"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

$600 Billion for Carbon Indulgences could be better spent!

The Gillard government plan to send $600 billion dollars of taxpayer's money overseas to buy paper carbon credits is criticised by Ziggy Switkowski in the Australian who says that the money could be better spent .
With the recent 7 billion dollar Carbon Credit fraud in the EU, buying overseas carbon credits makes as much sense as investing in a Ponzi scheme but it will probably wont deter the feckless fools in Canberra.

When it comes to greenhouse gases, Treasury modelling points to about a 1 per cent reduction in global emissions in 2050 arising from Australia's purchases of carbon credits on the international market at a cumulative cost of more than $600 billion (at constant 2011 dollars). These credits are foreshadowed to then offset about 45 per cent of our predicted national business-as-usual emissions at mid-century, about 430 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
When climate change was the greatest moral challenge of our times, committing to spending the equivalent of half of one year's gross domestic product to ensure a wealthy Australia contributed its fair share towards greenhouse gas mitigation by 2050 just might have been justifiable.

But there has been a loss of innocence about our climate convictions, sharp divisions in community attitudes have emerged and a gradual reordering of priorities is occurring.
There remain many globally significant issues demanding attention and financial resources. These include alleviating poverty, malnutrition and famine; confronting terrorism and crime; preventing wars; addressing illiteracy; educating girls and elevating the status of women; finding cures for simple but often fatal diseases and preparing for pandemics; restoring damaged habitats, especially waterways; caring for refugees; and so on.
If de-carbonisation of the economy has to happen Ziggy provides an economical solution which does not require donating billions to the Carbon Cosa Nostra which is already established overseas. 
Finally, for much less than $600bn Australia could have a national network of nuclear power stations to provide 100 per cent of our electricity needs safely and cost-effectively with near zero greenhouse gas emissions. There'd be money left over to build a central repository for spent fuel and other nuclear waste as well as to start an enrichment industry, and to buy and maintain nuclear submarines.
All our stationary energy emission targets would be easily met, and society and industry would have something to point to for their dollars. The intensity of the political debate and media commentary reflects an assumption that climate change is the headline issue of modern times. But is it, and how might all that effort and money be better allocated? I think that's a debate worth having.


  1. Thanks to Ziggy most logical argument of the crap out of Canberra for a number of years

  2. Redistribution of wealth, both within and between nations is a big part of the solutions of AGW. I am not surprised at all with this.