Monday, October 05, 2009

Say "NO" to an ETS

I was recently asked to explicate my support for the Liberal Party. As always my response was both fluid and spontaneous, describing the party as the foremost political force that, least historically though hardly perfectly, best upholds conservative ideology and Judeo-Christian values that are, for the most part, consistent with my own. Furthermore, I added, Liberals, though perhaps not all, believe in economic liberalism where the role of markets and competitive forces alike, are left to dictate the strength of the economy and the state merely provides the framework in which markets can operate effectively with minimal interference, pertaining or conforming to the principles or practices of laissez faire.

In relation to this last sentence, consider if you will, how an emissions trading scheme runs completely contrary to what the party purportedly stands for. Not least, the Government model proposes to harm the industries in which we have our greatest comparative advantage. Politician’s need ask why we are one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide per head of population? Think coal fired power stations, the mining, and export of coal and minerals. Moreover, I have not even touched on anything about minimizing the regulatory burden on Australian business, which, last I read, forms part of the party federal platform. I also expressed regret that the ETS discussion has not sufficiently included debate in a manner consistent with the platform as opposed to just, ‘denier’s vs. believer’s ideology.

Also disappointing is how Malcolm Turnbull has allowed himself to be lured into the wrong debate, that of accepting the proposed ETS but simply adding amendments in preference to exploring new lines of discourse even if, and I say this unwillingly, based on the notion that carbon is causing the problem. Those who have visited this blog in the past will know that I do not subscribe to anthropogenic contention.

Let us be perfectly clear, based on the present flawed community consensus, if the party resolves to do nothing it is going to pay a heavy price at the polls. However, I firmly believe that consensus will in time shift for at least a couple of reasons:

  • Copenhagen shall not deliver anything other than a new date for a follow up talkfest
  • We will witness an increase in anti-consensus publications and Media/film releases and
  • Climate models gross disagreement with observations & the discrepancy (something that is becoming more evident with each passing year) will in due course garner greater attention and scrutiny of global warming adherents

I expect that the October 18 release of “Not evil just wrong” will serve to alter the playing field whereby robust, and cogent examination will filter through to mainstream 24/7 news/opinion cycles thereby diluting the lefts hold on the debate. Those that have already seen the film have written, “Not evil just wrong” will do for the AGW/Carbon caused/Al-Gore/Kevin Rudd/Penny Wong case, what Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 did for George W. Bush.

In the interim, that is ahead of Copenhagen and the consensus shift to which I refer, fear not the Double-D, for if Liberals fail to fall in line with Malcolm Turnbull then, with or without him, the party must begin crafting and structuring the debate with the purpose of contributing to viable policy options. At least provisionally, and in the interests of commonsense and effective PR, there is nothing wrong with exploring policies that seek to curtail greenhouse emissions without the tax/regulatory burdens of an ETS. They could for example, investigate some of the solutions recently proposed by a panel at the Copenhagen Consensus on Climate which opposes ETS in favour of technology based climate engineering solutions. I feel compelled to add, the expert panel included three (3) Nobel Laureates, which reviewed 21 research papers submitted by climate economists. See the 11 solutions proposed here - I am not advocating any of the solutions, what I am doing is highlighting alternatives to an ETS.

I honestly admire Malcolm Turnbull’s latest posturing, there are leadership qualities within, but the admiration stops well short of subscribing to his progressive views on climate change. At any rate, Malcolm’s recent bravado will finally bring the party’s climate change debate to the fore. I say to any Liberal still vacillating, consider the very recent (posted: October 01, 2009) words of Ross McKitrick, a professor of environmental economics at the University of Guelph, and coauthor of Taken By Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming:
I have been probing the arguments for global warming for well over a decade. In collaboration with a lot of excellent coauthors I have consistently found that when the layers get peeled back, what lies at the core is either flawed, misleading or simply non-existent. The surface temperature data is a contaminated mess with a significant warm bias, and as I have detailed elsewhere the IPCC fabricated evidence in its 2007 report to cover up the problem. Climate models are in gross disagreement with observations, and the discrepancy is growing with each passing year. The often-hyped claim that the modern climate has departed from natural variability depended on flawed statistical methods and low-quality data. The IPCC review process, of which I was a member last time, is nothing at all like what the public has been told: Conflicts of interest are endemic, critical evidence is systematically ignored and there are no effective checks and balances against bias or distortion.

I get exasperated with fellow academics, and others who ought to know better, who pile on to the supposed global warming consensus without bothering to investigate any of the glaring scientific discrepancies and procedural flaws. Over the coming few years, as the costs of global warming policies mount and the evidence of a crisis continues to collapse, perhaps it will become socially permissible for people to start thinking for themselves again.

Fascinating how the next party room meeting falls just 48 hours after the, “Not evil just wrong” premiere. Let’s hope that many party powerbrokers, MP’s, Senators and members alike, view the film ahead of the meeting, and who knows, it might just, for all intents and purposes loom as a de-facto leadership ballot.

Stay firm, say no to an ETS in all its forms and guises. Let us begin steering the debate away from those who seek to enhance the present social democratic project. Progressive policies that put Government at the coronary centre of the economy reveal the lefts way of centralizing power in the hands of a few who claim to know what is best for us; all of us!

You may also wish to read:
Climate Change: Modelling the Modelers and Novel Science

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A carbon tax is far cheaper and "effective" than an ETS. However the primary reasons for an ETS is to facilitate global emissions trading for profit and to have a international-standard carbon price.

Copenhagen will fail. The ETS will fail. Renewable energy will fail. Only biological or atomic energy can succeed.

I would point you to ITER, the international nuclear fusion research reactor being built in France. In 2018 it may well prove commerical-scale clean, abundant, cheap energy.

If the signatories to ITER (PRC, EU, USA, Russia, India, Japan, Korea) succeed by say 2050 with building these plants they'll no longer need our coal or gas.

It's best we prepare for this "perfect" carbon sequestration now (i.e. leaving it in the ground).