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A green letter day

Senator Brown says today is "a green letter day" that will "echo down through the ages".

"The great debate on this legislation is over," he said, vowing the legislation will never be rescinded despite threats by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to do so.

"People 50 years, or 500 years, from now will thank us for doing this.

"This is a vote for Australian householders, economic planners and ecologically sound business, as well as the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo, the Murray-Darling Basin and 700,000 property owners on our coastal margins."

Environmental crusader former US vice-president Al Gore said on his website "the voice of the people of Australia has rung out loud and clear".

He praised the efforts of Ms Gillard in shepherding the legislation through, saying "as the world's leading coal exporter, there's no doubt that opposition to this legislation was fierce".

It was a hard-fought battle with casualties on both sides. The passing of the carbon tax bill today is a victory for future generations and for the planet. The money raised will be used to fund alternative energy and new industries for Australia. We can all stand proud today.

Tony Abbott may threaten to rescind the new law – not sure the average voter will be too keen when they realise his plan will mean cuts to their pension, or an increase in tax for all taxpayers including small business.

Julia Gillard has seen a small lift in the polls this week, as voters see that the fear campaign run by the liberal party is based on lies. Expect to see that trend increase.


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Heads you lose tails I win

The case for alternative energy spending in Australia is worse than poor. It doesn't make any sense using any reasonable measurement.

At this time It isn't cost effective, not even close. It isn't profitable without massive tariffs, not even close. The worst part of all is of course the intangible cost it Will cause the nation. That could be massive both economically and socially.

Poor investors always use at least one of a limited amount of excuses for poor their investments. Alternative energy doesn't even bother with any of the excuses. It's not an investment at all - any more than a man paying for sex is investing in an attractive ladies career.

Calling it alternative energy investing is a perversion of the word investing. It's industry charity, pure and simple. Irrespective of the reason for that charity, it should be termed exactly what it is. Then at and only then should a case be made for it. That's being truthful.

The only possible investment case could be made about getting in on the ground floor. Such a case doesn't stack up under any scrutiny. There's simply no need to be in on the ground floor. All one need do is wait for the moment it does make economic sense, and then enter the market.

For example somebody somewhere acquired Apple stock at listing price (without involvement with the company). Obviously that person is more than laughing. Somebody somewhere also acquired that same stock at say fifty bucks. A company now with at least an established direction if not a trend. Along with an operating track record. Fifty buck guy is hardly crying tears blood.

The much higher probability is that the ground floor buyer was a market gambler, flipping the coin and winning, and the fifty buck buyer an investor, giving himself the chance of winning, whilst dramatically cutting back the risk.

I know which one out of these two I would prefer making the "investments".

Tony Abbot got it right

Quite agree, Paul, subsidising something when the economics don't make sense is just throwing away money

Though I hate to admit it, I think Tony Abbot got it right in channelling whatever taxes we raise into research into green energy technology. That way, rather than spending big on things that don't work, we're spending smartly on getting things to work.


BTW, what do you think of your name-sake Ron Paul?  

Well said, Paul Morrella

I would correct only one thing - Australia's biggest export industry is not mining - it's quarrying.

Taxing up and giving up

Australia is gifted with the resource industry, and doubtless many a nation has cast an envious eye over the years.

Some people are born with various natural abilities and talents. We call them gifted children or people. Unlike most people, their potential isn't limited and easily measured. The limit of potential is ultimately dependent on the gifted person.

Whilst some work on and persist with improving their particular skill, others are happy to coast on gifted skills, and neglect improving those skills. A small percentage are willing to go further and discard their gifted skills altogether, these people never come close to finding the true limit of their potential.

All people have their reasons for the decisions they make. We fortunately can ask people questions of their decisions. Asking a nation a question, unfortunately, isn't possible in this world.

If Australia did happen to be a gifted person, my question would be, what is it you are so afraid of, failure or success?

The Australian resource industry makes up the majority of Australian exports. The Australian resource industry is the industry rated most important by the world outside. The cold truth is that in the worlds eye, there's the resource industry, there's a big space, and then there's some other Australian industry.

The only Australian corporates that hold any real status are only to be found in the resource industry.

The importance of this industry to Australia should be self evident. This industry would in many nations elicit pride and gratitude, seemingly in Australia it causes feelings of shame, and is almost spoken about as curse. I just don't get it?

A serious Australia would use the resource rewards to invest in productive and income generating projects. An example could be capital projects and taxation reforms. It could be any number of things. It should however only be for the productive benefit of Australia today, and Australia in the future.

That most certainly rules out pie in the sky, and heavily subsidized cottage industries such as alternative energy. Such things will never be productive or wealth producing.

Australia would also use its resources to its advantage. A novel idea, I know. Australia is more than willing to talk about all its disadvantages. These disadvantages thrust upon it, and through no fault of its own, apparently are reasons for special consideration. Reasons it seems Australia can't and shouldn't ever try and make it to the top of the tree in any number of areas.

Australia is seemingly much less inclined to talk about its advantages.

Australia unlike most nations is blessed with an abundance of energy and commodities. That's a big advantage. It's an advantage Australia should be using for large gains against competitors. It should be considered a national disgrace that Asian business and consumers not only pay less, often dramatically less, than Australian business and consumers for things such as energy. Energy produced with the Australian resource.

I've rarely if ever noticed this mentioned. Certainly it can't be a worry. 

The above is basic and obvious. Australia would already be well aware of this. Australia is the gifted one, and Australia will ultimately decide how they use, if they use, that gift.

Perhaps all the above is tried, and Australia still fails. That means failure and all the painful self analysis that comes with it. That means change through progress.

Perhaps all the above is tried, and Australia succeeds. That means success and all the new attention and expectations that comes with it. That means change through progress.

Why would Australia or anyone for that matter be afraid of either success or failure? There's nothing to fear. The real fear is of the unknown. This fear is easily cured by attempting something.

The other option of course is to do nothing. Forget and discard any skills and take on something that doesn't have any expectations attached. An area you have no noticeable ability with. Something like wasting your time and money building alternative energy dreams. Without expectations one can't fail or succeed. There's no pain, there's no gain, and there's no change.

There's simply the chance to wander through life telling yourself and anyone who'll listen, what you'd like to believe.

Not a bad life for a lot of people, unless of course your biggest fear is the fear of never knowing the true limit of your potential

Australia could be a model for the world.

The Australian Greens have puts these issues at the front and center of the national policy debate. We have a government willing to enact carbon price legislation and an opposition that at least accepts the broad outlines of the crisis and its causes. But is it the best we can do? Not by a long way. Australia can punch above its weight on this issue, and not only because we are the largest per capita carbon emitter. Our continent covers a vast land mass and our territorial waters represent a significant and critical share of the world's oceans. Time and chance have made us custodians of a huge and significant piece of the planet. Our national temperament has created a peaceful and prosperous society here.We are, by any world yardstick, a rich society and a decent people. Right now, by some metrics, we are the richest people on the planet. Rich enough to expend some of that capital and decent enough to know it is the right thing to do, the right time to act. What we do here matters. What we do here could be a model for the world.

I have just finished listening to Geraldine Brooks' first Boyer Lecture on Radio National. Above is an extract from her lecture.

Brought tears to my eyes, filled with hope and points to the fact that Australians can be a model for the world.

Let's hope our political leaders find the time to listen to this wonderful series of lectures.

If we priced coal right, solar would be cheaper.

In fact, progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, “there’s now frequent talk of a ‘Moore’s law’ in solar energy,” with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.

This has already led to rapid growth in solar installations, but even more change may be just around the corner. If the downward trend continues — and if anything it seems to be accelerating — we’re just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.

And if we priced coal-fired power right, taking into account the huge health and other costs it imposes, it's likely that we would already have passed that tipping point.

A carbon tax will begin to price coal correctly. We should also remove all subsidies to the use of coal.

There is a good chance that the world will turn its back on coal in the near future. The government should not be investing in new infrastructure for the coal mining and export industry. They could all be white elephants in twenty years’ time.

Anticipating the Green light causes crashes

The Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) says: 

"Acting on climate change is not something that gets easier the longer it is left." 

John's quote proves exactly the opposite. If we had waited a couple of years before putting these white elephants on the roof, we would have saved a lot of money, both to build them, and now as local electricity companies pay through the nose under the buy-back scheme. And of course, China uses cheap coal fired energy to make them.

And as other have pointed out, the RIS assumes that the rest of the world adopts carbon pricing. Good luck!

Coal fired power stations

John Pratt, despite what Bob Brown says.

The facts on China are simple and irrefutable. It has a coal-fired system equal to more than 13 times our entire electricity generation. Between now and 2020, it is going to add between 400GW and 500GW to its existing 670GW of coal-fired power generation.

That’s its projections. And that’s net. So if they close, say, 200GW of really dirty old stations, they will be building 600GW to 700GW of new ones, all pumping out carbon dioxide …

Total power generation in Australia is about 50GW.

Household electricity prices could skyrocket by as much as $200 a year if Julia Gillard’s controversial carbon tax is introduced.

The increase would mean that the average family’s power bill, presently $1443 a year, would have gone up by $640, or a staggering 64 per cent in four years.

And all because … China is opening new coal plants at the rate of 2 a week. It just doesn’t add up

It's strange that Greg Combet or Penny Wong don't present these facts to the public.

Then of course we have India one of the most polluted and filthy places on earth, pumping out more coal pollution.

My business associates in China told me today that Australia are the laughing stock of Asia, and when unemployment starts to rise what are the Greens going to do.

The way the Greens talk clean alternative energy is just around the corner and will produce 1000s of new jobs, BULLSHIT.

China and India are way ahead of us.

Alan, a few things you failed to mention.

China is gaining speed as a world leader in the development of renewable energy.

China plans to build seven wind power bases with a minimum capacity of 10 gigawatts (gW) each by 2020, in a move to dramatically increase the use of the clean energy. Construction of these bases would require an investment of around 1 trillion yuan ($146.38 billion).In the solar sector, China plans to install a total capacity of 20 million kilowatts of solar photovoltaic electricity by 2020.

And this.

China, which a year earlier topped the United States as the green leader, saw no stop to its growth. Clean energy investment reached $54.4 billion in 2010, up 39 percent from the previous year, the Pew report said.

Meanwhile in India,

The South Asian nation had called bids to build and operate 350 megawatt of solar power facilities. These will be the second round of contracts to be given under a federal program to have 20 gigawatt of solar capacity by 2022.


The objective of the National Solar Mission is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country as quickly as possible. The immediate aim of the Mission is to focus on setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country both at a centralized and decentralized level. The first phase (up to 2013) will focus on capturing of the low hanging options in solar thermal; on promoting off-grid systems to serve populations without access to commercial energy and modest capacity addition in grid-based systems. In the second phase, after taking into account the experience of the initial years, capacity will be aggressively ramped up to create conditions for up scaled and competitive solar energy penetration in the country.

As you can see, China and India are moving to become leaders in clean energy. Australia would be foolish to fall behind.

The only question is who will pay for the change big polluters or the Australian tax payer?

The Carbon Tax is all about making the big polluters pay for the change.

It is arrogant to say we should do nothing to reduce our per capita emission of GHG.

Australians pump 18.75 tons of GHG into the air, per year. While in China the figure is only 4.75 tons and India is only 1.18 Tons. We should be ashamed of the fact that we are among the worst offenders when it comes to putting GHG into the air.

Tell the truth

John: "China plans to build seven wind power bases with a minimum capacity of 10 gigawatts (gW) each by 2020, in a move to dramatically increase the use of the clean energy."

That may well be, but they will still have thousands of coal fired power stations which they will continue to build. You people live in la-la land.

Climate change poses significant risks to health

Greens’ spokesperson for health, Senator Richard Di Natale, has described the passage of the Clean Energy Future package as a positive step in improving the health of Australians and has now called for the establishment of a Climate Change and Health Taskforce.

“The country took an historic step towards a cleaner economy on Tuesday, but also towards a healthier future,” said Senator Di Natale.

“We know that coal and other dirty forms of energy production can have a profoundly negative impact on the health of Australians. We also know that climate change poses significant risks to health. “The health impacts and risks of climate change are an untold story.”

WHO estimates that already over 150,000 people are already dying each year from the effects of climate change.

The World Health Organisation estimates that the warming and precipitation trends due to anthropogenic climate change of the past 30 years already claim over 150,000 lives annually. Many prevalent human diseases are linked to climate fluctuations, from cardiovascular mortality and respiratory illnesses due to heatwaves, to altered transmission of infectious diseases and malnutrition from crop failures. Uncertainty remains in attributing the expansion or resurgence of diseases to climate change, owing to lack of long-term, high-quality data sets as well as the large influence of socio-economic factors and changes in immunity and drug resistance. Here we review the growing evidence that climate–health relationships pose increasing health risks under future projections of climate change and that the warming trend over recent decades has already contributed to increased morbidity and mortality in many regions of the world. Potentially vulnerable regions include the temperate latitudes, which are projected to warm disproportionately, the regions around the Pacific and Indian oceans that are currently subjected to large rainfall variability due to the El Nin˜o/Southern Oscillation sub-Saharan Africa and sprawling cities where the urban heat island effect could intensify extreme climatic events.

Already the Northern parts of Australia are getting bouts of Dengue fever.

Dengue fever and the more serious form of this disease, dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), are caused by the world’s most prevalent mosquito-borne virus. All strains of the dengue virus are carried principally by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito is strongly affected by ecological and human drivers, particularly the density of water-bearing containers, but is also influenced by climate, including variability in temperature, moisture and solar radiation. For relatively small countries with presumably some climate uniformity, a climate-based dengue model has been developed that strongly correlates with the inter-annual variability in dengue cases reported at the national level (Fig. 1)32. A few examples of other vector-borne diseases demonstrating variance with climate include the Ross River virus in Australia.

Dengue outbreaks in Australia.

In the 1990s large outbreaks of dengue fever occurred in Townsville/Charters Towers, the Torres Strait, and the Cairns/Mossman area of north Queensland. These outbreaks resulted in a combined total of about 1600 confirmed cases of dengue.

Queensland has a history of dengue epidemics dating back to 1879, most of which occurred in north Queensland. Thirteen notable dengue epidemics have occurred in Queensland since 1885. The first fatality attributed to classical dengue occurred in Charters Towers in 1885 and the first fatality attributed to DHF (Dengue haemorrhagic fever) occurred in the same town during the 1897 epidemic, when Hare (1898) recorded 60 fatalities (30 of those were children).

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