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Carbon pricing for Australia

I am pleased that the Australian Government will introduce a carbon tax of sorts from July next year – a common guess is that it will be about $26 per tonne CO2 although the size of the tax has not yet been announced. Then an emissions trading scheme in 3-5 years after that. The little […]

US irrationality on climate

I am preparing a paper on strategic barriers to climate negotiation. A major barrier is just stupid opposition to appreciating climate change truths because they collide with ideological priors – the need for internationally coordinated policies and taxes on carbon are offensive to those describing themselves as “free market” supporters. John Quiggin has an amusing […]

Commodity price forecasts: Optimism & pessimism

Groups such as ABARE are bullish on the immediate prospects for commodity prices on the basis of a continuing Asian recovery. I have no idea if this perspective is accurate but equity markets obviously don’t think it is. BHP-Billiton shares at around $46 are selling at about 10X projected 2012 earnings while Rio Tinto at […]

Peak load train pricing

I had a business breakfast in Melbourne city this morning and was rewarded with a free train trip to the city with the ‘early bird’ fare arrangements on offer. This provides free travel if you leave early and arrive in Melbourne city before 7-00am. Apart from saving a few dollars it gave me a pleasant […]

Thoughts on my China visit

I posted these thoughts on the CHED’S website at Peking University.

Farmer attitudes to climate change

I have been doing work on agricultural adaptations to climate change. Farmers have dealt with climate change for thousands of years – indeed the development of modern agriculture 10,000 years ago has been linked to the moderation of global climatic conditions. If farmers are smart enough then the most important task for governments is to […]

Carbon pricing versus tariff reform have an interesting piece comparing the ‘weak-kneeded’ approach of the Gillard Government to carbon pricing to the ‘courageous’ stance of the Hawke Government in promoting tariff reform.


World food crisis & global warming

Paul Krugman in the NYT makes powerful arguments. The reduction in the world’s wheat and other crops can be linked to a systematic pattern of adverse extreme climatic events.

Is this the way that eventual action on climate change will be driven? Through threats of rising global hunger and civil strife as a consequence […]

China to comprehensively tax pollution

China is set to levy a range of charges on various types of pollutants over the next 5 years. It is expected to be announced soon in the next 5-year plan – by far the greenest five-year plan in China’s modern history once renewable resource investments are included.

The environmental tax – which will levy […]

ERA fiasco

I have been a long term opponent of attempting to evaluate universities on the basis of subjective assessments of publication success. The ERA exercise is an expensive and largely unhelpful fiasco since the aggregate research findings are well known in advance. In a government-based university system where salaries are fairly equal the best academics will […]


Because of the imminent arrival of Yasi in Queensland – particularly between Port Douglas and Townsville – I have been digging around to find some information on cyclones. If the forecasts are right this Category 5 cyclone will be a catastrophic natural event with the expectation of widespread destruction perhaps of people and certainly of […]