Friday, May 25, 2007

Good perspective on carbon charges

Tim Flannery said something that made so much sense it sounded obvious - after it was said.

He was commenting on carbon charges for electricity. He posited a $50 per tonne (of carbon emissions) charge. This would, he said result in a 30% increase in electricity charges -"At that price all of the renewables become fairly competitive," he said.

What struck me was his comment that pretty much everyone has the capacity to increase the efficiency of their electricity use by 30%.

Result: no cost differential, but the necessary structural change is enacted.

Of course, that switch would typically come at a cost. [not always - electricity efficient lightbulbs cost less over the lifetime of the bulb.]

I would suggest that that cost could be socialised for those less able to afford it - ie a means-tested subsidy, coupled with an energy audit.

It's not hard.

Meanwhile, a pilot scheme with somewhat similar aims is being trialled in Wollongong, funded by the NSW government. Very promising.

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