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The voice of business in Canberra

Carbon Trading Wont Work!

By Norvan.Vogt 5 July 2008 44

Carbon Trading is one of these things that economists love because it looks so clean and simple on the pages of a textbook. But in the real world it’s very hard to make it work like it should. If it’s not set up right, if it’s not policed right, then it can be worse than useless. The big companies get to pollute more AND charge us more, and the pollies get to tell us they’re fixing the greenhouse problem.

The government sets it up and polices it, big business buys carbon credits, and they both tell us they’re fixing the greenhouse problem but we’ll have to pay more for everything. Why should we trust them? I mean, we have got no way of knowing because we have to rely on the government to actually tell us how much CO2 has been reduced. The only “proof” we have that greenhouse emissions have been reduced is that everything gets more expensive! Carbon dioxide has no taste, no smell, you can’t see it and it’s mostly emitted a long way from where people live.

The problem with carbon trading is that it puts all the power and knowledge about how to reduce emissions into the hands of bureaucrats and big companies. They are asking us to trust them to reduce greenhouse gases, without giving us any proof back that they are actually doing it except increased prices. We know they can increase prices already for no reason, we don’t need another demonstration!

What I wasn’t to do is a community based solution for the ACT’s emissions, in which we give people real alternatives instead of just punishing them with higher prices for food and fuel. A scheme should give everyone direct ownership for reducing their emissions, by making it easy for them to make lifestyle decisions to produce less emissions. We keep getting told that this is a global problem for the whole of humanity; if that’s the case we need a scheme where we can all help, and not get screwed by businessmen. My  scheme would actually put responsibility for climate change into everyone’s hands, instead of just talking about it.

1.    Help to commercialise some of the great local technologies for low emission power generation, like the Lloyd Energy Systems solar storage system in Cooma, or the ANU “Big Dish” solar concentrator.
2.    Build a high quality public transport system for Canberra, that Canberrans will want to use  instead of their cars.
3.    Help businesses and homeowners to reduce emissions through technical support to change habits and fit energy efficient technologies.

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44 Responses to
Carbon Trading Wont Work!
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Clown Killer 7:53 am 08 Jul 08

Somewhere in this is the idea that the developed economies lead the way by rapidly adopting realistic technologies that provide for energy needs with reduced emissions. These technologies are then sold into countries like China and India to let them leap-frog some of the poorer examples of energy production as their economy evolves.

I heard that in China they’re throwing up solar farms as quickly as they can get their hands on the pannels. In a country whose energy demands dictates that a new coal-fired power station opens every 11 days or do, they don’t really care where the power comes from and they’re basically building anything they can to get it.

zee 10:20 pm 07 Jul 08

You know what could cut emissions in Canberra overnight? If all the public servants driving to barton from tuggeranong and gunghalin 5 days a week, 90% of them with a single driver and no passengers in the car, started to carpool. No cost to the taxpayer. No additional infrastructure needed. (Less, actually).

> This was discussed a while back. If everyone was just going straight to work and straight home again then it would probably work but people might be dropping off their kids to school on the way to work and others might be going to the gym or other detour on the way home. Or what if the boss calls an urgent 4.30 business meeting that runs for over an hour and you arranged to meet Fred and George at 5pm?

Lotta whatifs there. But if 20% of solo commuters paired up it just 20% of the time, we’d cut 4% off the morning traffic and probably close to 4% off weekday car emissions. Maybe more, if everyone’s spending less time with their engines running stopped in traffic!

Plus, I bet most pubes doing ‘knowledge working’ kind of white collar jobs – writing policy, financial analysis, etc – could probably work at home one day a week. And I don’t mean Saturday! Maybe they trade their non-carbon use on such days under an ETS!

Mælinar 9:02 pm 07 Jul 08

3 post nutbag 😛

Thumper 5:38 pm 07 Jul 08

On the bright side, this rain is fabulous 😉

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