Monday, November 2, 2009

CSIRO Tries to Ban Paper Critical of Emissions Trading

Just got back last night from the ANZSEE conference in Darwin (yeah we went to Kakadu too) where I saw Clive Spash present the paper in question that CSIRO have tried to ban from publication. From the presentation the paper is just a long list of different criticisms of emission trading schemes, none of which were new to me and not all of which I really agreed with. Most cogent is the issue of how reliable so-called offsets are. Do these schemes to reduce carbon really result in people doing carbon sequestering or emission avoiding things they otherwise wouldn't have done and how sure can we be that carbon really is really being sequestered or avoided. Standard criticisms. I put it to Clive that any real world carbon tax would likely end up with a heap of exemptions and credits generated under a tax are not necessarily any more reliable. So is he suggesting we should just regulate or what. He said that all he is asking is that we should think more about these things when designing the scheme.

At the conference I commented that if he worked for the Treasury he would have been fired instead. But if it is true that: "under the agency's charter scientists were forbidden from commenting on matters of government or opposition policy" how can social scientists at CSIRO do any meaningful research in policy areas? Isn't policy evaluation part of what the agency should be doing? Apparently not.

1 comment:

  1. David-

    I comment on this here and discuss your last question a bit: