirty coal-fired power stations.”

Sounds like the British Labour and Conservative parties Ofgem says have managed to bring about a one-in-four risk of blackouts.

Hopefully someone calculates when Australia would reach that emergency point if Mr Rudd continues dabbling with our power-generating sector.

We know who the losers will be, what about the winners?

According to a Wall Street Journal (October 21 2009) column by onetime New York banking sector lawyer but now New York senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, headlined “Cap and Trade Could be a Boon to New York”, Wall Street’s bankers, who nearly inflicted a global depression upon us in 2008, will see marked upturn in activity, and consequently their profits.

“According to financial experts, carbon [dioxide] permits could quickly become the world’s largest commodities market, growing to as much as $3 trillion by 2020 from just over $100 billion today,” she wrote.

“With thousands of firms and energy producers buying and selling permits to emit carbon [dioxide], transaction fees for exchanges and clearing alone could top nearly half a billion dollars.

“An infrastructure is already beginning to form, as entities like the New York Stock Exchange, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and the new Green Exchange are developing carbon [dioxide] trading platforms or expanding their environmental trading desks.

“There are nearly 100 funds already focused on green investments.

“Lastly, it’s essential to the long-term success of climate-change legislation and the ultimate benefit for New York that the market for carbon [dioxide] emissions permits is internationally integrated.”

Mr Rudd is obliging by putting Australia onto that path, via Europe’s bourses.


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