Alternative ETS Policy

This is a guest post from Scaper..

“GREEN groups want emissions trading ditched in favour of direct and immediate action to tackle climate change.”

I believe Wong’s ETS is badly designed, it will subsidise big polluters and the citizens will bare the brunt although the government will compensate us to a certain degree which indicates a tax churn!

Lets try to move beyond the usual debate of if there is or is not AGW and look at the alternative policy outlined in the link…”Plan B.”

Green Groups have outlined eight points to their plan.

1- phasing out coal-fired power stations during the coming decade;

2- green makeovers for millions of homes;

3- mandatory fuel efficiency standards for cars;

4- more and cheaper public transport;

5- more cycle paths, more car pooling;

6- an end to urban sprawl;

7- generating 40 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020;

8- ending the logging of old-growth forests.

Lets concentrate on just a couple of points in this post as there is too much to cover in one thread.

2- I believe green makeovers for millions of homes would be the starting point but how could this be achieved? Obviously new housing should include solar hot water, panels, water harvesting and storage, insulation and design to make better use of the northerly aspect to reduce heating in winter.

But for any marked improvement there has to be a retrograde fitout of existing buildings which will involve serious dollars and should the government be solely responsible for covering the cost or should there be a somewhat sharing of costs in the form of tax credits redeemed say over a five year period?

This is a sticking point, in the foreseeable future the government has less room to move fiscally because of incurred debt so the revenue stream is limited, maybe some form of tax is required opposed to an ETS that will be totally dedicated to subsidisation of retrograding of houses opposed to going into general revenue which usually is utilised for other policy decisions, this has to be a stand alone fund.

Maybe a rollback of middle class welfare might just fill the revenue gap to achieve this end?

7-Generating 40 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 is possible if point 2 is successful but there will be a substantial requirement for base load electricity to run industry and the like so the alternatives are wind, tidal, nuclear and geothermal.

Wind turbines are expensive to produce, a visual eyesore and produce electricity in variable quantities depending on conditions.

Tidal is still in its infancy but has potential in the future.

Nuclear due to its reputation is political suicide and the waste is an issue in itself.

Geothermal seems to be the best long term option but the optimum hot rock zones are in remote locations in South Australia and the Northern Territory which presents logistical problems to hook into respective power grids.

I’ve omitted clean coal technology as I’m very sceptical that this can be achieved at this juncture but if it is worthy of discussion then include it.

I believe we have to clean up our act and work towards sustainability regardless if there was global warming or not so this is not an issue on this thread.


28 Responses

  1. Put mine down as a vote against government enforced environmentalism, and for a market-based solution, if we have to go down this path.

  2. 3- mandatory fuel efficiency standards for cars;

    This is bleeding obvious and could and should have been done years ago, but Governments of all stripes lacked the guts to do so. There is no logical reason for thristy, inefficient cars to be on our roads (except, of course, to bolster Oil Company profits).

    That fuel efficiency was a desirable object in and of itself (quite apart from any “Green” benefits) was clear and obvious following the oil crisis of the 1970’s.

    But what happened? Bugger-all. The price of oil fell again and everyone except those canny Japanese and Europeans kept making gas-guzzlers.

    Getting said gas-guzzlers off the roads is a priority and will no-doubt have immediate Greenhouse benefits as well as saving people lots of dosh in fuel costs.

    I suspect that any Government intending to address the issue will, however, approach it by way of the tried and true traditional double-whammy: A prohibitive tax slug on inefficient vehicles, as well as (of course) throwing a bucket of money at the Auto Industry to compensate the poor dears (who, of course, never saw this coming) and assist them to re-tool to produce efficient vehicles. Over time, the effect will be to reduce the number of such vehicles on our roads.

    I say, bugger that. We need to act now.

    Blind Freddie could have seen this coming for the last 30 + years. The lazy bastards in the Car Industry just shut their eyes to the issue, threw-it into the too-hard basket and got-on with making their crappy metal dinosaurs.

    I reckon if the Government wants to remove fuel-inefficient vehicles for our roads in such a way that will maximise the Greenhouse benefit immediately, then they ought to ban anything that gets less than a certain fuel-efficiency rating and compensate the people who will lose their SUVs or Hoon Mobiles, but buying them a 1.5Lt Hyundai or some similar vehicle. Let’s face it, the things cost two-bob, so it’s not going to wreck the Budget.

    Plus, you can put one of those noisy hot-dog exhausts on a Hyundai (so it will still sound, well, properly Hoon-ish) and with a set of “go-fast” stripes, chrome wheels and a mega-200-watt stereo on board, your average Hoon will never even notice the difference.

    As for the Auto-Industry. They can go jump.

  3. Oh, and another thing: They should also ban Top Gear and authorise the cops to taser Jeremy Clarkson multiple times on sight. That guy is the world’s number 1 Environmental Outlaw.

  4. Oddly Evan this makes sense.

    Ban 4 wheel drives from city registration.

    I also think there is research that proves that drivers of hoon cars are much smaller in the vital male organ department.

    If this research is not conclusive, it should be fabricated and used in environmental advertising.

  5. LOL, nice point, James.

    The smaller the car, the bigger the…….. Now a flashy Ad Agency shiuld be able to make something of that. Perhaps those nere’ do wells on the Gruen Transfer?

  6. Hmm . . . the experience in California with ‘greening’ their fleet has been mixed.

    Basically . . .replacement of the fleet at 10 percent per year. That was the target. Removing clunkers and the like. IIRC? Something like a million a year? One US based Prius plant was moth balled last year.

    I suspect Australia will follow the same trajectory.

  7. Evan it’s Tom,

    James votes for the DLP.

    Please don’t ever confuse us again!!

  8. Re #2 and the outfitting of older homes. This has already been tackled with the insulation/solar rebates and just from observation older homes seem to be far more in tune with the environment..this includes deep eaves, double brick.

    Compare the traditional Queenslander with large open windows and doors leading onto expansive decks with what is being built these days. That is, northern hemisphere style homes with shallow eaves and small windows, where people retreat inside to turn on the air-conditioning.

    In my opinion, just plain laziness on behalf of architects. They have decided what sells on the market..and this is more inside space to accommodate the media room..and so bye bye to homes with deep eaves.

    Individual Council’s do have the ability to try to encourage developers to build ‘environmentally friendly’ houses, but until there is some substantial incentive (as in $$s by way of rebate to builders) builders will build what they think will sell the quickest.

  9. Geez you’re big on this, Tom. What specific DLP policy do you object to?

  10. Tom, a thousand apologies, comrade. Won’t happen again.

  11. Actually most of the Greens proposals make sense, but there are one or two that might be a bit pie-in-the-skyish.

    Like car-pooling.

    Its great in principle, but tends to be a bit of a bugger in practice. What if the guy you’re pooling with can’t stop farting or else wants to listen to some shock-jock for the duration of the ride? It’s OK, I suppose, if he’s in your car. You can just whack on the ABC and carry a can of Glen-20. But if you’re in his car, it’s his rules.

    And “ending urban sprawl.”

    Again, this is one of those things like peace and goodwill towards me that everyone approves-of. But just try putting it into pracitce.

    What do you do? Bulldoze Paddo and Surry-Hills for multiple High-Rise developments? How about Double Bay? They’re all within about 5-6Km of the Sydney city centre with lots of wasteful-single occupancy residences. We could fit an extra million or so people in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney alone if we re-did them all Hong-Kong style. No-one would have to live west of Parramatta at all. They’d be lousy places to live, but we’d have ended urban sprawl, that’s for sure.

  12. James some of us still remember Vince Gair and Frank McManus.

    They were bitter narrow minded men, their political orientation was motivated by hatred and I doubt whether their successors are any different.

    (mind you, I’m not being critical of being narrow minded and hateful!!!)

  13. Evan..I agree re car-pooling. As you say, good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice…and not because of the need for Glen-20 ;-). More likely people who have more to their lives than just commuting to and from work..have to go shopping, pick up the partner/kids, after work sports/gym. It doesn’t work with car-pooling.

    But ending urban sprawl..most definitely. In most capital cities we have gone just about as far as we can go without people having to get up at 4.30am and not getting home until 7.00pm. The answer is to reverse the trend of the past decade and encourage decentralisation of’s all about jobs and where they are located.

  14. The ‘green’ batt idea is a bit iffy. At best it will curb demand at peak times – Winter and Summer. Demand times are real hot and cold days around 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Batts are to insulate. But . . . more people more demand.

    Back of the envelope calculations. Ignoring : commercial properties and factories. Victoria – 2 million dwellings. Say half are already batted. 10 percent are retrofitted per year. 2.000,000/2 x 0.1 = 100,000 per year. Or 2,000 a week. Hmm . . .400 homes need to be insulated every working day for a decade.

    Meanwhile . . .every year their are more people and more new homes being built. Demand peaks will continue to grow.

    There’s actually a better argument to put everyone into apartments.

  15. Re urban sprawl:

    By 2025, on current rates of project spending, 80 per cent of Melbourne will have no reasonable access to trains, trams, or regular buses….

  16. brian, on June 19th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    brian, sometimes its about lifestyle … for children as well as adults …

  17. Agreed TB..something about Aussies and urban jungles, it goes against our nature..anything less than a 650sqm block.

  18. TB@4:21 its about lifestyle … for children as well as adults

    Agreed. But calculations in terms of heating and cooling do show efficiencies in apartment blocks. That’s always been a ‘known’.

    The trend towards ‘European living’ – city living that is, is a trend that is growing in this country. Mid to high density living will become the norm. I’ve seen the shift in my lifetime. Melbourne in the ’70’s was dead on a weekend. Now? Little difference between week and weekend. Thus speaks a Moonee Ponds lad from the ’50’s.

    I now live in the Dandenongs. Semi-rural – and barely at that.

    I worked for the City of Melbourne for a few years. It was interesting dealing with the architects.

  19. A lot can be learnt from Singapore with regards to motor vehicles. The rapid expansion in the 60’s led to congestion problems in their CBD. Cheap fuel also meant a lot of big vehicles.
    In 1975 the government raised registration fees on large vehicles about 10 fold, to about $3000 per year. Within a years all large vehicles were gone from Singapore. They also set up car parks surrounding the CBD and any vehicles with less than 2 people, (or was it 3?) had to pay a hefty fee to enter the CBD. Along with these financial incentives they upgraded the public buses and grabbed the men and machines just finishing the Hong Kong underground and told them to do the same again in Singapore. All easily done if the need and the will is there.

  20. Brian, re Melbourne being dead on the weekends in the ’70’ were obviously going to the wrong places. I was born in Hawthorn in ’51. But maybe I was lucky and best friend was Malay/Chinese and b/f (now hubby) got to eat the best places with the nicest people. That’s apart from the fact that hubby is 1/2 Italian. Hard to keep up with the social life in those days.

    Re the Dandenongs, I was a shire councillor for the now defunct Shire of good mate from those days, old Len Cox is Shire President.

  21. Hehe..I didn’t mean ‘eat the best places’ but rather eat at the best places. But still, and on thinking about it eating the best places is a good image.

  22. Min. I know Len quite well. Kevin Heinze lived around the corner from me. There . . .that places me in your mind.

    Re : Melbourne. Born in Moonee Ponds in ’52. Family had an involvement in the Vic Market along with a few neighbours. Boyhood friend was the son of the caretaker in the old MLC building. Know Melbourne depressingly well. Then I ended up working for Melbourne City Council for a few years – Melbourne Electricity Supply.

    Funny . . .my father and his family grew up and around Hawthorn. Hmm . . . .90 years of family history in that area. Elphin Grove etc Surray Hills Swimming hole etc

  23. Her’s a link to the hot rock zones of Australia.

    Scroll down the page.

  24. Hello time you see Len please send my regards to him. I’m Carol, East Riding and I was on council at the same time as Bill Barker and Chris Jones.

    Yes, I certainly do know exactly where you are. We used to live in Old Gippsland Road and later off Fernhill Road.

    I likewise have a 90+ year connection to Kew and Hawthorn.

    I went to Glenferrie PS and later to Canterbury Girls’ High. Hubby is from Wattle Park. We now live north coast NSW.

    And apologies for being hydrogen. A plug for daughter’s research..her PhD supervisor is Ben Hankamer:

    The potential for these hydrogen-producing algae is breathtaking. It’s the first time that so much hydrogen is being extracted from so little algae. In the future, commercial scale vats could pump out vast quantities of hydrogen whenever the sun shines.

    Daughter explained that the idea is to have this on unviable farm land, thereby creating industry/jobs. It might seem pie in the sky, but excellent results from both Australian and German researchers. Plus if you never try, then you’ll never get there.

  25. Min, the only problem with hydrogen as a fuel source is that you have real problems using it in vehicles.

    Power generation is OK, so is use in very large vehicles, like buses (where the storage cylinder is protected by lots of metal mass) .

    The problem is that it needs to be stored at extremely high pressures, so use in smaller vehicles (like cars) is a real risk. A nasty impact can rupture the cylinder and that isn’t pretty. It makes a very satisfying ka-boom indeed.

  26. Absolutely no idea Evan..the only scientist in the family is daughter Erin. A Google of Ben Hankamer (her PhD supervisor) might provide some answers. His email is at the bottom of the link.

  27. We should start with win win stuff. The no regrets approach. Energy efficiency at home and in the office reduces environmental impacts, cuts the power bills and can also reduce the national energy costs.

    Legislating for a generous national ‘feed in’ tariff would make investment in home-based renewable energy generators a good investment. Lots more people would be interested if they could do the right thing and see a reasonable return on their investment.

  28. I hope that this topic might come up again. Just unfortunately timing that the proverbial hit the fan re Utegate.

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