| "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsiblity to bring that about?"|
- Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme
| Miliband plans carbon trading 'credit cards' for everyone|
Every citizen would be issued with a carbon "credit card" - to be swiped every time they bought petrol, paid an energy utility bill or booked an airline ticket - under a nationwide carbon rationing scheme that could come into operation within five years, according to a feasibility study commissioned by the environment secretary, David Miliband, and published today.
The idea was floated in a speech in the summer, but the detailed proposals show Mr Miliband is serious about trying to press ahead with the radical idea as a central part of his climate change strategy. Under the scheme, everybody would be given an annual allowance of the carbon they could expend on a range of products, probably food, energy and travel. If they wanted to use more carbon, they would be able to buy it from somebody else. The report admits huge questions would have to be resolved, including the risk of fraud, the relationship to ID cards, and costs. However Mr Miliband said "bold thinking is required because the world is in a dangerous place".
|But Mr. Dingell, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on C-Span, suggested that his goal was to show that Americans are not willing to face the real cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. His message appeared to be that Democratic leaders were setting unrealistic legislative goals.|
|We'll tell them it's an Ice Age or Global Warming, whichever is prevalent at the time. Then we'll tax them and have a world tax that will be paid to the World private Central Banks (which by the way they own privately).|
|Canada's first carbon trading market, a joint venture between the Montreal Exchange and Chicago Climate Exchange, was launched last Friday.|
|Jun 01, 2008|
When two brothers representing federal and provincial wings of the same party can't agree on the best way to fight global warming, one thing's for sure: You know you're in Canada.
MP David McGuinty, the Liberal environment critic in Ottawa, has been championing Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion's proposal to shift taxes from income to carbon. The idea, as Dion has put it, is to "lower taxes on things we want more of – income, innovation, savings and investment, and (to) shift those taxes toward the things we want less of – pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, smog and waste."
But here in Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty rejects his brother's carbon tax in favour of a cap-and-trade system, in which government sets a cap on the amount of greenhouse gas every industrial company is allowed to emit, while permitting those who are unable to stay within their caps to buy the surplus room of companies that manage to come in under their caps.
A carbon tax would appear to take direct aim at consumers, while a cap-and-trade system targets industry. But there is, in fact, less difference than one might suspect because the cap-and-trade costs or savings would be passed on to consumers. Both systems are designed to change behaviour by raising the prices of goods and services with a high carbon content and lowering the prices of products with low emissions.
As both schemes work through prices, theory would suggest that for every potential rate of carbon tax (say, 5 per cent or 10 per cent) there is, in fact, a corresponding cap that would produce an identical result.
So, why are the McGuinty brothers at odds?
This is where the unique nature of Canadian politics comes into play. Dion and David McGuinty are talking about a federal carbon tax for all of Canada, while Dalton McGuinty seems to be talking only about the province of Ontario when he says: "Every province has a different economic situation and we feel that from our perspective, a cap-and-trade system is the best way to go."
But the reality is that Canada desperately needs a national climate change policy, to which any provincial add-ons would be just that. By dumping on Dion's carbon tax, Premier McGuinty is tacitly lending support to the national cap-and-trade system favoured by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, which, unfortunately, refuses to impose the hard caps necessary to make cap-and-trade work.
Premier McGuinty may sound like he wants to take a leadership position on this issue when he says, "it's one of the things that (Premier) Jean Charest and I are going to continue to talk about (when they meet in Quebec City this week), to see if we might build a foundation for a national cap-and-trade system."
But McGuinty is blowing smoke if he thinks he can get Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach to agree to an effective cap-and-trade system. As premier of the province with the fastest-growing emissions thanks to the tar sands development, Stelmach has been adamant about doing anything on climate change that would have an adverse effect on the oil industry.
That's why Ottawa needs to adopt a national strategy. And since Harper talks vaguely about cap-and-trade without real caps, Dion's approach is the more serious of the two.
The Quebec City meeting, bringing together cabinet ministers from the two provinces as well as the premiers, can be seen as an attempt to recreate the old Ontario-Quebec axis, which has its roots in the 19th century in the days of Oliver Mowat and Honoré Mercier.
Relations between McGuinty and Charest had been cool, as the Quebec premier preferred to cozy up to Harper. But latterly, the relationship between the two premiers has warmed as they have sought to get Ottawa to pay some attention to the plight of the manufacturing sector in central Canada, among other things.
Don't expect the Quebec City session to produce a lot of Ottawa-bashing, however. In addition to a cap-and-trade initiative, the meeting will focus on bilateral issues, like interprovincial trade and labour mobility, including mutual recognition of professional accreditation.
But if the relationship deepens and the federal Conservatives continue to downplay concerns about the economy of central Canada, then the two premiers may join forces against Ottawa.
|pg 32: "The problem is that almost all of this 'will' is directed towards technical, informational or 'market' fixes entrusted to a handful of undemocratic institutions.|
Thus US president George W. Bush openly proclaims the need for the US to break its addiction to oil - only to propose technological fixes such as sequestration of carbon from coal-fired power plants, biofuels and more nuclear energy.
Sir David King, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, warns that climate change is a threat greater than terrorism - only to embrace some of the same technologies, plus emissions trading, as a solution."
|pg 34: "... attempt to engineer public reaction to global warming so that it will present fewer political threats to, and more opportunities for, corporations and their political clients."|
|pg 40: "The US attempt to block or shape public awareness of climate change backfired so badly, in fact, that in the end various ruling factions in the US became dissatisified with the very body - the IPCC - that the US had been so influential in setting up in order to 'contain' scientists talk."|
|pg 42: "US vice-president Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, released two years later, presents more climatology, but also winds up trying to channel action into carbon trading, responsible consumerism, tree plantations and other 'fixes'.|
|pg 44: "US scientists have also long contemplated spraying the stratosphere with fine metallic particles to reflect sunlight, perhaps using the engines of commercial jets for the job. Taking unilateral action to dim the sky in this way, explained the late Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb, is simpler, cheaper alternative to 'international consensus on ... large scale reductions in fossil fuel-based energy production."|
|As Michael Zammit Cutajar, the former executive secretary of the UNFCCC, has stressed, this approach was ‘made in the USA’.67 The pollution-trading mechanisms that formed the core of the Kyoto Protocol were of a type proposed by North American economists in the 1960s; put into practice in US markets for lead, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide and other pollutants beginning in the 1970s and 1980s; and successfully pressed on the UN by the US government, advised by US economists, US NGOs and US business, in the 1990s.|
|Brent Jessop - Knowledge Driven Revolution.com|
August 16, 2007
Lets assume that Global Warming is real and that man’s emissions of greenhouse gasses is the cause. Would a carbon tax work?
Problem Number 1: The Government Likes Your Money
A carbon tax is usually sold along with the promise of tax cuts elsewhere to perfectly counterbalance the increase from any new carbon tax. This is supposed to shift the tax burden to the biggest polluters and not just collectively punish everyone. Sounds nice. But, the government likes your money. So, any initiatives they pursue to reduce carbon emissions would also reduce their income. Not a good way to motivate government bureaucracy, after all, they need your money to pay their salaries and bonuses.
Problem Number 2: Who Keeps Count?
As the elite like to say, a global problem needs a global solution. So, who keeps count of all the carbon emissions? Do national governments? Would you trust communist China to report their carbon quotas honestly? Do you want a gigantic United Nations bureaucracy of inspectors scouring the globe checking every tailpipe and smokestack?
Problem Number 3: Shifting Taxes
I think it is evident to everyone that some groups are more equal than others in the eyes of government. So the burden of this new carbon tax could - and would - be shifted away from a big polluting industry by simply offsetting the new carbon tax. That is, a $100 million carbon tax shortly followed by $100 million in corporate handouts and other tax cuts. The result being the burden of the carbon tax is now on the average driver and home owner instead of the biggest polluters. Later, when the carbon tax is not reducing the country's carbon footprint the way it was originally expected, the environmental lobby begs for an ever higher carbon tax.
Problem Number 4: Who Does the Enforcement?
What happens to all the cheaters? Who becomes the enforcer for the entire world? That is a mighty big stick to hand someone, isn’t it?
Problem Number 5: There is No Problem
Sometimes a rat is harder to smell the bigger it gets. Whenever someone is trying to convince you that there is a major crisis that needs your immediate attention and unwavering loyalty you should always look at the solutions they offer as a way of judging their intent.
The problem was created (yes created) by the United Nations, some of them dressed as scientists, most in suits, and their solution requires huge steps toward and stronger more empowered United Nations. Can you smell the rat now?
Some closing words to ponder:
“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill” – Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider, The First Global Revolution, A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome (1991).
|Bryony Worthington The Guardian, Wednesday 28 January 2009 |
The pollution permit price crash highlights one of the risks of cap and trade schemes. If not properly implemented they can deliver just "hot air", and few environmental benefits. Even before the recession took hold it was clear that certain sectors of industry had received very generous allowances, but now the issue looks vastly more problematic.
What should have been a way to kick start investment in much-needed low-carbon, efficient technologies is now a cash redistribution exercise. Power companies are buying spare permits from heavy industry, and we, the electricity bill payers, are footing the cost. And the additional environmental effect of the scheme is reduced to almost nothing.
In the short term, the release of spare permits into the market diverts cash from projects that require investment which could boost the economy. It also reduces investment in projects generating reductions overseas, such as renewable projects in China and India. Longer term, a sustained low carbon price will make investment in nuclear and carbon capture and storage less likely.
We are unlikely to see a repeat of the price crash in Phase I of the scheme, where it reached near zero. This time unlimited volumes of spare permits can be banked and used in the next phase, giving them a future value. However, this will make targets easier to hit and cut the price in that phase too.
More decisions are scheduled on emissions trading in Europe and these will need to take into account the new economic context. If Europe's economy is contracting by 1.9% a year then a target which requires emissions reductions of less than this will be redundant. Restrictions on the banking of permits will also need to be introduced to prevent price deflation in the next phase.
More immediately, the flow of credits must be reduced. Cutting the number of permits governments auction is one option and incentivising firms to cancel rather than sell their permits is another.
But other countries can learn from our mistakes - so please America and Australia be bold, ensure your cap and trade schemes are fit for purpose and don't allow vested interests to wreck them.