Carbon Credit Market is Neither Free nor Worth Anything: Jo Nova

THERE  is an entire cannon of western philosophical thought, dating back to John Locke and John Stuart Mills, that explains why the prosperity of a nation is not so much linked to its natural wealth, but rather the proper functioning of markets.Jo Nova

In On Liberty, perhaps John Stuart Mill’s most famous treatise published in 1859, he argues that:

“… the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”

Yet in Australia for our own good, and in particular for the good of the environment, almost anything now goes. Even the creation of a market that is neither free nor worth anything.

As Jo Nova explains in a recent blog post based on an article she had published in The Australian newspaper:

“A carbon market is a forced market. There is little intrinsic incentive to buy a certificate for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It says a lot about the voluntary value of a carbon credit that when given the option to pay $2 to offset their flight emissions, 88% of people choose not to. A few do it as a form of green penance to assuage guilt, and others do it for their eco public relations campaign or branding.

To create demand for emissions permits, the government threatens onerous fines to force people to buy a product they otherwise don’t need and most of the time would never even have thought of acquiring. Likewise, supply wouldn’t exist without government approved agents. Potentially a company could sell fake credits (cheaper than the real ones) and what buyer could spot the difference? Indeed, in terms of penance or eco-branding, fake credits, as long as they were not audited, would ‘work’ just as well as real ones.

Despite being called a commodity market, there is no commodity: the end result is air that belongs to no-one-in-particular that has slightly-less-of-a-trace-gas. Sometimes it is not even air with slightly less CO2 in it, it is merely air that might-have-had-more-CO2, but doesn’t. It depends on the unknowable intentions of factory owners in distant lands…”

Read more from Jo here:

49 Responses to Carbon Credit Market is Neither Free nor Worth Anything: Jo Nova

  1. Luke August 4, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Maybe – but it’s all very boutique anti-enviro for Jo isn’t it?

    Why not get upset up military adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Or spying on internet use, email and telephone calls

    Exploitation by the food and pharmaceutical complex.

    And her whole principle is set up to fail and rhetorical – i.e. if someone rorts a market somewhere that’s the end of the world. Well unsavory and illegal things happen in many markets? Do we throw out the entire market based approach? Or tighten up controls.

  2. Robert August 4, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Why not get upset about the Usman dismissal or too many black jellybeans in Allens lolly packets? Why are no voices raised against shrinking Coconut Roughs?

    Just so you stop talking about the monumental folly of a forced carbon market which is therefore no market but a tax on a fraction of thin air (which we pay and China is perpetually “moving towards”). Shut up about that. Hate it when you talk about all that. It’s not just Coconut Roughs that are shrinking. What about Peppermint Patties?

    Talk about Peppermint Patties, not about Jo Nova and the carbon market that’s a compulsory tax where revenue is easily expatriated to the rogues we neglected to lock up after 2008. The New Class has discovered a new Big Lever called “The Market” and finds it’s even better than the old tax-and-spend when you want to twist arms, regulate, and generally interfere. Of course, you can still tax and spend.

  3. Luke August 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    It’s a piddly boutique issue Robert. And you’re about to axe it so move on to things that we really should be worried about – instead of stuff that over 50 right wings males get frothy about. Priorities !

  4. cohenite August 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    “It’s a piddly boutique issue Robert. ”

    You’re definitely outside your comfort zone now lukey lad.

    Carbon taxes and/or ETSs are not piddling. The carbon tax is now over $24 per tonne in Australia; MACGEN, producer of 45% of NSW’s electricity, emits 150 million tonnes of CO2 per year. MACGEN is one of 500 companies emitting threshold levels of CO2.

    Either those companies are paying the tax and passing it on and the punters are getting partially compensated via household subsidies or the companies are getting some other dispensation from the alp/green idiots in power. Either way it’s big bucks and like the NBN probably not on the budget balance sheet.

    As for ETSs let’s talk about Spain but you go away and do your homework first before writing any more nonsense.

  5. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Yes Robert,
    Well said!
    If we ever wanted to see an example of obfuscation. . . look no further than Luke’s post above.
    It’s definitely about the PRINCIPLE Luke.
    Your ‘market based approach’ is actually ‘big government’ marketing problems that they need to fix by interfering in the ‘market’ for ‘altruistic reasons’ and then charging the ‘market place’ for the ‘privilege’ of that interference.
    It has NOTHING AT ALL to do with a good ‘marketplace’! ! !
    And what absolutely astounds me is that you have basically argued that because other ‘unsavoury and illegal things happen in markets’ then that makes it acceptable for GOVERNMENTS to do it! Presumably because its for our own good?

  6. cohenite August 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Sorry, that 150 million for MACGEN is their tax bill not their emissions in tonnages.

  7. Luke August 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    It’s bugger all. Most of your power bill is in infrastructure and that everyone’s bought an air-con (or two) and heaps of other highly desirable white goods at Harvey Norman.

    Pulling the Spain analogy is about as good as sceptics pulling the Galileo/Feynman line – what a great big wank.

    Debbie (NO MARKET SINGLE DESK) – don’t talk to us about interference.

    Market mechanism for internalising externalities makes perfect sense if well regulated and all in. Otherwise Robert can piss in the creek with impunity.

    What’s spent on military is massive and never gets any attention. Nor any amount of military adventurism. White right males over 50 get hard on it.

  8. Robert August 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Luke, you’re still under 50?

    Seriously, imagine getting into that shark pool of nuance and sophistication called European finance. A non-nuclear Oz trying to come through a revolving door in front of France? Will we form a bloc with Poland and central Europe to keep the price in the toilet? (No, we won’t have a say, but we might help out with the bribes and other such quaint European traditions.) Will the thought of Gazprom to the east and French nukes to the West drive Germany back to nukes if the carbon price soars? Middle Europe burning coal, France selling nukes, the PIGS begging for more subsidies for their whirlygigs (sorry, amigos), Russia looking for gas customers, the US sucking gas from the cracks in the pavement, Asia burning our coal and gesturing vaguely at an ETS for which there will be a slight delay…And Australia, the dopey minki whale in the shark pool. Like swimming in whale blood, Supercell?

    Boutique issues. Move on. (Or is that MoveOn?) Love the Glenn Reynolds quote on the modern left: “Shut up!” he explained.

  9. cohenite August 4, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    “Market mechanism for internalising externalities makes perfect sense if well regulated and all in.”

    You are a dope. Personally I like my internal external in case my externals aren’t as good as my internals. Go away and study Says Law and tell me that a CO2 tax/ETS is not a contradiction of that law. And if so how can an externality, and by that I presume you mean CO2 emissions, be marketed when the only market for it is by government decree. The CO2 market is the very opposite of a market. I wish there were a market for dopes, you would bring big money.

  10. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Just spotted this on today’s Google News page:

    Luke I am laughing out loud at you.
    You are writing straight from the handbook, with your blinkers firmly in place. Try to engage on the actual topic/principle…not the hand waving you’re exhibiting here and which you regularly accuse others of doing.

    I recently read this little gem….
    “Belittlement is a tactic best left in the schoolyard but it has become an acceptable manoeuvre in modern debate, where discrediting an opponent is quicker, and less exhausting, than intellectual rebuttal. In it’s mildest form, it is seen in the response: ‘He/she would say that wouldn’t he/she?, an accusation of vested interest intended to devalue and debunk an opponents argument……in its uglier forms a person’s moral standing is ruthlessly and venally attacked in order to buttress one’s own virtue…..”
    From “the Lucky Culture and The Rise of an AUSTRALIAN RULING CLASS”.

  11. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    LOL! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Who knows/cares how old/young Luke is?
    I can however guarantee you with absolute 100% certainty that he is far more likely to be a : ‘White right males over 50 get hard on it.” than Jonova (the not white male over 50 that this post is referring to)….Jennifer Marohasy (the not white male over 50 who runs this blog) ….me (Debbie Buller…definitely not white male over 50 who regularly comments here) and numerous others…..who are all entirely googleable and completely transparent about their background etc….
    Just saying… and…. still laughing.

  12. Robert August 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    The comical thing is that the Europeans, who do not like or trust one another one bit, have been wrangling over how much to manipulate the price. After the last round of votes in Strasbourg, 900 million permits are to be pulled out of “the market” so that a higher “price” can be fixed (sorry, stimulated). Of course, this is not law yet. It will require much more politicking till a majority of states consent to the new price fixing…sorry, I mean new market stimulus. It was good news for stock traders, who moved some permits back and forth at a somewhat higher price. Soon we can be on their books (if Kev wins, which is not impossible).

    Now lignite-rich Germany, who has to shout the bar when the other punters even look thirsty, is complaining that a sky-high price will hurt its competitiveness. The others see the point, since they don’t want to buy the beers, but hydro and nuke rich France would love a high price for obvious reasons. France is such a low-carb gal these days, and is now the world largest net exporter of electricity.

    Of course, the billions of people burning twigs, dung and kero to stay alive will be left out of all this. We’ll worry about their carbon when they have a grid and something to tax.

  13. Neville August 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    This market is a total con and fraud and only exists because of EU stupidity.
    It can’t change the temp or climate for thousands of years because the soaring non OECD are not silly enough to participate.

    This just shows Luke is incapable of offering any sensible cotribution at all. He just wants to talk nonsense to protect his clueless mates in the Labor and Greens parties.

    Meanwhile we’re paying 24 $ for a zero return while the EU is paying 6 $. But the mad lefties in the EU are trying to force the price up which would force OZ to pay the same from july next year.
    Of course every time they do an audit the crap hits the fan and arrests are made. Why would any proper govt want to commit us to this level of corruption and fraud?

    Oops sorry, we are talking about the Labor party here and they’re basically run by the NSW right. And just look at the corruption and fraud in NSW Labor govts over the last 20 years or more.

  14. el gordo August 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Thanks for that link Debs.

  15. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Maybe. . . if you’re still playing at Deltoid EG. . . you could set them off to apoplectic proportions by linking that ‘taxing the air’ book review from smh?

  16. cohenite August 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    I see our dear leader has called an election. That explains where luke has gone; deck-chairs on the Titanic.

  17. Luke August 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    Well you’all all be bored as batshit soon – after the carbon tax is gone, boats are being sunk, all the climate scientists have been sacked, 1000s of lazy no-good (filth scum bludging child eating grubs) public servants sacked, a few hospitals and schools closed here and there, work choices – well you’ll all be happy little right wingers.

    Probably need to need to get yourselves rid of these pesky Howard (do-gooder) gun laws so you can shoot the unemployed crawling through your windows to knick your jewels and smart phones. I say right to bear arms – get hand guns and semi-autos back into circulation. A few of you will just have to dig up the cache in the back paddock and wipe the grease off. Hope you remembered where you stashed them.

    Of course the way Labor are carrying on may only be in degrees. Anyway will be fun (like exploding a whales head) to see how much carnage Abbott can cause.

    I wanna those you tight arsed blue tie wearing young Libs let fly with the whole far right personal responsibility libertarian wet dream. Let-er rip ! (me I’m not brave I’ve already sold out, have got the CSG and oil shale shares, and now use words like ROI, value proposition, rent seeking and culture of entitlement). AGW is bullshit – I’ve always said that. It’s commie UN world govt.

    Deltoids – can go perish. Get with the strength. And we need some more Fox News media too – for the over 50s rightist males with limp dicks.

  18. Debbie August 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Lost the plot maybe?

  19. Robert August 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    No more coffee after midday for Supercell. Just Horlicks at night for the old fella.

  20. el gordo August 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    ‘if you’re still playing at Deltoid EG. . ‘

    Just took it across and dumped it at the old men’s shed…. I feel like a 5th Columnist.

  21. BethCooper August 4, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Seems ter me that John Stuart Mill re ‘rightfully excercised power’ was making
    a distinction between freedom ‘to’ and freedom ‘from,’ the latter about more
    laws imposed, fer yer own good of course.

    Herewith costs of Labor policy, ETS=$1,345 billion reduced GDP to 2050.
    Ref Henry Ergas derived from Treasury ( Chart 5.13. NVP of Medium Global Action)

    Renewable Energy,Target = $30 billion to 2020. Ref Robert Gottliebsen Business
    Spectator, 2013/7/24

  22. Johnathan Wilkes August 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Can I have some of what you are on Luke?
    Only tell me the proper dosage, don’t want to go on ranting the way you do, only to have good time, eh?

  23. Beth Cooper August 4, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    Hmm …there’s that Luke keepin’ right on with his violent harangues, abusin’
    young liberals, libertarians,and rightist male – ….well I won’t repeat it! Fer a
    person of the so called ‘liberal’ progressive persuasion,’ ( leftist, centralist, fond
    of closed markets,) he sure don’t sound like he believes in free speech. fer
    others that is. Tsk!

    Beth the serf.

  24. Luke August 4, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    How’s that abusive Serf-girl? And don’t verbal me mate – how do you know I’m leftist, centralist and fond of closed markets. Ask Debs here why she likes her closed single desk commie rice market. I shop at Coles and Woolies – look I’m free market ….. that’s when the coven co-op is not open.

  25. Neville August 4, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Luke I don’t own a gun, never saw the need for one somehow. I certainly hope that you don’t have one handy in your present mood and state of mind.

    But hopefully you’d probably just shoot yourself in the foot and slow yourself down a bit? Probably best for all of us after that verbal spray you’ve just delivered.

  26. Larry Fields August 5, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    “… the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”

    Cute slogan. But since Mill’s day, we’ve had varying degrees of government involvement in health care, in most of the developed countries. Would a latter-day Mill be in favor of a wallet biopsy for everyone who is seriously injured in a car crash, before he gets treatment. Do we really want uninsured drivers to die from serious albeit treatable injuries?

    Here’s a creative approach to speed up the process: Let’s require that any person with good health insurance coverage get an appropriate bar code tattoo on his forehead. /sarc

    In the USA, health care now accounts for 1/6 of GDP. Notwithstanding the impending Obamacare train wreck, the Feds and state gubmints are always on the lookout for ways to cut costs in this rapidly-expanding sector of the economy.

    What about helmet laws for motorcyclists? At first blush, it appears that having the freedom to exercise one’s Darwin-given right to take stupid risks is a wonderful thing. However there are externalities.

    Should the general public be required to foot the bill for an uninsured, unhelmeted former donorcyclist (without a Living Will and without giving DPOA to a family member) who ends up in a persistent vegetative state, and requires 24/7 medical care for the next 20 years? That same wad of cash could fund prenatal care for a zillion pregnant women.

    Yes, governments are far too intrusive these days. We citizens should keep our elected and unelected officials on much shorter leashes. But we’re no longer living in a tidy little Libertarian universe (if that ever existed), in which the only legitimate functions of government are to protect its citizens against violence, theft, and fraud.

  27. Luke August 5, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Neville – well I’m going to get myself a biggie and a large hat too. I’m trying to embrace your values here and join in. Besides you’re going to have to defend yourself from all the hostile sacked public servants and criminal fraud climate scientists out to get ya !

  28. Neville August 5, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Anthony Watts has a quote from Steve McIntyre that really shows his lack of regard for the team.

    That sketch of Callendar’s graph and question is a good one. This farce has gone on long enough and anyone who puts Labor before the Coaltion on sept 7th deserves everything they get.

    Unfortunately the rest of OZ has to suffer the consequences if these clueless fools are returned. For those who can’t think clearly I’d just say that a Coalition govt will fix the economic mess more quickly than Labor and at least strive to get rid of this dysfunctional, bi-polar mania of taxing co2.
    Surely that’s worth a higher preference? If you can’t understand this you’re either incredibly dumb or a rusted on Labor dummy.

  29. Luke August 5, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Neville, Just make sure you get a big gun to repel those angry out of work criminal fraud climate scientists and filthy lazy scum deserve-to-die sub-human public servants. Something with a big clip, high fire rate and high velocity rounds. Also night vision glasses so you can get them at night. Remember if you get them in the house Neville – fire two shots into the ceiling and shout stop or I’ll shoot, then the 3rd shot.

    Tell you what Qlders are so much happier after we put Newman in. Place is running like a top. We’ve never had it so good. Everyone is happy as Larry. Well not the Larry above as he hasn’t savoured it, but other Larrys think it’s great and Larissa’s too. Neville as you get around and talk to people it’s remarkable how people comment that they have never been happier. And public hospitals – well mate it’s better going there as the private ones have all got Legionella. You might have to wait a few days but jeez the waiting rooms have got vending machines so its pretty good. .

  30. Debbie August 5, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    it was not about being ‘happier’ (whatever that would mean for the sum total of those you call Qlanders). . . The QLD State govt was elected by a landslide and the mandate was to restore some sensible balance and fiscal responsibility. . . not your strange, nefarious notion of happiness or a Luke utopia?
    Recent polls in QLD suggest that a new state election would deliver a similar result.
    Your negative rant above is just that. . . a negative rant. . . The Newman govt did not promise easy or happy. They are actually attempting to deliver what they were clearly elected to do.

  31. Debbie August 5, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    And BTW that DOES NOT MEAN that I think there is no room for improvement.

  32. Luke August 5, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Negative – I’m embracing the values.

    “The Newman govt did not promise easy or happy” well they did actually

    “They are actually attempting to deliver what they were clearly elected to do” and much more !! so much more.

  33. Debbie August 5, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    what you clearly don’t understand is no one is much interested in forcing values and associated behaviour/legislation upon you. . . You are allowed to embrace whatever values you like in this country.
    I disagree about the easy/happy. I believe it was balance/fiscal responsibility.

  34. Luke August 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    “don’t understand is no one is much interested in forcing values and associated behaviour/legislation upon you.” ummm that’s what govts do actually !

  35. Neville August 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    In the past Luke said he would like to send us all to re-education gulags where we could learn the new maths and we could all become good little CAGW bedwetters.

    Now his totalitarian instincts also drive his desire for more big guns to further his aims. But I don’t think any of us would last very long and would probably be erased within weeks.

    I can’t see poor Cohers lasting any time at all. After he was tortured for a period he would probably disappear quickly and his sins listed on notices around the camps.

    Just kidding Luke and I hope you’re not smacking your chops too loudly at the prospect.

  36. Neville August 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Willis Eschenbach goes into bat for science against the modern trend of climate activism within scientific?????? journals.

  37. Debbie August 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Yep. . as I surmised. . . You don’t geddit Luke.
    As Larry partly explains above. . . . in areas such as health and the safe/sensible use of public infrastructure of course there is a need for legislation.
    We also expect our governments to do so transparently. . . with a sense of balance and fiscal responsibilty.
    Luckily. . . .in this country, if those criteria are not being met in a satisfactory manner. . .we can show our displeasure via the ballot box.
    It’s certainly not a perfect system. . . but on balance. . . it is one of the better ones.
    That’s not what you’re fussing about Luke.

  38. Neville August 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    One part of the reason for taxing co2 is the nonsense about dangerous SLR. But Fred Singer writes a very good article at American Thinker and opens up different ideas on the cause of SLR over many centuries.

    During recent warm and cool periods the rate of SLR doesn’t seem to change much. He suggests that most of the SLR is natural and comes from the melting of the west Antarctic (peninsula) ice sheet.

    He further suggests that during warmer periods SLR may not increase because of higher precipitation over the main Antarctic land mass. Lomborg also covers this assumption in his book.
    So could warmer periods lead to lower rates of SLR?
    Fred Singer is a lead author for the IPCC 5th report.

  39. Luke August 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    “Fred Singer is a lead author for the IPCC 5th report.” No he’s not

  40. cohenite August 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Poor old Fred; he is not a lead author but he is an IPCC reviewer and has access to the AR5 process.

  41. Neville August 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Sorry I got that wrong, I agree Fred isn’t a lead author but is a reviewer . Poor Lukey must have taken something for his earlier wild ramblings and has quietened down a bit.

  42. Luke August 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    Dour lot.

    Pretty well anyone can be a “reviewer” and hardly anything authoritative.

  43. Neville August 6, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Of course just about everybody must reach the same conclusions as Fred Singer. Even the IPCC in their saner moments agreed in their 2007 report that SLR would be just 29cm by 2100. (29cm mid range )

    Most of that rise would be covered by thermal expansion or 23cm and after Greenland increase of 3.5 cm , melting glaciers + ice caps 8cm = 34.5 cm.
    But Antarctica’s increased precipation reduces this by 5.5cm, therefore reducing the total to IPCC ‘s central estimate of 29cm by 2100.

    This is also projected out to 2300 for Antarctica and Greenland and therefore cancels out any dangerous SLR for the next 300 years at least.

    It’s about time we started to wake up to this fraud and con before we waste more billions $ down the drain for a zero return. These bi-polar fools are lying to us and it’s about time the MSM journos did their job.

  44. Neville August 6, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    In “Cool It” Lomborg gives the IPCC cost estimate for protection of USA for a 1 metre SLR by 2100. Remember 1 metre is total BS anyway. See page 77 and reference 384.
    The total cost would be 5 to 6 billion $ over the century. This would be the same as this clueless Labor govt’s budget blowout for just every week or so since May budget 2013.

    It’s clear that this Labor Govt and the world’s govts are barking mad and the IPCC facts above prove this point.

  45. Neville August 6, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    Sorry I meant blowout every month or so since May, NOT week or so. But geeeeezzzz with these Labor blowouts it’s so hard to be accurate and keep up.

  46. Luke August 6, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    IPCC “facts'” now !? – no hypocrisy from Neville here folks – move right along

  47. Neville August 6, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    More on that Labor deficit over the last 11 weeks. A blowout of at least 12 billion $ or more than 1 billion $ a week since the May budget.

    These Labor govts seem to have a genius for buggering up the country plus all the corruption and fraud they employ to do it. See NSW Labor.

  48. jennifer August 6, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    I don’t understand why all this off-topic posting has been done here… when I have just opened a new thread. Warning, next time I will just block delete. Now go to the open thread!


    OK I’ve started deleting.

    This thread is about markets and specifically carbon markets.

    For general news updates and to post information on the election please go to the open thread. The open thread is also the place for arguing with me.

  49. Robert August 6, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    For our born again free-marketeers, I’d just like to recall that we will be tying ourselves to a European carbon price, which is not some organic market thingy but pure manipulation by the shambolic, self-loathing, inter-hating European Union. Those who think that “European” smacks of sophistication need to recall that, with only a few exceptions, the individual states operate under recently confected political arrangements – thanks to constant war, revolution, racism, imperialism etc within Europe – and the overarching EU manages to be the worst and most untried system of all. (Needless to say, its detested parliament and still more detested bureaucracy are full of well-heeled ex-Trots and ex-Maoists.)

    But go ahead. Be obligated to this murky vampire confederacy…without the rights of membership.

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