Alan Kohler is one of Australia’s most experienced business commentators. Alan has been a trusted source of investment advice to Australians for many years, and in 2005 he founded Eureka Report - Australia’s #1 online investment report. Along with Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz, Alan also founded Business Spectator, the popular business news and commentary website. Alan is the regular finance presenter on the ABC News and producer of the popular nightly graph (or two).
The government has loaded the dice again in the next abatement auction, giving the regulator more powers to arbitrarily and without transparency change the way it conducts the auction. It might save money in the short term but at the expense of investment in new abatement projects.
Our Minister for the Environment has proudly trumpeted emissions have reached their lowest level in 10 years – all without a ‘painful carbon price’. It turns out he’s mastered an ability to manipulate the weather and global commodity prices. But those rising emissions from electricity – nothing to do with him?
Origin Energy is urging the Victorian Government to regulate the closure of coal, joining similar calls from AGL and EnergyAustralia. Two graphs show why Australia has given up on a purist ETS approach to decarbonising the power sector.
Tony Abbott has wanted an emission reduction target that went far enough so voters could be persuaded Australia was pulling its weight, but not so far it might become bipartisan. He wants to fight another election over climate policy.
The reality is that US Clean Power Plan is both fragile and feeble. It doesn't do enough to reduce emissions and could be unwound the moment a Republican takes the White House. So why are environmentalists cheering?
There's no concrete evidence to suggest the Abbott Government has a solid, credible plan to deliver on its emission reduction commitments. But they are giving signs they're prepared to look beyond using taxpayers' money to purchase abatement.
The Climate Institute's latest results from its annual polling find increasing public concern about climate change with a solid recovery from the 2012 carbon tax scare campaign lows. In addition the desire for more solar and wind power is even greater, while coal is deeply unpopular.
As it finalises its 2025-2030 emission reduction target, will the government listen to the pleas of business for a climate target ambitious enough to gain Labor support, or go the tabloid low road of scaring people that action will cost them dearly?
While some regulatory uncertainty remains both the Victorian and NSW energy efficiency certificate markets have shrugged off much of the doubt and uncertainty dogging the market in 2014, with prices above the $20 mark.
The US EPA projects the Clean Power Plan's cost will be US$8.4 billion offset by US$34-$54 billion in benefits from reducing CO2 emissions as well as the public health improvements. Interestingly the EPA expect it will actually reduce household bills by US$7 per month.
The Government has announced the next abatement purchasing auction will be held on 4-5 November. Given the 'late' timetable, industry projects have plenty of time to get organised and should push aside the land sector for the remaining funds left in the Emission Reduction Fund.