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Bryan Leyland

Why we should scrap the Emissions Trading Scheme

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Australia has just scrapped its carbon tax, so should we scrap our Emissions Trading Scheme?

The answer is yes, and for many reasons.

The Emissions Trading Scheme has distorted farming and forestry, increased electricity and fuel prices and done little or nothing towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions. By increasing the cost of coal-fired generation at Huntly Power Station it has jacked up the electricity price whenever the Huntly is setting the price on the market. This increased price goes to all generators thus giving them an inducement to make sure that Huntly continues to generate using coal. This is obvious to anyone who understands the electricity market. But not, it seems, to the architects of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The scheme is open to massive fraud because huge amounts of carbon dioxide and money are traded on the basis of inaccurate information. Nobody really knows how much carbon dioxide farming, forestry or even power generation emits or absorbs to any reasonable degree of accuracy.  There is considerable evidence that, overall, farming absorbs carbon dioxide.  The really crazy aspect of this is that if an auditor fraudulently exaggerates the amount of carbon dioxide being traded, both the buyer and seller benefit.  The buyer gets more carbon credits – which is what he wants – and the seller gets more money – which is what he wants. In every other market transaction inaccurate measurement benefits one party at the expense of the other. But trading in carbon dioxide is different because carbon dioxide is of no practical use to anyone. It is, indeed, the legendary “trading in moonbeams”.  Increasing carbon dioxide levels enhance plant growth and are a huge benefit to agriculture and forestry worldwide. As a result of the increased carbon dioxide levels, there has been a significant reduction in desertification because plants grow better without needing more water. Some estimates put this benefit as high as $10 trillion.

In many countries wind and solar power are heavily subsidised because governments have been misled into believing that they will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  If they read the IPCC reports carefully they would realise that the IPCC has concluded that it is far more cost-effective to convert from coal-fired power stations to gas-fired and to build nuclear power stations. More than $2 trillion has been spent on wind and solar power and more will be spent on the huge subsidies that will continue being paid for the next 20 years. If, as the promoters of wind and solar power tell us, they will soon be economic in their own right, why do they need a guarantee of 20 years of subsidies? The subsidies are paid for by electricity consumers and taxpayers and, in many countries, there have been huge increases in the price of electricity and “energy poverty” is commonplace. It is highly likely that hundreds – maybe thousands – of people have died as a result of inadequate heating because of unaffordable electricity. It is certainly true that in countries like Germany that have huge subsidies for wind and solar power, quite a few industries have fled to countries with lower power costs leaving behind thousands of newly unemployed workers.

The world has not warmed for the last 17 years even though carbon dioxide levels have steadily increased. We can therefore be quite certain that man-made carbon dioxide does not cause dangerous global warming. That it may cause some warming is beyond doubt. That it causes significant warming is now totally disproved so  we can also be certain that the computer models that, alone, predicted continued rapid global warming are worthless. It is often claimed that the missing heat is disappeared into the ocean but this claim fails on close examination. For it to happen, a lot of heat would have to have been transferred from a non-warming atmosphere into the ocean. How could this happen? Nobody seems to be able to provide an answer.

In spite of what we are told, sea level rise has not accelerated and storms, floods and droughts have not increased compared to the last few hundred years. So there is no evidence that the moderate amount of warming between 1975 and 1998 has had any negative effects. It is often claimed that all these have not increased but these claims are usually based on a selected time period or by comparing the costs of storms and floods over time. They ignore the fact that as more and more development goes on in risk prone areas, it is inevitable that a series of identical incidents would result in steadily increasing losses.

Research into the sunspot cycles and other natural climate cycles tells us there is a high probability that we have reached the peak of a warming cycle and are now headed for possibly serious cooling. History tells us that warming is beneficial and cooling his bad. Even the believers in global warming agree that warming up to 2° would be beneficial to the world. 2° of cooling would be disastrous. During the Little Ice Age, temperatures were no more than 1.5° cooler than today.

What we should be doing is making sure that we can cope with natural climate change – be it cooling or warming. Instead, the world has squandered trillions of dollars on a totally futile attempt to “fight climate change” without making any measurable effect on carbon dioxide levels.

The Emissions Trading Scheme was introduced in spite of a promise that we would do nothing in advance of Australia. Now that Australia has abandoned its carbon tax, we should abandon the Emissions Trading Scheme and everything else associated with it.

Claims of dangerous man-made global warming will probably turn out to be the biggest fraud in the history of mankind.