16 March 2011

Julia Gillard Goes All In

In the face of opinion polls showing a lack of support for her proposed carbon tax, Julia Gillard today has delivered a speech that indicates that she is willing to wager her future on this issue (The speech is here in PDF).  In the speech the word "carbon" appears 36 times, also appearing 36 times are the words "jobs" and "economy."

She makes clear that there is no going back:
The important thing to know is that from 1 July 2012, carbon will be priced in the Australian economy.

The journey of transformation will begin.

Friends, I chose action over inaction because of this simple truth:

If Australia does not adopt a carbon price in 2011, we probably never will.

This is the year of decision.

Action versus inaction.

Acceptance versus denial.

Setting Australia on the path to a high skill, low carbon future.

Or leaving our economy to decay into a rusting industrial museum.

That is the choice we face.

Action will protect jobs.
It is here where I think that Gillard has made a bad bet. Carbon pricing is supposed to create jobs by making fossil fuels appreciably more expensive, thereby creating a market signal that disfavors carbon-intensive industry and stimulates less carbon-intensive economic activity. The economic parts of theory seem sound enough.

However, it is the political realities that the theory does not account for.  Australia's economy is very carbon intensive (PDF). Thus, if carbon pricing were to work exactly as the Prime Minister describes, it will necessary lead to a great deal of economic dislocation and change -- Consider that to meet the 5% emissions reduction target (from 2000 levels), without relying on offsets or other tricks, implies that Australia's economy would need to become as carbon efficient as Japan's by the end of this decade. How such a profoundly disruptive transitional period would be managed is the one issue that advocates of a high carbon price have never really dealt with -- the market's invisible hand will take care of it I guess.

Gillard, also skips over that part:
We cannot afford to be stranded with an outdated high-emissions economy.

We can’t freeze our economy in time, any more than we could lock ourselves behind tariff walls while the world changed outside.

I don’t want us to wake up in ten years time lumbered with a high carbon economy when the rest of the world has moved on and then scramble to catch up.

Our nation is well equipped to make the transition.

We have an abundance of natural resources like wind, natural gas, solar and geothermal.

For example, the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world.

We have an agile, innovative business sector tempered by three decades of exposure to global competition.

We have a talented workforce ready to embrace the jobs of tomorrow. . .

Inaction will also cost jobs because emission-intensive economies will become uncompetitive in a low carbon world.

In the quest for comparative advantage, investment will flow towards those countries that can offer more output for fewer emissions.

Inaction will cost jobs.

Action will support jobs.

Friends, action on climate change means creating new jobs for the future.

It means saving and transforming existing jobs.

It means re-skilling workers for the future.

We will see new job opportunities in clean energy generation.

Electric and hybrid cars.

Manufacturing clean energy equipment.

Energy efficient construction and retro-fitting existing buildings.

Carbon capture and storage.

Today’s workers will find themselves in different industries and different settings.

Welders and steel workers will build and maintain large-scale solar power plants.

Plumbers and electricians will be reskilled to install solar hot water systems and solar panels.
How does one become "reskilled"?  Without an explanation, many people will translate "reskilled" to mean "unemployed".  The oft-stated idea that the proceeds of a carbon tax will be used to compensate those who fact higher costs does not address the issue of dislocation in the economy. There is a element of "magical thinking" in the idea that transforming a national economy starts with a simple decision:
. . . clean energy will open up opportunities we are only just beginning to imagine.

Those opportunities begin with that simple but momentous decision: Putting a price on carbon.

Friends, a price on carbon is the cheapest way to drive investment and jobs.
There are only two realistic outcomes here. One is that the carbon tax proposal is scrapped. With this speech it seems highly unlikely that Gillard will be the one doing any scrapping.  So it would probably be via an election or a change in leadership, such as if Kevin Rudd becomes captain of the Brisbane Broncos. The second possible outcome is that the carbon pricing is watered down so far that its enactment allows Labor to claim success while limiting any actual impact from the tax on the economy.  Of course, that would undercut its stated purpose -- to transform the economy.

Either way, I do not see a good outcome here for Gillard or for carbon pricing.  A better strategy is the one proposed in The Climate Fix -- start with a very low carbon tax, one that is politically acceptable, and use the proceeds to invest in innovation. The carbon price would rise over time as the fruits of innovation make it politically acceptable to raise that price.  I expect that Australia will soon provide (yet aonpther) lesson in how not to try to put a price on carbon.

41 comments:

  1. "Carbon pricing is supposed to create jobs by making fossil fuels appreciably more expensive, thereby creating a market signal that disfavors carbon-intensive industry and stimulates less carbon-intensive economic activity. The economic parts of theory seem sound enough."

    Can you actually explain this? I've seen it, or something approaching it, repeated in a number of places, and it seems so nonsensical that I must be missing something.

    The net effects of a carbon tax is going to be to raise the cost of, well, everything, effectively. Right? But there's going to be no corresponding rise in the wages of everyone who's buying those things, so they will necessarily be buying fewer of them, which has to have a deletorious effect on employment.

    And sure, the tax proceeds will be spent somewhere, but almost by definition government spending is less efficient than spending in the private sector, because the government doesn't have to respond to price signals.

    So I just can't understand how anyone would believe that there would be a net increase in non-government employment, or even a net increase in employment counting the new government jobs.

    This just doesn't seem complicated to me. What am I missing?

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  2. "The carbon price would rise over time as the fruits of innovation make it politically acceptable to raise that price."

    I had not noticed you asserting that in the past. This makes a considerable difference in evaluating whether your strategy is likely to be sufficient for the very large changes ahead.

    I am not sure that it isn't too late for this to suffice, but I would say it changes the terms of the debate considerably.

    The question becomes far more quantitative and thus subject to closer reasoning, than the usual disagreements. Specifically, at what rate is it politically feasible to raise the price? Is that sufficient to avoid disaster?

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  3. -1-Skip

    The theory is that fossil alternatives will eventually become cheaper, due to issues of scale etc., and we'll be right back on track. There are all sorts of guess-timates of what the net cost of the transition would be, people seem to like Stern's 1-2% of global GDP by 2050. But the reality is -- Who knows?

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  4. -2-Michael Tobis

    I suggest adding The Hartwell Paper and The Climate Fix to your reading list ;-) You may also want to read Galiana and Green's technical discussion of a low-but-rising carbon tax, in which they argue that such a strategy is preferable on cost-benefit grounds. It is clearly politically preferable.

    You ask: "at what rate is it politically feasible to raise the price?"

    A good question. Experience suggests that this pace will be set by progress on energy technology innovation. It is innovation that will foster the pricing, not vice-versa (this is where the conventional approach has gone wrong). Ultimately we will learn the answer to this no via academic analyses but through political realities -- Australia being a good example.

    You ask, "Is that sufficient to avoid disaster?"

    I don't know. But I am convinced that it is a much better way to get started on the challenge of decarbonization. So much attention has been paid to arguing about how we complete the job that it seems people forget that we have not yet begun.

    Here is Galiana/Green:
    http://fixtheclimate.com/uploads/tx_templavoila/AP_Technology_Galiana_Green_v.6.0.pdf

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  5. Roger, ok, I don't buy that fully, but I can accept it for argument - but how would that increase net jobs? That sounds to me like a short-term decrease in jobs, followed by eventually heading back to where we are today, as a best case. And in a situation like today where we have relatively high unemployment it seems to me that the politicians are at least implying that the carbon tax will help unemployment today.

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  6. -5-Skip

    You have hit the nail on the head here. An asymmetry in costs and benefits of a high carbon price makes it politically impossible. If you read Gillard's speech, she discusses jobs a lot, but is very fuzzy on the timescale issues. She has to be. And this fuzziness is exploited by her opponents and the public is not dumb.

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  7. "Carbon pricing is supposed to create jobs by making fossil fuels appreciably more expensive, thereby creating a market signal that disfavors carbon-intensive industry and stimulates less carbon-intensive economic activity. The economic parts of theory seem sound enough."

    It is quite unsound. It is a variety of the broken window fallacy. Switching from low cost energy to high cost energy means a lower standard of living, for all except those supplying the higher cost alternative.

    In the United States it would be possible to switch from bananas imported from Central America to 100% hot house bananas grown in the USA. If that were done, other than the folks in the hot house business everyone else' standard of lining will go down.

    Switching from low cost energy to high cost energy is much like switching from low cost bananas to high cost bananas only the negative consequences are orders of magnitude greater.

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  8. -7-Abdul Abullbul Amir

    Your analogy only is correct if costs are fixed. Advocates of a high carbon price will argue (a) that the costs of today's lower priced energy ignore externalities that should be priced in, and (b) that a high carbon price will bring down the costs of alternatives.

    I think that this approach is flawed, of course, but not for the reasons in your banana example.

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  9. None, nada ,zilch, niente, nitschewo tax is acceptable for the public as long as it has not been indisputable proved that carbon is bad for the environment, the human being, the world, the universe and it's surroundings or whatever.

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  10. 12% of Australian Electricity consumption is for Aluminum Smelting. 1/3 of the cost of aluminum is energy.

    The Global Aluminum industry is quite skilled at 'picking up and running' as they have demonstrated on numerous occasions.

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  11. .

    Roger,

    "Your analogy only is correct if costs are fixed."

    That is not true. It is correct if the unsubsidized (true) cost of one remains higher than the other. So it is true if say, solar drops from 10 times more costly than coal to only 1.5 times as costly. BTW, same is true for bananas.

    Advocates of a high carbon price will argue (a) that the costs of today's lower priced energy ignore externalities that should be priced in, and (b) that a high carbon price will bring down the costs of alternatives.

    a. The externality game is one where costs are imposed on solutions you don't like and ignored for solutions you do like. That's how politics works. What is the externality cost of wind when China is a de facto sole source for rare earth metals, or the loss of migratory fowl to the "Cuisinarts" of the sky? What is the externality cost of solar attributable to refining of toxic metals, and loss of wild animal habitat? Those are political questions and the purveyors of wind and solar and their political allies are more than happy to minimize such costs.

    b. The cost of alternatives will come down quite nicely as technology improves regardless of the cost of carbon. Its all a matter of timing. We all know that it would be extremely expensive to provide horse drawn carriage transportation between London and Rome. However, true that is, it would not be a sound reason for Julius Caesar to build airports at both cities.

    The time to adopt a new technology is when it becomes less costly than the old technology.

    .

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  12. It seems to me that if Australia reduces its demand for carbon based energy forms that will reduce worldwide demand for them therefore lowering their price. So countries that still rely on carbon based energy sources will see their costs lowered putting Australian products at a disadvantage until alternative energy costs are equal to or lower than carbon based forms. Am I missing something?

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  13. I'm not sure why externalities associated with carbon energy never consider wealth creation- wealth allows us to build buildings that resist earthquakes, end malaria, ends hunger and provides the luxury to care about the environment.

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  14. Roger,

    Isn't your judgement on the chances of a carbon tax in Australia somewhat premature? The level of the tax has not yet been set, so whether or not it is politically acceptable is still very much an open question.

    I would also add that Gillard's approval rating is still higher than Abbot's so you could just as easily argue that the proposal hasn't had asignificant (i.e. 10% drop in approval) impact.

    I think you're correct that far too much energy has been wasted on what the perfect climate policy should look like rather than what can be done to get things moving.

    Most policy is typically crafted with a view towards public optics rather than effectiveness, and climate policy is no different in this regard.

    Which brings me to a question that I've asked of you before; what are the determinants of public acceptance of climate/energy policy and how can these policy questions be depoliticized?

    Unfortunately, the right in most democratic countries have taken the view that the market is the anwser to all questions. This is not to say that the left isn't without it's own delusions (e.g. green jobs), but as with other issues they're less wrong less often IMO. A particularly egregious example occured during the democratic primaries when Senator Clinton and others were calling for gas tax holidays and mocking Obama's use of a tire pressure sensor to illustrate the effectiveness of simple efficiency measures.

    In the past, I'd suggest that you've downplayed the importance of the climate denial movement in the U.S. in terms of its impact on climate/energy policy. As a political scientist I'd be very interested if you could expand on this a little as I think it gets to the core of the issue. How do you get the GOP onboard when it is ideologically opposed to any intereference in the market and passes resolutions denying basic climate science?

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  15. Abdul Abulbul Amir-

    Citing the existence of externalities is not a game. When a friend with a fondness for tuna fish sandwiches ends up with mad hatter levels of mercury in his blood, that's not a game. And when mountain tops get decapitated, rivers poisoned and entire ecosystems devastated, this too, not a game. And when Middle Eastern autocrats sustain the brutal oppression of millions (that well nourishes international conflict amongst other things) by the vast stores of petrodollars they oversee, (see, e.g. Gaddafi, Colonel), or when global powers underwrite genocide to secure access to the donkey juice, (see, e.g. Sino-Sudanese BFFs, or the seared skin of the children of the Niger river delta), or when Russia, Iran and Venezuela expand their leverage over their neighbors and the developed world, or when persistent trade deficits in the US of which petroleum is a substantial and intractable component foster debilitating weakness in the global financial system, or when massive quantities of GHGs radically alter the planet's energy budget... these too, to name but a few, not games.

    These are, in fact, pretty relevant to human well being. If there is a game being played out there, it's the one that through a miracle of myopia equates GDP growth to success notwithstanding its self-evident and overwhelming inadequacy.

    All of which is to say that if you are arguing that the balance of externalities between renewables and fossil fuels is a wash because of... rare earths and migratory birds??... that's fine, if a trifle impoverished in the department of evidentiary basis. If on the other hand you're arguing that the existence and importance of externalities are 'a game', that simply can't be sustained with a straight face.

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  16. Roger-

    I cited this paper before in this blog as a good example of a family of literature that is attempting to leverage insights into actual human behavior (wherein we rediscover that the magic of the market is actually rooted in the way reward systems act on human ingenuity): http://www.econstor.eu/dspace/bitstream/10419/24483/1/dp0162.pdf

    This post rejects its implications entirely by virtue of ignoring them. I would argue a more direct approach is appropriate.

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  17. "Carbon pricing is supposed to create jobs by making fossil fuels appreciably more expensive, thereby creating a market signal that disfavors carbon-intensive industry and stimulates less carbon-intensive economic activity. The economic parts of theory seem sound enough."

    Bastiat would disagree. So would the Spanish. A study out of Spain showed that 2.2 jobs were destroyed for everyone created.

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  18. @Majorajam



    "If on the other hand you're arguing that the existence and importance of externalities are 'a game', that simply can't be sustained with a straight face."

    It is a political game to choose how to weigh the cost of externalaties. Higher cost energy increases food costs and results on a lower standard of living and more poverty.

    How much malnutrition and early death are you willing to accept to avoid removing a hilltop to mine coal?

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  19. -14-Marlowe Johnson

    "Isn't your judgement on the chances of a carbon tax in Australia somewhat premature?"

    Maybe so, but this is a blog, caveat emptor! ;-)

    Time will tell ...

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  20. Marlowe Johnson

    "Isn't your judgement on the chances of a carbon tax in Australia somewhat premature? The level of the tax has not yet been set, so whether or not it is politically acceptable is still very much an open question.

    I would also add that Gillard's approval rating is still higher than Abbot's so you could just as easily argue that the proposal hasn't had a significant (i.e. 10% drop in approval) impact".

    Where did you get this Approval Rating from? Here is a link to the latest Newspoll results (4-6 Mar 11), the first Newspoll taken after the announcement by Gillard in Feb 11. Newspoll is generally recognised by all sides of politics as the most accurate. All polls since the announcement show similar trends.

    http://www.newspoll.com.au/image_uploads/110302%20Federal%20Voting%20Intention%20&%20Leaders%20Ratings.pdf

    Please note:
    1. On the Primary vote the Coalition (opposition) increased from 41% to 45%. Labor (the Govt) decreased from 36% to 30%.
    2. On 2 Party Preferred (federally in Australia we have compulsory preferential voting), the Coalition/Labor ratio went from 50/50% to 54/46%, a 8% margin and the greatest margin since the Aug 10 election.
    3. Gillard's Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction ratio fell from 50/39% to 39/50%,an 11% and the worse figure since the election.

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  21. As the next federal election is not till 2013 (provided Labor can maintain their 1 seat majority i.e. the votes of 1 Green & 3 Independents they need) the key to getting this policy through depends on the support of the Independents (one is on record as not having made up his mind. From Jul 1st with more Greens coming into the Senate the upper house is not an issue.

    The bad poll results for Labor & Gillard do not relate just to the Carbon Tax. During the election Gillard did not campaign for a Carbon Tax or ETS during this term of Parliament. Her policies in the area were to create a Citizen's Assembly to listen to the arguments and try to "reach a consensus" and a "cash for clunkers" scheme which has since been abandoned .In voters minds the possibility of a Tax/Ets was pushed out to sometime in the future, certainly not in the 3 years of this election cycle.

    This is why Gillard is fast losing credibility. It has become very much a matter of trust. 5 days before the election on 23rd Aug 10 Julia Gillard made the now infamous statement on TV "there will be no Carbon Tax in the Government I lead". Her Deputy, Wayne Swan, made similar statements. See here: -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40EWX6TXgH4&feature=related

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  22. Roger,

    While you're working on the former, here are two more links relevant to this discussion. The first mocks those that would dismiss the relevance of the massive negative externalities of fossil fuels for optimal energy policy (as if that should still be necessary... ehem):

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/index.html

    It would be fair to say that two million per year counts as a non-trivial graveyard to go whistling past, though I'd be the last person to underestimate the capacity of your average anti-science type in that regard.

    The second link is to a paper that arrives at strong conclusions, and perhaps too much so. However, the evidence and analysis marshaled is quite clearly fatal for the typical ideological alarmism whereby any serious carbon rationing policy would result in economic devastation... ehem.

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/DJEnPolicyPt2.pdf

    I look forward to your responses.

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  23. Be sure to pound the table Abdul Abulbul Amir. It helps to underscore the intellectual (not to mention moral) bankruptcy of your argument.

    You want to know what a major cause of malnutrition and bouts of starvation in the developing world (which, btw, have plummeted over ten years of skyrocketing energy prices... hmmm...) actually is? Developed world farm subsidies. Strange how seldom you hear those who would argue we have to continue our egregiously self-destructive energy policy in order to save the wretched unwashed, presumably as a function of their profound compassion, voice that concern. Stranger still no mention is made of the geopolitcal fallout of fossil fuel politics in those same parts of the world, e.g. no effort undertaken to secure a measure of restitution for the the residents of the Niger river delta for the cataclysm visited on them iby Western oil companies. Hmmm....

    I'll try not to let that mystery make my puzzler sore. In the meantime, just fyi, your keen interest to reduce this issue to a question of mountaintop mining v energy cost doesn't make it so. If you would like people to take you seriously, you might consider that next time.

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  24. I agree with Roger:
    "A better strategy is the one proposed in The Climate Fix -- start with a very low carbon tax, one that is politically acceptable, and use the proceeds to invest in innovation."

    I also agree with Abdul Abulbul Amir:
    "The time to adopt a new technology is when it becomes less costly than the old technology. "

    Why all the angst? Simply follow the Chinese. Invest in a nuclear technology cheaper than coal without the problems (melting fuel rods, radioactive materials under high pressure, waste toxicity).

    "China Takes Lead in Race for Clean Nuclear Power"
    "China has officially announced it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor, taking a crucial step towards shifting to nuclear power as a primary energy source.
    The project was unveiled at the annual Chinese Academy of Sciences conference in Shanghai last week, and reported in the Wen Hui Bao newspaper (Google English translation here)."

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/china-thorium-power/

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  25. Stranger still no mention is made of the geopolitcal fallout of fossil fuel politics in those same parts of the world, e.g. no effort undertaken to secure a measure of restitution for the the residents of the Niger river delta for the cataclysm visited on them iby Western oil companies.
    That "cataclysm" is directly related to the nature of Nigeria's political situation. Countries with decent governments (say Norway) deal with international oil companies with no significant issues. Countries of Nigeria's type have ecological issues whether they have oil or not.

    The table thumping I see is as much from you. Mad hatter from tuna? Seriously?

    Abdul is prepared to admit all sides of the energy alternatives have ethical and political issues, but has problems that the greenies/left will not admit theirs. You appear to back up his point rather well.

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  26. @Geoff,

    From the first link (i.e. Guardian) in the post:

    The poll, conducted by Nielson, puts Gillard's approval rating down 5% at 47%. Her opponent Tony Abbott, the Liberal leader has not benefited hugely from her loss of support – his approval rating slipped by just 3% to 43%, although the shift was not statistically significant.

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  27. @Majorajam

    "In the meantime, just fyi, your keen interest to reduce this issue to a question of mountaintop mining v energy cost doesn't make it so."

    Nice strawman. It was merely but one example of how one external cost (that of hilltop mining) is gamed high compared to the gamed low external cost of more costly food clothing and shelter.

    BTW, "mountain top removal" is deceptive, and likely on purpose. When most people think of a mountain top, they think of something like those shown at the link that are far removed from likely surface mining sites.

    BTW, there is another ugly trade-off. Surface mining is far safer than underground mining. So miner's lives weigh little compared to a hilltop in some remote location.

    Link to mountain top images

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  28. Mark said: "That "cataclysm" is directly related to the nature of Nigeria's political situation. Countries with decent governments (say Norway) deal with international oil companies with no significant issues. Countries of Nigeria's type have ecological issues whether they have oil or not."

    Oh well that's a relief! I was concerned for a second we wouldn't be able to blame the horror of millions of gallons of crude being spilled into the only water resources of millions on the victims. Phew! I take it then your answer to the question 'Abdul' posed before would be that you would be prepared to see, at a minimum, several million prematurely die of preventable illness to ensure continued access to 'cheap' (to you anyway) energy? How very timely your contribution here..

    As to what 'Abdul is prepared' to do, it would appear that's to emit a smokescreen thick as a bad day in Beijing because, hey, attempts to bring externalitiies into the discussion are 'a game' and 'yours has some mine has some it's all a wash anyway' (substituting false equivalence for argument is of course the favored technique of the table pounders). Never mind he has produced nothing, as in zero, to substantiate this eye-poppingly absurd insinuation that he can't bring himself to formulate straightforwardly as a claim. How very nobly committed to fair play.

    PS The remark about the tunafish sandwiches was serious as the plauge I'm afraid. Man liked his tunafish sandwiches, man ended up with astronomically high blood mercury levels. Not a trace of hyperbole, I can assure you.

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  29. Not a strawman Abdul Abulbul Amir, a point intended to illustrate that you're going to have to engage on the merits to be taken seriously. Handwaving and fallacies aren't going to cut it.

    PS Whether the social cost of mountaintop removal mining is less than traditional mining or not is really not relevant to a comparison of energy sources that do and don't require one or the other respectively (except by calculation of that cost, which, given that you defend the social efficiency of the practice, is apparently not an issue here). Just FYI.

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  30. Roger,
    Thank you for your thoughtful contribution - both here and in your earlier paper looking at what would be necessary to hit the self-set target.

    I have not done much work on on electricity and energy policy in Australia for some time (last book 'Transforming Power' in 1996), but I think you are right on the money with your policy prescription in 'Climate Fix'.

    Australia generates 80% from coal (and is the world's largest exporter). Any substantial tax will cause pain through prices or export of coal to locations where there is no price.

    A small price plus investment ins eminently sensible, but I fear the mishandling of the issue will probably render that politically implausible for some time.

    Incidentally, I'm in the US for a conference, safe in the arms of Amtrak between DC and NY - not suffering insomnia in Hobart!

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  31. @Majorajam

    As someone who is interested in considering both perspectives on the issue I am disappointed that you can't seem to construct a single sentence without a liberal peppering of snark. You seem to be a knowledgeable person arguing from an angle that I'm curious to hear the merits of, however IMO you water down your persuasiveness with the perpetual insults and an overall arrogant tone. Just my $0.02.

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  32. Menth, sarcasm != snark, and I don't get my kicks from people that trivialize human suffering. I am more interested by this idea of yours that I have to be likable to you for you to give any credence to my arguments. This is very popular now in the US, and especially on the right, and I find it baffling. Why does information have to entreat you, as if egotistical ignorance is some precious flower whose fragility must be respected? What colossal sense of entitlement us required to sustain that canard?

    I pasted several links into this thread. If you can be asked to do so without due deference, I suggest you investigate them. Don't think though that it's any skin off my nose what you do, lest you confuse me with a politician that might actually give a damn.

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  33. @ Marlowe Johnson (26)

    You are correct in stating the Nielsen Poll figures. See link here: -

    http://au.nielsen.com/news/200512.shtml

    However this is misleading. All other polls, Newspoll, Essential & Morgan showed a (similar) shift against Gillard & Labor after the Carbon Tax announcement. It was widely believed that the previous Nielsen Poll, taken in Feb 11, was an outlier and was biased towards the Coalition and thus the more recent poll did not registrar the shift.

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  34. There doesn't seem to be any mention of applying the carbon tax to exported coal. Unless there is an overall reduction in coal production, I don't see how this policy will do anything productive about AGW, but it will encourage coal producers to export their coal, because it get a better net price.

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  35. Majorjam,
    Please be so kind as to point out to us even one person who has suffered from mercury poisoning from tuna?
    TIA,

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  36. Frontiers #36,

    Try this, although the source may not have been specifically tuna:

    http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20252763,00.html

    There are many others.

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  37. DeWitt,
    So there are apparently no actual cases of people getting sick from eating fish and getting mercury poisoning in the record.
    There is this review:
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/mroussell5.htm
    That seems to have some merit. Unlike Majorjam's bs-filled arguments.

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  38. "The economic parts of theory seem sound enough."

    ...Only to a Keynesian :). Any government imposed distortion in the market that leads to capital moving towards economically inefficient solutions will result in higher unemployment and lower growth.

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  39. The people of NSW seem to disagree with the inevitability of CO2 obsessed policies and taxes.

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