By: Mike Hosking | Monday, October 29, 2012
The latest round of the Kyoto agreement on carbon emissions gets underway in a couple of weeks in Doha and apparently there is some thought that our Government might be looking to bail on them.
If this is true, it is a victory for common sense.
It is sadly years overdue and it’s a shame they couldn’t see the circus for what it was from the start, but better late than never as they say. The carbon market, such that it is, has basically collapsed.
The carbon market, if you haven’t followed it, and why would you? Buys and sells credits on a per tonne basis. If you’re a polluter you pay, if you own say…forests, you get money. The market started at about 20 per tonne of carbon. It’s down to about a dollar. So all the people who planted trees thinking they’d get rich aren’t. What’s worse, even at a dollar, in a true market people would be buying up credits left right and centre for when the price goes back up.
But they’re not.
Even at a dollar there are hardly any buyers. It’s like gold dropping 90 percent of its value and no one sweeping in for the bargains. So what that tells you is no one is taking the carbon market seriously. Because…well, what’s to take seriously? We’re not polluters.
One of the statistics the Government’s worked out is that China’s daily emissions increases are more than our output in an entire year and China hasn’t signed the Kyoto deal. Neither has the States, neither has India.
So the real polluters aren’t in and small ‘try hard’ nations like us and Australia have been madly trying to convince anyone who’ll listen that this is the way of the future and we’re going to be the pioneers. The reality of that level of dreaming is that we’re paying tax on things like petrol, and when you tax petrol, you tax everything because everything has a transport component to it. So we’ve ended up paying more for things we don’t need to in the vain hope that it would reduce the emission levels, which it hasn’t. In doing that we’d save the planet, which hasn’t happened either. Brilliant.
Meanwhile, these endless talks on the future of Kyoto get held in far flung places where all your beauracrats and hangers on jet in from all over the planet, emitting more carbon than we would in a life time to sit around arguing and disagreeing and achieving basically nothing.
Kyoto was a hopelessly fraught dream that never really got off the ground and never realistically, despite what they told you, was ever going to and fingers crossed our Government has at least woken up to that and come the next round in Doha is quietly going to let the thing slide.
If they had a balls they articulate it but what will most likely happen is they let America and China and their mates refuse to sign, then on the back of that say ‘If they’re not, what’s the point in us doing it?’. Which, of course, has been the common sense argument all along.
It’s just taken the Government a couple of wasted years to work it out.
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