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Development, water supply & sanitation

I am attending an Institute for Human Security conference on the Millennium Development Goals tomorrow and chairing a session on water supply and sanitation issues. The MDG’s are quantitative targets the UN and 23 other organizations seek to achieve by 2015 – they include poverty reduction, education, health and other targets. Questions have been raised […]

Delusionist Liberals to force electoral annihilation?

One of the stories being circulated by the Abbott/Minchin camps is that their stance reflects a surge of opposition by Liberal Party supporters to the CPRS. The polls do not support this view. Indeed the fanatics seeking to prevent acceptance of the CPRS could cost the Liberal Party 20 city-based seats according to a current […]

Going down with fine words & some hypocrisy

Malcolm Turnbull’s press conference.


Kindle 2

I mentioned some time back that I had bought the second-generation Kindle. This is more than a faddist toy in my view – it is a substantial and revolutionary innovation. I have taken it on two long-distance air flights and now read from it routinely every evening. It is close to a perfect substitute for […]

Malcolm Turnbull deserves praise

The Parliamentary Liberal Party is an illiberal, shambles at present and the National Party is worse – the performance of Andrew Robb, Nick Minchin, Tony Abbott and the ‘mouth frothers’ Barnaby Joyce and Wilson Tuckey has left this scribe’s perception of these political parties in tatters .

The one positive that comes out of […]

Geoff Carmody’s views on externalities & trade

A letter to the AFR it declined to publish.

Geoff Carmody ( Opinion AFR, 19/11/09) argues that free international trade in emissions permits ‘reduce the selling country’s capacity for ETS-compliant economic growth’. Furthermore, “(t)hat growth capacity is added to the initial growth capacity of the countries buying the permits”. Carmody sees revenues to permit sellers […]

Rationality in universities

The standards of rationality universities seek to instill in students – using evidence, thinking carefully about the logic of arguments and not basing arguments on ambiguous or undefined terms – should apply more broadly in life.


Power stations rewarded – Australian consumers lose

The electricity industry provides a non-internationally traded good. Australians cannot import electricity from anywhere. That electricity prices based on coal fired generation will increase by around 20% over 2012/13 is not of great consequence to electricity generators if electricity prices are relatively inelastic (unresponsive to price) because local providers can then increase prices without losing […]

Evils of fornication

Michelle Chantelois claims to have sex with South Australian Premier Mike Rann during a several-year affair. This ‘scandal’ has got the usual nationwide publicity. Ms. Chantelois made the claims during a paid television interview. I repeat the observations that I made about the sex-related incidents associated with the resignation of NSW’s John Della Bosca:

“…the […]

Hacking hiccup

The hacked emails from the University of East Anglia on climate change – a good survey of the material is here – have been enthusiastically – though unconvincingly – used to support climate change skepticism. In my view the hack is a non-event. The NYT has a sensible summary of the implications of this material:


NTEU & climate change

I normally don’t read the drivel put out by the NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union) but a recent issue of Advocate expresses views favouring rejection of the CPRS that are so foolish that they attract attention.

The NTEU prefer a ‘national pollution reduction scheme that does not primarily rely on market mechanisms’. The intention […]

‘No self-defeating object’ arguments

Can an omnipotent being create a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it? I got through the elementary parts of this post by Terry Tao but some of the applications were hard. ‘Strategy stealing arguments’ in game theory are a subset of this class of results. Note the amazing subsequent discussion.

Exempting cowburps & paying farmers not to provide them

Australia’s agricultural sector provides around 16% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Rudd Government originally planned to exempt this sector from its CPRS until 2015 but to revisit the decision in 2013. In a major cave-in Jelly-Back Rudd has brought this decision forward and permanently exempted this sector from the CPRS. To realize greenhouse gas […]

Comments on CPRS to Red Symons

This is the basis of remarks I made to Red Symons today on 774 Melbourne ABC.


Tiger Woods at Kingston Heath

Like 25,000 others I was excited on Friday to see Tiger Woods playing golf in Melbourne. I can’t logically justify spending public money as an appearance fee to attract Woods – I oppose spending anything on the Grand Prix – but given that the money is spent – less than 10% of the subsidy devoted […]

Climate change notes 3

I think there is substantial evidence that the science of climate change is losing the public debate both in Australia and overseas. George Monbiot argues that the loss is to aging suckers not sceptics who react to constant news of the dangers of climate change as they react to fears of death. As the scientific […]

Carrots & sticks to encourage LDC compliance with global carbon treaty

I liked this paper by H. Tian, J. Whalley & Y. Cai on the possible role of trade sanctions and compensatory transfers from developed countries in encouraging large-population, low-wage, rapidly-growing BRIC group countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) to join in an effective global climate change agreement. Large developing countries gain something themselves from mitigating their […]

Books to remain expensive

My guess that the Government would buckle under local interest group pressure to reject the parallel import of books has proven correct. Mark at LP is pleased to learn that the moves to allow free trade in books suggested by the Productivity Commission have been stopped by the Rudd Government. In fact he asks why […]

Liberal Party self-destructs on climate change

It is difficult to see anything defendable in the Liberal Party’s position on climate change as it was articulated on Four Corners last night. The Leader of the Liberal Party in the Senate, Nick Minchin made things clear. He questioned Malcolm Turnbull’s authority and declared man-made climate change a myth – a view he said […]

Trade & the environment

I have not reported back on the Conference I attended at Peking University on ‘Trade, Urbanisation and the Environment’. Much of the conference was concerned with climate change.