Emissions Policy

BNC million hits approaches

Those who follow BraveNewClimate (BNC) regularly will know that I ran a competition a while back to see who could guess when the page views would pass the 1,000,000 mark. A few people prognosticated prior to the cut-off hit count (970K), and soon (late Sunday or early Monday I suspect), the winner will be revealed. Here are some recent blog stats, as reported by WordPress:

(the green highlight is just the day with the most hits during that tabled period).

With the help of the Environment Institute folks (Mike Seyfang, Adriana Russo, Scott Mills, Mike Young) we’re also preparing a short accompanying video on the 1 million hits — stay tuned.

The big political story in the Australian news right now is a carbon price. A tax, an emissions trading system, whatever the method, this is hot politics. I note that PM Gillard is giving a talk at the University of Adelaide today that is virtually certain to cover this topic. According to the commentariat, the impact will be somewhere between a relatively benign mechanism to guide economic policy planning (listen to this too), right through to an unmitigated, depression-inducing disaster! Yeah, whatever …  here is a 5 minute audio recording of my soapbox opinion on the matter:

Carbon price is essential, but not enough

Incidentally, you can list to all my audioboos, on climate and energy, here. There are now 16 available, all <5 minutes long.

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

75 replies on “BNC million hits approaches”

Barry said

an unmitigated, depression-inducing disaster! Yeah, whatever …

How strange that Barry should make the comment “Yeah, whatever …” about the economic consequences of applying a carbon price high enough to achieve Australia’s target of cutting emissions by 160 Mt/a by 2020, but Barry does not see fit to make such a statement when he talks about the “unmitigated disaster” that he would have us believe CAGW would be if Australia does not commit to a carbon price now – i.e. before the main emitting countries have agree a mechanism for pricing carbon. What hype is that? Where is the objectivity?

Its also revealing that Barry has not been prepared to engage in the discussion on the “Alternative to Carbon Pricing” thread here: and has not been prepared to respond to questions such as these:

Barry (and anyone else that wants to provide sensible, considered comments), I have a few questions:

1. How high will the carbon price have to go to achieve the 2020 emissions targets (5% below 2000 emissions levels, which amounts to a cut of 160 Mt/a)?

2. What would be the effect on the economy?

3. Where will the emissions cuts come from (e.g. 12 Mt/a from replacing Hazelwood Power Stations with combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and wind power from the total cuts required of 160 Mt/a to achieve the 2020 target)?

4. By how much would world emissions be cut if Australia achieved the 2020 targets?

5. By how much would this change the climate?

6. Would our trajectory of emissions cuts (and other benefits to society) be better served (i.e. deeper emissions cuts attained by 2030 and beyond) by taking the policy decision to remove the impediments to low-cost nuclear now, so we can rollout nuclear earlier, faster and cheaper?

7. Should all potentially viable alternatives be analysed, in a proper option analysis, before deciding on and committing to a policy and legislation?

These are intended to be sensible, responsible questions, not intended to be rhetorical. I suggest, and I presume you would agree, it would be negligent to support carbon pricing if you cannot answer these questions quantitatively.


Peter Lang, in case you missed it Barry mentioned that you are now on his ‘ignore list’:

Based on that comment made over a week ago, I think he is sick of your insulting tirades, as the rest of us are. So I wouldn’t expect a response from him anytime soon. Has he responded to you since making that comment? Not that I could see.

Face it mate, you’ve alienated everyone and are left shouting to an empty hall. Enjoy the echo, or better still, go away and rant elsewhere.


I must admit the PM has gone up in my estimation. Her phrase ‘it’s the right thing to do’ resonates well unlike the boofheaded expression ‘great big new tax’. I doubt she will say anything new at the AU speech (I’d give her another week to allow for jet lag) and perhaps will appeal once again to the gods of the wind and the sun. Still it’s all progress.

Perhaps this thread will be a place where people can carefully and systematically make the case for carbon pricing without being shouted down.


Peter Lang’s last three comments have been deleted. His ‘Alternative to Carbon Pricing’ thread will be locked from further comments. He is now formally banned from commenting on BNC for the next 6 months, until he cools off (or forever, if he choses to leave, which he probably will).

It is a shame it has come to this, but he had a good run here, but in the end, this is my site, and his tirades and constant questioning of people’s motivations and political inclinations are NOT acceptable behaviour. Indeed, they have become increasingly damaging to the integrity and readability of the blog. I suggest he starts up his own website, where he’ll be let loose to blow whatever trumpet he wants, free of of any of the ‘shackles’ of moderation. His guest posts (listed here) will stand as his final testament.


Barry, let me say that in the short time I’ve been reading & commenting on BNC, I’ve been amazed at your patience and tolerance…
And I second your comment re JN’s comment. Careful & systematic analysis is something that seems to be all too rare in the policy field.

It’ll certainly be an interesting ride to see how Labor & The Greens sell the carbon price. I think first will need to come a bit of educating of the populace on exactly what this global warming thing is all about.


1. Barry, congratulations on 1 million hits and the audioboo! What a funny name for what is basically the start of a very cool podcast. Great to see your name just pop up in iTunes — even if it looks a little funny. “Barry Brook’s Boo!” Good stuff — all your audio in one easy to grab place. Is it a free service?

2. Thanks for closing the Carbon pricing thread — I was stuck in a downward cycle of trying to debate Peter Lang and the temptation to … well, you know how I get. Sorry.

3. The main thing I was trying to ask Peter was why he was scared to death of an easily *reversible* carbon tax, yet just scoffed at the peer-reviewed work into the inevitable and *permanent* geology of peak oil and gas? As you know, I’m neither here nor there on the Carbon Tax, and just think the whole thing is a bit silly if we’re going to ban the only scalable solution.

4. Getting back on topic, what’s the latest on GenIV reactors? What are the latest moves to fast-track them?

Cheers, and thanks for all your work on top of what must be a pretty busy career schedule as well.


EN: Yep, Audioboo is a free service. I use it because it makes things very easy (I can use my iPhone as my mic and auto-uploader), and it links smoothly with iTunes.

For tidiness, do you mind if I delete the last half dozen posts from PL and you in that thread, and then re-seal the tomb doors?

Lots more on Gen IV reactors and international action coming up on BNC. Meanwhile, make sure you read this:


///For tidiness, do you mind if I delete the last half dozen posts from PL and you in that thread, and then re-seal the tomb doors?///
Go for it — I wasn’t happy with my writing there any way.

Personally I’d love BNC articles to come through Audioboo as an audio version as well. For visuals you could say something like “The graph illustrates this, see it in the XYZ post…”

At the end of each podcast you could say something like, “If you wish to discuss this podcast please visit us at xyz post where you can join the discussion”.


I used to think that a carbon tax was a preferable alternative to that abomination,the CPRS.
Now I think that a carbon tax in the hands of the current government is an equal abomination.
This is because there is no willingness to take positive action to significantly reduce carbon pollution in any of the major parties,including the Greens. This tax,like carbon trading,is just playing around with ineffective financial incentives or disincentives.The clever operators will either avioid it or make even more money out of it.That scam,carbon trading is apparently planned for a few years hence.

Meanwhile the citizenry will be lumbered with increased costs virtually across the board,all for nothing.

A recent example of this government atitude is a statement by Greg Combet,The Minister For Coal Mines,oops,sorry,For Climate Change,that the coal industry will be looked after in a carbon tax regime.

This an appalling policy given that coal is responsible for in excess of 50% of carbon emissions let alone all the the other pollution and damage it causes.

I have absolutely no time for the vast majority of Australian politicians,Federal and State.I think they and the people who bankroll them are an unmitigated disaster for this country and not only in regard to climate change.


You were next on my list Peter Lalor, and now, after a similar duration of tolerance on my behalf, you are banned too. It you care about the reason, it’s for the same basic and immutable flaw — your modus operandi is to speculate on, and attack, people’s character and motivations — as judged by your peculiar, nay delusional, standards. This is not acceptable behaviour.

So, I may was well make it a job lot, and the million threshold is as good a time as any to do it. Oh, and if any other wacko crank or character assassin wants to rear their ugly head at this point and remind me to ban them too, then please do oblige me.


Whilst I’m at it, here is a reminder to everyone of the long-standing BNC commenting rules. If you don’t like it and don’t want to follow these protocols, then go elsewhere or restrict your activities to lurking. My tolerance for intolerance and ideological tirades has been eroded to the bone and a line is the sand is drawn.

Comments Policy — I welcome comments, posts, suggestions and informed debate, from a wide range of perspectives. However, personal attacks, insulting/vulgar posts, or repetitious/false tirades will not be tolerated and can result in moderation or banning. Trolls will be warned, and then disemvowelled.

Civility – Clear-minded criticism is welcomed, but play the ball and not the person. Rudeness will not be tolerated. This includes speculation about motives or what ‘sort of person’ someone is. Civility, gentle humour and staying on topic are superior debating tools.

Relevance – Please maintain focus on the topic at hand. Do not attempt to solve big problems in a single comment, or to offer as fact what are simply opinions about complex matters.


@ Peter Lalor,
///Or the prevailing BNC belief that swapping the electric plug out of coal-fired into nuclear suffices in the face of AGW.///

At least this is one area where I’d AGREE with Peter Lang! PL, do you actually stand for anything coherent? Where’s your blog where your beliefs are actually spelt out? You just seem to lurk on the sidelines, occasionally firing off the odd cheap shot, and remaining rather incomprensible throughout.

////However the thin-skinned banning of him by Brook is astonishing.////
This just illustrates to me what a paranoid, frightening universe you choose to inhabit. As one who has occasionally lost his temper on this forum, I can only agree with Bern above when he says of Barry:

////I’ve been amazed at your patience and tolerance…////


Lang was given a long rein by Barry for a long time and it was only when his comments broke the commenting rules on this blog – which we all have to keep to – that his last utterances were deleted and he was finally banned. Seems fair to me.


Politics aside,

My guess of 18 March isn’t looking so good! It was a complete stab in the dark though, so I didn’t do too badly ;)


Very sorry to see it come to this re Peter Lang, but some cooling of at this stage seems like the sensible course.

For any who have recently started reading BNC and found his economic focus offputting, I very highly commend your attention to Peter’s energy analyses, and his explanations, data and commentary on those topics, as in these guest posts:

Does wind power reduce carbon emissions?
Wind and carbon emissions – Peter Lang responds
Solar power realities – supply-demand, storage and costs
Solar realities and transmission costs – addendum
Emission cuts realities for electricity generation – costs and CO2 emissions
Pumped-hydro energy storage – cost estimates for a feasible system
Replacing Hazelwood coal-fired power station – Critique of Environment Victoria report
‘Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan’ – Critique

This is a significant corpus of work, and a valuable resource. Thank you Peter.


Well certainly no one can accuse Barry of not showing the patience of Job, but I am pleased to see that editorial control has been re-established here.

The topics covered on this site, by their very nature, evoke strong feelings, and challenge hardened opinions and thus emotions naturally run high. While one should not be afraid to state one’s case firmly, one should be prepared to realize that once you have made your point there is nothing to be gained by belabouring it. And there is certainly nothing to be gained by demanding that others provide the arguments to support your position, when you cannot.


This is an appropriate time to remind ourselves about the political fragility of the current Federal government.
They hold office at the pleasure of a few independent members most of whom are from rural areas and are ex members of the National Party.This suggests to me that they probably take a rather jaundiced view of machinations like a carbon tax although they will take their power to make or break the government seriously.

Whether they would bring down the government on this issue is unknown.However,I doubt if the commitment of the Labor party to action on climate change is so strong that they would risk a spell in opposition because of it.

I suspect that the likely result of this tax furure will be either (1) a castrato carbon tax or (2) deferral or (3) abandonment.

Maybe a bill to effect a rapid change from coal fired electricity generation to nuclear would be less divisive – just kidding.


Podargus I share your misgivings about the carbon tax which I fear will be designed to fail. For starters we were all led to believe that c.t. removed the problem of dodgy offsets, a controversial aspect of the ETS. Not so since Garnaut wants ‘carbon farming’ rewarded in any scheme. Instead of cutting primary emissions considerable effort will now go into seeking unverifiable offsets. This could turn out to be another form of rural pork barrelling like corn ethanol subsidies in the US.

Then as you point out Combet has assured his mates in the coal industry they have nothing to fear. Sounds like a strict diet where you get to eat pizza. However the likely exclusion of petrol means the burden must fall more heavily on coal if they are serious. Remember we export about 4 tonnes of black coal for every tonne we burn at home. It hasn’t taken long for coal users to plead for special treatment, for example steel makers. Expect TV stories from steelworkers’ families ‘why do they hate us?’.

On top of it all Windsor and even the PM seem to have this naive belief that renewables will displace coal. That probably means even more subsidies and mandates under the RET when carbon pricing was supposed to have made them unnecessary. Thus major emitters will probably be let off the hook and there is a starry eyed belief that simple solutions will fill the gap. While good in theory expect to be disappointed in carbon pricing.


1. Re carbon tax, proposed as a step towards a carbon market. If this results in a price being placed on the damage which carbon does to the “commons” that economists so often overlook, then I am for it.

2. Re legislating pro nuclear and against coal, this is an impossible and irrational dream. Get the price to pollute right, get the compensation package right and get the import/export arrangements right and the rest should follow. This surely beats the extraordinary expenses of feed in tarriffs, subsidies and MRET’s which have been thrown at solar PV and similar.

3. I wonder why there has not been a so-called popular uprising against the market distortions and ripoffs associated with rooftop solar PV. This is nothing but a dead cost to most consumers and a ripoff by those who have been able to get in on the rort. Where is the political consistency?

4. Well done re certain contributors, Barry. It is extremely disappointing that it had to come to this point. My several jousts with one departed contributor reflected my very great appreciation of his researched contributions and dislike of the personal stuff which we all became embroiled in from time to time.


All that and more John. As I said above, the Carbon Tax is easily reversible if the price of carbon starts to rise for other strange, inexplicable, unpredictable, mysterious events that our poor governments could not have possibly seen coming! ;-)

When peak oil hits Australian citizens will be screaming for the Carbon Tax to be repealed. But by then it will be too late.


If legislating nuclear over coal is an impossible dream, it escapes me how the same would not hold true of a “price to pollute.” The latter would require legislation just as arduous as the former unless the tax were meaningless, a “castrato carbon tax.”

no market mechanism will get this done. i suppose this will become clear in 20 years.


As much as I regard the banning of posters as something that is undesirable there are times when this has to be used in order to protect the integrity of blogs. Barry has been a lot more patient than I would have been, and like others, I think he has used his discretion here with compelling cause.

It is rather sad in the case of Lang especially because when he stuck narrowly to a brief focused on the comparative analysis of energy systems, we did some excellent work. His work on firming wind in particular and on pumped hydro has been stuff I’ve returned to more than once and it definitely changed my views.

I’m tempted by the view that the justified praise we all heaped upion him invited him to think he could hector us all on matters quite distant from this work and his frustration when we didn’t all fall about cheering him became very evident. We all bring our own politics to this place and I’m amongst those who have quite strong views, but it is well for us all to recall that our principle aim here is to get the best fit available for meeting the long run aim of preserving the integrity of ecosystem services on which all humanity now and into the future depends. With that in mind, I believe we should be hesitant to stray far from such matters, whatever we happen to think about the wider context. We ought to respect our peers here, unless they give us compelling cause not to, regardless of their perceived political predispositions. In America and in Australia too now, we have seen a general coarsening of the political discourse in recent years in which things said arguably to be poor policy indicate the most heinous of motives and character in thos advancing them. On radio stations in Sydney and Melbourne, a Prime Minister (for whom I should disclose, I did not vote) can be treated with utter disrespect — her name turned into an epithet by a commentator. I’d like to see this blog remain above that kind of hectoring, however passionate we all feel.

Barry has brought reason to a discussion that does stir the passions and one can but commend him for troubling to do that in his discretionary time.

That said:

I do think we should be hesitant to call the ficed price period leading up to the ETS in 2015 a carbon tax. According to the High Court of Australia, a tax is a compulsory charge imposed by the government not in exchange for a service {my emphasis}. The right to dump effluent into the atmosphere and the biosphere more generally is clear a valuable service to those combusting hydrocarbons for one reason or another. Clearly, if they were compelled on a global scale to cease and desist immediately, that would be very costly as a matter of practice and greatly depreciate the value of the said hydrocarbons. A far smaller proportion of them would be economically viable to harvest, transport, and supply. The cost of that effluent is borne currently by the commons — which includes all people alive now and yet to be born. The governments of the world are in a sense, our trustees and the trustees of all humans to come. Nobody, dot even the opponents of mitigation deny this in principle for they insist that we ought not to leave a legacy of unfunded debt for future generations either .

Accordingly, dumping ought to be charged at siomething very much like the cost to the commons. Nuclear power is fully responsible for all of its waste and can account for it — but this attribute is simply not valued in a world in which the biosphere is deemed a midden for industry.

What is proposed therefore is most accurately described not a carbon tax but an effluent price or fee or charge which will eventually be transformed into a market-driven quota on dumping. That sounds fair to me.


Fran, I agree with what you say. And for the record, for those who might just drop in, Lang and Lalor were not banned for their political views (they were at polar ends of the spectrum, unless one subscribes to the theory that the political ideology is actually a circle, with the ends meeting up in an indistinguishable mishmash), nor were they banned because of their views on carbon prices, climate change or energy policy. They were banned because they repeatedly broke the commenting rules of common courtesy, most egregiously in terms of the etiquette of questioning the motives of other commenters and using this as an ad hominem means of attempting to undermine their arguments.

Henceforth, my policy on such matters will be more simple and clear cut. People violating the commenting rules will be warned (with reference to the rules), warning again for a second violation, and then banned on the third strike. I have no time or patience for such people any longer, and I’m sure the majority of readers and commenters on BNC have better things to do with their time than be attacked by faceless ideologues for simply expressing a view.


///especially when new underground gasification methods are considered — this is the potential monster lurking in the shadows.///

Yes — I’d love to see ASPO or the Energy Watch Group in Germany reappraise their controversial sound-bytes in light of UCG. This nasty invention has George Monbiot spooked.


UCG is on two threads! I guess Monbiot and others didn’t read about Cougar Energy
Basically you can’t do much with gas full of N2, CO2 and nasties like carbonyl sulphide COS. I predict UCG will go nowhere and they’ve been working on it for decades.

Note the similarities with granite geothermal. Even if you can get some nice gas or steam to emerge from the well head the problems only just begin. Down below there is little control over the underground passage ways. Up top the stuff that emerges may have serious problems, namely
HDR – not hot enough
UCG – full of fire retardant.


“What is proposed therefore is most accurately described not a carbon tax but an effluent price or fee or charge which will eventually be transformed into a market-driven quota on dumping”

At least then, let’s start with the truth.

We are not talking about carbon. We are talking about CO2.

How is CO2 a pollutant?

CO2 is your mother’s breath.

CO2 is what’s making greens
[If not “The Greens”] even greener.

Why, for the sake of dramatic, theatrical effect, are those of the strong warming persuasion so desperate to call CO2, carbon pollution?

Or effluent?

It seems to be a complete lack of understanding of what’s happening.

Like calling sceptics deniers.


@ drongo,
why not just quote Exxon’s “Carbon is life?” add while you’re at it? ;-)

Water is pure. Water can be your mother’s waters. (eewww). Water is in streams and rivers and the ocean. But as Queensland has shown, if you get too much of it at once you drown. I guess they are categorising it as a ‘pollutant’ because of the negative effects on the climate.

And how do we know what Co2 does?

Here’s a visual representation you’ll enjoy…
Check the candle demonstration which starts at 1 minute 30 seconds. The raw physics of climate can be demonstrated in labs all over the world. That’s why people like you are called Denialists! ;-)



So that experiment proves the effect of ACO2e on our climate?

Give me a break!

“I guess they are categorising it as a ‘pollutant’ because of the negative effects on the climate.”

That might be your logic but no one in their right mind calls heavy rain pollution and for the same reason they don’t call CO2 pollution.

To pollute: contaminate, infect, poison, befoul.

What evidence do you have for that?

Can you say for certain that it may not be the only way we billions will survive?


Here is an analogy you just might understand.(Hat tip to the late Stephen Schneider)
You have a sink with the plug removed. Pour water in at the same steady rate and the sink will never overflow. However, if you increase the rate and volume of the water entering the sink, the outlet is overwhelmed, the sink overflows and a flood ensues. Not a good outcome.
The same applies to increasing CO2 in the atmosphere – when the natural “sinks” of the planet e.g. oceans, forests etc. are overwhelmed and can no longer absorb the excess, imbalance occurs and unwanted consequences develop in the climate system of the Earth. Not a good outcome as we are already witnessing.


Pollution: the introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment (source: Random House Dictionary)

Given the harmful effects CO2 currently has as a driver of rapid climate change, “pollution” is a perfectly legitimate description for the act of dumping more of it into the atmosphere.


Certainly carbon dioxide is a necessary ingredient in our atmospheric skin.Too little and we would have a snowball Earth. Too much and we would be another Venus.

Seems like there is a Goldilocks factor here.Not too much,not too little but just right.

Also seems like some naked apes have been spiking Goldilocks’ drinks.

Just some homespun wisdom using the KISS principle. Please note I have mentioned no names and therefore I will be doing no pack drill.


spangled drongo:
“It seems to be a complete lack of understanding of what’s happening.”
No truer words were spoken!
However, I think that there are many (myself and about 97% of all climate scientists included) who think it applies the other way. Stating that CO2 cannot be harmful is demonstrating a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of climate science.
How fundamental? IIRC, I think it may have been Svante Arrhenius who first published on anthropogenic global warming – back in 1896. Although he thought it might be a good thing, making winters in his native Sweden a bit milder.

The thing is, like many substances present in the natural world, a little is a good thing, but too much is bad for us. In the case of CO2, ~300ppmv is good, it helps keep the earth about 30ºC warmer than it would otherwise be. But turn up the CO2, and you turn up the heat, and that’s not so good.

Anyway, if you want more on why CO2 is bad, try this Skeptical Science page:

The point of the pricing carbon, is to provide some means of regulating use of the commons (in this case, the atmosphere & indirectly the oceans) as a dumping ground for what is, essentially, a form of industrial waste.
Whether the current proposal by Labor & The Greens is a good way to go about it, that’s a thorny question (especially as they haven’t really said much more than that they’re going to do it).
I’m not a big fan of offsets, though, as I think the objective should be to drastically curtail carbon emissions as soon as possible. While being able to pay for offsets may increase costs for emitters and may provide rewards for early reducers, I think it perpetuates the mindset that you can just “pay a fine” and it’ll be all good.
Not being an economist, I have no idea what scheme would be best. I sometimes think a hard emissions cap, progressively reduced year by year, would be the best option. Or perhaps a hard deadline by which carbon emissions must stop. If you told the owners of every coal-fired power station in the country that they had to stop burning coal within 20 years, you can bet there’d be a scramble for alternatives… but then, maybe there wouldn’t. Maybe they’d just happily burn coal right up to the deadline, then just flick the switch and leave the country in the dark, while they waltzed off to the Cayman Islands with all the cash… (at least until the sea level rose! ;-)


@ Drongo,
I’m not going to try and defend climate science much longer with you because I’m not a scientist myself and I’d only be linking to what the climatologists and real experts say. But be warned. Barry is a bit of an expert in this field, and you’ll get a spanking soon if you keep up this silly trolling. This isn’t a loosely moderated site like “Online Opinion” was where science is wiped through the mud by ‘personal opinion’.

///To pollute: contaminate, infect, poison, befoul.
What evidence do you have for that?////

You can die of water poisoning. Did you know that?

Enough of these semantic games … Co2 isn’t poisoning us but is poisoning the climate. Who cares what we call this phenomenon? We know it is happening. So says every scientific institution on the planet.

Just pan down here and find me a dissenter please.


spangled drongo: thanks for that youtube link – I hadn’t seen that before either, it was a very intensive introduction to thorium reactors! :-D


Further to my earlier comment about fossil fuel companies happily burning oil, gas, & coal right up to the point they run out, I was amused to see this comment on Ars Technica:
The government is implementing the right solution, it’s simple: De-regulate carbon emissions because it doesn’t have any affect on the environment anyway.

Step 1: De-regulate emissions
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!
Step 4: Oh shi…


Depressing, isn’t it?

The next IPCC report isn’t due out for a couple of years, but it’s likely to contain a substantially more pessimistic outlook from the science than AR4 did.


I don’t read all the comments here so I’m left a bit perplexed at the banning of Peter Lang. He seemed to me to be far more sensible and informed than many others that comment. I especially appreciated the points he made about the importance of making nuclear cheap.

I don’t see the harm in questioning peoples motives but if it’s a violation of the rules around here I’ll try to avoid doing it.

My take on the Gillard carbon tax is that it is intolerable because of the following:-

1. It will turn into an ETS. An ETS is a shocking idea. Not just because of the economic impacts it will have on the energy markets (it will introduce a lot of volatility) but because of the rent seeking behaviour it will foster. It will be bad for energy politics. And CO2 is in any case a stock pollution not a flow pollution so a tax is much more sensible than an emissions trading scheme. Gillard should make her carbon tax a carbon tax and not a trojan ETS.

2. It is not revenue neutral. The government is promising (can they be trusted) that the tax will be budget neutral. However this still means it is economically destructive. If it was like the introduction of the GST where it primarily replaced or reduced other taxes then it would be more acceptable. Gillard should make it revenue neutral.

3. It is being introduced following a blatant lie to the Australian people at the last election. This is democratically intolerable and it should be opposed on these grounds alone. If Gillard is determined to introduce this then she should defer it until after the next election and use the time in between to make the case and sell it to the people.

I also think if we are going to have a carbon tax we should get rid of things like MRET and the subsides for solar etc. And we should end nuclear prohibition. These are pointless distortions to the energy market.


Peter Lang was NOT banned for his views on carbon taxes or any other technical/economic matter. He was banned for his repeated violation of the BNC commenting rules, ignoring warnings to cease and desist. I hope he comes back fresh and re-invigorated in 6 months time with lots of new material to contribute and a better respect for the seriousness with which I take comment my moderation policy.


TerjeP I agree on a couple of points; before long we’ll find CT = ETS with the inclusion of offsets and ‘free permits’. I agree that the MRET should be redundant since all low carbon energy sources should stand on their own merits. Evidently some want the RET beefed up with even more subsidies on top of the 20% quota.

As to Gillard’s ‘blatant lie’ that might be setting the bar too high for any politician. Polemicists argue that she was speaking for the ALP not knowing she would be forced into an ALP-Greens coalition. That’s all trivial in my opinion.

What is not trivial is further delays on carbon mitigation. Rudd was elected on a strong climate change platform nearly 4 years ago. Since then SFA has happened. Whether or not the ALP-Green alliance is there due to an arithmetic anomaly the fact remains a very substantial part of the electorate wanted carbon mitigation to happen yesterday. I think Gillard has a valid mandate and I hope she sticks to her guns.


John – that does not wash in my view. There was plenty of media speculation in the closing weeks of the election that the parliament could be hung and that any government that emerged may be a coalition including independents or greens. Accordingly Gillard was quite specific saying “no government I lead”.

Democracy depends on voters having some clue what they vote for. The Gillard government deserves to fall on the basis of her lie. Even if she reformed her tax to make it less obnoxious she should be kicked out for seriously subverting the democratic process. Plenty of us will be agitating hard for that outcome.


There was a rally in Treasury Place Melbourne, of 8000 supporters of a carbon tax.
There was a gathering of 400 people outside Gillard’s Melbourne electorate office who were against the tax.
Just goes to show that there are plenty of people who won’t be agitating for her removal.
Anyway – we are moving off topic and into politics again so I suggest we zip it.


Yeah, I was a bit sad to see Peter Lang banned as well but I guess rules are rules. I did notice today that he had a letter to the Australian printed which indicates to me that he’s out there trying to get his points across to the wider electorate and not just confining his arguments to all of the highly intelligent and articulate contributors to Barry’s blogs. I’d like to be assured that they [all contributors] are all doing more than just discussing the issues among themselves. I hope they are trying to educate the wider community as well. They’re the ones we have to convince about the necessity of including nuclear power in our future energy mix.


Million hits – not many data points. I forgot to watch the hit counter…..
12/3 07:35 BNC (Friday night for me) 998,860
12/3 17:44 BNC 1,000,144
13/3 05:45 BNC 1,005,941

From the first two, 1,000,000 came up at 16:36
From the last two , at 17:29. Since the hit rate has been accelerating hugely as concern about Fukushima grew, these are almost certainly early and late estimates respectively.

Under the circumstances, arguing about an hour either way seems in poor taste, so taking the worst case for me, I was 17.5 hours wrong with 14/3 10:00, and will concede to any guess back to 23:00 12/3

Back to important stuff……


Bah, messed up with the time zones / dateline in the last bit, anyone with a guess between 23:00 BNC time Fri 11th and my 10:00 BNC time, Sun 13th is a contender.


Haha, Finrod, I just came here to post the same thing. Forget April though – we’ll be there by this Sunday at this rate!


Congratulations Barry, moderator and all BNCers for making the blog so successful. I remember, not so long ago, how excited we all were to be reaching the one million mark and betting on the date and time that “magical” figure would be achieved. Good excuse to break out the champagne at the family dinner tonight!


Well done Barry and all the regular people here who provide so much useful discussion. I’m typically a lurker, only coming out of my rabbit hole occasionally, but I always enjoy the blog and pass on plenty of links to my friends and relations. Here’s to another million hits and beyond.


Congratulations and well done.

By the way, whatever happened to the accompanying video for the 1 million hits you referred to here? It was coming, then the world went mad (Fukushima style), and it never saw light apparently?


Thanks. And fair enough about not publicising it, given the circumstances.

Nice litte video though – I agree with everything Professor Young said.


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