Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nothing tough about our targets

Article from: Herald Sun

Olga Galacho
December 18, 2008 12:00am

EVEN more ridiculous than the Federal Government's token emissions target for 2020 were two ninny-brained reactions to the climate change White Paper on Monday.

The first was the lies-lies-damned-lies-and-no-statistics commentary from groups that said the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme would damage the economy.

The other is that there are people who swallowed this fallacious claim hook, line and sinker.

All the economic research, modelling, projected statistics and so on widely circulated by a variety of think tanks over the past year show the economy will not shrink under emissions trading.

In fact, all the research shows that the economy will continue to grow under emissions trading.

Further, all the research shows that there will be many opportunities to profit from measures that help slow climate change.

Even National Generators Forum mouthpiece John Boshier excitedly told BNW yesterday that 60 per cent of all electricity load growth between now and 2020 will emanate from renewables. How's that for opportunity, if it's true.

Here's something that's true: the government is distorting the truth when it claims that its emissions target, when viewed on a per capita basis, will be tougher than any other nation's.

You just have to look at the target of the nation that invented the coal industry, the United Kingdom, to see how delusional our government is.

If Australia reduces emissions by 5 per cent of 2000 levels by the year 2020, that will equal 19.1 tonnes per person, down from 26 tonnes.

The UK, with a target of a 26 per cent reduction from 1990 levels will produce 6.6 tonnes of emissions per person, down from 10.2 tonnes.

And that is with more than twice the projected population size. Granted, though, as one of the world's biggest per capita emitters, 28 tonnes if you don't mind, Australia is behind the eight-ball.

Now that's what I call carbon leakage, courtesy of the First Fleet.

But back to the UK's most successful export -- coal-fired electricity technology.

The NGF represents 95 per cent of all the major generators in Australia -- a sector which is 80 per cent powered by coal and which will receive almost $4 billion compo when emissions trading begins.

So, where is the hard data supporting claims by the NGF that emissions trading will render power generators uneconomic? It is in a confidential report commissioned from consultants Charles River Associates, delivered to the government and not released publicly.

What a rort. Why should the economy give up $4 billion of its revenue on blind faith? Outside of the industry and the government, no one has been allowed to do due diligence on the power generators' claims.

Sorry, not good enough.

In other countries where governments pour financial benefits into the coffers of selected businesses without allowing public scrutiny, it's called corruption.

Now, the proposed MRET (mandatory renewable energy target) will require 20 per cent of electricity generation to come from clean energy by 2020.

But when monetised over the same time-frame as the coal bail-out, the MRET delivers less than half of that at around $1.6 billion of incentives.

MRET's critics say it will distort the market and should be dumped.

Following that logic, it can be argued that the $4 billion to rescue coal power will warp the market, too.

Which just makes the government's claim that it doesn't pick winners look more than a little insincere.

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