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TEQs & Carbon Pricing
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jo



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:53 am    Post subject: TEQs & Carbon Pricing Reply with quote

We're there : $105 a barrel !

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i5TtajgUpSm7KY5jf-lCJGHBB-tAD8V80B0O0
Oil Prices Spike to Record $105.97
By PABLO GORONDI
...
By the afternoon in Europe, light, sweet crude for April delivery was unchanged from the previous day's close at $104.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices briefly spiked to a record of $105.97 earlier in the day.
=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

I think by now that there is a general acceptance that Carbon Energy prices are going to float upwards with very little to hold them down.

My prediction was that the crude oil price should reach $105 a barrel and stay roughly around this price until the end of 2009, which is the time when the first solid draft of the (whichever form of) Post-Kyoto treaty can really be inked in and signed off.

Now the debates are really going to start : should we use fixed Carbon Pricing, Carbon Rationing/Quotas ? A sectoral mix ? Different rules for public services, corporates and consumers ? How are we going to do it ?

Taxing Carbon ? How bad is a policy on Carbon Taxation for your political edge if you are standing for public office ? It's edgy, almost cliff-edgy, it's vote-losingly edgy.

Read my lips : taxes are bad for your vote appeal.

Yeah, I know the profit-making entities would very much like to have a fixed Carbon Price, going forward, so that they know how to adapt exactly, in a framework that puts them on a par with other operators, and all that other management consultancy gar-barge.

Well, taxing bads is a good idea in principle, but think a little about it.

Carbon Energy underpins all of developed society as of now. A very high percentage of all transport and energy is dependent, directly on fossil fuels.

So, if we tax Carbon generally, a flat tax on Carbon, we actually make everything, and I mean everything, more expensive for everyone.

But, that's ridiculous ! It just devalues the currencies, it doesn't actually deter Carbon Emissions, as everything will still stay relative in price, it's just that the numbers will be larger.

And in fact, with the rising oil prices, and the knock-on effect on mining and commodities in general, we have a de facto Carbon Price in operation.

And you see, it's causing part of the current inflationary pressure.

But, it's not capping Carbon. It's not disadvantaging Carbon-intensive operators, persuading them to diversify into Renewables and use Energy Conservation.

It's time people started to understand about Carbon Caps. I don't mean Carbon Trading. There isn't enough capacity worldwide for the kind of numbers of Carbon Credits the profligate West/North need to buy to trade their Carbon Emissions.

I mean Carbon Control. Stopping Carbon Emissions. Energy Demand Reduction. Energy Efficiency. Carbon Intensity is not enough - we need Carbon Reduction.

We would need a virtual moratorium on virtually all production of liquid fuel vehicles and standard housing construction, halt all public infrastructure projects...Goodbye to Industrial and Social Development ?
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can download a draft copy of Ireland's "Cap-and-share Project Draft report Task1-3 Phase 1" here and Task 4 here.

There's a comprehensive discussion of all currently-considered models for CO2 emissions reduction and some useful SWOT charts and comparison charts.

Cap and share and Sky Trust are the two models ticking the most boxes. I seriously hope one, preferably the former, comes to fruition.
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jo



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:07 pm    Post subject: Cap & Share : Limitations Reply with quote

@emordnilap

I'll have to go against the grain, and yours, Mr Palindrome !

Although there are parts of Cap and Share that I am in broad agreement with in theory, there are several implementation problems which limit its potential effectiveness.

1. Issuing of annual Carbon Allowance certificates and allowing trading immediately will bias the Carbon Price and potentially make it lower than it could be - unresponsive, inelastic.

A better approach would be monthly, or daily rations which can be frontloaded at the start of the scheme to give consumers a head start in protecting their access to Energy.

2. I do not support the idea of trading between the downstream part of the Carbon Chain and the upstream. In other words, I do not see Carbon being properly controlled by allowing financial leakage between Energy Producers and Energy Consumers.

The polluters should pay, not the final end consumers. Cap and Share cannot really engender "incentivisation" to do green energy investment if there is financial burden offload from Big Energy to the consumers in the shape of utility bill price increases.
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jo



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:10 pm    Post subject: Carbon Underground : Stealth Tax Reply with quote

http://www.changecollege.org.uk/html/carbon_underground_stealth_tax.html

Carbon Underground : Stealth Tax
by Jo Abbess
7th March 2008

The British Government are finding it hard to come out and say it. But they can't go on holding their tongues forever.

We need effective Carbon Control legislation : rules and regulations are the only way to seriously bite into Climate Change.

It's no good relying on hide-and-seek rearguard coverage protection, boys (and the overwhelming majority of you are boys), you have to start pushing forward and lead from the front.

You cannot go on expecting to hold your policies on Energy and Climate Change together with sticky plastic tape. You cannot say yes to action on Climate Change and still appease the big players in the Energy and Financial sectors.

You can hide for now, but not for long.

Part of the Government are persuaded of the need to use Tax to battle Carbon, but obviously, it's a poll-loser to mention the "T" word, and really edgy to try to make it core policy.

Another section of the Government understand the economy-stabilising logic of Carbon Quotas, but they'll never overcome the 1984, Big Brother, Animal Farm, totalitarian impression that Carbon Monitoring and Carbon Rationing evoke.

So they're pursuing Carbon Control by the means of stealth and side-effect. At first glance you could be forgiven for not seeing it, but that's what is happening.

DE FACTO CARBON TAX

The international markets are responding to heightened demand and energy security fears. It appears that Peak Crude is already with us in all its economy-deadening reality.

Yesterday the price went over $105 a barrel of oil, and that's a real hike, even given that the American Dollar currency is in freefall.

There is clearly a kind of uncodified, unreported agreeement in the constant dance between the Oil Exporting countries/companies and the Oil Importing countries/companies : "Don't Mention The War !" Don't mention that the sand is shifting beneath your feet, that you are being sucked into a quicksand quagmire.

Governments and Business know that their abilities to control the price of the basic commodity, refined petroleum oil, are waning.

Since Energy is highly "marketised", there is little "incentivisation" to do green energy investment, unless it's in response to regional policies, such as the European Biofuel Directive (2003).

Big Energy is getting fat on rising prices. What care they to go green ? It's not their function to speculate with green energy investment.

Governments are not going to re-nationalise Energy in order to build the new infrastructure required for green energy. They've taken Carbon off the accounting books, apart from the continued subsidies they make to keep Big Oil ticking over.

Electricity and Gas Energy Corporates have responded to measures such as the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), and calls for new green infrastructure spending under the European Renewables Directive (2001), by raising utility prices.

They claim their hands are tied because of rising wholesale prices, and of course, they are legally bound to try to stay afloat financially.

The big picture is : we have a Carbon Tax in operation.

DE FACTO CARBON ALLOWANCE

Fuel Poverty policy dictates support for the financially impoverished, who are also Carbon Poor, as Carbon Emissions are highly correlated to income.

Those with widening gaps between disposable income and utility energy expenditure are already getting handouts, as befits our social security system.

And now the Big Energy companies have been called to Government HQ for a dressing down from Gordon Brown for their opportunistic price rises, and threatened with a windfall tax.

There is talk of potentially issuing fuel and home energy tokens, effectively a free Carbon Ration.

The same idea has been promoted by the Cap and Share campaign from FEASTA, the Irish/British think tank, seeking to implement a vehicle fuel ration in Ireland, via a compensatory measure of issuing free Carbon Allowance certificates that can be traded, when capping of fuel is introduced.

And in British Columbia, the recent announcement for a Carbon Tax included legislation for issuing an allowance to citizens to compensate for projected utility bill increases - an "energy tax windfall".

The big picture is, this is paving the way to a universal Carbon Allowance system.

The problem with relying on Stealth Taxes or Stealth Rationing is that is it not to be known how long these measures will take to be effective in any significant way.

Taxes are unpopular with the electorate. A tax on individuals and their personal household consumption is quite a radically vote-losing idea.

Taxing Energy companies on Carbons means the cost is pushed down the food chain, the Carbon Chain to customers, effectively a blanket Carbon Tax, on end consumers.

Just like VAT, the poor householder pays. Having a testbed in the ETS showed that "virtual" costs are loaded onto bills, even before Energy corporates will actually have to pay for Carbon Allowances.

There is of course the obvious bleed and creep from a blanket price increase in energy.

The looping effect of oil price inflation into the general economy, particularly through other commodities is already showing. It's called inflation. It's basically equivalent to a Carbon Tax.

It's not easy to replace petroleum overnight, it's the main road transport energy. You need to replace all the vehicles to take another fuel before you can stop relying on refined petroleum.

Technologies such as Coal-To-Liquid (CTL) and Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) cannot scale up very quickly.

European Commissioners and other elected and non-elected European high-ups are musing about where the oil price could go.

Andris Piebalgs says $200 dollars a barrel by 2011 cannot be ruled out.

People don't want to be taxed. Corporates want to know exactly how much Carbon will cost so that they can budget and invest. This is a real conflict of interests.

It's a large quandry. Markets probably can't fix this. A Carbon Tax, of its own, cannot possibly sort all the problems.

It's time to stop looking at putting a price on Carbon, and start considering Carbon as a currency in its own right, one that can be traded to a certain extent, but a currency that must develop less currency, tending to zero, in the near- to medium-term.

CARBON GAMBIT

There's a Budget coming up in the United Kingdom on 12th March.

A chance to pierce the gloom, wipe away the cobwebs, and start talking clearly about the Carbon Roadmap.

Which way is the cookie going to crumble ? Which side of the parting will the coiffure fall ? You can't cover the bald patch forever. Why not be more open about it ? You're going to price Carbon. Or you're going to ration Carbon. Or you're going to offer a mix-and-match approach.

Tell us the measures you are going to implement to control Carbon, Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer. And while you're at it, tell us how you're going to make sure we have renewable and sustainable energy, going forward.

You can use words like "world-class" (a la Malcolm Wicks), or "good for British business", or the "need for competitiveness", or "green collar jobs" (a la Hillary Clinton), but you do need to speak to Carbon. And do it openly and comprehensively.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Cap & Share : Limitations Reply with quote

jo wrote:
@emordnilap

I'll have to go against the grain, and yours, Mr Palindrome !

Although there are parts of Cap and Share that I am in broad agreement with in theory, there are several implementation problems which limit its potential effectiveness.

1. Issuing of annual Carbon Allowance certificates and allowing trading immediately will bias the Carbon Price and potentially make it lower than it could be - unresponsive, inelastic.

A better approach would be monthly, or daily rations which can be frontloaded at the start of the scheme to give consumers a head start in protecting their access to Energy.

2. I do not support the idea of trading between the downstream part of the Carbon Chain and the upstream. In other words, I do not see Carbon being properly controlled by allowing financial leakage between Energy Producers and Energy Consumers.

The polluters should pay, not the final end consumers. Cap and Share cannot really engender "incentivisation" to do green energy investment if there is financial burden offload from Big Energy to the consumers in the shape of utility bill price increases.


I've no problem with your criticisms at all, jo - keep 'em up! My broad view is that we need a form of teq system in order to change the 'paradigm' we currently inhabit.

The details are in the early stages yet and if you could contribute to the debate with the people formulating the ideas, as I intend and as I intend to encourage others to do, you would be doing the world a service. You're obviously familiar with what has been done so far. You need to express your doubts and hopefully they'll be dealt with.

The documents I mentioned talk about leakage and, of course, the need to confront those and similar problems.

The offloading of prices you talk of- maybe you've just not explained yourself totally.

'Big Energy' has to pass costs to consumers, no choice there. The cost to the environment has to be passed - once we start paying for it. Currently, we're not. So long as we choose dirty energy, we are the polluters, not the energy companies.
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jo



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:14 am    Post subject: Cap & Share Negotiations Reply with quote

@emordnilap

Hi Mr Same-backwards-as-forwards,

I have already had significant contact with FEASTA and others in the Cap & Share network, and taken part in discussions, both on- and off-line.

The first base for Cap & Share was basically the work from Richard Douthwaite concerning the essential move to deal with Carbon Dioxide in the form of Fossil Fuel Energy as its own currency - EBCU - Energy Backed Currency Units.

The atmosphere is a global commons - the capacity of the BioSphere to sink/soak up Carbon is limited - therefore Carbon Dioxide Emissions should be limited by scarcity economics - hence treating CO2 as having an intrinsic value will monetise the problem of radiative forcing.

This is not new thinking, as environmental philosophy regarding the control of ecological toxins has been developing for decades.

My problem with "leakage" is as follows : by placing a hard currency value on Carbon and allowing it to be systemised so that the costs percolate down the Carbon food chain, we disadvantage the de-carbonisation of the upstream part of the Carbon food chain.

Let me put it like this. The Big Energy polluter pays, but does not clean up his act, as he has already paid to pollute. He passes on his costs to his consumers, who invariably do not change their behaviour much, so continue to consume in similar style as before.

Because Carbon has a price does not mean that investment in renewable and sustainable sources of energy will be made.

If, however, Carbon itself is the currency, in the form of quotas or allowances or rations or NAP National Allocation Plans, or whichever name you choose, as soon as the Carbon Cap is implemented, everyone will be wanting desperately to offload their Carbon, since it is a negative currency.

In the words of the Al-mighty Al Gore : they would then hasten to ditch their "subprime carbon assets".

Currently, the social infrastructure does not allow the ordinary household Energy consumer to shift away from Carbon : there is only so much leeway in their options.

They may not be able to use a Carbon-Free liquid or gas fuel at home - it's simply not supplied. They may not be able to choose renewable energy for their private vehicular transport - since there are no serious numbers of electric cars on the market - and buying a new car would involve Carbon costs of manufacture, anyway.

The choice to switch to green energy is perhaps the biggest thing that ordinary consumers can do (apart from turning down the thermostat, losing the keys to the car, and going vegan).

But even here, if everyone went Good Energy or Ecotricity or whichever (I'm not a sales person or a representative of either of these companies), there would not be sufficient Renewable Energy supply to back it up !

The onus, not the bonus, should be on the Big Energy corporates to shift their power base from Carbon-backed supply to Carbon-Free supply. And a system of Carbon Taxation does not look like the biggest stick to do this. It's certainly not a carrot.

Even the British Columbia Carbon Tax scheme proposed does not imagine high numbers for the reductions in Carbon it will bring about.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good on you jo. Thanks for your explanations, which help a simple soul.

Do you think cap and share is feasible at all? I mean, what could make it work?

My reason for asking is because I had hoped that there would be some method of getting ordinary Joe Soaps to smell the coffee - a radical change in the way we view our life and lifestyles.

Do you think the Sky Trust is a better bet?

The signs are pointing towards involuntary reduction in ff use sooner than anyone expects, so maybe this work is in vain, who knows.

Btw, I'm just reading the second of those two documents I linked to and it's clear there's masses of work to do on cap and share, so your inputs - and people like you - are extremely valuable. I don't know if there's anything I can contribute but if I can take in a bigger picture at least I can support a best option.

Thanks again.
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Shaun Chamberlin



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:

My reason for asking is because I had hoped that there would be some method of getting ordinary Joe Soaps to smell the coffee - a radical change in the way we view our life and lifestyles.
...
The signs are pointing towards involuntary reduction in ff use sooner than anyone expects, so maybe this work is in vain, who knows.


Hi emordilap, it seems strange that this discussion is taking place in the TEQs forum, and yet you seem to be overlooking a number of the key features of the TEQs scheme.

It is specifically designed both to engage and empower individuals in playing their part in the Energy Descent, and to address ff depletion. While I agree that the widening understanding that depletion is an issue for the present and not the future undermines the usefulness of C+S, the original TEQs system was always built on that basis.

If you haven't read Energy and the Common Purpose I strongly recommend it.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaunus4 wrote:
It is specifically designed both to engage and empower individuals in playing their part in the Energy Descent, and to address ff depletion.
I'm still trying to get to grips with current thinking on teqs/cap and share/sky trust solutions but jo's point seems to be that these solutions won't/can't do what you say as currently formulated.

I have to admit a degree of confusion due to the wealth of information required and trying to do a full-time job and enjoy life at the same time.

Shaunus4 wrote:
If you haven't read Energy and the Common Purpose I strongly recommend it.
Thanks, I will.
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Shaun Chamberlin



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
I'm still trying to get to grips with current thinking on teqs/cap and share/sky trust solutions but jo's point seems to be that these solutions won't/can't do what you say as currently formulated.

I have to admit a degree of confusion due to the wealth of information required and trying to do a full-time job and enjoy life at the same time.


Ah, perhaps a quick history lesson is in order! David Fleming first published on his idea of TEQs (then known as DTQs) back in 1996, and then worked the scheme up in detail over the coming years.

Cap and Share (C+S) is a separate idea which was inspired by TEQs, but differs from it in a number of significant ways, not least that it doesn't address ff depletion, and that it works on an upstream basis (limiting energy use at the level of the energy companies), rather than the dowstream basis of TEQs (limiting the energy use of end consumers of energy, including individuals).

The appeal of an upstream system like C+S is that is should be easier - and cheaper - to administer a scheme which only deals with a small number of energy companies, rather than all individuals in a country.

Advocates of a downstream TEQs system (like myself and Jo) argue that this would fail to engage the general populace in the changes required. While it might seem a benefit in terms of simplicity it means that the fundamental changes required in society are not going to happen. Energy suppliers alone are not going to be able to implement the Lean Energy transformation needed (as discussed in Energy and the Common Purpose), we need every citizen to see the need to change the way we live, work and play.

To my mind TEQs provide the best of both worlds - they do encourage the entire population to 'own' the problem and respond to it accordingly, but without creating a complicated system for those individuals to grapple with. The calculations required by the rating system are indeed done upstream in order to simplify matters, so individuals are only faced with simply priced energy choices rated in terms of carbon intensity.

C+S was devised by Richard Douthwaite of FEASTA, who are based in Ireland, and you have seen the work the Irish government are currently undertaking to assess it. TEQs was devised by David Fleming of The Lean Economy Connection, who are based in England, and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are currently assessing it. Most of their work in the area is still confidential, although some of their earlier work can be found at: http://www.teqs.net/links.html

I hope that clarifies matters! I think when you have read Energy and the Common Purpose you should find your understanding of TEQs and how it differs from C+S will be greatly improved.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Shaunus4

"Cap-and-share Project Draft report Task1-3 Phase 1" is still worth a read for you! It compares all current ideas regarding CO2 emissions curtailment, including TEQs, C&S, tax, regulation etc. Sky Trust seems to come out best in it!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
Thanks Shaunus4

"Cap-and-share Project Draft report Task1-3 Phase 1" is still worth a read for you! It compares all current ideas regarding CO2 emissions curtailment, including TEQs, C&S, tax, regulation etc. Sky Trust seems to come out best in it!


Yes, I've skim read it, but still need to look at it more closely. Having said that, I know David Fleming and Peter Barnes were quite dissatisfied with the characterisations of TEQs and Sky Trust respectively, and felt the report had not really understood the proposals, so I would hope that the final report will look quite different.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TEQ's were mentioned on News Night last night by tow of the guests that were on to talk about green taxes, although they didn't call them by there proper name.
Interestingly though, Ken Clarke seemed to dismiss the idea completely out of hand, which is strange because i would have thought the idea of being able to freely trade in something would be supported by a Conservative.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect the Ken Clarkes don't like the idea of Joe Soaps directly influencing big business. Plus, the idea of equity in any conservative thinking is anathema.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
I suspect the Ken Clarkes don't like the idea of Joe Soaps directly influencing big business. Plus, the idea of equity in any conservative thinking is anathema.

He was once described as "The kenneth Clarke who has nothing to do with 'Civilisation' "! Twisted Evil
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