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Procrastination and Carbon Pricing: the Real Option of a Carbon Price on the Economy

 

Introduction

A couple of weeks ago, after I posted “Was it Worth It? The Benefit-Cost of Air Pollution in China“, I was asked by Ecoscore to think about the benefit-cost of Australia procrastinating on a carbon price.

 

So, using my understanding of Australia’s carbon policy and economics what do I think? Has it been good for Australia? What can the rest of the world learn from Australia?

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VIDEO: Sustainable Farming with Wayne Lording (Wrap Up)

In this post, we wrap up our interview with Wayne Lording. Previously, we looked at what Wayne did to reduce his energy bills and water and fertiliser use. See here for an introduction to the series. The key points from the wrap up are:

  • Wayne’s investment helped reduced his costs through lower use of LPG, electricity, fertiliser and water,
  • Other farmers can also reduce their costs by investing in renewables and water reuse,
  • Very easy to install,
  • Can benefit very soon from reduced utility bills, and
  • Can also benefit from freeing up cash to invest in the farm.

Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed the series!

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VIDEO: Solar and Geothermal on Wayne Lording’s Farm

In the second of our series on Sustainable Farming on Wayne Lording’s farm (see here for the introduction), we talk to Wayne about how and why he installed solar and geothermal technologies to replace conventional energy sources. Key points are:

  • Combined solar and geothermal system has a payback period of one year.
  • Geothermal technologies are available and proven in Australia.
  • The key savings are from reducing ongoing energy costs. In Wayne’s case, he saved $5200 per year from reducing the need to use LPG.
  • Because renewable energy technologies require little or no fuel, they provide a useful hedge against electricity or LPG price volatility.

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Climate Change Scepticism: It’s the Economy, Stupid

I’m sceptical that climate change scepticism is simply a matter of scientific ignorance. While it may be true for some climate change sceptic individuals, I don’t think it is representative. The scientific community doesn’t agree with me. Scientists think the answer to this knowledge ‘deficit’ is to provide even more scientific information. This ‘deficit model’ of scientific communication assumes that climate change sceptics are ignorant and will change their views if they are simply plied with more information. However, it does not take into account that all people interpret scientific information in subjective ways, usually in ways that reinforce their prevailing views on the matter. Essentially, scientific information does not deal with people’s concerns on how climate change policy measures would impact their economic well-being. (more…)

Are You Ready to Manage Energy Price Risk?

Check out this post I wrote for Carbontel:

Now that the Federal government has ‘axed the tax’, energy prices should plummet now, right? Actually, reports from Federal Government agencies don’t see it that way. In fact, there are key economic drivers to expect energy prices to rise in the future. In this article, I will explain why energy prices will rise and what you could do to manage or ‘hedge’ energy price risk. (more)

Ross Garnaut: No Link Between Economic Growth and Pollution

Last night I went to see Prof. Ross Garnaut speak on ‘China’s Energy Transition: Effects on Global Climate and Sustainable Development’. Me and Ross go back a long way. Not personally of course, but my career in economics has somehow become enmeshed with his. His report on ‘North Asia’s Economic Ascendancy’ was the first government report I read when I was a callow youth at university. It set out a path for Australia to exploit the economic opportunity of North Asia (i.e. Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan). It wasn’t about resources, instead he said we should aim to be an exporter of ‘elaborately-transformed manufactures’ – i.e. advanced manufacturing goods that require significant use of Australia’s design expertise and creativity. It was a report that inspired me to think how economics could be used to guide governments. (more…)

WA’S $2.4 billion Energy Moral Hazard

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Image: Center for Problem Gambling.

Energy is a funny industry. In most industries, when supply increases, prices should fall. It is different in the Australian energy sector, the opposite seems to happen. The State of Western Australia (WA) is a good example of this phenomenon as pointed out in this article. (more…)