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Australian Carbon Price Deceit

australia-coalWhen more GHG pollution means less 

Top climate scientists around the World are saying that to have a high probability of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise the World must stop greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by about 2050.  However in Australia, a world leader in annual par capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution and in fossil fuel exports, there is an unspoken agreement between the major parties (the Liberal-National Party Coalition Opposition and the Labor Party Government, aka the Lib-Labs) that Australia will keep burning and exporting fossil fuels until the World makes it stop.

At huge expense to Australian taxpayers the pro-coal, pro-gas, anti-environment Australian Labor Government is posting out to all Australian householders a 20 page booklet called “What a carbon price means for you. The pathway to a clean energy future” (for free download here) and which dishonestly claims that the Gillard Labor Government is “tackling climate change”.  Australian taxpayers should be enraged that they are having to pay for being lied to by omission and commission and that their children are being lied to in a process of massive, nation-wide intellectual child abuse.

Before proceeding to systematically demolish these Australian Government lies, it is important to get the basic facts straight.

Australia is among the world leaders in annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution, coal exports and liquid natural gas (LNG) exports. Thus “annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tones CO2-equivalent per person per year” (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 54 if Australia’s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included).

Top UK climate scientists Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson (Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have recently estimated that only about 0.5 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming. Noting that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050, these estimates translate to a climate genocide involving deaths of about 10 billion people this century, this including 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims in a terminal Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. Australia is disproportionately complicit in worsening climate genocide (see “Climate Genocide”).  

Australia is world number 1 in coal exports and according to the Australian Government “Australia is a major exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with considerable potential for further development based on its abundant resources of natural gas. Australia is the third largest LNG exporter in the Asia-Pacific region and the fourth largest LNG exporter in the world, exporting 17.9 million tones in 2009-10 with a value of around $7.8 billion” (see Australian Government, Department of Energy , Resources and Tourism, “Australian liquefied natural gas”, 2010).

Politically Australia is dominated (18 July 2011 primary vote in parenthesis) by the Liberal-National Party Coalition Opposition (51%), the Australian Labor Party Government (26%) and the Greens (11%) (See “Latest Nielsen Poll”, Nielson, 18 July 2011). The Gillard Labor Government (elected in November 20101) is a Minority  Government that rules with the support of 1 Greens MPs and 3 Independents and the next elections are due in 2013.

The Coalition greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution policy is essentially the SAME as that of the Labor Government, specifically “5% off 2000 Domestic GHG pollution by 2020” coupled with unconstrained, unlimited, burgeoning, world-leading  coal and liquid natural gas (LNG) Exports. The Coalition has a Direct Action Plan (energy efficiency, incentives for cleaner energy, re-afforestation, and biochar) but must be criticized for doing too little. However it can potentially do a lot more.

In contrast, .the Labor Government has proposed a Carbon Tax-ETS-Ignore Agriculture (CTETSIA) plan involving an indirect, selectively market-based plan to achieve a decrease in GHG pollution. Labor‘s CTETSIA plan entrenches climate change inaction while dishonestly pretending to do otherwise. Thus Labor’s CTETSIA plan will:  promote a disastrous coal to gas transition (that will double power sector-derived GHG pollution because methane leaks at about 3.3% and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a GHG on a 20 year timeframe with aerosol impacts included; see “Planned coal to gas transition will DOUBLE Australian electric power greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution”, Bellaciao, 15 May 2011); scupper science-demanded 100% renewable energy by 2020; institute an empirically ineffective, disastrously counterproductive and utterly fraudulent Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS); and ignore agriculture (yet World Bank experts have recently determined that GHG pollution is 50% bigger than hitherto thought and that livestock alone contribute over 51% 9f the bigger figure; see Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?” World Watch, November/December 2009).

The big functional difference between the Libs and the Labs is that while the Libs can potentially ramp up their Direct Action plan for “5% off 2000 by 2020” , Treasury analysis released by Treasurer Wayne Swan and Climate Minister Greg Combet several weeks ago (“Strong Growth, Low Pollution. Modelling a Carbon Price”) reveals that Labor will certainly NOT achieve “5% off 2000 by 2020” - in 2020 Australia’s annual Domestic GHG pollution will be 679 Mt CO2-e (Business As Usual) or 621 Mt CO2-e (with a Carbon Price) and can only attain the promised “5% off 2000 level by 2020” value of 466 Mt CO2-e by the artifice of purchasing 155 Mt CO2-e of Internationally-sourced abatement credits.

Treasury, ABARE and US EIA data show that Australia will almost DOUBLE its annual Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution in 2020 relative to that in 2000 (1,012 Mt CO2-e pa) to 1,803 Mt CO2-e pa (with a Carbon Price) or 1,861 Mt CO2-e pa (without a Carbon Price).

It gets even worse. In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 Gt CO2 between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050. Unfortunately Australia (through disproportionately huge annual fossil fuel burning and exports) and Belize (through disproportionately huge annual deforestation) have already used up their “share” of this terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) budget - and are now stealing the entitlement of other countries.

According to the Climate Commission’s report “The Critical Decade”, launched by PM Julia Gillard a month or so ago for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degree C temperature rise (EU and Australian policy) the World must emit no more than 1 trillion tones of CO2 (1,000 Gt CO2) between 2010 and zero emissions in about 2050. One can readily calculate that Australia’s “fair share” of this terminal carbon pollution budget is 2,750 Mt CO2.

In 2009 Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG in Mt CO2-e totaled 600 (Domestic) + 31 (LNG) + 784 (coal) = 1,415 Mt CO2-e per year. Accordingly , at this rate of GHG pollution Australia will have 2,750 t CO2 / 1,425 t CO2-e per year = 1.9 years left before ti uses up its “share” of the terminal global GHG pollution “budget” i.e. Australia must get to zero GHG pollution by mid-2012 or roughly when pro-coal, pro-gas Labor introduces its fraudulent dishonest and ineffective Carbon Tax-ETS scheme.

However in 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 Gt CO2 between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050. Unfortunately Australia (through disproportionately huge annual fossil fuel burning and exports) and Belize (through disproportionately huge annual deforestation) have by August 2011 ALREADY used up their “share” of this terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) budget.

Look-the-other-way, climate criminal Australia simply does not want to know – it wants to exploit and indeed expand exploitation of its huge coal and natural gas reserves until the World makes it stop.

With this background, one can now analyze the lies of commission and commission of the Australian Government’s 20-page document “What a carbon price means for you”.  

1. “Clean energy future” (pages 1, 2, 3, 5, 11, 19, 20 and as a footnote or heading on all odd-numbered pages) - in reality the CTETSIA plan will not even deliver a clean-er energy future. Thus Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution was 1,012 Mt CO2-e (2000 under the Coalition), and 1,415 Mt CO2-e (in 2009 under Labor) but is predicted to be 1,803 Mt CO2-e in 2020 under the CTETSIA Plan according to Treasury modeling. More means less? Dirty means clean? Dirtier means cleaner?

2. “The carbon price package will ensure that by the end of the decade Australia will cut 160 million tones of pollution from the atmosphere each year” (pages 3, 6) – in reality, according to Treasury modeling, in 2020 Australia’s annual Domestic GHG pollution will be 679 Mt CO2-e (Business As Usual) or 621 Mt CO2-e (with a Carbon Price) and can only attain the promised “5% off 2000 level by 2020” value of 466 Mt CO2-e by the artifice of purchasing 155 Mt CO2-e of Internationally-sourced abatement credits. This assertion of “160 million tones of pollution” saved each year is scientifically illiterate, false and a profound deception.

3. “Putting a price on carbon is a big change for Australia – but it will help protect the economy, environment and future generations” (p3) – but not according to the Treasury , ABARE and the UDS EIA data which say that under this Plan Australia in 2020 will DOUBLE its Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution relative to that in 2000. More is less? Dirtier is cleaner?

4. “Why is Australia cutting its carbon pollution?” (p4) – it is not as explained above.

5. “We produce significantly more pollution per person than India and China” (p5) – this is dishonest understatement. Australia’s annual per capita GHG pollution in 2009 was 1,415 Mt CO2-e CO2-e/22 million people = 64.3 tones CO2-e per person per year i.e. 64.3/2.2 = 29.2 times more than India (2.2) and 64.3/5.5 = 11.7 more than China (5.5). The genocidal, racist first PM of Australia Edmund Barton stated in 1901 that “The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of an Englishman and the Chinaman”. In 1947 the racist former Labor leader Arthur Calwell notoriously stated that “Two Wongs don’t make a White”. However politically correct racist (PC racist) Labor today says that 11 Chinese aren’t equivalent to 1 White Australian when it comes to per capita GHG pollution of the one common atmosphere of the world.

6. “Australia’s carbon pollution is high because …” (p5) – the explanation completely ignores Australia’s huge exported GHG pollution that (in Mt CO2-e) was 522/1,102 = 47.4% of the total in 2000, and 815/1,415 = 57.6% of the total in 2009 and is predicted to be 1,182/1,803 = 65.6% of the total in 2020. An immense lying by omission.

7. “The Australian Government has a comprehensive plan to build a clean energy future ..” (p5) – but in detailing the plan no mention is made of Australia’s huge and expanding Exported GHG pollution (see point #6 above) or the $12 billion in annual subsidies for fossil fuel burning in Australia (see ACF, “Australia spends $11 billion more on encouraging pollution than on cleaning it up”, 1 March 2011). If the Gillard Labor were serious about “tackling climate change” it would immediately cancel fossil fuel export licenses and cease subsidies for fossil fuel – but of course it won’t because, as the Australian Treasury analysis reveals, it has no intention of “tackling climate change”.

8. “The Government has set a further target of cutting pollution to 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050” (p5) – yet this assertion ignores the enormous growth in Exported GHG pollution from coal exports (growing at 2.6% yearly) and LNG exports (growing at 9% yearly) (see ABARE estimations: Australian energy, National and state projections to 2029-30, ABARE Research Report 06.26). Further, the Australian Government has lied about cutting GHG pollution by 2020 – in fact Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution will DOUBLE in 2020 relative to that in 2000. Quadruple by 2040?

9. “Experts say the Government’s plan to move to a clean energy future will: - significantly cut pollution” (p6) – but not according to the data from the Treasury , ABARE and the UDS EIA experts which say that under this Plan Australia in 2020 will DOUBLE its Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution relative to that in 2000. More is less? Dirtier is cleaner?

10. “A carbon price is the cheapest and most effective way to cut pollution. Economic experts around the world recognize that putting a price on carbon is the most environmentally  effective and cheapest way to cut pollution” (p6) - but not according to the data from the Treasury , ABARE and the US EIA experts which say that under this Plan Australia in 2020 will DOUBLE its Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution relative to that in 2000. More is less? Dirtier is cleaner? Further, top climate scientists and economists have slammed the ETS as empirically ineffective, disastrously counterproductive and utterly fraudulent Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

11. “The initial price for these permits will be $23 per tone” (p7) – per tone carbon one supposes was meant in this scientifically illiterate document.   However what will be the concrete outcome of this carbon price in terms of GHG pollution? As outlined above, according  to the Treasury modeling the Plan will simply DOUBLE Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution (a bad outcome). According to the Labor Government the carbon price will promote a shift from coal burning to gas burning for electricity. However in Australia a coal to gas transition will double power sector-derived GHG pollution because methane leaks at about 3.3% and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a GHG on a 20 year timeframe with aerosol impacts included (a bad outcome). According to Beyond Zero Emissions a carbon price of about $70 per tone carbon is required to promote wind energy and circa $200 per tone carbon is required to promote uptake of concentrated  solar thermal energy i.e. the $23 per tone carbon will scupper 100% renewable energy by 2020 and promote a counterproductive coal to gas transition (a bad outcome).

12. “The economy will continue to grow as Australia embraces a clean energy future” (p7) – however the carbon pollution  intensity of the economy will also grow with a shift from coal to the even more GHG-polluting gas (see point #11 above) and as GHG pollution from fossil fuel exports increase as a percentage of total GHG pollution from 47.4% (2000) and 57.6% (2009) to 65.6% (2020) (see point #6 above).

13. “Treasury modeling estimates that under a carbon price average incomes grow strongly” (p7) – but so too does Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution from  1,102 Mt CO2-e (2000) and 1,415 Mt CO2-e (2009) to 1,803 Mt CO2-e (2020).

14. “The carbon price will be paid by around 500 of Australia’s largest polluters” (p8) – this is an admission of profound dishonesty and offensive discrimination by the anti-science Australian Labor Government which proposes  selectively taxing particular industries while ignoring Australia’s huge  GHG pollution from deforestation, livestock production and fossil fuel exports.

15. “Millions of households will be better off” (p9) and  “Tax cuts for millions of people” (p11) – half of  “What a carbon price means for you” is devoted to shameless and dishonest  appeal to the pecuniary greed of ordinary Australians. However what the document does not reveal  is that the government will be giving with one hand and taking with the other. The revenue is expected to be $8 -$9 billion pa to 2014-2015 and fuel tax savings when implemented will save $0.6 billion pa. Household assistance will cost $4-$5 billion pa and industry assistance will cost about $3 billion pa. However a further $1 billion pa is required from general taxation-derived revenue to pay for the package. Out of this about $2 billion will go to fund renewable energy (for a detailed analysis see “Australia’s outrageously deficient carbon tax entrenches climate change inaction”, Green Blog, 12 July 2011).The document ignores $12 billion per year Government subsidies for fossil fuel burning that will largely remain untouched and ignores the huge cost to ordinary Australians (especially the young) from climate change inaction entrenched by the Labor Governments plan.

16. “People with essential equipment needs [will be helped] ” (p15) – this ignores the horrendous human cost of carbon burning in Australia.  How many Australians die each year from the effects of pollutants from vehicles, coal burning for electricity and other carbon burning? Answer: about 2,200, 4,600 and 2,800, respectively. At a "value of a statistical life" (VOSL) of $7.6 million per person  ($73 billion pa for Australian carbon burning-related deaths) and $9 billion pa in fossil fuel subsidies, the minimum Carbon Price to cover carbon burning-derived deaths and carbon burning subsidies is $554 per tone of carbon as compared to the best political offer yet of $20 per tone of carbon (see “” Australian carbon-burning –related deaths and carbon burning subsidies => minimum carbon price of $544 per tone carbon”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group).

17. Completely missing from this profoundly flawed and dishonest  document is any mention of: population (set to double in 20 years in the State of Victoria according to the Victorian State Labor Government’s 2010 White Paper); gas ( yet a coal to gas transition favored by the Labor Government will effectively DOUBLE electricity sector GHG pollution);  fossil fuel exports ( the GHG pollution from fossil fuel exports is currently over 58% of total GHG pollution); existing reverse carbon taxes ($12 billion per annum in subsidies for fossil fuel burning  i.e. taxes on taxpayers on behalf of polluters); Australian deaths from fossil fuel and carbon burning (an estimated about 10,000 such deaths per annum); worsening  climate genocide (10 billion people to die this century due to unaddressed , man-made climate change with Australia disproportionately complicit); and how Australia has ALREADY used up its “fair share” of the terminal 600 Gt CO2 global GHG pollution budget between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050.   

Conclusions.

This is a profoundly dishonest, counterproductive and damaging proposal that fails to seriously tackle man-made climate change and indeed entrenches climate change inaction in disproportionately polluting, climate criminal Australia. Labor’s Carbon Tax-ETS-Ignore Agriculture (CTETSIA) plan entrenches climate change inaction while dishonestly  pretending to do otherwise. Thus Labor’s CTETSIA plan will:  promote a disastrous coal to gas transition (that will double power sector-derived GHG pollution because methane leaks at about 3.3% and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a GHG on a 20 year timeframe with aerosol impacts included); scupper science-demanded 100% renewable energy by 2020; institute an empirically ineffective, disastrously counterproductive and utterly fraudulent Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS); and ignore agriculture (yet World Bank experts have recently determined that GHG pollution is 50% bigger than hitherto thought and that livestock production alone contributes over 51% of the bigger figure).

The Coalition greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution policy is essentially the SAME as that of the Labor Government, specifically “5% off 2000 Domestic GHG pollution by 2020” coupled with unconstrained, unlimited, burgeoning, world-leading  coal and liquid natural gas (LNG) Exports. In contrast to the Labor Government, the Liberal Party-National Party Coalition Opposition has a Direct Action Plan that involves Government savings-funded action involving  re-afforestation, biochar and lower emissions technology and costing about $1 billion pa to achieve the same derisory “5% of 2000 GHG by 2020” goal of the Labor Government . The Coalition proposal has the benefits that it does not damage Australian industry and does not entrench climate change inaction (the Coalition scheme can be readily ramped up if needed – and of course, massive ramping up is needed).

The Australian Labor Government’s 20 page booklet called “What a carbon price means for you. The pathway to a clean energy future” dishonestly claims that the Gillard Labor Government is “tackling climate change” whereas the opposite is patently true  Treasury analysis  of the Labor CTETSIA plan reveals that the pro-oil, pro-coal, pro-gas, pro-war, anti-environment and anti-science Australian Labor Government has no intention of ‘”tackling climate change” while  dishonestly  pretending otherwise. The taxpayer-funded document is being sent to all households in Australia but has a major lie of omission or commission on nearly every page.  Australian taxpayers should be enraged over their  having to pay for being lied to by omission and commission and over their children being lied to in a process of massive, nation-wide, taxpayer-funded intellectual child abuse.

While anti-environment, anti-science, neocon Australian Lib-Labs (Liberal –National Party Coalition Opposition and Labor Party Government) are committed to fossil fuel burning and fossil fuel exports, the rest of the world must act promptly to stop this climate criminality by Sanctions, Boycotts, Green Tariffs, Sporting  Boycotts (including Olympic and cricket and football World Cup exclusions), International Court of Justice litigations and International Criminal Court prosecutions. The World must stop the Australian climate criminals who are threatening both Australia and the World.


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