The economic benefits of tackling climate change

Last week I wrote about the health benefits of ditching fossil fuels for carbon neutral fuels but now I want to highlight the economic benefits of doing so.

A University of Massachusetts publication – The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy –  finds that investment in clean energy creates about three times as many jobs as the same amount of investment in fossil fuels. They write:

These job gains would be enough—on their own—to reduce the unemployment rate in today’s economy by about one full percentage point, to 8.4 percent from current 9.4-percent levels—even after taking into full account the inevitable job losses in conventional fossil fuel sectors of the U.S. economy as they contract.

According to economist Paul Krugman, the main economic problem facing the US at the moment is not lack of productive capacity, but lack of demand. Investment in clean energy is exactly what the economy needs. He writes in the New York Times, Invest, Divest and Prosper,

How would forcing the power industry to clean up its act worsen this situation? It wouldn’t, because neither costs nor lack of capacity are constraining the economy right now.

And, as I’ve already suggested, environmental action could actually have a positive effect. Suppose that electric utilities, in order to meet the new rules, decide to close some existing power plants and invest in new, lower-emission capacity. Well, that’s an increase in spending, and more spending is exactly what our economy needs.

And it’s not just economists who think clean energy investment is a good thing. American power companies appear to be welcoming of the new climate policies. An article in the Huffington Post last week quotes NRG Energy CEO, David Crane,

We welcome the renewed focus on climate change in Washington. We look forward to working with the EPA to create pragmatic and effective regulations that bring both the economic and environmental benefits of the clean energy economy to the American public.

I think that for someone who is business minded, climate change presents lots of exciting opportunities. Richard Branson certainly thinks so. He created the Carbon War Room to spearhead entrepreneurial solutions to reduce carbon emissions.  He is quoted in an article from the Huffington Post, Climage change: good for business?,

The good news is that creating businesses that will power our growth, and reduce our carbon output while protecting resources is also the greatest wealth-generating opportunity of our generation.

It seems to me that the fossil fuel industry is our present day blacksmith and there is less and less reason for us to prop it up, unless of course, you are in the direct employ of or own shares in this industry.

75 responses to “The economic benefits of tackling climate change”

  1. That would be a typo. The standard of journalism in The Courier Mail is woeful with spelling and grammar mistakes frequently occurring.

      • As to the “Plain Folks trick” you accuse Senator Boswell of, Penrice Holdings is hardly the man in the street but an ASX listed company, founded in the 1930s, which until recently has been giving a good return to its investors. That it has had to sack 60 workers and go off shore is deplorable. Without specific examples, whatever names you decide to give them, news reporting becomes meaningless and uninteresting. Senator Boswell gave examples across a wide variety of businesses in the community that unlike the late Australian car industry don’t otherwise get reported. For investors, this information can be invaluable. Senator Boswell’s electors will be pleased to hear he is hard at work monitoring the economic pulse of the country.

      • Boswell’s examples are still just anecdotal evidence which is not as reliable as hard data from somewhere like the ABS.

      • > Senator Boswell of, Penrice Holdings is hardly the man in the street […]

        I agree, That does not prevent him to use a populist claptrap. Not unlike W was so fond of before he discovered the joy of painting dead dogs.

        Appealing to the Plain Folks, be they corporate drones or else, is an almost magical ingredient for Conservative to reach subgroups of the working class that share more traditional values, Eve.

        Also note that you’re doing something like this when you’re launch a whole load of vivid adjectives like “meaningless”, “uninteresting” and “abstract” against Rachel’s argument, from which you oppose Ron Boswell’s rhetoric, which gets plugged into this conversation like any peddler would.

        In other words, you’re using a simple bait and switch, not unlike what I did with W, BTW.

        Plain Folks and baits and switches are very old tricks, Eve. Almost as old as the apple.

      • As to philosophers and writers, Willard, I’ve always preferred Bertrand Russell, to ones like your namesake, Willard Van Orman Quine. The writings of the former exhibit clarity while those of the latter are turgid and impenetrable.

  2. Rachel,
    As I pointed out on the earlier post ,the University of Massachusetts publication ,”The Economic benefits of investing in Clean Energy”,is no more than academic guesswork ,as it must be, based on the assumption that the Cap and Trade legislation ,the Waxman- Markey Bill would become law,which did not occur.
    In 2008, following his first election, President Obama talked about creating “five million green jobs”. Gordon Brown in Britain had talked about ” 400,000 new green jobs”.No one specified where or how or at what cost these imaginary jobs might be created.In 2009, the BERR ( Department of Business,Enterprise and Regulatory Reform UK ) commissioned an analysis by Innovas .Its Report appeared on the BERR website.The Consultants’ models estimated the likely increase in the number of jobs in 3 ” low carbon and environmental ” sectors of the economy by 2015, ( not unlike the sort of modelling by Massachusetts University).In renewable energy,the model predicted wind industry creating 69,300 new jobs, biomass another 22,900, the ” geothermal ” energy sector 39,300 (overlooking the claim that this non- existent was already employing “75,000” people ). Under various environmental activities from air pollution to waste management,the model predicted 43,000 new jobs.All up a total of 393,000 additional jobs according to the model.aAnd the cost according to the BERR’s own figures? They gave them for the waste management sector at GBP 30 billion, or GBP 1.2 million per job.
    In the same year the Paper “Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources by Alvarez and others was published from Madrid Universiyt ( March 2009), Spain had subsidised its renewables sector to thevamount of 36 billion dollars between 2000 and 2008. This policy had created 50,000 green jobs at a cost of 571,138 euros per jobAll to provide Spain with well under 10 % of its electricity ,unreliable , inefficiently and very a subsidy cost of 5.6 % of Spain’s corporate taxes.And Obama told the Ohio workers in his January 2009 speech,renewable energy could create millions of additional jobs and entire new industries just like countries like Spain.Spainip is winding back its renewable subsidies massively.And the Paper found 2.2 real jobs were lost for each green job created.
    For the true USA position,see Forbes, “President Obama’s Green jobs cost Taxpayers big bucks ” 11 Feb, 2012.

    • I suggest we stop subsidizing carbon-based fuels, for a start, including not taking into account ecological damage. Then we can have a more accurate picture of relative cost.

  3. Rachel,
    Two interesting developments today.Firstly, Dr. James Hansen is writing to President Obama to press for a Carbon Tax ,not a Cap and Trade system.I am uncertain as to what your stance is on how the world should “tackle climate change “.But see note that New Zealand and Canada’s residents have rejected a broad based carbon tax.Australia has a carbon tax which is under attack and PM Rudd wants to switch immediately to an ETS,linked to Europe.
    Secondly , coincidentally,GWPF has launched Professor Ross McKitrick’s new paper,proposing a temperature based carbon tax,as the most cost effective way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and slowing the pace of climate change !
    Before you knee-jerk a ” NO”, read his proposal,linked at GWPF.Also note that most of the readers at Bishop Hill,and WUWT are implacably opposed to McKitrick’s proposal and McKitrick has put out a response to the readers’ objections,explaining his tax.
    I would be interested to see whether Hansen would support McKitrick’s proposal which appears to be a form of ” pigovian” tax which Hansen has proposed for years.He says cap and trade systems are “utterly useless “.Given that Obama has nil chance of getting a carbon tax or ETS in the USA, why not grasp McKitrick’s idea?
    Maybe the Republicans would accept it.It appears to be a win/win, no matter what side of the divide you are on.
    Although I believe that the influence of CO2 on climate is greatly exaggerated,and oppose the Australian Carbon tax or ETS as they are so inefficient and easily corrupted, here is an offer ,a temperature -linked Carbon Tax which both sides of the debate could be satisfied with.

    • Hi Doug,

      Yes I’ve heard about McKitrick’s paper but haven’t read it yet. I don’t have any thoughts about it because although I acknowledge anthropogenic climate change, I’m not sure what the best solution is. I just want some solutions to be tossed about and discussed and tried, so I’m pleased to see McKitrick offering something.

      Last month Myles Allen offered a solution which allows fossil fuel companies to burn all they want provided they capture and bury the carbon.

      There’s also an article in New Scientist this week which makes the case for an emissions trading scheme. Here’s a copy and paste from part of it:

      “States in the eastern US have had a system running since 2008, Kazakhstan launched a pilot in January, and the first of seven pilots was launched in China this month, which might develop into a national scheme after 2015. California launched full carbon trading this year, and is planning to link up with Quebec in Canada. South Korea is finalising details for an apparently ambitious version to be launched in 2015, and Australia plans to link its system to Europe’s in the same year. Even Russia and Ukraine are thinking about carbon trading. Clearly many countries still believe it has something to offer.

      Could it be, therefore, that the European carbon market is not the abject failure many claim it to be? Prices are low for a good reason – the industries the scheme covers are almost certain to cut emissions by 21 per cent compared to 2005 during the current phase, which runs from 2013 to 2020. Encouraging such cuts is the very purpose of the scheme. There is less demand for permits and the price drops.

      “Unless there is a big economic recovery the EU scheme will have no problem hitting its 2020 emissions reduction target,” says Konrad Hanschmidt, carbon analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. So the scheme’s objective looks assured eight years ahead of schedule, and there is no need for a high carbon price to achieve it. “Low prices are not a sign of failure but a sign of success,” says Trevor Sikorski, carbon analyst at energy commodity consultant Energy Aspects.”

    • Carbon tax or carbon cap & trade? This argument is about as useful as the medieval one about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

      They both do the same thing but in slightly different ways. Carbon tax regime controls the price of carbon emissions, but the quantity is determined by the market. Cap & trade controls the quantity of emissions but the price is determined by the market. In a market economy you can’t control both at once.

      In either case, pollution costs and there is an economic incentive to find ways to do less of it.

      Whichever you choose, method of introduction becomes a major exercise as there are serious winners and losers. Therefore adaptation paths are desirable to ease the transition – although this move has been so long on the agenda that affected companies should have detailed plans to deal with it.

      I agree that the politics of passing a tax vs a cap & trade may differ, but that is an issue for law-makers, not economists or climate scientists.

  4. In a healthy economy jobs disappear in some places and are created in others all the time. That is why the current proportion of the workforce employed in shoeing horses is very small compared with what it was a century ago. The ABS is a statutory authority, not a government department acting on the whim of a minister. If it reports that 95,000 new jobs were created, then approximately that number of new jobs was created.

    More importantly, the Australian reign of King Coal may be approaching terminal decline.

    It’s not just the shale gas boom in the US, forcing coal miners there to find export markets as power stations convert from coal to gas. Neither is it just Greenies, Hunter Valley horse stud and vineyard owners objecting to agricultural land being permanently destroyed by digging it up to extract coal.

    Australian Financial Review China correspondent Angus Grigg reported on Tuesday something more worrying than that, “Pollution concerns put pressure on China’s coal use”:

    Driven primarily by popular anger about air pollution, only secondarily by concerns about climate change. Grigg reports that Hebel province (which includes Beijing) intends to reduce its use of coal by 40 million tonnes a year by 2017, and observes that that is equal to a year’s worth of coal exports from Hay Point Terminal in Queensland.

    It’s a similar public revolt to that over London smog in the 1950s, although the air quality problem in many Chinese cities is worse than London ever was.

    To drive this process along, China is introducing an emissions trading scheme. The first pilotbegan last month in Shenzhen. It is intended to spread nationwide by around 2014, There has been recent discussion in the media as to whether coal miners are overvalued on the basis of deposits that they will never be able to actually mine.

    If China proceeds along the trajectory that it has set, it may actually become a coal exporter by 2020 as local markets shrink. If that happens, Australian coal miners may find there are better pickings in setting up in the Hunter Valley and finding out how to shoe horses.

  5. Mike, Isn’t shale gas just another fossil fuel that you’re opposed to? Is this not the new revolution sweeping America that we read of in the papers every day?

    • No Eve. It is better for the climate than burning coal. It is not a perfect antidote to climate change, but one should not let desire for the perfect drive out the good.

      The secrecy with which the shale gas industry has pursued its development has created global suspicion (who knows what strange chemical additives they inject into the ground, and why do they insist on confidentiality clauses for property-owners on whose land they drill?) From a PR point of view they’ve been their own worst enemies. They may not be as evil as they are made out to be but we do not know.

      The downside of the US shale gas rise is that American coal companies, as they lose their domestic markets, are not going to lie down and die. They will do their best to find export markets, which may seriously cut into Australian export markets.

      • So, Mike, what we are reading about from America as driving its recovery is shale gas, a fossil fuel, and not renewables such as solar or wind turbines. Wouldn’t it make more sense if the coal companies in America switched to shale gas using fracking?
        Interestingly, this is banned in France and Germany. France is heavily nuclear anyway and doesn’t need it.

  6. Nit-picking arguments about climate change are apt to distract from the main game. In the previous post I mentioned how the Chinese appetite for imported coal may evaporate within this decade.

    But there is another problem too. Australia’s top two export earners are coal and iron ore, and The Economist this week reports, “An Inferno of unprofitability”,

    “The world’s overcapacity in steelmaking is getting worse, and profits are evaporating… Adding to the pressure on steelmakers’ profitability is China’s growing capacity, which is denting steel prices around the world… Since China itself will have little need for this unprofitable steel, it will inevitably add to the country’s exports, further depressing world prices. Chinese exports are likely to be 30m-50m tonnes in each of the next few years—a small share of the country’s total production of almost 750m tonnes, but an amount that now exceeds the tonnage sold abroad by longer-established exporters such as Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Russia…”

    Good news in the short term for Australia’s coking coal exports. When the global industry sorts itself out though, iron ore and coal prices will both be under pressure and demand will slump.

    Many nations have managed to prosper without reliance on huge income from mineral exports (Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Singapore, New Zealand…) What is Australia’s plan when the extractables boom is over?

    It doesn’t have one.

    • Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark – what beautiful countries they are, and have been for centuries – all examples of European civilization at its best, and relatively small, homogeneous populations too. Not much of the multicultural revolution there. The Swiss have good border protection and fiercely protect their heritage. As a prosperous, neutral country in the middle of Europe they are indeed blessed. Australia would do well to take a leaf out of the Swiss book.

    • I think Willard is suggesting that Doug’s comment is a distraction from the main topic being discussed here and so is akin to saying “look, watermelon squirrels”. I wish I’d thought of it. 😉

      • Rachel,Thanks for your explanation.I had googled “watermelon squirrels ” and I see that there is an interesting debate ( indeed a distraction from the important issues which we are presently discussing ) as to whether squirrels which are carnivores eat watermelons. I have learned from this issue to which Willard has directed me that squirrels DO eat watermelons.
        However the more important question for Willard is ” Are Squirrels endangered ? “. PETA suggests they are , but Yahoo Answers says not so .
        Indeed The “Best Answer ” lists the following reasons why not-
        (a) They adapt to human activity very very very well.
        (b) They are excellent at finding food
        ( c) They will eat almost anything they can find including garbage.
        (d) They are collectively smarter than 97% of climate scientists and know that they will benefit from global warming.
        ( O.K. I invented the last one but it may be true! )

      • Ha, ha, very funny. I think it more likely that 97% of the world’s fish, that are now seeking cooler waters, are smarter than all the authors at WUWT put together.

      • I think my interpretation of “look, squirrels” was wrong. I think this is what Willard meant (and correct me if I’m wrong here) -

      • Both interpretations look quite OK to me, Rachel.

        Most conversational bait-and-switches are ignoratios.

        A diversion is one way to ignore the question.

        A tu quoque too ignores the question.

        Al Gore is fat also ignores the question.

        Any kind of reply where that starts with a but.

        But Skeptical Science moderation.

        But the poor.

        But deaths and taxes.

        The list goes on and on and on.

  7. Rachel,
    You may be correct , and perhaps I was being unpleasant in my remarks to Willard.I am endeavouring to remain civil in conformity with your policy .But “minarchist”? I still haven’t worked out if he was insulting me! And I only called him “genteel”!
    Oh, all right , sorry Willard.

    • I don’t think Willard was insulting you (but correct me if I’m wrong, Willard). People who argue against action to tackle climate change often do so for political reasons. They are advocates of the free market and a minimalist government and what action on climate change requires is leadership from government. So it is at odds with people who have this particular political philosophy. I think Willard is suggesting that your views on climate change are motivated by your political views. It is not an attack on you personally.

      An explanation of minarchism at Wikipedia –

      • Actually, no. I’m a swing voter and always have been. My views are influenced by the science in the same way that I accept the science which says vaccination is good for my kids and fluoride is good for my teeth.

      • ­> I think Willard is suggesting that your views on climate change are motivated by your political views.

        It might look like this, but I don’t think there’s any need to suppose any kind of motivation, Rachel. Eve and Douglas could be HBGary bots for all I care. Describing speech patterns suffice to defuse most of these tauntings.

        You don’t have to tolerate these, BTW. This blog is your property. It is also under your responsibility, according to WP’s legalese.

        Guests should behave like ones.

        Keep your eye on the puck,



  8. Rachel,
    Back to our minarchist program.You were touting the economic benefits of tackling climate change.
    Over breakfast this morning ,I read from Reuters this Report-
    “Australian Renewables Fund courts controversy with first investment” -June 13 ,2013.
    “A renewable energy fund (CEFC) is set to sign a deal to help New Zealand’s Meridian Energy increase its debt in a major wind farm project ( Victoria’s $1 billion MacArthur Wind Farm) freeing up cash for the state owned generator ahead of its planned IPO,three sources close to the deal said.
    Its proposed A$100 million plus loan to the 420 MW MacArthur Wind Farm project in the State of Victoria will be its first investment but has raised concerns about the use of Australian public funds to undercut existing lenders and help a New Zealand state owned company repatriate funds out of Australia.
    The Australian government set up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) in 2012 with A$10billion to invest in clean energy projects .”
    The report goes on to record that Meridian is refinancing its 50% share in the project and wants to sell its stake in the wind farm ahead of a planned IPO later this year, the largest in NZ
    Economist Henry Ergas had a report on this looming disaster for the Australian taxpayer in the Australian on Monday, “Carbon Folly comes at a price.”
    He points out that the CEFC was intended to address “barriers to funding clean energy projects” ,
    .The parties in MacArthur Wind Farm project are Meridian,AGL( a public Australian Gas Company), a Malaysian billionaire,Syed Moktar al- Bukhary,and Macquarie Bank .
    You might think that CEFC would demonstrate its merits in intervening for the benefits of these cashed up parties but no,they have only issued a 2 page press release extolling the virtues of clean energy
    Ergas then does a cost benefit analysis on the exercise which shows a shocking large social and economic loss.The aggregate result is that for each $1 of benefit ,the CEFC’s intervention makes Australians $5 worse off.
    “That outcome highlights the extent to which carbon policy has degenerated into a mechanism for redistributing income from taxpayers and electricity consumers to favoured constituencies imposing steep economic costs along the way.And if the CEFC reflects that phenomenon in microcosm.the carbon tax embodies it on a vast scale.”
    In summary
    -Carbon prices in Europe are far below our $24.15 a tonne.
    -Abatement could have been purchased internationally at a fraction of the cost imposed on Australian industry.
    -The consequences of forcing emissions reductions here that could have been done more cheaply elsewhere are anything but trivial.
    -Our Treasuries’ own modelling adjusted for the absence of an integrated world carbon market shows that national income from the outset last July would be $3.5 billion higher by the end of 2014-15.
    Also over the same period ,Australian households would have paid $4.2 billion less in electricity prices ,saving $450 per household.
    “All that points to a crucial lesson : Despite all the incessant chatter about “market mechanisms” this policy ( carbon market ) is an entirely artificial government construct,lacking any anchor linking the burdens it imposes to any gains it creates.
    In contrast to normal markets,prices can therefore continue indefinitely at levels which do not balance benefits with costs.And in the penumbra of the cash flows it generates ,questionable deals can be struck with private interests at taxpayers’ expense.”
    These problems are not exclusive to Australia but appear in Britain, the EU and anywhere a carbon market arises .
    These ETS schemes are not an efficient market mechanism.They can scarcely be called a “market “, as the incessant intervention by the EU again recently demonstrates, for its scheme .
    Perhaps James Hansen understands this when he says ETS schemes are “utterly useless “

    • Doug, I’m not sure what the best solution to the carbon problem is. I know that James Hansen calls for a carbon tax and I would not vote against a carbon tax but nor would I vote against an ETS. Perhaps the solution will involve both in some way. I also like Myles Allen’s idea that requires all fossil fuel companies to capture 100% of their carbon emissions.

      However, the first course of action to my mind is to remove all subsidies for fossil fuels (as cvdanes suggested above) and then to price coal and oil to their true value, which ought to include their environmental impact. It is not fair that they should be able to privatise their profits while publicising the environmental losses.

  9. Rachel,
    I think the evidence is mounting that carbon markets are failing.
    1. The Guardian has an article ,”Why are carbon markets failing?” By Steffen Bohm,on April 13,2013.
    2.”Carbon fiddles while the planet burns” by David Levy,in Organisations and Social Change,May 16,2013.Levy concludes-
    “Markets are not magic mechanisms that solve all problems,but political and institutional constructions that serve particular interests. As atmospheric carbon surges past 400ppm,its clear that carbon markets have failed us,and a new strategy is needed.”
    3. It appears that the World Bank are discontinuing The State and Trends of the Carbon Markets for 2013 ,a document of some decades standing ,to avoid the embarrassment of identifying a substantial contraction in market activity.It is to be replaced by an Ecofys publication-“Mapping Carbon Pricing Initiatives-Developments and Prospects”
    This new publication of 29/05/13 opens –
    “The uncertainty concerning the future of existing carbon markets in recent years has prevented valuable resources being channelled to low carbon investments ,particularly from the private sector.”etc
    As Australia is to drop its carbon tax for an ETS this is a critical issue.

  10. Willard,
    7% in the first year! And all from the carbon tax.Wonderful news ! And at a cost of only $9 billion for the year .Australian businesses must be delighted to be paying $24.15 per tonne carbon tax from July 1, 2013, to save the planet.
    Meanwhile NZ is paying a little over A$1.00 a tonne, as its share.Canada ,Japan, USA etc. are not having a carbon tax , but we and the EU in the post -Kyoto club will save the day.
    Somewhat relevant is the fact that our Treasury modelling says Australia’s emissions from 2010 to 2020 will go up from 560 to 637 million tonnes of CO2 .Even with the carbon tax / ETS we will only reduce our increased emissions from 24% increase to 19%increase. But that was before the commencement of the tax last July 1.Perhaps Treasury will re-model that now.
    And today’s Australian carries an article from the Chief Economist of The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greg Evans , ” No to Carbon Tax or ETS.”
    He claims –
    It is wrong to suggest that there is any genuine mainstream business support for an emissions trading scheme.Cost sensitive and energy reliant businesses across Australia oppose both an ETS and carbon tax.
    Simply, trade exposed and vulnerable sectors such as manufacturing are under extreme pressure from economic uncertainty and exchange rate volatility.They have limited capacity to absorb unilateral cost penalties of any form ,let alone those deliberarely imposed by the government.
    Many small businesses affected by the tax receive no compensation.
    Our businesses have to work out what Brussels is doing if we link to the EU now or in 2015. The EU countries are hatching the plan referred to as ” back loading” to postpone the allocation of permits to raise the carbon price close to 30 euros where the central planners intend it to be .Some market mechanism .
    The Australian Budget will have a large revenue impact in the billions,if we now move to an ETS linked to the EU.
    , because of the money already committed as compensation.
    The scope of the carbon pricing scheme could be broadened to more sectors to make up for the loss of revenue.
    The carbon price and other green schemes have all contributed substantially to high energy costs for businesses and homes, inducing a de-industrialisation trend in the economy.
    Partisan pleading ? Perhaps like the piece from SkepticalScience.

    • Dear Douglas,

      Please get your facts straight:

      > And at a cost of only $9 billion for the year […]

      This claim is empty. Citation needed.

      Worse, it presumes that inaction costs nothing, which is false.


      > Canada, Japan, USA etc. are not having a carbon tax […]

      This claim is false, as British Columbia does have a carbon tax:


      > Australian businesses must be delighted to be paying $24.15 per tonne carbon tax from July 1, 2013, to save the planet.

      This claim is misleading:

      Aside from a swathe of overwhelmingly negative effects to our way of life and the environment if we do not make a global effort to fight climate change, there are significant risks to the Australian economy if we do not take steps towards pricing carbon. John Birmingham of the Sydney Morning Herald published an illuminating article detailing how we will end up paying whether or not a price on carbon is introduced. The difference is to who that money will go – to Australian taxpayers in the form of compensation, or to overseas jurisdictions in the form of penalty payments.

    • Dear Douglas,

      Here’s the last part for the moment. :

      > Partisan pleading ? Perhaps like the piece from SkepticalScience.

      Et tu, Skeptical Science?

      If you do read the page I referenced, you’ll see that the information comes from somewhere else than the Australian Chamber of Commerce:

      The ACCI has a workplace relations policy that promotes the use of workplace agreements negotiated on an individual rather than a collective level, and an employment policy that involves “restraining minimum wages”. In March 2010 the ACCI opposed an ACTU $27/week wage increase claim for the nation’s poorest workers. The ACTU argued this group missed out on a rise due to a wage freeze the previous year, and over this period the average wage had increased by more than $60/week. However, the ACCI said the unions claim was neither fair nor balanced, and suggested a $10–$15 rise instead.

      “Fair and balanced”: where did I hear that before?


      The second part of the comment is below:

      Please continue,


  11. Dear Douglas,

    Here’s part 2, to bypass moderation:

    > Simply, trade exposed and vulnerable sectors such as manufacturing are under extreme pressure from economic uncertainty and exchange rate volatility.

    My, my. Aren’t you borrowing claptraps here and there, Douglas? Let me Google that one for you:

    As seen on The Australian, Daily Telegraph, and the John Curtin Institute, etc.


    > The carbon price and other green schemes have all contributed substantially to high energy costs for businesses and homes, inducing a de-industrialisation trend in the economy.

    Now, that sentence comes right from this op-ed:

    Not only were you borrowing Greg Evans’ claims, but most of your comment is a quote from him.


    Do you know what trolling means, Douglas?

    • Willard,
      1.The ” claptraps” (sic) I “borrowed” were points that I thought I clearly attributed to Greg Evans’ article in The Australian i.e. every passage from “He claims” to the comment “Partisan pleading?” Etc. You appear to misunderstand that.You go on to effectively accuse me of plagiarism.
      2. As an aside,you lump The John Curtin Institute with the Australian and The Daily Telegraph,apparently as “soulmates”.I am confused by this.
      3. One definition of “troll” is ” being a prick on the Internet because you can” ( ).Another is “one who trawls the Internet day and night looking for victims” (SMH ).
      I am sure you don’t regard yourself or any other commentator on this site as “a victim”, nor that I am doing other than presenting my opinions, however misguided you may regard them.Also,I do not “trawl”.
      Perhaps when you have reflected on your abusive attack , in a quieter moment, you will extend to me the same apology I gave for rashly calling you ” genteel.”

      • As regards the mention of trolling I’m not really sure what to do here. I’m probably not cut out for this. Willard is not actually calling you a troll but it is perhaps implied by the question. I prefer not to use that word because someone once called me a troll and it didn’t feel particularly nice. However the definition is very broad and I think I have been guilty of some of these things, for instance, I did once call James Delingpole revolting which could probably be regarded as trolling.

        Common types of troll messages or activities:

        * off topic messages – “Can anyone help me make a webpage?” “No, this is a music forum.”
        * inflammatory messages – “You are an idiot for including this type of message in your list.”
        * messages containing an obvious flaw or error – “I think is Roman Polanski’s best movie.”
        * absurdly naive or politically controversial messages — “I think George W. Bush is the worst President ever”
        * posting an outrageous argument deliberately constructed around a fundamental but obfuscated flaw or error.
        * posting an outrageous claim and then insisting it’s true unless people refute it to your satisfaction, which of course will be impossible.
        * inability to walk away from an argument.
        * making loud claims to be on the defensive, but the claims are a guise for their aggressive maneuvers.
        * passive aggressive name calling, in which no names are mentioned, but are implied.

        But he has not made an abusive attack and he calls you out for not appropriately quoting and citing your comments. If you are copying directly from somewhere else on the web, you need to put it in quotations (or somehow acknowledge that it’s a copy and paste) and provide your source.

      • Dear Douglas,

        I could not care less for apologies. You apologized presumably because Rachel found that you crossed her policies. No need for play the victim or indulge in tone trolling while having claims to correct, if ever.

        One does not simply placate comment sections of a personal blog with mostly irrelevant claptraps from an op-ed, more so when it comes void of citation and clear blockquotes. Here would be a way to do that:

        IT is wrong to suggest there is any genuine mainstream business support for an emissions trading scheme. Cost-sensitive and energy-reliant businesses across Australia oppose both an ETS and the carbon tax.

        As you can see, it is short and sweet. If you can’t edit your resources, why would your readers care for them? Think about this for a second.

        Anyway, my main point was not really about this. It was that the op-ed you quoted repeated claptraps we can see in free-market echo chambers day in, day out. Yes, but deaths and taxes.

        The fact that mainstream business opposes ETS is not an unimportant concern. We should always be thankful for concerns. But the op-ed you quoted simply argue by assertion while rehearsing talking points.

        Unless one really have to time to chase down all these talking points, the only effect that obtains is counterbalancing. I don’t think it’s Rachel’s burden to chase down all the claptraps you’re bulldozing.


        Finally, please note that I did not labeled you as a troll. I asked if you knew what trolling is. I have no idea of your experience as a commenter. You could be new in that endeavour, in which case to discuss what trolling is may be profitable both to you and to Rachel, who must be new here [1]

        Here’s my collection about trolling:

        I believe that Love and Light are the best remedies against trolling. Here are three resources that might be of interest.


        First, there is this interesting series about Climate Desk, who invited to dinner by their most pernicious, climate-denying troll, Hoyt Connell:

        Hoyt has a nice way of talking about counterbalancing.


        Second, there is **How to Talk about Anything to Anyone**:

        Seek a common ground. Offer respect. Hold your views. Tell your personal journey. Connect worldviews. Offer rewards.

        This might be even better for Rachel than me, as I’m not here to talk.

        (No, Douglas, I don’t think you care for what I’m saying right now and that you might have shut down yourself at about the first asterisks. I’m speaking to Rachel right now. I’m a ninja and you’re a literary device. How does it feel to be used? Think about this the next time you comment here.)


        Third, here’s mike’s definition of what is a troll:

        Generically: A troll is a commenter who maintains a sustained, partisan engagement on a blog where the weight of the blog’s commentary favors a contrary point of view. Further, the troll’s engagement is, generally, marked by snark, hostility, and contempt for the prevailing blog opinion.


        Note that mike goes on to tell about his own trolling experience, and to distinguish good from bad trolls. In the first case, he considers that it is a complimentary term. He also tells that I’m a contrarian, which is to be interpreted in the context of Judy’s:

        You should go there and have a visit, Douglas. You might like it, if you don’t already know about that blog. Many Aussie contrarians (no, not in mike’s sense) hang around there.

        Good bye,

        Thank you for your concerns,


        [1] “You must be new here” is an old Internet saying:

        Memes have evolved as the most expedient and gentle way to deal with trolling.

      • Thanks, Willard. Yes I’m definitely a noob in the climate change debate and blogging in general. I particularly enjoyed George Marshall’s video on how to talk to a climate science critic.

        Mike’s definition of trolling on Curry’s blog is very good also. I like the idea of a good troll as a sort of devil’s advocate I suppose.

    • The real Willard (Van Orman Quine) would turn in his grave if he could see what is being written against his name and photograph!

      • Please. It’s time to move on. No-one here thought Willard was a famous philosopher back from the dead. Willard’s identity is irrelevant and has no bearing whatsoever on a discussion about the economic benefits of climate change. If you have nothing relevant to contribute to this discussion then I respectfully ask that you stop commenting about the identifies of other commentators. It is not a crime to maintain anonymity on the web.

    • No worries. I know you’re not being deliberately being contrary and that you genuinely believe all the things your say.

      Can I give you a couple of technical tips?

      If you want to quote someone else or copy something from another webpage, an easy way to make clear that it’s a direct quote is to put it inside two tags. Type the opening tag first which is <blockquote> put your quote here then close the tag like this </blockquote>. This will indent your quote and give it a giant ” mark.

      The second tip is perhaps something you already know but I thought I’d mention it anyway. If you want to copy something quickly and easily, like a quote, without having to type it out letter for letter. Highlight the quote or section of text using your mouse. Then press the control key on your keyboard and while holding it down, press the letter c. Then release both keys. Return to the comment box where you wish to paste the comment and click on the spot you want it to go. Then press the control key on your keyboard and while holding it down, press the letter v. This should paste the text directly into the comment box for you. But if you do this, then please always cite the source on the web that it came form.

      • Rachel,
        I appreciate your tips .
        I certainly intend to “move on “,as I have nothing to offer on this site where the established alarmist view is so entrenched.
        My offensive remark ,”genteel ,” was made about Willard because I found his style didactic,and his language pretentious and bombastic, and I disagreed with his curious views.I still do. I later read his site and realised where his head was at.It was a mistake to tender any apology to him,given his latest post.
        I read carefully his response to me at 8.04 a.m. on July, 15,2013.
        Despite his explanation of mike’ s generic definition of what is a troll, any half- knowledgeable person asked ” do you know what trolling is,Douglas?” would see it as offensive.The accepted version of such a charge appears at “Troll ( Internet)”- Wikipedia .The first 2 paragraphs are perfectly clear that the expression is primarily derogatory and that a troll is a “prick.”That is the way I took the enquiry.
        Lastly ,I was warming to Willard’s call for Love and Light . “Seek a common view .Hold your views.Offer respect.Tell your personal journey etc.”, when he reverted to type with this bizarre outburst –

        You are welcome to Willard, the ninja.

  12. Rachel,
    My comment about Willard was relevant and did not deserve to be deleted. Willard is not his real name and the photo he uses is that of Willard Van Orman Quine, a distinguished American philosopher who died in 2000. I find this deliberately deceptive and worthy of note by your readers.

    • It is irrelevant and I really don’t think anyone was fooled. If you think you have uncovered some great deception then you are mistaken. Willard may or may not be his or her real name. Just as wottsupwiththatblog is very unlikely to be the real name of wottsupwiththatblog and I very much doubt that he or she looks like a bunch of hydrangeas just as I don’t think you look like cliffs in your own avatar.


  13. Thanks for the tip, though. In future I will make sure my identity is concealed. I’ve always been open and upfront, alternating personal photos of myself with places I’ve visited. I can see now the benefits of putting a distinguished,
    eminent philosopher’s photo in place of one’s own, and having a non-identifying email address. George Eliot certainly knew what she was doing! Nothing has changed since then.

  14. It seems unfortunate that people seem to be getting upset about some of the dialogue here. Some of it may have been a little unpleasant but, compared to other sites, it is still quite civil. This can clearly be quite an emotive issue and discussions getting heated is not that surprising. I will say as well, that I understand how this is likely to be tricky for Rachel. Since starting my own blog there have been a couple of occasions when people have said things that were somewhat insulting to another commentator. I haven’t quite worked out what to do about such comments and have typically simply left them so that those involved can try and work it out for themselves. If it were extreme, I would probably delete the comment or warn the person making the comment, but I do find it quite a difficult balance.

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