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Australian Climate Madness

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Treasury modelling on ETS - garbage in, garbage out

The newspapers are full of this story today, and the fact that the ETS will not harm the economy. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong on Wednesday was putting a positive spin on the modelling ahead of its release, saying it shows there is nothing to fear in emissions trading.

Well, she would, wouldn't she (or else her job and her department would disappear in a puff of Nitrogen Trifluoride).
Treasurer Wayne Swan said the data showed emissions trading would not hurt economic growth.

"What the modelling will show is that we can deal with climate change ... without having a dramatic impact on economic growth," he told Macquarie Radio Network.

I bore myself having to repeat this, but an Australian ETS will not deal with climate change, as cutting 10% or 20% from Australia's tiny contribution of 1.5% of global emissions will, in terms of "dealing with climate change" achieve nothing. And the Government is in cloud cuckoo land if it thinks that the rest of the world is going to somehow "follow Australia's lead."

The EU is in a shambles on its emissions reductions, India and China are simply not interested, and the US is far from unified on its approach (apparently only 18% of the US public think that climate change is real, human-caused and harmful - thanks to Watts Up With That).

There are a number of parallels that can be drawn between the results of the Treasury modelling about the effects of an ETS on the Australian economy and the modelling of the future climate by the IPCC.

Any model of a complex system is an approximation, and complies with the usual "GIGO" (garbage in, garbage out) rule. The IPCC, as we all know, have cherry-picked the data they use in their models to advance their own political agenda (think Michael Mann and "hockey sticks"). The results show that we must "act now" to avoid "catastrophic" climate change, and allows the socialist/anti-capitalist agenda of the UN to be advanced.

Similarly, we all know what the Treasury's modelling will say - the ETS will have little effect on the economy and they will trot out the usual desperate argument that if we don't act now, it will cost more later. The government have admitted that the models do not take into account the current financial crisis, although somehow, despite the boffins taking a year to produce this modelling, the government seems able to incorporate a "fudge factor" which will miraculously deal with this, from the ABC:
The modelling was done before the global financial crisis began.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett says it is one element that will help shape the final policy, due to be finalised by the end of the year.

"This provides us with additional information on how we can approach this issue," he said.

Dismissing the global financial crisis as just "one element" is sheer nonsense. It will be no surprise that the modelling will favour the Government's approach. It will have been carefully designed to achieve that result. Treat with caution.

Read the SMH article here, although there are hundreds of others to choose from.


  • Having recently found your blog I am surprised that it attracts little in the way of comments. Maybe others aren't yet aware of it.

    Your comments on various happenings in our political arena, especially on the gorebull warming fraud, are spot on.

    With this latest scam, produced under instruction by a subservient government department, there is an ideal opportunity for the feeble opposition party to make a mark.

    Unfortunately the centrist-left liberals will dither and do little to challenge the crap spouting from wong and her models.

    These treasury models would operate the same as the ones that told us to rein in spending and put up interest rates and in the next breath cut rates by 1% and throw away our reserves.

    Keep on punching!

    By Anonymous barking toad, At October 30, 2008 at 2:47 PM  

  • Cheers, thanks for visiting!

    By Blogger Simon from Sydney, At October 30, 2008 at 2:50 PM  

  • you have taken Peter Garretts quote of of context. when he said 'it is just one element that will shape policy' he was referring to the treasury modelling not the global financial crisis.

    this aside, why scorn the fact that the global financial crisis may be only part of evidence considered in shaping long-term climate policy? would you prefer more reactionary short-term policy making? models and short-term crises both need to be placed in context of other evidence

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 7, 2009 at 5:56 AM  

  • Fair point regarding Garrett's statement - on re-reading the quote, I think your interpretation is correct.

    I don't believe that the global financial crisis should be the only factor in determining climate policy. However, in terms of climate, an ETS will achieve nothing, so even in good economic times it is pointless and damaging, but in times of economic crisis, it is madness.

    Furthermore, it is clear from Kevin Rudd's absolute determination to press ahead with the ETS, despite whatever happens in the global economy, that nothing will stand in its way. It would be interesting for the Treasury to re-run the modelling now to see what results it produces, but I can't see that happening in a hurry.

    By Blogger Simon from Sydney, At February 7, 2009 at 7:45 AM  

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