By JR on Sunday, December 28, 2014
More unscientific science
It's Warmist "science" so we know what to expect -- and are not disappointed. The author is jubilant that, in the second year of Australia's now-abolished carbon tax, emissions of CO2 dropped more than they did in the first year. He is clearly unaware of one of the first principles of statistics: Correlation is not causation. And a correlation based on a sample of two (years) is in any case undistinguishable from random noise.
To have have shown, with any plausibility at all, that the tax CAUSED the drop in emissions, he would at least have presented data about other influences on CO2 emissions and shown that those sources were static over the years concerned. He does not even attempt that.
Gareth Hutchens is an industrious writer who pops up frequently in Left-leaning publications but he is a twit. He has the self-serving tram-track thinking that is typical of the Left
This week the Environment Minister Greg Hunt published data on the quiet, two days before Christmas, that showed the second year of operation of Australia's carbon price was more successful at reducing emissions than the first.
The carbon price began operation on July 1, 2012 and ended on July 1 this year after the government fulfilled an election pledge by abolishing it.
The new data from Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, published this week, showed emissions produced during the second and final year.
And guess what? Carbon emissions declined across Australia by 1.4 per cent in the second year, compared with a decline of 0.8 per cent in the first year.
Economists had predicted that that would happen. It takes a while for new markets to begin working properly.
The data showed the electricity (minus 4 per cent), agriculture (minus 2.6 per cent), industrial processes (minus 1.3 per cent) and transport sectors (minus 0.4 per cent) all experienced declines in emissions this year, and that those declines were partially offset by a rise in fugitive emissions (5.1 per cent) and emissions from stationary energy (0.9 per cent).
It is worth emphasising that a nationwide decline in emissions of 1.4 per cent is much bigger than 0.8 per cent.
I say that because Mr Hunt has spent a lot of time criticising the fact that carbon emissions declined by less than 1 per cent in the first year.
His office did so again this week when I asked them what their thoughts were on the latest data.
They chose not to comment on the fall in emissions in the second year of the carbon price – the larger fall of 1.4 per cent.
"We have put in a place a policy which will start its first emissions reductions from March this year and we are confident that it will see Australia meet its 5 per cent reduction by 2020," a spokesman said.
"In its first year, the carbon tax was a $7.6 billion hit on the economy but reduced emissions by less than 1 per cent. There is a better way through the Emissions Reduction Fund."
Mr Hunt will have lots of time next year to challenge the cause of the bigger fall in emissions in the second year of the carbon price.
But he will have to acknowledge that the decline has occurred.
And instead of patting himself on the back for getting rid of a mechanism that was reducing emissions by less than 1 per cent a year, he may even have to explain why he got rid of a scheme that was showing signs of achieving exactly what it was designed to achieve.