But why should we steer the economy away from carbon?

From The Economist just now. We live in the midst of such idiocy in almost every direction that it will be a miracle if we get through this without a major collapse, going well beyond a mere depression. You really have much to fear when it’s Daniel Andrews leading the way. Plus this:

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Our cover this week calls for a global effort to tackle climate change. Covid-19 creates a unique chance to steer the economy away from carbon at a much lower financial, social and political cost than before. Rock-bottom energy prices make it easier to cut subsidies for fossil fuels and to introduce a tax on carbon. The revenues from that tax can help repair battered government finances. The businesses at the heart of the fossil-fuel economy—oil and gas firms, steel producers, carmakers—are already going through the agony of shrinking their long-term capacity and employment. Getting economies back on their feet calls for investment in climate-friendly infrastructure that boosts growth and creates new jobs. Low interest rates make the bill smaller than ever. The world should seize the moment.

Isn’t this a good news story?

The way this started, you would have thought that the Government was slipping this in under the cover of Christmas so that no one would notice. From The Age naturally:

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has quietly published data, just two days before Christmas, showing the second year of operation of Australia’s carbon price was more successful at reducing emissions than the first.

New data from Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory show emissions declined across Australia by 1.4 per cent over the 12 months to June.

That compares to a decline in emissions of 0.8 per cent for the previous 12 months.

The carbon price was introduced by the Gillard government and began operation on July 1, 2012. It ended on July 1, this year after the Abbott government fulfilled an election pledge by abolishing it.

The sneaky dogs, not telling us how wonderfully it was all working. Tim Blair, however, brings it all into the light, under the cryptic heading The Joy of Pointlessness:

According to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Labor’s carbon tax reduced carbon emissions by 0.8 per cent during its first year and by 1.4 per cent during its second year. In other words, it cut Australia’s 1.3 per cent global carbon dioxide contribution by next to nothing.

And the cost of this minimal reduction? $7.6 billion. Labor’s Andrew Leigh evidently believes this was money well spent, and is upset that carbon generation has now returned to the same level it was in August 2013.

Nevertheless, it is astonishing that the Government did hide the announcement in this way. Either most of the country sees the pointlessness, which should mean it deserves a larger run, or it doesn’t, in which case we will return relatively soon to this exercise in poverty creation.

It is bizarre

In the Salem Witch trials as I recall – my memory is a little rusty here – there were a bunch of fanatics burning climate change deniers at the stake. To think there is anything needed at all to “fix” our carbon emissions is a kind of loopyness that I just see as part of the world today, something along the lines of wanting to spend your way out of recession. Which brings me to this:

FORMER Treasury secretary Ken Henry has described Tony Abbott’s direct action scheme for tackling climate change as ‘bizarre’ and predicted the Coalition will wind up implementing an emissions trading scheme.

Direct action, as I understand it, says that we will wait for the rest of the world to come up with some kind of carbon-limitation scheme but in the meantime we will try to lower carbon emissions in ways that actually do some good of some other kind even if there isn’t a carbon emissions problem in the first place, and we will spend far less money on it as well. Carbon taxes and carbon-emissions schemes are both 100% wasteful if there is no carbon problem to solve. Direct action actually takes some positive actions. It is bizarre that people who believe carbon taxes or an ETS will actually do some good can rise to such high places of authority over our lives.