Action vs an ETS

So, for the last few months there has been much debate over the implementation of an (Emissions Trading Scheme) ETS. With the Labor Government recently shelving the issue till 2013, there has been a lot of backlash about the program’s delay. BUT – The problem with this whilst many people believe that action needs to be taken on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) – The majority of the public are unaware of the what an ETS would actually entail, and it’s consequences – And apparently, so is the current government.

The title of this blog was Action versus an ETS, so why is it that I am fighting for what I call ‘Action’ over something that hasn’t been created yet?

The ETS has some set points of creation about it – and even on those issues alone, it is not in the interest of being environmentally responsible.

Regardless of the Labor Government, and Greens’ hype about how Australia must ‘Act Now’ – A more apt call for action should be about moving forward with practical solutions that directly affect the way we live. We shouldn’t have to fork out more money as Taxes to supplement the Buying of Carbon Credits.

Now, I will make my personal stance on AGW clear – I acknowledge that Climate Change is factual. I however, am skeptical that current change in climate is significantly caused by Human interference. But, more on that later – because the science being used to push for the ETS doesn’t even stack up if the ETS is brought in, and that’s a whole other Post.

What does an ETS comprise of?

The ETS is essentially, an economy based on the trading of “permits” to facility what would become the companies’ legal ability pollute. These permits are sold by Carbon Traders. These traders capture Carbon, and thereby offset the emmissions of the entity purchasing the created “Carbon Credits”.

Australia’s ETS has been deemed to operate under a ‘Cap and Trade’ scheme, in which an overall cap is determined, and any extra emissions is then traded on the Carbon Market. The Cap & Trade scheme also includes all companies – Coal-Fired Energy Companies being one of, if not – the largest creators of Carbon Emissions, will be a large BUYER of these Carbon Credits. “So?” You may ask.

The problem is that it is widely acknowledged, but under reported that prices for all goods and services will rise – significantly, especially for the transport and energy sectors. To “solve this” the Labor Government has said they will provide Cash & Offsets. This makes the additional cost of doing business now a Taxpayer issue, as well as the consumers’ issue.

Let’s take a look at Victoria quickly on this. One company uses 25% of all the power consumption in the state. That’s right, One. Who’s going to be subsidising those costs? The taxpayer. But what about the costs that aren’t subsidised? That’s right, the consumer. Both the same person.

I will point out here, that currently – there is widespread fraud in the Chicago Carbon Exchange. Numerous companies have been found to have issued Carbon Certificates on false information. For instance, they sell a Certificate for 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – But don’t plant trees with the money. Thus, the carbon use by the buying entities is not offset – at all.

So, what’s my push?

We already have many government rebates that have been started, and failed. The Federal Government enacted schemes that would have been excellent if managed better – The Home Insulation Scheme, Green Loans, and the Solar Hot Water Rebate – all great. The problem was execution.

Solar Powered Hot Water Systems was a great boost to small, local businesses. It boosted Australian Manufacturing, and it was a push for Australian Engineering in those relevant fields. Having this technology in every applicable household would significantly reduce the Load on the Electrical Grid and on our wallets. And to think – this was stopped because it was “too successful”! It should have been made Mandatory for all new dwellings, to ensure the sector which was significantly grown, could continue to prosper!

Green Loans allowed individuals access to interest free loans of up to AUD$10,000 over 4 years for particular environmental products and services. Solar Panels installed under this program would produce around 20% of an Average homes’ power use; for those with the money to spend – Investing 10,000 of their own would have seen 40% of their power usage essentially pre-paid for the next 25 years (General Warranty and expected Life period).

And.. well, the Home Insulation Scheme – … Oh god. Where do I begin. There are many things that could have been altered to make this scheme successful, and safer. Numerous rorts, etc.

There are always alternative Energy Sources, numerous ways we can reduce emissions – and if the current government was at all as serious as it says it was about the Environment, we’d have more Nuclear Power Plants to reduce those emissions. We’ve come a far way from Chernobyl; Power Plants are far safer now, and more efficient too.

Revisiting these plans, with refinements in execution would do far more good for Australia than investing millions of dollars into “creating” an economy on which to trade “permits to pollute.

It is only through actually acting on Environmental Issues, not implementing crafty ways of taxing Australians – can we change our emissions output, without having to live in caves.

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