Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Greenhouse update

I've been meaning to post some stuff on carbon emissions trading as I've been slowly wading through the Australian States' and Territories' discussion paper on a national emissions trading scheme.

Meanwhile, California is going it alone in the US with a bold-sounding scheme to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It doesn't seem that there's much detail in the scheme just yet so it will be interesting to see how it develops and how it affects other jurisdictions.

In the meantime, I can recommend two new Australian blogs that are examining these issues: carbonsink and Burrows: Reduce CO2 emissions. They have some good pieces on the Australian politician posturing on climate change, Peak Oil, the power of markets, Tim Flannery, Al Gore, the California scheme, climate sceptics and using algae to capture CO2.

Law firm Blake Dawson Waldron produces a good regular update on Greenhouse issues from a legal and regulatory perspective and the August edition (pdf) has just come out. It includes a good summary of the main features of the proposed Australian national emissions trading scheme.



Tim Burrows said...

Hey Dave,

Thanks for the link.

Re carbon trading, Joseph Stiglitz is reported to have suggested that "any nation that does not impose a carbon tax to combat global warming should face tariffs from other countries that do".

What do you think of this idea?

Veggie Friendly said...

Thanks for posting these resources. They're really helpful. Definitelyan issue that I want to learn more about.

David Jeffery said...

Hi Tim,

I'm not sure I agree with Stiglitz's idea - it's based on international trade law (which I know very little about) and the idea that if you don't have a carbon tax, you're gaining an unfair trade advantage by effectively subsidising production. It's a subsidy because you're not requiring your manufacturers to pay for the full environmental effects of their products. The main problem is that to make this argument, you have to work out what the 'true' cost of carbon dioxide is, what the average taxes on carbon are and therefore what the extent of the effective subsidy is. I think this is basically impossible to do - it's too complicated. And I'm not sure it's fair because carbon taxes are only part of the issue. For example, should a country like Australia that has fairly substantial taxes on petrol but an otherwise poor record on emissions be able to impose tariffs on some small Pacific nation with almost no emissions but low petrol taxes? I think that's the logical conclusion of Stiglitz's argument.