Quick update, I’m still working on other materials.
One of the more frequent arguments against limiting carbon emissions via emission trading schemes is the perceived damage this will do to national economies.
Now that Australian example has proved this is not the case, the other “go to” argument for deniers has been “China” is not acting.
If the Chinese are happy to emit and not have an ETS, why should we?
Indeed, earlier this year Herald Sun journalist and climate “sceptic” Andrew Bolt made this very point;
Just follow the money. China is buying access to our coal deposits because it plans to use more coal, not less.
Now consider our stupidity. While China plans to use more Australian coal, Labor and its Greens allies want to force us to ultimately use none, by hitting us with a carbon dioxide tax that China has zero intention of imposing itself.
If it all works out to plan, China will use the cheap Australian coal that Australia will forbid itself.
Looks like the Chinese will have a national scheme up and running in three years.
China’s move to set up a carbon trading scheme undercuts the most common argument against the Australian ETS and similar schemes: that we’re “doing it alone” and it will hurt the economy:
China’s first steps to build what is destined to be the world’s second-biggest emissions market are boosting the prospects for fledgling programs from Australia to California.
Four cement makers in China, the world’s biggest emitter, bought 1.3 million pollution permits for 60 yuan ($9) a metric ton last month in Guangdong. The province plans the largest of seven pilot programs for a proposed national market within three years. Exchanges will trade permits to emit an estimated 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases a year by 2015, close to half the volume in the European Union system.
By setting its own emission limits and allowing polluters to buy and sell permits, China’s domestic market is set to dwarf its own participation in the UN market, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts.
The country’s commitment may also help break a logjam in global-treaty negotiations and support trade in Australia and the US, where opposition to carbon pricing is unwavering, according to Climate Bridge, which has developed projects in China since 2006.
“What China is doing with its pilot scheme and ultimately with a national scheme sets a terrific example for the rest of the world,” said Alex Wyatt, the Melbourne-based chief executive officer of Climate Bridge and author of a report released yesterday with the Sydney-based Climate Institute. “Any suggestions by people in the West that China is not acting on climate change aren’t true.”
With each passing month arguments against action are looking increasingly silly:
Governments in California and Australia said they are working together to promote global carbon trading. Australia is also in talks with China, according to Mark Dreyfus, the country’s parliamentary secretary for climate change. Dreyfus said he met in New York last month with China’s National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua.
“We have been working closely with China over the last year on a range of policy and technical issues to support the development of credible, robust and effective carbon markets,” Dreyfus said in Sept. 28 statement.
Disagreement on whether developing nations should be forced to reduce emissions has been the “sticking point” in global climate talks, according to Sjardin at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. While a new climate treaty by 2015 remains an “ambitious goal,” negotiators at this year’s summit in Doha may start on “a more hopeful note” than last year, he said.
China’s steps to limit emissions are also undermining arguments against cap and trade in the US and Australia, according to Sjardin.
“China has long been perceived as a laggard on climate action and used as scapegoat by other countries like Australia to delay action,” Connor said. “But this argument is increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to make given China’s recent policies.”
See also Climate Spectator:
China’s emerging schemes can dovetail with other global schemes as a stepping stone towards a global climate change agreement by 2015.
It is important to understand that China’s actions are driven by self interest, not only regarding concern for climate impacts, but for strengthening energy security, developing a low carbon economy with export opportunities and showing international leadership.
This story is mirrored worldwide. Countries have chosen different paths, targeting different industries, depending on their economic makeup and what they perceive as an opportunity for gaining a competitive edge in an increasingly global low carbon economy.
Action at national levels is significant if yet still insufficient to deal with the rising climate challenge. Tony Windsor also launched The Climate Institute’s new interactive map of global climate action which will be continually updated. Just to prove the point of ongoing changes, Norway yesterday doubled its carbon tax on oil and gas.
The action in China and globally belies the myth that Australia is acting alone. If we are fair dinkum about doing our fair share, then Australia must ready itself for stronger emissions reductions than the 5 per cent 2020 target that is based on a world of inaction and is not enough to help avoid the risks of the growing climate challenge.
With each passing month, the claims of the deniers look increasingly silly.