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Monday, July 15, 2013

Tony Abbott really is an economic illiterate

A carbon price per tonne of carbon dioxide must be an unfathomable enigma to Tony Abbott. How can carbon dioxide, if it is weightless as Tony Abbott believes, weigh even one gram, let alone a whole tonne?

In a speech to the House of Representatives on 8 February 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."
Tony Abbott - an economic illiterate
Tony Abbott - an economic illiterate

In February 2010 journalist Mark Schapiro wrote in Harper Magazine CONNING THE CLIMATE - Inside the Carbon-Trading Shell Game "Unlike traditional commodities,  which  sometimes  during  the  course  of their  market  exchange  must  be  delivered  to someone in physical form, the carbon market is based  on  the  lack  of  delivery  of  an  invisible substance to no one."

On 26 February 2010, a few weeks after Malcolm Turnbull's speech to the House of Representatives, Tony Abbott addressed the Menzies Research Centre Policy Roundtable, saying: "Why should Australia be in a rush to establish a $15 billion a year market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one?"

Tony Abbott was really carried away with this brainless description of emissions trading a few weeks earlier when talking to the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 12 February 2010:
"And I tell you what else the next Coalition Government will do, it will save Australia from an emissions trading scheme. It will save Australia from this great big new tax. It’s interesting, I don’t know how many of you read the Financial Review today, but I would encourage you if you do browse through that paper to look at the Review section behind the Market Wrap because there is a fascinating study about just how a carbon market might work, and if Mr Rudd has his way carbon will become the world’s most traded commodity – more traded than cars, more traded than coal, more traded than wheat, more traded than intellectual property and financial services and yet carbon, the stuff that Mr Rudd is so keen to turn into this extraordinary market, it’s about the non-delivery of something that’s invisible to no-one.

That’s what his emissions trading scheme is about. It’s about the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one and he wants to turn this into a $15 billion a year market in Australia.

I mean, really and truly.

My original political mentor, B.A Santamaria, had a phrase. The phrase was “a moonbeam from the larger lunacy”, and what the Prime Minister wants to do is to create a $15 billion a year market that’s about the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one.

Well, really and truly.

David, I want to thank you and your colleagues here in the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry for being amongst the first to alert people to the con job that was being foisted on the Australian public and I want to say that the people’s revolt that you helped to ignite is going to spread right around this country."

And it gets worse. Tony Abbott explained on-air with John Laws a year later on 7 July 2011 that he has no idea how to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions:
TONY ABBOTT: See, one of the things that people haven’t quite twigged to is that carbon dioxide is invisible, it’s weightless and it’s odourless. How are we going to police these emissions...

JOHN LAWS: I don’t know.

TONY ABBOTT: …I mean, how are we going to police these emissions? This carbon cop is going to be an extraordinarily intrusive instrumentality, running around trying to make sure that all these businesses aren’t actually emitting given that you can’t actually see, smell or touch what’s going on.

It's just not fair for Tony Abbott to strain his brain trying to grapple with such imponderable and perplexing riddles.