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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Carbon Price Timetable

Updated Thursday, March 28, 2013

Date Step
17 Jul 2007 The Prime Minister, John Howard, today committed his government to introducing an emissions trading scheme.
Howard said the government would set a long-term emissions target in 2008.  Read more ...
08 Feb 2010 Malcolm Turnbull said an Australian emissions trading scheme, with a carbon price set by the market, would improve business investment certainty.
Market-based approaches have the potential to deliver least-cost abatement by providing incentives for firms to reduce emissions where this is cheapest, while allowing the continuation of emissions where they are most costly to reduce.
This ETS allows Australian businesses to make their own decisions as to how to reduce their emissions. Government sets the rules and, in particular, sets the cap on total emissions and then lets the market work out the most efficient and effective outcome. Schemes where bureaucrats and politicians pick technologies and winners, doling out billions of taxpayers’ dollars, neither are economically efficient nor will be environmentally effective. For those reasons, I will be voting in favour of this legislation. Read more ...
20 Aug 2010 JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.
It will be part of a bold series of reforms that include school funding, education and health.
In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.  Read more ...
15 Sep 2010 The chief executive of Australia’s biggest electricity and gas retailer, AGL, on Wednesday called for the prompt introduction of an emissions trading system restricted only to the power generation sector.
Read more ...
16 Sep 2010 BHP boss Marius Kloppers: It's time for carbon tax
Mr Kloppers's call for a carbon tax undermines the passionate objections of Tony Abbott to setting a price on carbon before there is a global consensus.
"We do believe that such a global initiative will eventually come and, when it does, Australia will need to have acted ahead of it to maintain its competitiveness," Mr Kloppers told a packed Australian British Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney.
Read more ...
15 Nov 2010 The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a study on the effective carbon prices that result from emissions and energy reduction policies in place or committed in Australia and other key economies.
Read more ...
16 Feb 2011 A "HYBRID" model of a fixed carbon price leading to an emissions trading scheme is likely to be agreed by the multi-party climate committee on Friday as the foundation for a new greenhouse reduction policy.
Read more ...
24 Feb 2011 Australia will set a carbon price from July 1, 2012, as an interim measure until a full emissions trading scheme can be introduced ..., Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.
But Ms Gillard said no decision had yet been made on what the price would be, ...
"Every cent raised from pricing carbon will go to assisting households, helping businesses manage the transition and funding climate change programs," she said.
Read more ...
1 Mar 2011 TONY Abbott has vowed to scrap Labor's carbon tax and oppose emissions trading if he wins the next election.
However, he was undermined by former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, who yesterday said he still supported an emissions trading scheme.
Read more ...
11 May 2011 THE energy retailer AGL has urged the Gillard government to stick to its July 2012 start date for putting a price on carbon.
Despite fears that a carbon price could dramatically force up household power bills, AGL said many of these claims were erroneous, and the impact of the price rises could be offset by the types of electricity efficiency schemes already in place in NSW, Victoria and SA.
Read more ...
20 Mar 2013 The UK Government is acting to give private investors the confidence to invest in the UK’s energy sector.
From April 2013 the carbon price floor announced at Budget 2011 will come into effect, providing a clear and credible long-term signal to support investment in low carbon electricity generation.
[The carbon price floor starts at £16 ($AUD23.30) per tonne and has a target price for carbon of £30 ($AUD43.75) per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2020.]
Read more ...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Electricity Saving for Large Power Users

Monday, February 18, 2013

Australian wheat yields in decline

Australian wheat yields per hectare climbed steadily till 1990. With a change of production systems introduced that year, a trend of declining yields has been established.

The global trend is of continuing improvement in wheat yields. This state of affairs implies that Australian wheat farmers can achieve a substantial yield improvement if they are able to reverse the causes of the declining yields and also catch up to the global improvement in wheat yields.

The negative impact of the trend of falling wheat yields can be seen by contrasting the situation with Australian cotton farming.

In 2011/12 Australian cotton farming occupied about 1 percent of the area devoted to wheat crops. It produced about 10 percent of the revenue obtained by wheat production.

Cotton farming has progressively improved yields and in 2011/12 achieved around 10 bails per hectare. This was achieved at a cost equal to the value of about 7 bails per hectare. Thus, cotton farming is profitable and becomes increasingly profitable while yields continue to improve. The high Australian dollar was not significant, with around 95 percent of the Australian cotton crop being exported.

With declining wheat yields, the tonnes of wheat that must be sold to cover the cost of production rises inexorably towards the revenue obtained from each hectare of production. Once the cost and revenue per hectare become equal, there is no reason to produce any wheat.


High yielding crops from legume-dominant pastures, G.J. Scammell, Australian Agronomy Conference, 1998
Australia’s declining crop yield trends I: Donald revisited, Andrew W. H. Lake, Australian Agronomy Conference, 2012
Australia’s declining crop yield trends II: The role of nitrogen nutrition, Andrew W. H. Lake, Australian Agronomy Conference, 2012
Australian Cotton Comparative Analysis - 2011 Crop, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, May 2012

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Investing on the Road to Global Financial Crisis II

Creating an energy glut in both the coal and natural gas markets at the same time begins with enormous investor optimism that their energy investments will deliver high returns.

2 costly LNG terminals sit idle Need vanishes for fuel imports

by Jay Fitzgerald, Globe Correspondent, 23 January 2013.
This is what happens when a bet on energy prices goes spectacularly wrong.

Anticipating that natural gas prices in New England would remain high, two companies spent $350 million to $400 million each just a few years ago to build terminals off the North Shore of Massachusetts to bring imported fuel to local consumers.

UPDATE 4-New US LNG terminal to start up but may sit idle

by Edward McAllister, Reuters, 8 June 2011.
Nearly $5 billion has been poured into LNG import terminals over the past decade on the expectation that the United States would be a major importer of natural gas.
Australia was caught up in the same bet on energy prices that went spectacularly wrong. Always ready to gamble with other people's money, even now the Australian coal seam gas industry continues to draw in more punters...

North America Hungry for LNG

posted by Gav, Peak Energy, 16 February 2005.
Australia must develop its gas reserves to be ready to supply North America's huge and growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets, Australia's federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane said yesterday.

The Australia federal government [in 2005] was pushing for Australia to be a major supplier of LNG to Mexico and the west coast of the US.
On the Mexican leg of his North American visit Macfarlane toured the sites of two proposed LNG receiving terminals in Baja California, Mexico.

One of the most striking symptoms of the first Global Financial Crisis of the 21st century was readily available credit to build and buy houses. In Spain the solution to a glut of houses for a long time was ... to build even more houses

Gas Flaring - Disposing of natural gas keeps prices high
Gas Flaring - Disposing of natural gas keeps prices high

Spain's house prices to fall another 30pc as glut keeps growing

The UK Telegraph, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 27 December 2012.
Spain's property slump will deepen for much of the next decade, and tracts of buildings along the Mediterranean coast will have to be demolished [an idea similar to flaring of natural gas], the country's top consultants have warned.
Fresh losses could reach 50pc and drag on for 10 to 15 years in those places where construction ran wild during the bubble, bringing the total decline from peak to trough towards 75pc.

"The market is broken," said Fernando Rodríguez de Acuña, the group's vice-president. "We calculate that there are almost 2 million properties waiting to be sold. We have made no progress at all over the past five years in clearing the stock," he said.

When Irish Eyes Are Crying

Vanity Fair, by Michael Lewis, March 2011.
First Iceland. Then Greece. Now Ireland, which headed for bankruptcy with its own mysterious logic. In 2000, suddenly among the richest people in Europe, the Irish decided to buy their country—from one another. After which their banks and government really screwed them. ...
... The numbers were breathtaking. A single bank, Anglo Irish, which, two years before, the Irish government had claimed was merely suffering from a “liquidity problem,” faced losses of up to 34 billion euros. ... And that was for a single bank. As the sum total of loans made by Anglo Irish, most of it to Irish property developers, was only 72 billion euros, the bank had lost nearly half of every dollar it invested.
Ireland’s financial disaster shared some things with Iceland’s. It was created by the sort of men who ignore their wives’ suggestions that maybe they should stop and ask for directions, for instance. But while Icelandic males used foreign money to conquer foreign places—trophy companies in Britain, chunks of Scandinavia—the Irish male used foreign money to conquer Ireland. Left alone in a dark room with a pile of money, the Irish decided what they really wanted to do with it was to buy Ireland. From one another.
In recognition of the spectacular losses, the entire Irish economy has almost dutifully collapsed. When you fly into Dublin you are traveling, for the first time in 15 years, against the traffic. The Irish are once again leaving Ireland, along with hordes of migrant workers. In late 2006, the unemployment rate stood at a bit more than 4 percent; now it’s 14 percent and climbing toward rates not experienced since the mid-1980s.

On the Investment Road to Global Financial Crisis II

Creating an energy glut in both the coal and natural gas markets at the same time begins with enormous investor optimism that their energy investments will deliver high returns.

It is now time to stop and ask directions, rather than repeat the mistakes made in Ireland by "the sort of men who ignore their wives’ suggestions that maybe they should stop and ask for directions."

Two energy investment losses stand out like lighthouse beacons warning of rocks ahead:

BHP writes down US shale assets by $US2.8b

Sydney Morning Herald, by Peter Ker, 3 August 2012.
The shale impairment will be recorded against the Fayetteville assets that were bought off Chesapeake Energy for almost $US4 billion in February 2011.

The other half of BHP's surge into US gas: the $US15 billion acquisition of Petrohawk Energy was made in August 2011, and has so far not suffered an impairment.

BHP is trying to avoid an impairment on the latter assets by switching its focus from gas to liquids in those fields, and the market may know by February if an adjustment in value is needed.
Price slump

The gas impairments were caused by a slump in US gas prices which took the benchmark price from about $US4 per British thermal unit to about $US1.90 earlier this year.

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese out over $14bn write-down

The UK Telegraph, by Emma Rowley, 17 January 2013.
A disastrous $4 billion African coal takeover spelled the end for Rio Tinto’s chief executive Tom Albanese, forced out by a massive write-down after the deal turned sour.

Acknowledging that “accountability” rested with him, Mr Albanese left the post immediately, after more than 30 years with one of the world’s biggest miners. Iron ore head Sam Walsh replaces him.

The mining giant surprised the markets by announcing $14 billion of write-downs on acquisitions across the world. But it was the $3 billion write-down on Rio Tinto’s coal assets in Mozambique, wiping out most of the $3.7 billion it paid less than two years ago, which finally cost Mr Albanese his job.
As  the rush to get a piece of the global liquefied natural (LNG) market gathers momentum around the world, the prospects of a looming crash in the global price becomes ever more clear. Both the USA and Australia are rushing to bring additional LNG export terminals into production. At the same time, major consumers are pushing ahead with coal-to-natural gas plants that will help them dramatically cut reliance on high-price imported LNG.

Coinciding with the rush to create a natural gas glut, coal exports from the USA and Australia are rising sharply. And this, in the face of falling global prices, is being driven by the low-cost natural gas supply in the USA that has slashed domestic coal demand.

An obvious direction the energy market could have taken was to use existing coal resources to create substitute natural gas (SNG) as China is doing.

  • The USA would not now be facing coal mine closures while coming to terms with the environmental impact of "fracking".
  • Australia also would not be weighing up the impact of coal seam gas production on the long-term viability of the country's most productive agricultural land.

The banking system, superannuation funds and shareholders are lining up to pour $$$ billions into BOTH coal mining AND natural gas production, together with associated export infrastructure. Building more housing in Spain has finally lost its appeal, but too late to avoid massive financial losses.

It may not be too late to learn a valuable lesson from the experiences of  Spain, Iceland, Greece and Ireland in Global Financial Crisis I.

Investment in coal to substitute natural gas plants may be a more prudent investment. This approach can lower the environmental hazards from coal (for example, removing mercury from gasified coal) and avoid the environmental impacts of coal seam gas extraction and "fracking" in shale gas production.

Related link -
Coal seam gas up in smoke