Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies

Energy Users Association of Australia presentation by Griffith Hack
September 21, 2009, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Feature

I attended an Energy Users Association of Australia presentation on 9 September 2009.  The presentation was given by Dr Perry Sioshansi, who is editor of a book entitled Energy Informer.  The presentation ran for about 1 hour and was attended by approximately 60 people from the energy industries and government.

The presentation discussed the political issues surrounding the Waxman-Markey Bill which is a Bill on the Obama climate policies.  I am attempting to obtain a copy of the slides of Sioshansi presentation and will post the link when the slides are available.

Sioshansi is Californian and is abreast with the political issues confronting the Obama administration in implementing its climate change policies.  It is worth noting that, like most Bills, it has been amended significantly in response to backroom lobbying. 

The main points made by Sioshansi about the Bill (and other issues) are summarised as follows.

* The Bill was narrowly passed by the House on 26 June 2009 and is yet to the passed by the Senate.  The Bill is scheduled to be passed by the Senate in October, approx 1 month before the climate change discussion in Copenhagen.
* The Bill sets CO2 emissions targets at a level that are significantly higher than recommended by scientists.
* In terms of CO2 emission targets, the Bill appears to have many inconsistencies, however a distillation of the conflicting targets appears to be to achieve 1990 CO2 levels by 2020. 
* Industry lobbying groups have had a massive impact in watering down the aims and objectives of the Bill, for instance, the Bill gives free permits and allowances to approximately 85% of industry. 
* The Bill allows most industries to not do any thing for the next 10 to 20 years.
* There is significant concern that CAP and Trade scheme, being a market based system, is doomed to fail.  The main concern is that a market based system has a history of incorrectly evaluating equity and borrowed money  ( eg recent GFC).  A better mechnism (in fiscal terms/but not politically with the electorate) is a carbon tax based on emission that is collected by government and distributed as deemed appropriate.
* The Bill does not give the US any credibility in Copenhagen later this year.
* The trump card of Obama is the United States EPA.  The Supreme Court has determined that CO2 is a pollutant which gives Obama the power to achieve whatever he wishes in terms of setting CO2 targets, Cap & Trade or Taxes using the EPA, thereby by-passing the House and Senate.
* California is miles ahead of the remainder of the US on CO2 emission reductions practices.  California introduced its own State laws in 2006 that set much harder targets ie lower CO2 emissions than the Bill .

If anyone would like to discuss further, please contact me:

LLB BE (Hons) 
Griffith Hack, Senior Associate
P: 03 9243 8300


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