Tuesday, 17 November 2009

That’s a “responsible” $100 billion burden, thank you [update 3]

NickTheDick The Not Evil Just Wrong blog awards New Zealand’s Environment Minister Nick Smith the Oxymoron Promise of the Day prize today for talking “responsibility” while imposing a $100 billion burden on taxpayers by 2050.

Not sure if that’s a prize-winning Oxymoron or award-winning chutzpah. Either way it’s par for the course for the topsy-turvy world of global warming politics, where facts are less important than faith.

So as world leaders quietly accept that signing a global warming deal at Copenhagen is a bust, which rather removes the so-called reason fr urgency in passing Smith’s Emissions Trading Scam, it’s time to ask two questions:

  1. 'Who Are The Deniers Now? since “All evidence rejects hypothesis that human CO2 is causing warming.”
  2. Why are NZ taxpayers taking on the $100 billion responsibility of fixing a non-problem?

UPDATE: That’s $100 billion plus a swathe of the Conservation Estate to Establishment Maori to shut them up, and to by the votes of the Maori Party.

UPDATE 2: Speculation abounds that the non-inclusion of the Harawiras’ Ngapuhi iwi in the bribe deal  is the real reason for all the talk behind Hone’s disgruntlement with the Maori Party.

UPDATE 3: Spotted by Gooner:

“’Look, who knows what the price of carbon will be tomorrow, next week or in twenty years time. We just don't know.’

“John Key, on Newstalk ZB yesterday morning, whose party is introducing a price cap on carbon.”

And from the same interview, talking about Treasury’s estimates:

"They are wrong. They can't tell what the deficit will be in December so how do they know what carbon prices will be in 2030 or 2040?"


  1. @ PC: The work of environmental scientist Professor Atte Korhola has recently been used by economist Steve McIntyre in order to support McIntyre's denialist claims.
    Korhola doesn't speak english very well, but he is a good scientist.
    If you want to get an insight into the climate-change questions he is grappling with, see Climate changes in the European Arctic during the last 2k (23:36), a (bit boring) lecture about his work.

  2. I'm on a bit of a precision kick about this:

    The hundred billion is costs National is shifting off industry and agriculture and onto taxpayers with their changes to the ETS (shifting costs off agriculture and industry).

    Estimates can vary, but the way you change the overall cost is by burning less fuel or planting more trees. Or opting out.

    Smith argues we're currently looking to be in credit from Kyoto cos of trees. I'm not sure he's right, but if we imagine he is, it clarifies the distinction: Kyoto credits (cosnidered in isolation) makes the economy better off, National's changes to the ETS makes the taxpayer worse off.

  3. @Lyndon: Well, let's be precise about this then: there is no cost other than what this govt and previous govts have opted into.

    It's not a matter of making polluters pay, since CO2 is not a pollutant.

  4. Just saying that "what this govt and previous govts have opted into" is not $100bn - that number refers to something else.

    As a matter of fact, the 100bn is effectively carbon taxes *not* taken under National's ETS, that would be under Labour's.

  5. @Lyndon: "Just saying that "what this govt and previous govts have opted into" is not $100bn - that number refers to something else."

    Yes, it refers to a bill that's been sent to us because of what those govts opted into.

    "As a matter of fact, the 100bn is effectively carbon taxes *not* taken under National's ETS, that would be under Labour's."

    As a matter of fact it's a bill we don't need, for a problem that doesn't exist.

  6. I'm not arguing the merits, I'm just looking for a sign that you understand.

    On the one hand, the difference between National's and Labour's ETS involves changed plans for shuffling some wealth around. Namely, not taking perhaps 100bn from agriculture and industry. It's actually pulling back on the ETS, which reduces crown income from the ETS. That is where the $100bn thing comes from.

    On the other hand, between allocations and trees, New Zealand may or may not owe money under Kyoto, but it looks like a coupla orders of magnitude less.

    If you object to the ETS or Kyoto in principle then the $100bn figure is only tangentially relevent.

    And I'm certainly not sure it should serve as a foundation for your indignation. Especially since I believe it can be described as money Labour was proposing to grab, that National's decided not to.

  7. Oh I understand perfectly, Lyndon.

    The money will be paid by someone -- the only question is whether its paid by producers or by taxpayers.

    And the only reason it needs to be paid at all is because . . . this govt and the previous one opted into an agreement that calls carbon dioxide a pollutant.

    So they're not "shuffling wealth around" -- they're shuffling around a debt that shouldn't exist, and wouldn't have but for an agreement that should never have been made.

    Do you understand that?

  8. a debt that shouldn't exist, and wouldn't have but for an agreement that should never have been made

    Which was last estimated by Treasury to be less than a billion and the Nick Smith says is currently actually a profit.


    I'm not saying that's good or bad, just that it is about something quite different to the $100bn. So your mention of that, and the article you link to, do not support (or detract from) your conclusion.

    Which is not a huge point in the scheme of things, and certainly not worth trying to make more than four times.


  9. Or opting out.

    Don't be too hard on Lyndon, Peter. I think he's on to something here :-)

  10. These pillocks have no idea what the size of the bill is going to be. They have no idea how much they'll be demanding people pay. They just want people to pay....



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