Repeal of the carbon tax in Australia – a huge retrograde in the war against global warming says Klaas Visser

By Janet Thompson, Jul 16, 2014, 15:42 7 minute reading

In an exclusive interview with, Klaas Visser, Owner of KAV Consulting with over 45 years of experience in the design, building and trouble shooting of ammonia systems and involvement in more than 800 NH3 projects, explains his views on efforts to repeal the carbon tax in Australia and on the Emissions Trading Scheme. What are your thoughts on the imminent repeal of the carbon tax in Australia? What could be an effective alternative measure?

Klass Visser: The repeal of the carbon tax in Australia is a huge retrograde step in the fight against global warming. Australia should lead from the front – as indeed it does with a carbon tax - because it has the dubious distinction of producing the fourth highest amount of CO2-e emissions per capita in the world, i.e. 28 tonnes/annum per capita, including agricultural industry emissions (only Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago and Kuwait produce more CO2-e emissions per capita). That is five to six times the quantity of emissions produced per capita in China, ironically to a significant extent with Australian coal!

And the average Australian then has the cheeky audacity to say: “Why should we in Australia reduce our emissions of “only” 620 million tonnes, whilst the Chinese produce 6 billion tonnes?” There is little realization in Australia that China is doing more on trying to mitigate Global Warming than virtually any other country in the world because they see first hand the consequences of Global Warming. It is not unusual not to see the sun in Beijing for five days in dry, hot weather!

As for effective counter measures, the ultimate answer is to take the environmental debate out of the hands of the economic rationalists. Every effective measure to control emissions is always subject to the rider: ….provided it is cost effective! This is the wrong approach.

John Kerry, the US foreign secretary, said at a meeting in Djakarta, that in his view and I quote: “Global Warming is the most fearsome weapon of mass destruction, which does not respect human made international borders!”- except those of Australia of course! Thus all life on this planet, including the responsible human species, faces a common enemy. Nations have to unite to wage a war against this most fearsome weapon of mass destruction. Once this is recognized, a war economy would be adopted where anything goes in the effort to defeat the enemy and a war economy invariably creates an economic boom of major proportions with full employment, an economic holy cow. The outcome will be a low energy, high productivity society with full employment.

The root of the Global Warming problem lies in the combined two facts of an increasing world population where each has to have a job and each has to improve their productivity! Ever since the Industrial Revolution started about 200 years ago, productivity has increased by using energy and replacing men with machines! But machines use energy creating Global Warming!

So the time has come to replace machines with people, which would create a lot of jobs by extending the life cycle of the fewer goods produced by the reduced number of machines, which would, therefore, use less energy in the aggregate. Unfortunately this concept is totally unacceptable to political leaders who are all talking about creating more jobs and increasing productivity of all jobs! Other culprits are the all powerful banks, whose continued life and growth depends on continued economic growth fueled by increased energy use! Until such time as we can plug the human navel into an electric wall socket for recharging between 10 pm and 6 am the following day, the real problem is that any amount of alternative energy will not solve the looming disaster of mass unemployment!

I don’t want to speculate on the consequences of that but the lead up to the second World War, and the enormous industrial effort by America during the second World War, which won the war for the Allies, are instructive to say the least. My naive question is: “If humanity can spend such Herculean efforts destroying itself, why can’t we make the same effort to try to save not only our lives, but all other life forms?” According to The Economist’s 2014 Edition of “Pocket World in Figures” ISBN 978 1 78125 104 1, a total 1,227 mammals, 1,315 birds and 2,129 fish species were under threat of extinction worldwide in 2011! What are your thoughts on Emissions Trading Schemes?

KV: It annoys me that the left side of politics has tied the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme to the European trading scheme. However, due to the natural market forces of supply and demand, like the sharp reductions in CO2 production per unit energy production and also the economic downturn, the carbon price in Europe has collapsed. Now the Australians can buy carbon very cheaply, which negates the purpose. You should never have a carbon trading scheme as a market; you should just have a straight carbon tax. Look at Deutsche Bank: it closed its carbon trading division because there was no money to be made. This is another thing about carbon trading, the banks are making the money. So you are in favour of a carbon tax rather than a trading scheme?

KV: A carbon trading scheme follows the laws of supply and demand as witnessed in the EU. The collapse in the carbon price in the EU was also partially brought about by there being too many exemptions and free permits! These mistakes were repeated in the Australian scheme. Without any doubt or reservation I favour a carbon tax. I would have a carbon price and I would keep increasing it and extend its applicability to all sources of carbon. I would use the funds raised to invest in Global Warming mitigation projects like renewable energy, increased public transport, clean water projects and water security, sustainable farming practices to avoid the implant of electric plug-in sockets in human navels for overnight charging, etc., etc.. In Australia a $100/tonne CO2 would raise about AU $60 billion/annum, representing about 4% of GDP. In 5 years that would raise enough revenue to fund a totally carbon free electrical energy system, a fully electrified national high speed rail system, a network of electric car recharging points at some present service stations and at homes, desalination plants to provide water security and additional water for food production, natural gas based fertilizer plants etc., etc..

I am not facetious when I say that the human animal is the only on this planet that will try to make money out of something that will ultimately destroy it. Carbon trading is a license to pollute. If you pollute, you can buy credits if you have the money, thus following the Golden Rule, which states: Those who own the Gold make the Rules.

Polluters should be forced to clean up the pollution they cause. This would also be good for employment and be of long lasting benefit to society at large. Government can and should encourage such activity by a combination of grants, investment allowances, accelerated depreciation of both existing and new facilities, tax concessions and any other suitable public policy instruments available to governments. So you are suggesting we need a ‘polluter pays’ system?

KV: Absolutely. Even energy pricing is wrong. The more energy you buy the cheaper it gets. Smart meters have nothing to do with saving energy. They save by pricing energy higher at certain times of day so more capacity can be squeezed out of the existing infrastructure. Yet how does the smart meter know whether a kilowatt hour is produced at midday or midnight? It still has the same amount of pollution doesn’t it? But at midnight it costs 25% of what it costs at midday. I didn’t make myself very popular by saying this but it is something I feel passionate about. I said publicly that forcing people to use smart meters is a big hoax. I had a lot of big regulators in the audience and on the forum. A problem is that a lot of the people who deal with this issue do not understand it. That is a problem and it is becoming worse.


By Janet Thompson

Jul 16, 2014, 15:42

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