The real cost of global warming
Kevin Rudd made quite a splash at the recent Bali Conference -- the latest chapter of the continuous global warming gabfest.
The conference was the 10th since the 1997 Kyoto Agreement designed to reduce the use of coal, oil and gas.
Australia was represented by four federal ministers and a back-up group of state ministers including Victorian Premier John Brumby.
Fears about global warming led all developed countries under the Kyoto Agreement to promise targeted reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions.
Notwithstanding the fervour and rhetoric surrounding the issue, no country will actually achieve its originally agreed target.
This is equally true of Australia, which made the grand gesture in Bali of ratifying its 1997 signature to the agreement.
Australia, like other countries, has
re-interpreted the original commitment to claim we have complied. Even so, in 2012 we will exceed our target unless the newly elected Rudd Government manages to put the economy into a recession.
Measures to force lower levels of emissions don't come cheap. Already Australia is spending some $3 billion annually in subsidies, taxes and regulations requiring use of expensive wind power, housing insulation, etc.
But that expenditure is just for starters. The Rudd Government has commissioned Professor Ross Garnault to prepare plans for greater reductions.
These will involve imposing a cost on carbon dioxide emissions. In Britain, government economists have set a price per tonne of carbon dioxide at $62 for 2007 rising to $145 by 2050.
For Victoria's brown coal generators, even the 2007 price would increase costs by 150 per cent. That increases household electricity bills by 70 per cent, even more for industrial and commercial customers.
The Victorian Government has been a cheerleader for more action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the state's electricity supply means going into an economic tailspin if we introduce major new measures.
Only the snake oil salesmen ever said it was easy being green!
There is, however, a ray of sunshine.
The results of the 2007 weather patterns look as though Armageddon is deferred!
Geophysicist David Deming has documented how weather patterns refuse to behave as forecast.
``2007 saw one of the quietest hurricane seasons,'' he says. ``Snow fell in Buenos Aires for the first time since 1918 and extreme cold weather was experienced in Seoul and in several US states.''
In California, thousands of workers were laid off after a freeze reduced the citrus harvest just months after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law designed to bring a cooler climate.
Australia shared in the cooling -- Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941.
You can bet your fridge that none of this will chill the enthusiasm of those who have built their careers on global warming and enjoyed the good life of international travel and hospitality courtesy of the taxpayer.
But more data like this will cause politicians to ponder future approaches. After all, it is they who will be sacrificing their jobs in the wake of the misery that measures like carbon taxes will entail.