Agroforestry out of Carbon Tax Smells like Snake Oil

SOMEONE needs to tell the Prime Minister that global warming and agroforestry are yesterdays failed fads.

According to an ongoing media study by Max Boykoff and Maria Mansfield interest in anthropogenic global warming is on the wane.[1] It is difficult to see the situation turning around unless there is a climate catastrophe of some sort that can be blamed on carbon dioxide emissions.

Indeed issues come and go, and anthropogenic climate change is likely to be one of those issues that are eventually forgotten; a fad that passes with the passing of time.

In Europe and the US, legislative initiatives are being shelves, yet the Australian government seems determined to push on with its carbon tax.

As part of a package of sweeteners to accompany the new carbon tax to be announced tomorrow by the Australian Prime Minister, farmers are likely to be encouraged to invest in carbon sequestration schemes in particular to plant trees and store carbon in the soil. [2]

Investing in soil carbon makes good sense, but investing in agroforestry… Such schemes were pushed hard a decade or so ago with lots of promise and lots of subsidises but many have already ended with financial ruin.





66 Responses to Agroforestry out of Carbon Tax Smells like Snake Oil

  1. Luke July 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Max Boykoff and Maria Mansfield reckon its on the wane eh? So if it is why are we still talking about it?

    And what wrong with some biodiverse carbon forestry. Probably the price. Can’t see many doing it.

  2. jennifer July 9, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Hey Luke,

    If you look at the graph at the first link looks like the US and Europe have moved on, but perhaps Oceania (presumably this includes Australia) is lagging?

    Regarding carbon forestry… its unlikely to pay for itself… even with those investing getting their water free.

    PS Not sure about your new picture? Didn’t like your old one. What about something pleasant?

  3. Denis Webb July 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Speculators Paradise:
    “Under the European ETS, the price of permits tripled in the first six months of the scheme then collapsed by half in 2006 before declining to zero at one point in 2007. Recently, the permit price has fallen by 20 per cent in just a week, including a fall of 11 per cent on just one day. Such volatility fatally undermines the argument that an ETS will provide “certainty” for emitters.”


    Policies for Poverty – nothing has changed:

  4. Luke July 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Jen I thought you would have approved of the imagery. A classic piece of fear cinema. From Alien 3 of course. You could cast the Alien as AGW that just won’t die. And yourself as post-modernist heroine going up against it. (Of course it won’t bite you in half but why is another story).

    And as we know from Alien (1) the Alien was described as “I admire its purity. Unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of mortality, the perfect organism.”

    But back to agroforestry – some numbers I have seen indicate the maths don’t add up until carbon price gets very high. And you need to be certain coz if you change your mind and clear it again it’s a billable emission.

    And will soil carbon pass the Integrity Standards especially additionality

    News on the wane ?! – well might reverse when the Arctic goes ice free.

  5. Robert July 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    You can mark me down as both enthusiast and sceptic when it comes to agroforestry. Years ago I tried many things on my land, and one thing worked very well indeed: moso bamboo. The moist east of Australia between the cool regions and tropics is a great place to grow this species, which forms the beautiful commercial forests you see in movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s tempting to go romantically mad for something that turns clapped out dairy country into useful (and edible) forest, with no need for irrigation or even fertilisation, (though such treatments can be beneficial). In fact, I just made it sound really good, didn’t I?

    But consider:

    Wildlife will eat the shoots unless you are very dedicated to your grove in Spring, and know how to combat the problem. Edible shoots come at once, and need very quick harvesting, processing and marketing to a special and remote market. Though it makes superb timber for many purposes, there is no support industry for the raw material for flooring, cabinetry etc, so you are competing with the expertise and muscle of Asia. Lastly, though it grows well, propagation can be a nightmare. Much expensive plant material can simply die when transplanted. The probs are not insurmountable, but the bamboo industry could be set back a century by the uninformed and exaggerated investments we see every few years in the latest miracle species. There are no miracle species.

    In short, moso is a worthwhile experiment, and I can get lots of good shoots, charcoal and poles. In fact, moso is superb, and more than just a worthwhile experiment in such an ideal biome as Eastern Oz. Yeah, I bloody love it. The problem is the same as with alternative energy: people decide that an alternative is so good it deserves to be mainstream. Any good alternative will eventually become mainstream, but in forcing the issue you end up with something like Spain’s wind-farms and Germany’s solar-parks. To invest a few hundred thousand in moso bamboo might be a good idea at this point. To invest millions because of its carbon gobbling potential will create a false market of subsidy and speculation.

    In Australia now, we are suddenly insensitive to the word “millions”. When billions disappear so easily, it’s pointless talking about the hundreds of millions involved in the Riverina or the northern cattle industry. Why save something worth a few hundred million, when that figure can evaporate in a day with one more crazed decision by a Gillard or a Rudd or a Brown?

    Investment, subsidy, even speculation, are not bad things. They are what they are. But we are starting to lose touch with real immediate profit from real immediate production. We are placing the country’s future in the hands of blatant shysters, spivs, skimmers, scammers, touts and stock-jobbers, who tell us we should be partying like it was 2007. And, needless to say, the handmaidens of these shallow mountebanks are the urban elites, the flimsily but conceitedly educated, who moralise at us daily through the pages of Fairfax and the air-waves of the ABC.

  6. Johnathan Wilkes July 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Any good alternative will eventually become mainstream

    Well said Robert, a good and practical idea will always find a commercial outlet eventually.
    An impractical one, no matter how much you push it and spend on it, will always be a failure.

  7. Luke July 9, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    What waffle Robert. Have you read anything of the CFI Integrity Standards process – of course not. It’s easier just to parrot on.

  8. Jennifer Marohasy July 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm #


    I’m no post modernist! I believe in evidence. And much evidence makes for facts.

  9. Luke July 9, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    evidence – hmmmm well who doesn’t?

    and I though post-modernism had everything to do with objective truth and social constructs.
    Which is what the CFI is about – I thought be be interested in leakage, additionality, measurable, verifiable, peer-reviewed and internationally consistent?

    Would you not? Have you applied to be on the DOIC 🙂

    How about post-feminist then?

  10. Mack July 9, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Carbon farming initiative! Initiative! Integrity standards! Bullshit ! etc etc.
    Your updated version of the dribbling alien is more likely to dribbling reams and reams of govt. propaganda and paperwork produced by its fearful brainless implant of AGW. Luke.
    Your link just gives an indication of how much bs paperwork and wasted taxpayer money goes into producing just the initial Alice in Wonderland tripe for forestry.

  11. Luke July 10, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    What a moronic rant Mack. Really. I’m sooooo impressed by your sheer glistening stupidity. The point boofhead is that if it ain’t simple and lasts it doesn’t get up. I suppose you’d love systems you can rort would you? So you can explain your actions to all those farmers extremely interested in carbon on farms. And if you half a brain you’d understand that soil carbon = soil sustainability, regardless of AGW.

  12. Pandanus July 10, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    The Joint Venture Agroforestry Program or JVAP seemed to hang about for years. It was going to solve the ills of lower rainfall agricultural zones through the establishment of trees on farms (sound familiar). The Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) got involved through its search for Kyoto compliant carbon sinks and the rest as they say is history. I’m not sure how many hectares, if any, were ever established outside of the government and academic research initiatives resulting from this program nor more importantly how many ever survived the next five years or so.

    What could have been a good idea was stuffed up through poor government policy, the trees needed to be established in rainfall zones of less than 750 mm, they needed to be meet Kyoto accounting requirements etc etc. The upshot was that the cost of establishment and compliance was outside of any farmers budget. A usual a planning fail for the government of the day, in this case the Howard Government, a win for the bureaucracy, as usual, a win for the academics, they have another chance to publish a paper or two that no one other than their peers will read, and a loss for the community, who miss out on the benefits of more trees on farms.

  13. val majkus July 10, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    I put this comment at Warwick Hughes’ site but relevant here too

    here’s an article I highly recommend
    (a couple of paras)

    As the UN wrapped up its recent climate conference in Bonn, Germany, talks organizer Christiana Figueres proclaimed that climate change is the “the most important negotiation the world has ever faced.” Faced with real problems – financial meltdowns, unemployment, war and genuine human suffering – the world no longer agrees.

    It’s a good thing human productivity doesn’t threaten the global thermostat the way the UN would have us believe. If it were, we’d be cooked. Countries rich and poor are backing away from commitments they made years ago during rosier economic times, before the public became aware of Climategate, renewable energy costs and genuine debate.

    The Kyoto Protocol, the only binding international agreement signed since the global warming scare began, expires after 2012. Canada, Russia and Japan have publicly declared they will not renew; China and the United States never signed it; and the US has made it plain it is not about to. And poor countries are becoming less enamored about signing on, as they realize hard economic times mean there will be little climate “mitigation” and “restitution” money coming their way from (formerly) rich countries.

    As the authors say the ‘warmists are the establishment’.

    That’s why they sound so out of date

  14. hunter July 10, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    That is a good look for you.
    I like Alien 4, in-spite of its wearing out the brand so badly, because it makes clear the idea that we are the enemy.
    As the American saying goes, “We have met the enemy, and he is us”.
    Good point, by the way, about carbon and soil.

  15. Mack July 10, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Oh, I thought the girl in your avatar was you with a short haircut Luke.

  16. John Sayers July 10, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    I’m surrounded by investment plantations – some are on private land giving a return of$10 -20K to the farmer. In some cases probably their only income. These are largely State Forest plantations.

    But the bulk are left over plantations from the collapsed plantation investment companies and are at the point where new investment is required as all the trees need thinning to assist further growth. These properties all have For Sale signs.

  17. Luke July 10, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Well it’s pretty basic guys – if carbon forestry doesn’t give you the return you’re after – well don’t do it. Which probably means you won’t do it?

    And more framing from Val who has lost all his bearings ” If it were, we’d be cooked.” says Val. WTF – who said this. We would be “cooked” by now would we?. What rot and you know it matey.

    And Val knows the world has lost interest but he’s on every blog going flat tack. Why bother if the world has lost interest. Reality – it hasn’t. And renewables are going gangbusters.

  18. val majkus July 10, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Luke, from where I stand it’s you who are doing all the framing

  19. Ian Thomson July 10, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    John Sayers ,
    I am very suspicious that the Brown Queen or some connected to him are involved financially in those forestry schemes. Hence the insistence that Australia should use only plantation timber for every purpose.

    Luke ,
    If you are a serious lover of the environment ,go and talk to some of the old timers in Western Victoria about what those bluegums have done to the area and the streams. Fat cats in the city
    “sequestered” some taxable income and farmers are left with unsaleable weeds and dry creeks.

    One thing never mentioned with these schemes was touched on by Robert- Economy of Scale . Unless half the district is planted out and on adjoining properties ,nobody will bring in the gear to harvest it.

  20. gavin July 10, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Jennifer “Regarding carbon forestry… its unlikely to pay for itself… even with those investing getting their water free” also

    “I’m no post modernist! I believe in evidence. And much evidence makes for facts”

    I recall Disney introducing Will-o’-the-Wisp and marsh gas in his 1950’s comics in association with a concept of “power” and hidden “treasure” but don’t quote me as it merely awakened my interest in its true source.

    Luke can find Scrooge again in “Money Money” on UTube

    Gas is the most likely way forward after old wood and coal burning techniques are phased out in a carbon priced economy with gas being seen as the most efficient carbon fuel in the short term. It’s this fact that gives agro anything carbon cycling the best chance of long range development because in the end we will want that fuel too.

    Watching this year’s Tour de France on SBS proves once again Europe has a lot of rural strategies in place with both crops and forests everywhere. Even the odd windmill too indicates a board outlook but it’s the poor oyster harvests offshore that have been linked to the issue of growing atmospheric CO2. Note; food & wine buffs also follow the bikes.

  21. Ian Thomson July 10, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    I hear Mr Ludwig state that the live cattle protocol will require “operationalisation” – Read
    ‘red tape’ – and probably rolls of fluoro tape too.
    How much of this “operationalisation” will the Carbon Tax need ?
    Yep ACT will stay at the top of the growth States.

  22. Mack July 10, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Farmers should know about soil conservation without the meddling of govt.paid boffins with suits and calculators taxing them for harvesting trees.
    There was wholesale clearing of trees before its introduction here in NZ (so much for conservation) and now the whole timber industry is choked with crackpot bureaucracy.

  23. Bill Burrows July 10, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    If agroforestry is to make any meaningful contribution to carbon storage in Australia it will need to cover millions of hectares. This must in turn impact on other (existing and future) agricultural activities. The flow-on effect (in reduced stream flows and ground water depletion) will also be very significant. In the South East of South Australia the South East Natural Resource Management Board has mandated that if you want to plant trees, you have to purchase a water entitlement as part of the process of getting approval to do so. The forestry industry isn’t at all happy about this. You are probably well aware that the WA Water Corporation has been clearing the pine forest (very scrawny it be) off the Gnangara mound to enhance Perth’s water supplies.
    I read nothing in Luke’s link to the CFI Integrity Standards that suggests that the difficulties in accurately quantifying soil C fluxes are recognised. It is common to sample to 1m depth in soil, but for trees sampling below 2m would be more realistic. When I last looked took a detailed look at soil organic carbon (1974!) the levels to 1m were 88,88 & 85 t/ha for mature mulga forest (Charleville, Qld), mature mallee and 15 year old mallee regrowth (Rankins Springs,NSW) respectively. For convenience call it 100t/ha over the rooting depth. Organic carbon builds up within the root zone and beneath tree canopies requiring stratified sampling to determine its content. Anyone claiming less than 5-10% error of measurement is sampling very small plots and not at the paddock, property or landscape scale (which would require uneconomic sampling to reduce the error of measurement). So our error is 5-10 tonnes/ha or greater for each time we sample. Meanwhile carbon fluxes in the tree biomass will be no more than 1-2 t/ha/yr – especially under 750 mm MAR.
    All the carbon offset spruikers (24 last time I googled) with many more no doubt waiting in the wings will dread any mention of a proper scientific audit of their claims. But if you are sucked into it I do have a very famous bridge in Sydney for sale – going very cheaply. Send the cash to my Nigerian bank account.

  24. debbie July 10, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Another case of classic irony.
    Who do you think it was that insisted that farmers cleared their land in the first place?
    If farmers tried to argue that certain areas should be left alone because those sections of land were not productive at least SOME trees should remain, they were FINED for not clearing their whole property.
    In irrigation areas they also had water CONFISCATED for not clearing their whole property!
    Now we have these complicated and highly expensive schemes to restock trees?
    When will we ever learn that governments and bureacrats should not be involved in areas like this?
    We have far too many ‘knowledgeable’, highly educated and yes Luke ‘peer reviewed published’ people who actually have not got a single thing to lose if they make a complete shambles of whatever area they are interfering in.
    When it becomes clear that they have made a shambles (and this one is just one of many) they are soooo protected they can turn around and make us all pay again!
    They can also blame someone else for their own incompetence.
    Crackpot bureaucracy (thanks Mack) is actually the problem.
    These schemes have no chance of working unles they are heavily subsidised by tax payer funding.
    That actually translates into….they have no chance of working in the long term unless by some fluke there was a REAL market for it somewhere.
    That actually translates into….therefore it would have worked way more efficiently and succesfully if the government and its taxpayer funded bureacracies had stayed out of it!

  25. spangled drongo July 10, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    The depths of fakery in every aspect of this carbon tax is the true indicator of its worth.

    However, even worse than this is the alibi-ing of this fakery that comes from the mouth of academic supporters.

    Luke, you’ll be pleased to note that I don’t include you here as you are sceptical of this tax even if you do push the barrow a bit hard at times.

    The big question:

    Will Juliars July Ju-lies be worse than her June Ju-lies?

  26. Louis Hissink July 10, 2011 at 11:02 am #


    The Kyoto Protocol is a non event – via Agenda 21 and a few other innovations post Cancun and the previous IPCC meeting, the UN has quietly established the necessary bureaucracy to implement the goals of Kyoto – Expiration of the KP will not change anything, unfortunately – it’s a ruse to distract us from their real activities – all occurring at the local level – remember that the ALP, Greens and their fellow progressives control local government.

    The EU has lost interest in the climate issue etc as noted in this post because they have achieved the political goal of socialism – the member states have no sovereignty – even the Poms are forced to comply with EU directives. Australia, however hasn’t reached this state, though we are getting there – OSH regulations soon to come in are frightening – company directors can now expect to be charged with OSH crimes if they even allow a worker to be put in a potentially dangerous situation – it could result in them being charged by allowing staff to travel in a single engine airplane that is deemed “unsafe” by the bureaucrats. (This approach is already in place – one company I know of has the HR department insisting that all staff travel in twin engine airplanes and with a company aircraft mechanic, “just in case”).

    However, the EU is close to bankruptcy despite the rejigging of the various Ponzi schemes, and Greece is what all of them will face once the EU population in general gets used to the idea welfare is an unalienable entitlement (right), as may well happen in Australia. Economic collapse also allows the political fringe to ascend to power as well, as appears the case with Herr H J Schelnhuber of the Potsdam Climate Institute; not sure who our equivalent might be, though.

  27. val majkus July 10, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    thanks Louis; I’ve been reading about Agenda 21 – scary!
    BTW how does a company aircraft mechanic increase safety level while the plane is in the air
    Have they thought of that
    If they haven’t then isn’t that negligent
    Too many hard questions for me on climate change Sunday; might just go to bed and read some light fiction
    Court room drama is my fiction of choice so I’ll keep those company directors in mind

  28. spangled drongo July 10, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Well, waddya know [o/t sorry] but even the Met Office is opening its eyes to the sun but they still have their alibis at the ready. I bet we could decend into a full-blown ice age but it would still be AGW.

    Freezing but still warming [thanks to WUWT]:

    “We now believe that [the solar cycle] accounts for 50 per cent of the variability from year to year,” says Scaife. With solar physicists predicting a long-term reduction in the intensity of the solar cycle – and possibly its complete disappearance for a few decades, as happened during the so-called Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1715 – this could be an ominous signal for icy winters ahead, despite global warming.

  29. Louis Hissink July 10, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Val, easy – he/she ensures everything is mechanically OK, and it’s also a lunatic policy, but then that’s the HR mentality.

    Carbon Sunday! Bob Brown Sunday more like it.

    Spangles – you will find that the BOM and Met office will start to wind down the rhetoric and get back to science, now that the C Tax is a done deal in Australia.

  30. debbie July 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Val and Louis,
    Our term of endearment (sic) for Occupational Health & Safety is Occupational Hindrance and Stupidity!
    It is another classic example of forcing people into stupid corners by threatening with tax payer funded schemes.
    It is another classic example of bureaucrats interfering and creating legislation in places they have no right to be, other than their extremely tenuous arguments about ‘the common good’ AKA socialism!
    While it is definitely true that we must have sensible safety standards….since when was it a good idea to try and legislate to cover stupid behaviour? Have you ever looked up how much it actually costs to legislate to cover stupid behaviour? Have you ever noticed who are the actual beneficiaries of this legislation? Amazingly (well maybe not) it is not the people who the legislation claims it is protecting. Amazingly (well maybe not) it is insurance brokers and the ability to form yet another bureaucracy.
    I’m fairly confident that it not possible to legislate for stupid!
    Unfortunately while Kyoto suits the establishment, our government has every intention of adhering to its standards.
    They can legally shelve it pretty much any time they like, just as many other countries have already done.
    Same goes for Ramsar and several other ‘international treaties’ that have at their lowest common denominator the ability to side step our constitution.

  31. ianl8888 July 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    The point to the original Alien film is that the monsters were genetically engineered by some truly malevolent intelligence to cope with most environments (witness the ability to change life cycle sequences) and display unremitting hostility to any other life form they encountered, then released with knowing venom upon the universe

    An apt description of the Resident Dipstick here

    “And renewables are going gangbusters”

    Symptomatic of his on-going struggle with reality (apologies to John Cleese).

    It’s as if he simply refuses to read Tony’s, cementafriend and my posts on this. The only renewabubbles of any economic use are hydro and nuclear (not strictly renewabubble, but U3O8 ore will last many centuries). Which of solar and wind can power Sydney as base load ? To answer that with validity, NUMBERS are needed, not rhetorical descriptions

  32. spangled drongo July 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    “but it’s the poor oyster harvests offshore that have been linked to the issue of growing atmospheric CO2.”

    gavin, Ken U B Sodumb? Listen to yourself sometimes and cut out the green fakery.

    Oyster harvest shortages are a direct result of over fishing, pollution runoff, destruction of beds by inappropriate fishing methods etc. IOW, not paying strict attention to the problem.

    You’re as bad as Bob Brown saying koalas are dying due to AGW when it is probably entirely habitat invasion.

  33. val majkus July 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Over to TonyfromOz
    I totally agree with his sentiments, clueless, and I would add crazy and clinging to power

  34. Mark A July 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    re. (sic)
    see kae’s “pedant” post

    just a gentle reminder now, no hard feelings?

  35. spangled drongo July 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Ian, I think that a billion years qualifies as “renewable”.

    “Bernard Cohen (Professor Emeritus of Physics at Pittsburgh University) has stated in an analysis entitled “How Long Will Nuclear Energy Last” that breeder reactors have enough raw material energy source to last us over a Billion years”

  36. Luke July 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Bill Burrows – I think the CFI mob and their advisors, the DOIC, know all about possible rorting of soil carbon. So will it get up as an offset ? Needs to be conservative, measurable, verifiable, peer reviewed and additional. More likely a conservative estimate over a large cropping area “might” be approved. I guess we’ll see. Dodgy stuff if done poorly of course.

    Tree planting won’t be economic for many. If not – don’t do it. And you’d want to be careful as you’re stuck with them for a long time. Unless of course you’re happy to pay for an emission and clear them.

  37. Luke July 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    But bad luck guys – listening to Abbott – he’s probably swallowed the Kool Aid as well.

    A few things can happen from here ….

    (1) the economic and social sky falls in and you lot have a mega-rant – get your guns out that you buried when Howard banned them. You know – militias, freedom etc.
    (2) sky doesn’t fall in – and climate doesn’t change much – more likely
    (3) might accelerate the development of forms of other energy sources
    (4) Julia nails it and gets the right answer for the wrong reason – wouldn’t that shit you all

    BTW Debs – do go on about freedom when you’re sitting behind a single desk marketing system.

  38. TonyfromOz July 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    I just love it.

    (3) might accelerate the development of forms of other energy sources
    end quote.

    Surely even you don’t believe that.
    And you say it’s us drinking from the Kool Aid!


  39. Hasbeen July 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Gavin, France has policies in place that subsidise their agricultural sector so heavily, that a dairy farmer with 16 cows in milk, makes a good living.

    Here in Oz we have policies in place where the farmer subsidise the city so city so heavily that the dairy farmer with 160 cows in milk, is struggling to hold their head above water.

    I can assure our farmers would love to have the same level of income as those by the bike race.

    I’m sure they would love to have to farm just a few acres, & cows to get by. They could also have those post card pretty little bits of cultivation, & sit on their buts at home, rather than on a tractor. Even hobby farmers in Oz work larger plots than those Frenchies havbe to.

    Do get real, please

  40. spangled drongo July 10, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    “BTW Debs – do go on about freedom when you’re sitting behind a single desk marketing system.”

    Luke, you peanut, Hasbeen just gave you the average situation of the non-subsidised Aussie farmer. If they are ever fortunate to score a single desk for a while, good luck to them. It won’t last and there are plenty of other competition anyway.

    You public-tit suckers have never had anything BUT a single desk.

  41. Robert July 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    There’s talk of accelerating the development of other energy sources. I insist we invest in the energy source that can be used to manufacture its own hardware. No doubt wind and solar could handle that simple task. Plus, we could park the wind and solar manufacturers out at Geothermia, and make more stuff out there.

    Contradictors of my idea will be boycotted by GetUp, those who agree will be termed peer-reviewers. Innovation in the field of energy must, of course, be limited to medieval heaps of junk, since cheap and abundant energy has been shown only to increase the numbers of vulgar aspirationals. (Those are the ingrates who were offered free classical CD’s with the SMH…and still voted Liberal!)

    To pay for any shortfalls – just in case clean, green tech turns out to be an antiquated monstrous turkey – we simply export more coal. Lots and lots of coal. (If that coal should catch fire in a Chinese factory, we can hardly help that.)

    We need a green economic model responsive to market mechanisms that will bring certainty to the nation and to industry, and here it is:

    Tax and subsidise massively, and burn Australian coal anywhere but Australia.

  42. gavin July 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    SD:while listening to Bob Katter doing his stock whip rant re the sting in the tail for the rural sector, I’m thinking two things are certain now, one is the NBN the other is carbon trading.

    Today I took advantage of cold weather to further sort my screw collection. On one side is all the old fashioned slot driven and on the other, all the power driven pozi and phillips types. Sure, this is a minor consideration but it goes along with house design for the future. Next week I will cut down most of the remaining security lights that are frequently switched on by wind in our trees. These old flood lamps aren’t all that smart.

    Hasbeen; a lot of former acquaintances were impacted by the ECM impact on our export of dairy products so I witnessed both the streamlining and the pain as we went through industry rationalization. Prior to that mixed farming here wasn’t a bad thing, particularly if you weren’t in some part owned by the multi-nationals or up to your neck in chemicals. Note Tony Abbot’s latest on alternatives in his reply today.

    That reminds me, last I heard our little patch of scrub had a hundred dairy cows resting on it over winter and all my fencing top side of the bush was holding well. True, we don’t see that many cattle clustered anywhere by the roads in France.

  43. spangled drongo July 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    gav, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet [she did everything but, tonight] and from what Telstra says, the farm dwellers are going to have to use wireless broadband once NBN takes over the copper cables. NBN is just not interested in long individual runs so farm broadband will be, at best, Next G wireless. I’ve seen my future and it doesn’t work.

    And I wonder if Bob Brown’d change his melody if I showed him this:

  44. Mark A July 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Hey gav did you find the loose one?

  45. Johnathan Wilkes July 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm #


    Telstra does not even provide fixed lines in the new suburbs anymore, they put you on wireless phone until the NBN is rolled out (if ever in the area?)

    As for internet, you have to pay for the wireless as well.

  46. Bill Burrows July 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Luke – you have to believe in fairies if you believe the Canberra bureaucracy knows all about potential carbon rorting with the CFI. And if you say they will minimise this by only paying for conservative estimates of C ‘fixed’, where does that leave the incentive for landholders to engage in the practice from a C offset perspective? The simple fact is that net primary production in our native unfertilised, non-irrigated vegetation systems is quite low – whether the veg is ‘natural’ or introduced. So C fixed is also low. Not much incentive if the cost of ACCURATELY accounting for the real amounts of C fixed is also factored in! But there is more – I learn from tonight’s media grabs that we will achieve our emissions reductions by BUYING 50% of C offsets from countries overseas at an enormous cost of $$Aussie. How bloody naive is this country becoming? There are enough sharks out there prepared to sell you genuine Australian offsets without exposing us to the pirannhas of supposed overseas equivalents. Fair dinkum it will not surprise me in the least to discover in the future that Australia has reduced its stated net emissions by buying offsets from Nigeria. And the government says I need to do this for my grandkids. Give me a break.

  47. spangled drongo July 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm #


    What about for landline phones? Have they stopped installing them?

  48. Luke July 10, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Well maybe soil carbon won’t even get up. Too much additionality and leakage.

  49. Johnathan Wilkes July 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Only if a land line exists and has capacity.

    What we have here is that years before finishing the roll-out of the NBN Telstra had stopped putting in any more copper or coaxial cables. Actually they stopped two years ago.
    Even if there is a copper wire but no more capacity then you have to go onto wireless.

  50. jennifer July 10, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    where do we find the details of the scheme announced tonight? here’s the transcript of the speech…

  51. debbie July 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    I am prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt because I tend to believe you just don’t understand.
    Why? Because your life depends on a regular and secure income flow. I would also suspect that the majority of your income flow depends on a regular wage….also likely to be funded by taxpayers. That’s just a guess BTW…just as your comment about my reliance on a single desk was a guess.
    This would lead to your inability to understand the difference between a sensibly regulated market and a market that is interfered with by self important and clueless bureaucrats who actually have nothing to lose if they make a shambles of it!
    Too many ‘knowledgeable’ and condescending people are making decisions and making value judgements about markets and livelihoods that they DO NOT UNDERSTAND!
    There is an extremely vast chasm between a “free market” and a market that is completely “socialised”….your black and white comments and snipes about the agricultural industry just demonstrate a remarkable ignorance and some very short term thinking.
    Sorry if that sounds rude but as I said before I am prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt because you probably just don’t understand due to a total lack of experience.

  52. Mack July 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    I think she used pollution or polluters about 13 times (unlucky for some)
    What did Goebbles say again.
    If the lie is big enough and said often enough……

  53. el gordo July 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

    “It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

  54. Ian Thomson July 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    JW and SD ,
    Here in the Southern Riverina several TOWNS have been told there will be no NBN for them .
    Some on the Newell Hwy ,where the hospitals are half closed and no-one is at the police station .And when there is a bus crash — Please can it be from Canberra.
    If the cycle rolls on, droughts, floods, etc. Big wind blow down tower ,no copper phone line, no power for flash NBN .( if you are lucky enough to live near it ) Fancy text msg sent to blown down tower. Fire burns people .
    Good to see city people learning from experience. And well put Mack

  55. Luke July 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Gee Debs – just have a look at the divisiveness of the recent SunRice issues. Ask a bunch of rice growers what they want and you’ll get a bunch of answers. Oh dear ! Not a happy bunch at all are we.

    The same story of the sky falling in when there was change mooted for a limited marketing situation in the cotton industry and now all of that has changed – but at the time all the same protectionist arguments were made.

    And of course great leadership not from our centrally managed MLA on export marketing too.

    Always amused what great agrarian socialism exists out there. At least Bob Katter is explicit and doesn’t dress it up !

    I’m just reminding you Debs. I’m not influencing your outcomes.

  56. Debbie July 12, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    On the contrary Luke, we’re a very happy bunch and we all get along just fine despite the fact that we may have voted differently re the sale. You don’t have to take my word of course but I do have first hand experience and actually lived through these issues.
    As I said before you may possibly not understand.

  57. Luke July 12, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Yes I understand you’re in a socialised marketing structure while complaining about socialism. Perfectly clear.

  58. debbie July 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Ah yes, but that would be you presuming that all of us only grow one crop and only rely on one income source.
    That would be similar to the way you live your life Luke, not the way we live ours.
    To be fair, I would argue that your lifestyle is way more heavily protected than ours in oh so many ways. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that BTW, it’s just an obvious observation from my perspective.
    As I said before, there is a vast difference between a sensibly regulated market and a completely socialised system.
    Yes, Sunrice has a single desk export licence. That does not apply to the local market and for many years we have not been growing much rice due to the drought.
    We are an extremely diverse bunch out here and most of what we grow and market is not under the protection of a single desk and never has been. We also don’t operate with subsidies the majority of the time. We actually know how to work with that.
    And yes I know….there have been times when we have needed assistance….especially in the latest drought….it’s OK though, we’re a good investment long term and will probably continue to be so, despite the hand wringing naysayers and chronic criticisers.
    On average and in general, agriculture delivers way more to the Australian GDP than it ever needs in return.
    As mentioned elsewhere at this post, we’re one of the most unprotected markets in the world.

  59. Mack July 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    El Gordo,
    “economic consequences of the lie”
    Yep I think the only thing that could stop this tax now is for some large industrial consumer of electricity (such as the steel industry or any one of those smelters) to do the math on their new cost of electricity and what price their commodity is fetching and threaten to close.
    We had similar situation here when the Clark govt. tried to hike the electricity price to our one and only smelter (Comalco)at Bluff. (very bottom of Sth Island). Some little important asian lady came down from somewhere and quietly said in true chinese fashion “sorry, cost too much, we close” End of story, govt. got the message. no price hike.
    Trouble is Gillard is likely to do a little deal behind closed doors to appease the big players in electricity consumption. The price of electricity to the big consumers is “commercially sensitive” and therefore secret.

  60. el gordo July 14, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    ‘Yep I think the only thing that could stop this tax now ….’

    Is if Gary Gray became the new PM – doing to joolya what she did to Kev07.

  61. spangled drongo July 14, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Do you think he ought to stun her before he cuts her throat?

    Like Nicholson points out she didn’t do to Rudd.

  62. hunter July 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    It would seem that a lot of Australians are smelling snake oil.

  63. hunter July 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Germans are smelling snake oil as well:

  64. Mack July 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Nice one Hunter,
    Now Luke and the Aussie kids just need to groove along with this.

  65. hunter July 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Send this one out to friends, if you like. I think it could help freshen up the discussion a bit.

  66. el gordo July 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    O/T De Freitas under academic pressure.

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