Report: Carbon Emissions Increased After Six Years Downward Trend Following Abbott’s Repeal of Carbon Tax

240px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17200px-Tony_Abbott_-_2010We have been following the alarming rollback on environmental protections under Australia’s conservative Abbott, including the repeal on the carbon tax (the first of a major Western power). Tony Abbott has pledged to reverse environmental measures from the protections of the country’s famous reefs to opening up pristine areas for development. Now, just two months after the repeal of the tax on emissions, a study shows that (not surprisingly) carbon emissions and electricity demand in Australia have risen after a nearly six-year long trend of decline. This comes a week after the report of scientists who found an over 99% likelihood that humans are causing climate change.

The company releasing the report, Pitt & Sherry, tracks electricity use and emissions in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) and said that emissions are expected to continue to rise as a result of the rollback. In just two months, the increase was the equivalent to an annual increase of 0.8 percent.

The Abbott government has also pushed for more power generation black and brown coal power stations and there has been a drop in renewable energy use. The Abbott government has now commissioned a report recommending the effective repeal of the country’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), a scheme designed to ensure that 20 percent of its electricity would be generated from renewable sources by 2020. This will likely further the increase in non-renewable energy use.

The Abbott repeal removed the tax on carbon emissions for around 300 of the country’s biggest emitters to pay for their CO2 emissions.

Source: Scientific American

79 thoughts on “Report: Carbon Emissions Increased After Six Years Downward Trend Following Abbott’s Repeal of Carbon Tax”

  1. “Airline operators also said they had been hurt badly by the tax, at a time when intensifying competition in Australia’s domestic travel market was already driving down ticket prices. Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. said it lost A$27 million in the six months through December 2013 due to the carbon tax, saying it couldn’t pass costs on to passengers because of stiff market competition. It reported a first-half loss of A$83.7 million.”

  2. ‘”Today the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone, a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment is finally gone,” a jubilant Mr. Abbott told voters in a news conference after the Senate’s decision.’

    Mr Abbott is no rogue. He was voted in specifically on his platform to get rid of the carbon tax, because voters did not like the expense.

    Something to remember in the Tax-and-Spend philosophy.

  3. Another thing to consider is the graph of Big Carbon Footprints. The US and Australia are near the top. China is near the bottom.

    You can almost eat the air in China, the pollution is so bad. You might as well swim in a Port-A-Potty than any river in China. It might be cleaner and less toxic. India, too, has terrible heavy metal pollution, among others, and many people get poisoned from bathing and washing in their sacred rivers.

    The US is actually a very clean country compared to China and India. This hyper-fixation on carbon, at the expense of everything else, is detrimental to the goal of keeping as many toxins as possible out of our environment.

  4. According to the Wall Street Journal, voters in Australia turned against the carbon tax, blaming it for rising costs of energy and cost of living. There were political consequences for the politicians which voted it in.

    This might come as a shock to politicians, but voters do not like having to pay a lot more for necessities.

    That is the current drawback of renewables and carbon taxes. I hope renewables will continue to improve and economize, and I believe carbon taxes are just more taxes on our backs.

  5. The CEDEX report is interesting. According to the report, petroleum demand has been increasing, mainly due to aviation fuel. The initial leg of international flights leaving Australia has been increasing, so planes need to load up on more fuel as they leave.

    Here’s the thing about jet fuel – it doesn’t really matter if they gas the plane up in the US or AU or wherever. What matters is the total emissions per year of all planes, because it all goes into the collective atmosphere.

    The report also stated that demand for natural gas steadily decreased because gas prices keep increasing, and fuels were shifting towards renewables & electricity.

    Electricity: It also commented that wind farms produced less energy than expected, due to a lack of wind, also driving demand for electricity up. Business demand for electricity decreased, in part because of the closure of an aluminum smelter. Residential electricity demand decreased even more. There was a tiny increased tick in electricity over the past 2 months in Fig 5. We will have to trend more data for a while to establish a pattern.

    What we have found here in the US is that renewable energy is far more expensive than non-renewable. In addition, wind turbines have been decimating bird populations, including endangered species. I consider many renewables, such as wind power, to still be in the Beta phase. They need to address the horrible “chopping” turbulence and noise that is so disturbing to people and wildlife. (I’ve been to wind farms. Not fun.) They also need to upgrade their design to prevent them from killing birds. The solar farms in the desert have been literally frying birds and other wild life. So that, too, needs to be fixed.

    So the issue is that when prices go up, demand goes down. But at some point we will have consumers unable to pay their utilities without government subsidies. There are already subsidies that help keep costs down, but the criticism is that this is expensive for the government to maintain.

    Coal is cheap, and it employs a lot of people, but it’s also dirty. There is new technology that helps, but it is not a clean, renewable fuel.

    My ultimate goal is for all energy to be clean, renewable, and domestically produced. That should de-fang the Middle East. It also needs to be affordable, self-sustaining, and independent of subsidies except for the poor. When heating your home gets expensive, you chop down trees and keep your fireplace going. I hope we reach that goal soon, but it’s absurd to keep blanketing land with wind turbines and solar farms until their bugs are worked out. No self-respecting ecologist would want either in sensitive habitats.

    My biggest complaint about carbon taxes and carbon credits is that they are more tax money for government to waste. In many cases, they do not actually reduce pollution (how are trucking companies supposed to reduce emissions?) Gov Brown has been raiding CA’s Cap & Trade to fund his pet vacation train boondoggle gift to unions.

  6. Videos like that ‘disruption’ one are not useful; they are fast paced propaganda jumping from picture to picture. No invitation whatsoever to think for yourself. At least they got the title right.

  7. Climate change denyers are like Nazi holocaust denyers, complete extremists. That isn’t to say there hasn’t been extremism & lies on the other side. Its time to get real. Read the Way To Happiness booklet, not forgetting the chapters on competence, how to know, etc.

  8. Paul C. Schulte
    To equate “diaper droppings” to wind farms… scattological thoughts, often?

  9. Darren,
    “She stated one of the best removers of CO2 was, of course, plant life. The advantage is it transfers it from the atmosphere into the soil to reestablish and aid the carbon cycle.”
    = = =
    Natural land management.

    I posted on the last eco. thread about how the global community is operating on a carbon credit (aka, using more carbon that is naturally replenished) it can’t pay back. In addition to this, as noted above about Canada, deforestation is adding to the problem of Global Climate Change (aka Global Warming). Humanity is sucking at land management (Religiously aka stewards). So we’re all suffering for it.

    What mankind is facing is a life threatening situation that can be turned into mankind’s best achievement yet. A change in a philosophy of being. I know, that sounds ‘out there’ and to some it will be. And it will be until they understand their role of influence. Here’s how: We’re all butterflies flapping wings. A generation or two later, storms across Michigan. Yet, many parts go into that equation well before those storms are even forecast (aka MODELED).

    There is a whole host of pieces to this puzzle of climate change. These pieces are linked together because they’ve been around longer than mankind building upon each other. They are essential building blocks of life that are being unraveled and reordered before our eyes. Our activity may just be the reason of this reorder of connected relationships from what drives the climate and how life adjusts, or doesn’t. AND, even if our activity isn’t the driving culprit (I hardly believe that myself) our inactivity to mitigate it’s future impacts is equally an ignorant response that ultimately condemns the next generation to own it.

    What fathoms me is how some people can shill for less Government and yet, insist on big Government handouts to major polluters with OUR tax monies. And for the record, I consider myself one big giant capital L – Liberal. I’ll be flogged for such an admission by some here, predictably. That’s life.

  10. Jim22: I wonder how much slag is produced in those silver mines for that clean solar panel.

    None, Champ. There is, however, a significant amount of acid that leaches out the tailings and then there’s the mercury

  11. Max-1

    I heard an engaging interview with an author, I cannot remember her name unfortunately, on KUOW last night who discussed issues regarding carbon in the atmosphere.

    She stated one of the best removers of CO2 was, of course, plant life. The advantage is it transfers it from the atmosphere into the soil to reestablish and aid the carbon cycle.

    One interesting aspect is how proper soil conservation, which is an under-appreciated farming goal, can be achieved and make crops less fertilizer dependence is the no till farming practice. A scientist she referred to estimated if 11% of farming world wide practiced this there would be a measurable difference in atmospheric CO2 levels.

    If you have the interest and look it up it is worthwhile; one caveat though she does tend to go off on tangents occasionally but the underlying information is what matters.)

  12. Dear Jimm22, pt. 3

    The end of baseload? It may come sooner than you think

    One of the principal architects of Germany’s push into renewable energy technologies, Hans-Josef Fell, believes that the country could achieve 100% renewables in its electricity sector by 2030 — and may do it quicker. The rest of the world could follow soon after.

    Fell, a Greens politician and architect of the the feed-in-tariffs that have helped the country already produce 20% of its energy from wind, solar, biomass and geothermal sources, and pushed it to the forefront of clean energy technologies, says the growth of renewables will continue at an exponential rate. This is partly because of the growing cost of conventional fossil fuels, and partly because of their inability (apart from gas) to balance the intermittent nature of renewable energy generation.

    In an interview with RenewEconomy, Fell says a 100% renewables electricity grid in Germany may be 40-50% wind, 30-40% solar, with the rest coming from other sources. Balancing this generation, however, would be the key challenge.

    In short Jimm22, the canard of “BASELOAD” is just the ancient cry of “don’t change the status quo”…
    … Imagine the base load of the plantation owner letting his slaves go free.

  13. Dear Jimm22, pt. 2

    Flexible power production (no more baseload)

    Already, it is clear that intermittent solar and wind power will eventually cut deeply into baseload power. Germans have been aware that baseload power is incompatible with intermittent renewables for years. To complement renewables, we will need dispatchable power plants that can ramp up and down relatively quickly. Such plants more closely resemble today’s medium and peak load (such as gas turbines) than the baseload (such as nuclear plants, which do not ramp easily). To pay for such reserve generating capacity, the power market will need to be redesigned, however, which is why Germany is now increasingly talking about a capacity market and a strategic power reserve.

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