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Climate Change and the Emissions Trading Scheme

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9 years 4 months ago #1 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Climate Change and the Emissions Trading Scheme was created by ConcertForGeorgeNut
What's the thoughts of people about the turmoil surrounding the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation ??

Government wants the legislation passed, leader of the Opposition wants it passed, many Opposition members seemingly do not want it passed.

If anybody's asking me, I believe the whole global warming/climate change issue is an issue of politics, rather than of science, and I'm inclined not to trust politicians when they say things like the proposed legislation is "sound insurance" against the risk from GW/climate change.

"Do it for the children" is another unconvincing argument for change, because it's made on the basis of emotions.

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9 years 4 months ago - 9 years 4 months ago #2 by sozzled
There are three intersecting issues here: the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS); the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS); and the politicisation of these issues in order for the major political parties to grab voter attention, the results of which have been, on the one hand, to highlight divisions within the ranks of the federal Coalition parties and, on the other hand, to allow the Government to remain unaccountable to the people concerning specific details of the legislation now before the Austalian Parliament.

People who argue that the planet's greenhouse gas emissions are not increasing are arguing against the proven scientific facts. People who say that the increase in greenhouse gases (in particular, carbon dioxide and methane) is not alarming cannot be trusted because the body of scientific evidence holds against such complacency. Whether the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is a direct result of human activity on this planet or whether the increase is a naturally recurring event that has presaged every ice age that our planet has experienced is likewise irrelevant. It appears to me that the political arguments seem to concern (a) dispute over whether the increase in greenhouse gases is a matter of [global] concern, (b) how the greenhouse gases were caused in the first place or (c) to what extent Australia can (or should) do anything about the situation. If we know that we, as a species (and that other species in the world upon whom we depend for our survival), risk extinction if we remain complacent about the continuing rise in greenhouse gases, shouldn't we be making attempts to slow it or reduce the levels that exist while we still have the opportunity to do something? Our politicians can argue all they like about the sufficiency of scientific evidence but that's not what we elected them to do. We didn't elect them to argue - that's the province of science - we elected them to make decisions.

The politics of climate change is a tricky business. Perhaps the current debate about the ETS most clearly sharpens the differences between the Labor party and the Liberal-Nationals coalition. As you all know, left-wing politics is the politics of government intervention (and regulation) of just about everything; right-wing politics essentially says, leave it to business to sort things out. Of course, that's an over-simplification of political science but there's the gist of it. The ALP Government says that we can no longer allow business, no matter what that "business" is, to act responsibly in a matter of such critical national interest as the environment ... at least, not without tight government regulation. The federal Coalition, on the other hand, seems to be saying that tougher government regulation on the environment will cripple our already fragile economy. There, in a nutshell, is the essence of the political difference. It really doesn't matter whether you, as a voter, perceive yourself as leaning to the left or leaning to the right, or whether people perceive left-wing politics as the politics of collectivism, socialism or communism (all of those terms are essentially correct) or whether people perceive right-wing politics as conservatism, counter-revolutionaryism (if such a word exists), do-nothingism or non-interventionism. It doesn't matter that people should see an of these "-isms" as inherently evil, either. The reasonable fear that people should have about politicians is when their views become extreme, for example, an extreme left-wing government would resemble the socialist dictatorship of Stalin or the politics of Osama bin Laden while an extreme right-wing one would remind you of the facist dictatorships of Mussolini or Hitler. Totalitarian régimes of the extreme right or the extreme left are those that repress individual freedoms and our right to enjoy what the world can provide. Do we see extremist traits in the language of Senators Fielding, Minchin, Joyce, Brown or Wong? I'll leave you to figure that out for yourselves.

I think that we Australians, although we're a fairly [politically] conservative lot, prefer to steer a middle-of-the-road course and we look to moderate politicians of the "slightly right-of-centre" political spectrum: people like Kevin Rudd or Malcolm Turnbull. Regardless of how you feel about them as people (and there's far too much personality cult-following in politics), the electorate looks to our politicians for leadership in times of difficulty. The very fact that we're having this discussion/debate about the ETS and CPRS indicates that this is a time of difficulty and, I think, people want real leadership to decide Australia's future environmental agenda no matter what form that might take. Political leaders, irrespective of their political views, usually place the best interests of the nation ahead of their personal stamp on history and they're not that naive to ignore the effects of their policies on business. Scare campaigns depend for their success on suggesting that certain legislative reforms will wipe-out our primary (agriculture) businesses or secondary (industrial) businesses. How often does that happen? Businesses are generally fairly resilient. Businesses that impact on the environment will have to adjust the ways that they continue to do business if we want to survive. Government regulation might be the only way to bring about those changes.

Ultimately, and let's agree on one point, the environment is everyone's business.

I think that it's essential for Australia to decide specific, realistic targets for reducing our greenhouse gas contribution to the planet. If our targets are unrealistic then we'd be foolish to think that the we can tough it out without the rest of the world giving a damn. If we're non-responsive then other countries will criticise or censure us (at a diplomatic/political level) or they'll impose trading sanctions to make us behave as responsible neighbours. If we make our targets too "idealistic" then we risk economic ruin, too. It's a delicate balance. Personally, I don't think that economics is a very effective way to control greenhouse gas emissions - which is substantially at the core of the ETS - but maybe we should give it a go, anyway?

I watched a short video from Alexander Downer (at www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,2260...8098-5006301,00.html ) - undeniably a person with far right-wing leanings - who basically says that Australia's problem (and the problem confronting the Liberal Party) is whether we can justify spending $120 bn over the next decade without knowing how other countries are going to contribute. It all sounds so very "reasonable" when you listen to Mr Downer's pleasant talking voice but, I ask you, pay very close attention to the message, not the way that he delivers it. This message (at the core of the Nick Minchin/Eric Abetz/Barnaby Joyce arguments) is an unmistakable anti-ETS scare tactic and one, I believe, that is doomed to backfire on those who continue to employ it.

So, eventually, I turn now to Malcolm Turnbull and the fight that he has on his hands today. The Liberal-Nationals risk becoming a spent force in Australian politics if they choose a leader who continues to obstruct the Labor government merely for the sake of being obstructionist. Australian voters are fairly smart, but even they won't understand the language of politics if they can't be articulated by someone who can't even hold his/her party together. The Liberal Party, in particular, has too many hot shots who want to be leader merely for the sake of grabbing the limelight. Every leader who's ever been elected as been a consensus choice (well, I can't think of too many that have been unanimously elected) but if the Liberal party cannot quieten the continuing rumblings of discord about the leadership issue then they will have little hope of convincing the voters at the next election that they've got any clues about how to run the country when they can't even run their own little show.

Personally, I admire Malcolm Turnbull for sticking to his guns and I feel sorry for him that he won't win the party's leadership vote later this morning. I think Joe Hockey might just be the person to get the Liberal Party off-the-hook and the Government's legislative program will probably go ahead in spite of how Mr Hockey personally feels about the environment. I'm not even sure I know where he stands on the environment. I don't think Tony Abbott has the numbers to pull-off a leadership coup but, if he did, I think he'd be a disaster for the Liberal Party. Irrespective of how I personally vote, I think Australia needs an honest, tough but fair, Opposition that can demonstrate its ability to work with the Government as well as to be able hold the Government to account for its failures. I don't think the current Opposition has done with of these things.

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 9 years 4 months ago by sozzled.

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9 years 4 months ago #3 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Climate Change and the Emissions Trading Scheme
ETS legislation has fallen over in the Senate. I think this is a good outcome.

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9 years 4 months ago #4 by Annie
I agree George.......... I have lots of answers ..........none popular............

ETS Excuse To Squander. A method to bleed money from the west, then pass it on to the polluters and to the leaders of dictatorships who will merely fill their swiss bank accounts. Net effect on pollution = ZERO. Net benefit for the developing world also = ZERO. All under the ever watchful eye of the UN, gee that fills me with confidence, NOT!

China is commisioning a new coal fired power station every 6 weeks. They are commisioning enough of them every 9 months to equal Australia's total output.

You are going to have a heart attack - but here goes. We build and commission nuclear power stations over the next 5 years. Enough to replace the existing coal fired stations and allow for 20 years of population growth. We then provide the levels of funding into research for renewable energy for the next 30 years that match the money spent on the building of the new system and make the forms of renewable energy viable. In parallel we continue development of systems that use less energy. At around the 20 year mark, any growth requirement must be replaced by the new and effective renewable energy sources. At the 25 year mark we embark on replacing all power generation with renewable energy sources, at the 30 year mark we decommision the last of the "nukes". I truly believe that when we put the effort into renewable research that we will find something that will be simplicity itself, affordable and maintenance free so it will provide power for every person, rich or poor, everywhere on Earth, at very low cost

In 2001, their was less than 3 million cars in China, today there is around 40 million, in ten years there will be between 350 and 400 million.

This is where my cynicism kicks in. The "developing world" is the developing world for many reasons, most of it because it suits their leaders to keep their population uneducated and controlled. It is not in our power to change this. It is in our power to develop systems that are so simple, so cheap, that the benefits will flow like water;

The people, unstoppable by their unscrupulous leaders. If anyone believes that the UN will assist this they are naive beyond comprehension, and really need to hear what Geoffrey Robertson of Amnesty International thinks about the UN, because he is right.

can you tell I am passionate about this? lol

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9 years 4 months ago #5 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Climate Change and the Emissions Trading Scheme
G'day Annie,

Nice to hear from you again.

I share your cynicism. All I want is to be told the truth. But, I know that I'm not going to get the truth from politicians. And, there are those in the world outside of politics who hold passionately to directly opposing "truths".

So, I'm really left with my own experiences and observations for the truth. My experiences and observations tell me that the air I breathe is clean, the environment is pleasant enough, the water I drink is clean. From my experiences and observations, the environment is in good shape.

Therefore, don't understand and agree with all the fuss about climate change, global warming, ETS.

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9 years 4 months ago - 9 years 4 months ago #6 by sozzled
In short, I disagree with arguments based on pure numbers. For example, "China is commissioning a new coal-fuelled generation plant at the rate of one per month." True, China is doing this (from the litte that I've read), but this is only half the story. China is actually winding-back on its power production and these new plants use "clean coal" technology that actually cost more than the older technology but are more energy-efficient. (I won't get into an argument at this time about whether "clean coal" really is clean so let's just leave it at that.) Further, China will soon be more dependent on this newer technology coal than the United States of America (see this article from the New York Times). So I think we should be careful quoting raw numbers.

In addition, the kind of rhetoric that implies that the world's problems rest fairly and squarely on the shoulders of China (or anyone else for that matter) and that suggests that we (we Australians, that is) have nothing to blame ourselves for or that we (alone) cannot do anything about things, this language of sit-on-our-collective-butts-and-wait - Until what? The United States solves the problem? - or the language of isolationism is not the language spoken by good neighbours. If your neighbours (who may be stronger or tougher than you, or who may be richer than you) we messing up the neighbourhood would you sit idly and do nothing? Regrettably we can't all simply move to a "better neighbourhood". The planet Earth is the only neighbourhood around at the moment and its up to us - all of us - to do what we can, while we can, to make sure the neighbourhood is a safe one for us to live in. There is a problem and we cannot turn a blind eye to it. We're all in this together and together we have to help one another figure out the solution. To accuse China (or anyone else) of being unaware of the problem or being unprepared to work towards a solution is not only facile ... it's dangerously wrong.

I realise my remarks don't address the specific points that have been mentioned in our discussion. I need a bit more time to prepare my responses. In the meantime, you might be interested in this joke e-mail that's doing the rounds at the moment:

Dear Grim Reaper,

So far this year you have taken away my favourite dancer Michael Jackson, my favourite actor Patrick Swayze, my favourite singer Stephen Gately and my favourite actress Farah Fawcett.

Just so you know, my favourite politicians are Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.

Regards

Malcolm Turnbull

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 9 years 4 months ago by sozzled.

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9 years 4 months ago #7 by Annie
facile and dangerously wrong mmmmmmmmmm

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9 years 4 months ago #8 by Annie
I can see you are full of words Sozz.........but.......... I think what I have said has merit.......and it is only 25% of the solution........... I disagree with your words but thats debate...............calling people facile and dangerous is not debate.......it has a personal overtone........and I found that offensive ............ :(

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9 years 4 months ago #9 by Annie
I can't resist - facile and dangerous - let me get the dictionary. China was used as an example, an example of the magnitude of the problem. Handing over billions to the polluters and another lot of billions to the leaders of "less fortunate" nations is NOT going to fix anything. The ETS is a sham, an utter lie to restribute money, money that ultimately will do nothing to resolve the problem and wind up in the hands of a small number of people.

8 years ago, in 2001, a particular nation had 3 million cars in it, it now has 40 million, in 10 to 20 years that number will be 300 to 400 million cars, but sorry, I digress from power generation. One nation has stated that it will, over the next 20 years, halve its rate of green house gas emissions against its average GDP. This nation has sustained GDP growth over 10% this means that in 20 years its GDP could be 5 to 6 times what it is now, meaning it can treble its emissions in the same period, and fulfill its promise. The only part of this that certain people read is "halve its greenhouse emissions" and the very naive rise from their seats and start cheering.

China is just one of a number of fast growing economies that are developing their ability to provide both amenity and industrial strength to their economies, their right to do this for their people and for economic stability was never in question.

Naivety, ignorrance and a willingness to believe that a "TAX" that benefits a few well to does will fix this problem is what is really dangerous in this debate.

Do Not take my words and pretend they are a criticism of one nation, or an attack. Do Not pretend that I am so naive that I would lay the blame squarely on one nation, that is absurd.

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9 years 4 months ago - 9 years 4 months ago #10 by maxxy5851
Replied by maxxy5851 on topic Climate Change and the Emissions Trading Scheme
Hi Everyone,
As said in the introductory frame for this topic. There is some talented writers here, passionate writers, so be prepared for some criticism. Bring it on - thank you God.

Having read the chain of posts here, please count me in!

Soz, you are a master, you should be a politician, and I suspect you are, or at least, very close to it somehow. You are the "owner" of this page, which encourages debate, yet your political bent (and agenda) is as clear as crystal.

I have grabbed one of your posts and responded as it flows

So let’s begin.

In short, I disagree with arguments based on pure numbers.

We produce so many tons of greenhouse gas per year, we have so many years to fix it, we must do it at this rate, we must meet these timings, sea levels will rise by this much, this many people will be affected, the warming will happen at this rate, this industry contributes this much, this country produces this much, the whole debate is numbers and you want no arguments based on them?

China is commissioning a new coal-fuelled generation plant at the rate of one per month.

It was 6 weeks (1.5 months) and when we are talking many years, that is a BIG difference.

True, China is doing this (from the litte that I've read), but this is only half the story.

Half of what story, I sense deflection.

China is actually winding-back on its power production and these new plants use "clean coal" technology that actually cost more than the older technology but are more energy-efficient.

True, they are more energy efficient, and thank God they buy their coal from the Sydney basin, the blackest, cleanest coal in the world. Imagine if they were buying brown coal?

(I won't get into an argument at this time about whether "clean coal" really is clean so let's just leave it at that.)

Smart move.

Further, China will soon be more dependent on this newer technology coal than the United States of America (see this article from the New York Times). So I think we should be careful quoting raw numbers.

Of interest here is that Australia, per head of capita, is the largest emitter on Earth, in the order of X2. By volume the USA is the largest emitter on Earth. Europe by virtue of their situation has elected to use "nukes" for a large proportion of their power generation. Greenhouse emissions from nuke power, none. Despite the large number of vehicles in Europe, they do not have an appetite for large engine vehicles that we and the US have.

In addition, the kind of rhetoric that implies that the world's problems rest fairly and squarely on the shoulders of China (or anyone else for that matter) and that suggests that we (we Australians, that is) have nothing to blame ourselves for or that we (alone) cannot do anything about things, this language of sit-on-our-collective-butts-and-wait - Until what?

On this one, not one writer has made one comment, that can be construed as “sit-on-our-collective-butts-and-wait”.

The United States solves the problem?

?

or the language of isolationism is not the language spoken by good neighbours. If your neighbours (who may be stronger or tougher than you, or who may be richer than you) we messing up the neighbourhood would you sit idly and do nothing? Regrettably we can't all simply move to a "better neighbourhood".

Hush those that don’t agree, by screaming racist - Pathetic really! This sets of alarm bells with me.

The planet Earth is the only neighbourhood around at the moment and its up to us - all of us - to do what we can, while we can, to make sure the neighbourhood is a safe one for us to live in.

And the ETS is the answer? Get a pair! Those that rant about ETS and CTS have no answer or the guts to implement an answer? No-one is standing up and doing things that will mean rapid (and permanent) reduction in greenhouse gases. Someone, bite the political and personal bullet to take significant, innovative and measured actions create the required cultural change?.
There is a problem and we cannot turn a blind eye to it.

Yes we can, we already are, we can waste enormous amounts of effort, money, time and passion on an ETS to hide the fact we are turning a BLIND EYE, and doing nothing to fix the issues, benefit mother Earth, or her people!
We're all in this together and together we have to help one another figure out the solution. To accuse China (or anyone else) of being unaware of the problem or being unprepared to work towards a solution is not only facile ... it's dangerously wrong.
On this one you are right, The ETS is facile and dangerous, worse than that it is a facade, a joke, a grab for extra tax, a pay off to big business and it will cost my family 1100 dollars per year.
Last edit: 9 years 4 months ago by maxxy5851.

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