Category Archives: Carbon tax

A man exploiting the moment, or a man for all seasons? Tony Abbott’s legacy will be defined by climate change

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On September 7 2013, the Australian voting public put into high office a man known for his scepticism of climate change, for surrounding himself with a coterie of fellow sceptics and for turning his back on partisan efforts to introduce a price on carbon. 

It is scarcely acknowledged today, but as late as June 2009 Tony Abbott argued for a price on carbon. In Sky News interview, Abbott stated: 

“If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax. Why not ask motorists to pay more? Why not ask electricity consumers to pay more? 

And then at the end of the year, you can take your invoices to the tax office and get a rebate on the carbon tax you paid. 

It would be burdensome, all taxes are burdensome, but it would certainly change the price on carbon, raise the price of carbon without increasing in any way the overall tax burden.” 

Abbott’s repudiation of his own position and that of perceived wisdom is one of the most stunning turnarounds in Australia political history. The question, though it may never be answered, is what prompted Abbott’s about face? There are clues given to us but the man himself. 

Following the defeat of Howard Government in 2007 Abbott found solace in writing what should be regarded as his manifesto for the government he leads, Battlelines. 

Of it’s almost 200 pages, Abbott dedicates a scant four of them to climate change. And yet those four pages tell us all we need to know about Abbott the man and his view on the issue.

Abbott cites notable climate sceptic Ian Plimer as an authority, regurgitating many of the same arguments made by Plimer that have been widely dismissed by the scientific community. He also cites the equally discredited economist Bjorn Lomberg, of “sceptical environmentalist” fame. Lomberg acknowledges global warming but cherry picks facts without reservation to downplay it’s seriousness. It is an argument Abbott uncritically adopts in Battlelines, and without doubt guides his actions on climate change.

A clue to Abbott’s radical shift can be found in his concluding sentences on the issue, where he notes:

“Australians will continue to tell pollsters that they want action for a cleaner environment, but they are unlikely to support policy changes that they think might make daily life harder or much more expensive” (Battlelines, page 173).

Perhaps climate change is real. Perhaps not. Perhaps technology solutions and nuclear energy is the answer. Or not.

Regardless, it seems Abbott has cynically read the mood of parts of the electorate and played to them. Abbott is now in a position to impose the views expressed in his Battlelines manifesto upon the country.

There is much irony in that Abbott, the man who grudgingly acknowledges the science (in public at least), who will dismantle the carbon price and who has closed institutions such as the Climate Commission is defined by the politics global warming.

Without doubt Abbott, his government and his legacy will be measured against his policy approach to climate change, the very issue he denies is a genuine risk to Australia or the world. 

A man for our time, or a man for all seasons?

In the play A man for all seasons, playwright Robert Bolt muses on questions of identity and personal conscience in politics.

Based upon the life and death of Thomas More, Bolt suggests via the narrative of the play a person of conscience will stand by their principles regardless of external pressures and the temptations of short term gain.

By abiding by their principles, such individuals forfeit the temptations of power and its abuse. They remain true to themselves, a person “for all seasons”,

In the plays most famous scene, More argues against those who would put aside laws for the sake of expediency. He argues with his son-in-law, who urges the illegal arrest of a man who would eventually go on to betray him:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

It is well known tony Abbott has yearned for the Prime Ministership all his life. 

When the opportunity was presented to him, Abbott recognised the thicket of laws he needed to cut down to achieve his ambitions. He read discontent is some parts of the electorate, and played to their fears.

At this moment of writing, fire-storms are wiping out communities across New South Wales. There is no respite at this point, conditions such as these may last for weeks.

It is early spring, Australia’s extended fire season is upon us. The ill winds of climate change are upon us. 

Against this background Prime Minster Tony Abbott moves steadily, without pause or consideration to cut down laws. 

Who is Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a man cynically exploiting the moment or a man for all seasons?

War on science to begin? Climate sceptic angling for science portfolio in Abbott government

We experienced a ominous precursor to the Australian summer this week.

Over 1200 firefighters battled 60 fires in New South Wales as temperatures reached the low 30’s. Sadly seven fire fighters were injured fighting the blazes and a number of homes were lost.

According to the NSW Rural Fire Service it was “unusual to have so many intense fires so close together”.

However over the past decades the Australian fire season has grown longer, beginning earlier and ending later – a direct consequence of a warming world.

As the planet heats, the Australian electorate saw fit to vote into office a party not merely opposed to the “carbon tax”, but riddled with sceptics.

One of the prime candidates to take on the science portfolio was the Liberal member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella. However it looks as though Mirabella will lose her seat to an independent, and thus not take on this role in the Abbott government.

Noted for her “caustic style”, Mirabella’s position on the science could at best be called “luke warm” as the blog No Fibs reports:

Asked about climate change at a Mansfield forum, Mirabella indicated her belief that the problem was largely caused by natural warming, but she conceded people were also having an impact.

[Note: The Age reports today it is over for Mirabella and she will lose her seat]

As the fate of Mirabella looks certain, another Liberal has put their hand up for the role: one Dr. Dennis Jensen.

In case there was any doubts about the Abbott government’s position on climate change it is worth noting that Jensen is a prominent climate sceptic. As the Sydney Morning Herald notes:

Dr Jensen has made headlines by questioning the scientific consensus that humans are contributing to global warming. Dr Jensen believes carbon dioxide is contributing somewhat to global temperatures, but not as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is suggesting. Moreover, Dr Jensen does not think governments should be taking urgent action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Jensen is also a fan of Lord Christopher Monckton, the climate sceptic who believes Obama’s birth certificate was faked and propagates the idea the UN and climate scientists are plotting to take over the world and establish a one-world-government:

The colourful Englishman, Lord Christopher Monckton, who toured Australia to debunk the “bogus science” of global warming, was closer to the mark, Dr Jensen suggested. 

“Most of the stuff [Lord Monckton] says is entirely reasonable,” Dr Jensen said. 

“Some of it I don’t agree with but on the whole a lot of what he says is in my view correct.”

Yes, because a science minister should be taking his views from a conspiracy theorist and someone known for fantasizing about secret plots.

Jensen makes no secret of the fact he rejects the scientific consensus. In a June 2013 blog entry on his website, Jensen dimisses the work of the scientific community:

Worse even than “pal review” is where editors and reviewers of a specific scientific predisposition will attempt to reject any paper with a contrary viewpoint. Phil Jones wrote of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report AR4 and of some peer-reviewed papers he did not agree with: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” This is quite stunning, and shows the potential for perversion of a process that even when operating without systemic bias has its problems.

Hopefully, this will give a bit of a better idea of the peer review process, and of some of the shortcomings of the process, and that caveat emptor exists even regarding peer-reviewed literature. Remember, the consensus view of the fraud of Piltdown Man as being the missing link was accepted science for decades.

Note the reference to Pltdown Man – a standard argument used by Creationists to discredit evolutioinary theory.

In a 2008 article in The Australian (where else) Jensen implied climate scientists acted like the mafia:

VESTED interests have hijacked the climate debate, and taken Australia’s future hostage. The ransom they demand? Simple agreement or, at the very least, compliance.

Voices of dissent face derision. Legitimate questions are met with ridicule. But with many of the squabbling forces of power in this country now apparently united in their enthusiasm for an emissions trading scheme, it is more important than ever that we go back and examine the basis of their campaigns.

Conspiracy theories, arguments used by creationists, contempt for the peer review process and scientists.

Yes, this is exactly the kind of person Australia must have to oversee the science portfolio.

More thread: let’s talk climate politics down under

Sorry guys, but personal matters keep me from blogging. so more thread for discussion. Let’s talk about the state of politics in Australia. Some food for thought:

Clive Hamilton has a great essay on The Conversation on why Australia’s politicians have turned their backs on the climate change issue:

The truth is the Australian public does not know what it wants its government to do on climate change. A large majority wants it to do something, but the government seems to lose support whenever it does anything. The only notable exception (and perhaps because many people don’t know it exists) is the Renewable Energy Target, first introduced by the Howard Government as a sop to public anxiety. For any political leader unwilling to exercise leadership on the issue, trying to respond to climate change leaves them uncertain which way to turn

Which is all the more interesting as Australia has experienced it’s hottest 12 month period:

It’s official, the past 12 months have been the hottest in Australia for more than a hundred years. Temperatures averaged across Australia between September 2012 and August 2013 were hotter than any year since good records began in 1910. The previous record was held by the 12-month period from February 2005 to January 2006.

While Tony Abbott has stated he will abandon emissions targets:

Amid its bitter campaign against the carbon price the Coalition has  maintained one significant foundation – ”we may hate the method, but we will  achieve the same outcome”.

That outcome is at least a 5 per cent cut to emissions by decade’s end on  2000 levels, and more ambitious reductions if the world takes actions to curb  climate change. These targets have enjoyed bipartisan support for about five  years.

But in his National Press Club address on Monday, Tony Abbott has cast doubt  on his commitment to these goals. And he has lifted the lid on one of the  fundamental risks of his ”direct action” alternative to an emissions trading  scheme.

Abbott told the audience the Coalition would not increase its spending on  cutting carbon dioxide under direct action, even if its efforts were going to  fall short of what is needed to meet the 2020 target.

”The bottom line is we will spend as much as we have budgeted, no more and  no less. We will get as much environmental improvement, as much emissions  reduction as we can for the spending that we’ve budgeted,” he said.

Such is the state of politics down under.

I’ll be honest, not having to take an active part in the debate the moment is a blessing.

Note: remember to keep the debate friendly, I’ll be watching comments closely.

2/3 Australian don’t want carbon price scrapped, or why debate on the carbon price is set to intensify

From today’s Age, confirmation Tony Abbott will have an uphill battle trying to repeal the Emissions Trading Scheme:

Tony Abbott’s insistence that the election will be a ”referendum on the carbon tax” has been undermined by polling showing that just a third of voters support the Coalition’s plan to abolish it.

Fewer voters want to see the carbon tax removed now than before it took effect on July 1 last year. Nearly half, or 48 per cent, wanted the tax scrapped a year ago.

But a poll of 1009 people, conducted by JWS Research for the Climate Institute, found just 37 per cent of them now supported the Coalition’s intention to wind the tax back in favour of its ”Direct Action” policy, which involves paying companies to reduce emissions.

Even fewer people – 34 per cent – would back an Abbott government calling a double dissolution election to fulfil its ”pledge in blood” to repeal the tax.

Fewer than half the Coalition voters would back Mr Abbott taking Australia back to the polls.

JWS pollster John Scales said the Opposition Leader had failed to convince people that carbon pricing should be scrapped because two-thirds of Australians believed climate change was real.

Climate change believers accounted for 66 per cent of voters, compared with 64 per cent a year ago.

As I have been saying for some time, a crisis for Abbott and the LNP is looming: 

– Tony Abbott and the LNP would win the 2013 Federal election
– Abbott would look to “axe-the-tax” (price on carbon) in name only, introducing a face-saving sleight-of-hand in but still maintain a price on carbon
– The climate sceptic movement would be bitterly disappointed, as the realisation began to dawn on them that Abbott played the populist hand against the carbon tax in order to undermine the Gillard government’s legitimacy
– For the climate sceptics (deniers) it would be an object lesson in realpolitik.

I suspect the LNP is going to find climate policy just as complicated, if not more so once in office.

One needs real policies then, nor four word slogans.  The debate over a price on carbon is far from over: if anything it is going to intensify.

As noted above, the public don’t understand nor want the Direct Action Plan proposed by the LNP.

Nor does it seem they willing to give control of the Senate to Abbott. However, the Coalition have locked themselves into silly “blood oath” giving themselves little to move.

The question is what happens when they can’t “ax-the-tax” what compromises an Abbott led government will be forced to make.

Hang on for the ride, as climate politics is going to get wilder.

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The sacrifices one must make (part 2): should Gillard resign for the good of the nation? Yes.

My post on whether or not Julia Gillard should stand aside  as Prime Minister got a little attention. But it was not an easy thing to suggest, especially given the vitriol and hatred the Prime Minister has experienced. I do not wish to “let the bastards win”. No one does.

But what matters now is the future of nation, the skeletal climate change policy framework we have only just begun to implement and a genuine contest of ideas.

There are times when personal careers have to be sacrificed.

This is such a time.

The editors of The Age have come to similar conclusions, arguing for “the good of the nation” Julia Gillard must stand aside:

It is time for Julia Gillard to stand aside as leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party, as Prime Minister of Australia, so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again. Ms Gillard should do so in the interests of the Labor Party, in the interests of the nation and, most importantly, in the interests of democracy. The Age’s overriding concern is that, under Ms Gillard’s leadership, the Labor Party’s message about its future policies and vision for Australia is not getting through to the electorate. Our fear is that if there is no change in Labor leadership before the September 14 election, voters will be denied a proper contest of ideas and policies – and that would be a travesty for the democratic process.

And that:

The opposition under Tony Abbott has contentious policies on the carbon tax, the mining tax and schools funding; these are just the start of it. Yet Labor under Ms Gillard has been unable to step up to the contest. Mr Abbott is being allowed to run almost entirely unchallenged with his preposterous claim that a Coalition government would ”stop the boats”, in part by turning back the pathetic trail of rickety vessels laden with asylum seekers. This is a potentially dangerous and deeply dispiriting approach. Labor’s inability to unscramble this sloganeering is damning.

Time is running out. Labor needs to refresh its public face and present a compelling, united and inspiring voice. It is capable of doing so. Now it must find the will. There may only be one chance to minimise the damage that appears inevitable in September. To do nothing would implicitly weaken the democratic choice. If it is to be done, it is best done now. But it must be an unequivocal and energising change for the better.

There was nothing prescient in what I wrote, nor do I think the MSM pays much attention to bloggers such as myself. Farifax’s Sydney Morning Herald said the same thing a few weeks back.

It is simply that I am not alone in reading the situation or the risks should Labor continue to be led by Julia Gillard. Commentators across all sections of the media and on both sides can see the writing on the wall.

Is it fair? No.

Did Gillard deserve to be treated with respect? Yes.

Was she handed an extraordinarily difficult situation? Yes.

Was overt sexism a feature of the attacks on her? Yes.

Was the malice of the shock jocks and News Limited a factor? Yes.

As a nation, we need to reflect on just how toxic the level of debate has become these past few years. I lay much of the blame on News Limited and the Coalition. But the blame also rests with the Labor Party, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan.

The nexus for all this strife began when the “kitchen sink” cabinet that included Swan and Gillard convinced Rudd not to take us to a double dissolution election on the carbon price. At that time the public and mood of the nation was with them.

But they blinked, they thought they could ditch a policy which helped deliver them office in 2007. Since then Labor has been paying the price for the failure of the first iteration of the ETS under Rudd.

They thought we lived in a time of “politics as usual”.

Politics has been reshaped by climate change: it is time to acknowledge that reality.

This is the new normal on so many fronts.

If you want to proportion blame then start with this decision. 

Julia’s finest hour, and the speech that will be her enduring legacy:

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Carbon tax destroys jobs?: Oz economy refuses to surrender to “great big tax on everything” by adding 50,000 jobs

Since the introduction of the carbon tax, children have been forced to line up for servings of thin, watery gruel...

Since the introduction of the carbon tax, children have been forced to line up for servings of thin, watery gruel…

Remember the hysteria prior to the introduction of that “Great Big Tax on Everything”, when the Australian economy was going to spiral into not merely a recession – or even a depression – but back into the Dark Ages?

It was going to usher in a period of madness: men and women impoverished by the tax would be forced to live on the street; cats and dogs living together in sin; fire and brimstone and the wrath of economic gods; parents forced to sell children into bondage; a leg of roast lamb to cost over $100!

According the alarmists such as Tony Abbott, the Liberal National Party and the entirety of News Limited (or so said Andrew Bolt, Terry McCrann and the other lessor lights in its stable of culture-warrior hacks) the very modest price on carbon was going to be the “roon of us!”.

Time and time again the claim was made the tax was going to destroy jobs:

“The coal industry will step up its campaign against a carbon tax, seeking to highlight job losses that will be caused by such a scheme…”

It is an article of faith among all the die-hard climate sceptics. Only a few weeks back the Astroturf and fossil fuel funded Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) claimed such a tax would destroy American jobs:

If you want to know what a carbon tax on emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would do to America you need only look at the destruction of industry and business in Australia, along with the soaring costs for energy use it imposes on anyone there. 

“The carbon tax is contributing to a record number of firms going to the wall with thousands of employees being laid off and companies forced to close factories that have stood for generations”, Steve Lewis and Phil Jacob reported in a March 18 issue of The Daily Telegraph, a leading Australian newspaper.

Oh my god its true!

According to CFACT and the Daily Telegraph (Sidebar: Australians’ call it the Daily Terror for its tabloid, over the top style) we poor Aussies are suffering under the carbon tax. In fact, you can see the long lines at the soup kitchens already…

But is that true? 

How does the claim a carbon tax will destroy jobs?

Recent employment figures show the Australian economy has added 50,000 new jobs. Here is the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for those interested. Numbers – not assertions.

Pesky things numbers: they often refuse to conform to our opinions.

Here is the truth – not the “truthiness” of CFACT and coal miners.

The Australian economy is doing OK.

Now there are a number of challenges facing the Australian economy due to the high dollar (vis-a-vis the USD) and the end of the mining boom. Government revenue has taken a hit due to the aforementioned reasons; also the mineral resources tax has woefully underperformed. I guess that’s what happens when you invite the mining companies to effectively write the law.

Surprise! They don’t get taxed!

But how does the economy-wreaking carbon tax fit into this picture?

Not at all.

Remember the hysteria, the public protests and the shrill braying for blood by the likes of Alan Jones who stated PM Julia Gillard should be stuffed into a bag and drowned?

Ruined?

End of life as we know it?

Hardly.

However, both Abbott and the hacks at News Limited have moved onto their next meme: “The Great Big Deficit on Everything”.

Yes, it will be the “roooooon of us!” again.

Australia has accrued a very modest deficit during a period when most of the global economy is sputtering: actually this is quite an achievement. Australia has had 21 years of continuous growth. The size of the public service, compared to other OECD countries is also modest – despite the fact both population and the need for services has grown, public services numbers have remained stable for years.

There is not a surplus of fat-cat public servants down under. But hey, wasn’t that another thing the carbon tax going to do? Create a unwieldy, bloated bureaucracy?

But let’s not get facts in the way of a good waging ideological warfare eh? There’s the free-market to evangelise and climate science to disparage!

I joke of course. The truth is this: all the posturing, sound and fury generated by the likes of Abbott and his cheer squad at News is divorced from reality.

Indeed, if there are any alarmists in the climate – or any other debate – I think we know where to point the finger.

But don’t believe me.

We’ll be roooooooned! Roooooooooned I tells ya!

Obama “trust the science” while talk of an Amercian carbon tax begins: the ground is shifting

Reasons for some optimism perhaps. Firstly, Obama made climate change the centre piece of his State of the Union Address:

In a soaring inaugural speech, Obama defined the climate crisis as a moral issue for the generations. For his follow-up act, the president must persuade Americans that climate change is a clear and present threat to their daily lives and their livelihoods, requiring action now, said Paul Bledsoe, who directed the White House climate change taskforce under Bill Clinton. 

“I think he has to frame climate change as an issue here, now, and as a threat. I think he has to frame it as a domestic issue – not a global issue,” he said. “The challenge is to frame climate change as an issue with large costs that are only going to grow. That is his biggest opportunity. That is what he has to do.” 

Obama does something that many politicians have failed to do: state emphatically there is good reason to “trust the science”:

Great quote: “If congress won’t act to protect future generations, I will”

But Obama also promises to open up more oil and gas permits.

Just as interesting, but overlooked so far, are recent moves to introduce a tax on carbon in the United States. The following article in The Nation explains:

Only an hour before President Obama is expected to deliver his State of the Union address—in which he might “go big” on the issue of combating climate change—two Senators announced they will introduce comprehensive climate change legislation this week, presenting a possible vehicle in the Senate for Obama’s ambitions.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will outline the legislation on Thursday morning. Details are scant, though it’s being billed as “major” and “comprehensive” legislation, and will have a carbon tax…

As many know, the Waxman-Markey “cap-and-trade” bill introduced in 2009 but was abandoned. It was regarded as a victory for fossil fuel and polluting interests.

However, such legislation was always going to resurface – the efforts of vested interests and the denial machine are merely rearguard actions designed to delay such initiatives.

Like Big Tobacco their intent was to stall the inevitable.

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Tony Abbott “Why not have a carbon tax”? The 2009 video in which Abbott argues for a price on carbon

Today in Australian politics we saw some extraordinary events centering around events that took place nearly 20 years ago.

Three years is a long time in politics: recall but three years ago Tony Abbott argued for a carbon tax:

He pushes the old “no temperature rise in ten years” myth, but listen carefully.

Quote: “If you want to put a price on carbon, why not do it with a simple tax?”

 

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This too shall pass: Rio Tinto admits climate change real and accepts the need for action

File under “well its about time”.

Where once denial was expected – if not the norm – from the fossil fuel industry, increasingly we are seeing that industry acknowledge the fact that climate change poses a fundamental risk to their operations (and thus profit).

Climate change “skepticism” is fast becoming the preserve of the ideological zealot and fringe conspiracy theorist.

I’ve spent the majority of my professional life in the private sector, and appreciate climate change from a) an ethical perspective and b) as a risk management issue.

Thus my many years of observation taught me industry acceptance was inevitable. Slower than it should be, but without doubt always coming.

The management of most corporations are conservative and risk averse – far more than the cheer leaders of the “free market” would have you believe.

Indeed, I’m incredibly amused by the shallow musings of the likes of the “Institute of Public Affairs” and “free-market think tanks”.

Quite frankly this gaggle of ideologues, apologists for the super-rich and intellectual fringe dwellers seem to know precious little about how the “market’ actually works”.

It’s not perfect, it does not  operate “rationally” and it is not an enabler of human happiness.

It is a mechanism to distribute material and non-material goods. That’s it.

Nothing more. 

Free markets don’t equal free people: just ask the Chinese how easy it is to decouple “free markets” from the ideals and practice of democracy or “free speech”.

And the market can – and does – fail with surprising regularity: form the South Sea Bubble, to “The Great Depression” and “The Global Financial Crisis” (GFC).

Climate change is a product of market failure, a selective blindness to the risk and additional cost burdens of greenhouse emissions. In the same way regulators overlooked the risky of lending practices of banks in the United States (how CDCs fueled the property bubble) lead to the GFC, so it is with carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions have been “off book” – but that does not mean the risk is not real: one merely needs to see the emergent risks in the shrinking Arctic Sea Ice and record high temperatures.

Pretty much most informed commentators and observers saw the demise of fossil fuel industry opposition to mitigation efforts such as the “carbon tax” as inevitable.

[Note to the LNP and Tony Abbott: you are looking increasingly silly aren’t you? You’ve spent a far too much time at IPA events I think, when business generally sees these people as fringe nutters.]

So when the coal miners start stating the case for “urgent action” we are passing a threshold: perhaps too late, perhaps not urgently enough, but it is happening.

One can appreciate coal miners have to steady the nerves of investors (and themselves) by stating “there will always be a place for coal”, but the truth is coal as an energy source is in its sunset years.

And yes, this was also seen as inevitable: even by those companies themselves.

Give it a few decades and it is possible to anticipate the large scale decommissioning of mines and coal powered generators across the globe.

But the “merchants of doubt” achieved what they set out to do: delay the inevitable regulatory reform and their technological obsolescence.

Their demise was both predictable and certain: “our” failure was to (once again) anticipate the ferocity of the fossil fuel lobby’s opposition in what they appreciated was a fight to the death.

And now, in their final years even the coal miners have come to accept their “death” – they are moving from denial and anger to bargaining and acceptance.

“This too shall pass”. 

This from Rio Tinto’s head of coal (via SMH) – note the tacit acceptance of the “carbon tax”;

Climate change is occurring and is largely caused by human activities, miner Rio Tinto’s head of coal in Australia, Bill Champion told a Brisbane conference this morning.

In a speech on sustainable development and mining, Mr Champion said the “scale of the necessary emissions reductions and the need for adaptation, coupled with the world’s increasing requirements for secure, affordable energy, create large challenges which require worldwide attention”. 

Rio Tinto has factored a carbon price into its investment decision-making for the past 10 years, Mr Champion said.

“We support a coordinated global approach to reduce emissions. Until that is in place, as well as after, we recognise that it will be necessary for individual jurisdictions to take actions. [Mike @ WtD: Yes they accept the “carbon tax” that was supposed to end civilization]

“We recognise the value of action on climate change.”We factor into our planning and decision-making, including our choice of investments, the costs and associated risks of emissions and business disruption, as well as the costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation, and the opportunities created for our business by the move to a low-carbon economy.” 

Mr Champion said coal-use represented about 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but there would continue to be demand for coal even under the International Energy Agency’s most aggressive scenarios for action on climate change.

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End of days? Carbon tax scare passes into oblivion

Why – oh why – is this not at all surprising? And just who are the “alarmists”? From Stock and Land:

Day after day, week after week, month after month, Tony Abbott’s opening words in parliamentary question time were almost always the same. It was almost invariably a question to put Julia Gillard on the spot on the carbon tax. 

“Will the Prime Minister apologise to the people,” it would typically run, “for jeopardising investment and jobs by breaking her solemn pledge that there will be no carbon tax under the government she leads?” Or a variation on the theme. 

It was usually delivered with a triumphal air. And it was usually just the first of many opposition questions on the matter for the day. In June, in the run-up to the advent of the tax on July 1, the opposition devoted an average of six questions a day to the subject. 

That’s six out of eight or nine opposition questions in a typical question time. It was not a monomaniacal fixation, but it was as close as it gets. 

When Parliament resumed in August after the winter recess, the opposition kept up the attack, but its enthusiasm seemed to wane. The daily average number of questions fell to four. 

Then, on the last sitting day of August, something changed. Abbott’s first question to Gillard was about mining and he didn’t trouble her about the C word all day. That was August 22. 

He hasn’t asked her about it since. True, he hasn’t had many opportunities. After her father’s death, Gillard took leave from Parliament. But even when Abbott had the chance again on Wednesday, he didn’t take it. He asked her about the budget. 

And the Coalition as a whole asked the government an average of just one question a day about it in September. 

What’s happened? It’s very clear. The carbon tax has been in place for nearly three months now, and Australians are finding that it’s not the fearsome End of Days that the Abbott of Doom had foretold.

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