Carbon Taxes Make Ireland Even Greener

NYT article here.

66 replies on “Carbon Taxes Make Ireland Even Greener”

But if you put on a carbon tax someone else gets to burn it…………….

It a bit like toll roads.

Their purpose was not to reduce traffic , it was merely to get revenue.

This is another expression of our privatized money system.

The IEAs dramatic December report points to a movement of oil eastwards to more profitable plantations (wage arbitrage) in China and elsewhere.

On a holistic planet wide scale the carbon will get burned regardless.
(The physical euro introduction caused a dramatic spike of Chinese coal consumption in 2002)

A nation state rather then market state energy policy would at least consider internal redundancy from external energy shocks such as the North sea crisis.
Market states don’t consider it important if the coal boat gets sunk by a U – boat.
Its merely the final market price of the coal even if only a few knobs of the stuff wash onto the seashore.
I.e. the physical economy is of no significance to a market economy.

Long term Planning was so 20th century.

You come away with the unmistakable impression of a very delicate Euro market state monster.

It is good to see Ireland making positive headlines.

The article is a load of rubbish, though.

The carbon tax is too low, as are short-term price elasticities, to have much of an effect. More problematically, coal and peat for heating were excluded until Budget 2013, so that the impact on greenhouse gas emissions from home heating are, in fact, ambiguous.

The reforms in vehicle regulation happened at a time of great turmoil in the car market, so it is difficult to attribute anything to anything. We do know, however, that there is/was sextuple regulation of emissions (carbon tax, fuel economy standard, vehicle registration tax, motor tax, biofuel mandate, car scrappage — and now I’m disregarding the subsidies/tax breaks/free fuel/free infrastructure for electric vehicles) so that regulation cannot possibly be cost-effective. We do know, however, that the VRT/MT reforms left a big hole in the budget and have been reversed.

I’ll tell you what will make Ireland greener – exiting the European union and the failed yoke of a currency that goes with it.
We only have one chance and that’s when Ireland gains presidency of the EU, OR
We can be slaves for the royal families of the UK, Denmark, and Sweden (all countries we have new bilateral lones with to enslave us).
Can we get out of this yoke. I know the same cattle that voted yes in the last European referendum will say we should stay, but when have they ever been right??

@The Dork of Cork You said “the carbon will get burned regardless.” Not necessarily if consumers decide to reduce (say) home heating bills by retrofitting insulation to their attic or external walls. Sure, the Carbon Tax generated revenue, but from the Green Party’s point of view we saw it as a way of shifting taxation from stuff we wanted to encourage (labour market participation) to that which we wanted to reduce (pollution). Of course there will be leakage to lower or no carbon tax economies, but it is worth taking some action surely, rather than waiting for a strong international climate agreement.

@Richard Tol You really feel the VRT/MT reforms were reversed? My understanding is that motor tax for most categories of vehicles was increased by 7.5%, and a zero emissions band was introduced for electric cars (, hardly a reversal.

@Richard Tol

You crack me up.

What is the purpose of a carbon tax ?

I will answer.
The purpose is to tax carbon.
It has no altruistic function.

Just as we need coal to replace the dash for gas privatization / equity extraction disaster they will tax coal…………..
A brilliant scheme no doubt but it is of course another scam.

Europe is a fiefdom run into the ground by a collection of barons who pretend to be environmentalists so they can hook into the next tax/ revenue stream.

The lack of rational forward planning in anything & everything suggests they have no skin in this physical economy game on even medium term time scales.

A greenback state in Irelands energy position would increase VRT in the hope it would be not get any tax revenue.
It would then print money on schemes that would increase its internal energy capital base.
This printed money could then be taxed.
A simple fiat system.
And not the false market state euro currency.
The first stateless currency in the modern world.
A creature of the banks and nothing more.


We live in a globalized world.
Fuel not burned will be burned elsewhere.

Think of Europe as the plantation owners house & Asia as the cotton fields.

Sometimes the owner must make his local man servant fell somewhat superior to the guys toiling in the fields burning carbon.

We have a currency which depends on exponential growth to feed interest.

The carbon emissions must grow……….

See page 47.

The rise of the euro = the rise of China

@ RT: “The carbon tax is too low, as are short-term price elasticities, to have much of an effect.”

Which would be what?

How about economic obesity – the fossil fuelled sort? So us fat folk get to go on an Atkins in the expectatation (or should that be the hopium) of a reduction in hydrocarbon intake (body lipids are hydrocarbons!) will restore us to good health! Its absurd! Sure you will lose a few kilos. But how many individuals have to do the diet until you achieve a Critical Mass.

You’re the physicist Richard. You should know the answer to that one, especially if the morbidly obese folk tell you to shove your diet up your fundament – and should you fail in this endeavour, they will promptly execute it for you.

Any reduction in fossil fuel use in highly developed economies will exert an immediate and significant downward pressure on their overall economic activity – hence revenue and income streams. Pot the soppy Maternalism in a sterile Kilner Jar. Just let folk gorge themselves. As your physicist colleague once said, “Nature is not fooled” [Feynman]. And Nature is one mean bitch! She’ll sort out these obese folk – just give her time. And she has all the time in the world. Obese folk do not.

PS Ciaran

This is the type of guy we need.

The single most important project we need in this euro jurisdiction is a Heavy Tram linking Ballincollig to Crosshaven using the old Muskerry & Passage lines.
The entire south river of Cork needs a public transport backbone to link all those strange atomized estates lost in the suburban ether.
Then feeder buses can work off this new system.

It will be a cold day in Hell I imagine……………

Private Cars of whatever type simply don’t pay for themselves at these high $ oil prices.
They are consumption sinks.

Yes the Carbon Tax is too low, but isn’t politics the art of what’s possible? Behavioural change is a long hard slog and you need to give dues where they are due – politically this was a hard sell to an Irish electorate (who are largely environmentally illiterate) and it is highly unlikely it would have been tabled without the Green’s in government – and it did them no favours electorally. Not that it will make a difference quickly enough – and the Irish electorate would give it all up for 4% GDP growth in the morning


The whole article should be titled “The Grass is always Greener on the other side”, and why in gods name have they asked that trainwreck Eamon for an opinion?

Yes carbon emissions are lower! thanks to GreenaFail pushing the economy over a cliff (someone say soft landing?)

For the price of a Nissan Leaf I could buy a 4.4 liter 4×4 20MPG gaz guzzler (that is also a bit safer and hell of a lot more fun to drive with 330HP!) tax it and fuel it for a decade and still have change left in my pocket, the only electric car I get excited about is the new Tesla Model S but those are only available for select few on long waiting lists in California

Carbon taxes make Ireland even greener?

The only thing that makes Ireland green is the amount of bull5hit laid around.

Carbon taxes have no objective on a realistic (state level) scale because it has no real altruistic objective.

Its a embrace of the global economy which has got us into this mess via absurd capital inflows & outflows

Its quite ironic.
Its not a local tax.
Real Self organizing systems operate on a much more local scale.
The largest scale possible is the nation state and even that does not work out on many occasions.

Criminals have taken over (maybe were always there – hidden in the “growth” trees) the European governance system and many greens want to give even more power to a now global taxing elite even more remote from systems that might just possibly work.

Its a further drive to increase global efficiency at the expense of local & state redundancy.
To push resources upwards – now to the Chinese plantations.

Could never figure out why “Greens” never made a attempt to understand the money system when it affects all behavior patterns


No matter what your intentions , however good – it will force you to consume a huge amount of resources to pay the debt.
This they call “growth”
However the Eurozone seems unique as it extracts peoples equity from the system over time as there cannot even be nominal growth in many of its peripheral economies.
Therefore a extraction of claims must continue.
The global banking system then uses your former claims on wealth to increase carbon emissions elsewhere………….
It would be quite funny only for the fact is was deadly serious game.

@Ciaran – look at this video if you get the time.

This man is not a Greenbacker but……..

Greenbacks have all the above functions other then it is centralized.
It has a negative long term value as it has no interest.

Taxing coal and turf, while welcome, will add just 5% to the annual €430m that carbon tax already raises. Solid fuels may have been excluded at first to ease the passing of this legislation.

Irish vehicle emissions policy led to a sea-change in buyer behaviour with 92% now choosing vehicles from bands A & B in 2012 compared to just 20% when taxes were based on engine capacity.

Now, 5 years into the regime of emissions based vehicle taxes, the efficiency of the national vehicle stock is transforming with positive implications for disposable incomes, reduced fuel imports, increased GDP, improved air quality and compliance with binding emissions targets.

New housing stock must be built to more exacting insulation standards while the existing stock is being converted. The number of pending EU environmental infringement cases against Ireland halved while the Greens were in government.

Enacting a carbon tax in Ireland was no mean feat, the French tried and failed while the UK has not progressed beyond proposals.

Hard currency exports for oil remain at very high levels.
Above food imports infact (which is a extreme danger signal for the rump domestic economy and always a signal contraction in Ireland)

Both private car use and oil central heating dominate the oil energy balance – pushing out all other commercial activities such as Road freight which has undergone the most dramatic collapse in Europe which is quite some achievement.

The benefits of the new diesel cars is marginal for most people who don’t drive long distances.
Electric cars only work in Norway where electricity is very cheap (hydro)

The spectacle of little old Ireland reversing Chinese carbon emissions is beyond absurd.
The euro false greens like taking the piss I imagine although I kind of like their sense of humour.

We should not worry about global carbon emissions as we can do nothing about it.
We should look after our own turf as only on the county , city or nation state level can real stuff be done for real people.

All tax should be taken off Turf so that it can replace absurd oil central heating especially in rural areas.

The euro boys just look for any excuse to reduce our own internal redundancy thus making us even more vulnerable to their various extraction operations.

Every policy action paints a portrait of non national decisions taken not in the interests of the local community.

PS – the tram depot inspection………

Credit where it’s due but Ciarán may not view it as sufficient recompense for what he termed a ‘Faustian pact.’

The Greens who landed on the infamous Planet Bertie in 2007 to save Planet Earth, on Dec 23, 2010 published the Climate Change Response Bill 2010, as their ‘legacy,’ before orbiting into the ether. Three weeks before, the party had proposed that the Dáil be dissolved in January 2011.

US revenue from taxes on petrol and diesel is put into funds that are the primary source of federal money for roads and mass transit. However, the petrol tax has not increased since 1993 while the real value of the tax has eroded, the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure has gone up.

So it’s difficult to envisage the current Congress supporting a carbon tax.

According to the US Treasury Department, infrastructure spending in the US is about 2.4% of GDP – – half of what it was in 1960 — and compares poorly with China (9%) and Europe (5%). Most of the infrastructure dates from the years after the Second World War. The interstate system was mainly built in the period 1956-1972 and roads generally have a 50-year life span.

Hard currency exports for oil remain at very high levels.

They would be higher still without carbon tax, emissions based VRT and motor tax, cycle to work scheme, insulation retrofit, new building regs, NEEAP, NREAP and myriad other policy actions.

Fossil fuel imports to Ireland per capita fell 18% from 2006-2011, meanwhile GDP fell a fraction of that amount. This is an improvement in the efficiency and carbon intensity of the economy.

Policies for the coming decade on the use of renewable energy and emissions reduction were set when Ireland signed up to the the binding EU climate change package of 2009 and is now being implemented by this government and its successors. First action of P Rabbitte on ascent into office was to accept that these policies were binding, so this has to qualify as a lasting policy influence if not a legacy.

@Ossian / Richard

Again its a tale of 2 economies.

The GDP / energy input output ratio appears very good on that basis , but it ain’t.

The rump domestic economy has been overpowered by the high $ oil price.
This can be seen in Agriculture pretty clearly and also in rail travel relative to the North (I am sure there is many more examples)

See the rise of intermediate consumption in this report.

Now to the point where agriculture adds very little to GDP.

We are now using a master (reserve) currency that said on the tin it would challenge the $ for supremacy , but it ain’t.

The domestic banks cannot produce credit or bring oil from the future into today because the remaining capital ration is being burned by the cars.

Although this is not nearly as bad as it sounds as the free banks would only seek to burn whatever oil is available creating a useless asset to capture the cash flow.

Anyway – So whats the point of the Euro ?
Its both too hard and yet brittle.
It seems to function as a capital export machine both during credit inflations & money deflations.

We are now much better off using a domestic currency (with all debts written in Punts) ,thus preventing hard currency export via everything from lack of car sharing seen in the recent CSO commute paper , empty trains , holidays abroad , domestic food production etc etc.

With the use of a imaginative anti private car import tax policy (capital like controls) I am sure the Punt would not devalue as much as some people might think.

The IEA coal market report audio……..18 december,34476,en.html

[View in an external player]

What I talked about showing up in UK energy balance sheets – the european dash for gas is over.
Coal will do the heavy lifting in the electricity sector.

The rise of gas in America will merely displace coal for export.

But for how long is the great question.

However the question of liquid fuel for transport is much more important from a balance of payments perspective.


The IEA does not make creditable predictions.

They believe for example that renewables will displace coal………….in Europe !!!

So if you follow their logic we will be breaking rocks post 2013…….

Its possible I guess.

But without the present coal imports into the UK many people would be entering third world living conditions soon.

We have essentially a policy of people migration into political systems which have not seen much basic & logical life support investment since the 1970s.

A truly incredible state of affairs.

The difficulty of installing heavy tram systems in a small / medium sized city with extreme topography and suburban car based blight.

Not much of a problem (first stage of project) that I can see between Rochestown station , Mahon shopping centre , Atlantic pond / Páirc Uí Chaoimh , Albert road station / Elysian.

Very little disruption of traffic me thinks.

But this is a jurisdiction which taxes a declining money supply (i.e. a extreme colony)
Spending money bad……..must extract money tokens…….extracting money tokens good.

Carbon Taxes are only a guise to raise more taxes from peoples all ready taxed income. Nothing to do with making people to be greener.

Friend of mine back who lived on the Great Western Way, told me back in 2008 there was less cars coming into the city. He used to wake up in the morning to the sound of cars outside his window backed up as they waited to get on to Constitution Hill. Then all of a sudden. Gone! Sure enough he was right, the recession had kicked off and soon Dublin City Council had to do away with their beloved plans to introduce a “congestion charge”. Remember that one? It was one of the tenets of their revenue generating hopes alongside “high rise,iconic buildings” around the same time the Dunner was going on about turning Ballsbridge into Knightsbridge flying Danish architects to Dublin to be told by the Dublin City architect of the time that a 37 storey tower would indeed be a most elegant solution to the farce that was the outdated and outmoded Pembroke Estate. Hubris green foot prints and carbon charging all go together. The Greens with their thirst for pensions and ministerial office, exhibited by the farcical “I’ll step out and you’ll step in again” strategy, during their brief sojourn in Leinster House have set back the cause of environmentalism in Ireland by decades.

The boy scout, forget to tell the yanks that we have 500,000 people out of work, that 300,000 have emigrated and that our plan to grow is based around retrospective debt forgiveness by Germans and French for the mistakes we made back in September 2008. Also, there was not one additional acre of forestry added to our forestry acerage during the Greens time in office. Neither, did they spot Bertie sidling on to the board of a Swiss asset management company that will be buying up the harvesting rights to our forests, if, according to minister Coveney we are offered the right price.

All these environmental taxes are simply put in place because we don’t want to bring our salaries into line with those in the UK. End of story, well almost, but in the process we are simply shrinking aggregate demand and putting more taxes on start up’s. You would want to be crazy to be self employed in this country.

As for recycling a notice came in my door in December informing us that from now on it would be 1.5 euro a bag to have our “green bags” taken away. So the litter problem is about to quadruple.

Elements of French protectionism working its way through the system ?,600419.php

Hoping to keep Parisian tourists spending in Nice rather then Cork.

Also trying to use less saturated stations.

They are certainly preparing for a different clientele post April 1,605058.php

But the joke is on us.
Meanwhile Cork city will have only one 24 hour garda station………….

This is how the non national euro system works.

The core gets to eat all the remaining credit money pies as no national money tokens are allowed in this euro sweet shop.

You can clearly see the system pushing for more and more Efficiency when what European nations need is more redundancy through national credit tokens.

Elements of French protectionism working its way through the system ?,600419.php

Hoping to keep Parisian tourists spending in Nice rather then Cork.

Also trying to use less saturated stations.

They are certainly preparing for a different clientele post April 1,605058.php

But the joke is on us.
Meanwhile Cork city will have only one 24 hour garda station………….

This is how the non national euro system works.

The core gets to eat all the remaining credit money pies as no national money tokens are allowed in this euro sweet shop.

You can clearly see the system pushing for more and more Efficiency when what European nations need is more redundancy through national credit tokens.

Oil transport use Ktoe

Road freight oil consumption

Y2005 : 1,218 (peak)
Y2011 : 637

Private car oil consumption

Y2007 : 2,070 (peak)
Y2011 :1,843

Rail oil consumption.

Y2005 : 40 + 5 elec. (Luas ,Dart)
Y2007 : 43 + 4 elec
Y2011 : 40 + 4 elec

So all those diesel cars did not save a hell of a lot while road freight oil use is almost half of what is was at peak.

The best way to save fuel is to keep trains full (as they can only beat buses fuel economy when they are full)
Buying slightly more fuel efficient diesel cars at a gigantic capital cost is madness squared.

You simply dump the car – but people need enough money tokens in their pocket for train & bus tickets , taxis , giving a work mate money for car sharing etc.
We need to operate within a rational national money system if we are to have both a functional economy and reduce our oil bill.

However Europe reduces its oil bill by simply turning off its vassal economies.

Oil use for work such as

Agriculture : 212 KToe
Fishing : 20 Ktoe

Is dwarfed by private car use.

Everything we have got must feed these infernal machines……..

But why ?

The EEC from the very start of its existence has been force feeding us.

@ Dork: Best wishes for 2013.


Oil use for work such as Agriculture : 212 KToe. Fishing : 20 Ktoe.
Is dwarfed by private car use. Everything we have got must feed these infernal machines……..

But why ?”

Its known as Spatial Displacement (my dopey term). Jobs in boonies: folk in towns/cities. Or vice versa. Retail concentrations (with mandatory large auto parks). Synthetic wheels good: steel wheels bad! Folk will never voluntary give up their private vehicles. They are (in many cases) essential economic resources. No vehicle. No job. No life. Sad.

Walking thru innerburbs of south Dublin city over the holiday, it is noticable the low level of private residential occupation in streets with buildings over 2 stories. 20,000 – 50,000 folk could be shoehorned into these streets. Make one hell of a social and economic difference. Have an exponential increasing property tax imposed on all buildings (over 2 stories) which do not have occupied residential accommodation from 1st story upwards. We really must get folk more concentrated. Ditto for some rural areas.


In a different (Greenback) monetary system people would have enough money for taxis even………..

But Banks can’t make any money off Greenbacks ,so we must waste more of the real physical surplus to service debt.

Its why we live in such a useless competitive environment that runs down our capital base at what looks like now a unstoppable rate.

All so that a few mainly external people at the top can earn interest off the commons money supply.

(I see the post office has reduced interest rates on bonds for the domestic plebs so that more interest income can go to external players.)

Soon we will have no capital remaining and economists will wonder why……
It will be a funny moment for the people who live to see the end of days.

Happy new year.


The global euro credit inflation has been beyond devastating.
The cost of capital (peak oil) has been rising since 1998.

See page 6 for all that needs to be known in this striking numbers breakdown.

Their banking “investments” have merely driven up the cost of capital to unheard of heights.

Northern Ireland travel stats published (not sure how reliable this info is but they show some difference between southern stats)

The main observations.

See table 1.2
Number of journeys per person per year continues to decrease.
1999 -2001 : 978
2009 -2011 : 894
2011 : 870
Underemployment most likely.

Miles travelled reached a peak in Y2004 – 06 at 6,094 miles
Y2009 – 11 at 5,888 miles
Y2011 at 5,793 miles

Miles in car also decreased but car per person (+17) increased…….

This feeds into my general narrative of cars doing nothing in driveways.

“Only 7% of the total distance travelled was on public transport (Ulsterbus,
Citybus/Metro, Other Bus, Northern Ireland Railways and Black Taxi), the
majority on Ulsterbus. This is again consistent with earlier years.”

Table 3.1 (miles per person per year)

A general decline of car passenger & bus miles per person is observed.
Car driver miles increased while the (albeit tiny) rail sector increased by a very large distance…….chiefly for long distance journeys.

“During 2009-2011, the longest average journey lengths were on Northern Ireland
Railways (20.8 miles), although only an average of 5 of these journeys were
made per year. Car journeys accounted for 72% of all journeys made and were,
on average, just over 7 miles long.”

The small relative use of NI railways (especially for commutes) can be explained by one chief factor.ation.

Only 4% of people live within a 6 minute walk of a railway station.

“Relatively few households were close to a train station. Sixty-two percent said it
would take them 44 or more minutes or that it was not feasible to walk. Overall,
just over one quarter (26%) of households lived within 26 minutes walk of an NI
Railways station, 9% within 13 minutes walk.”

Missed this one……..kept secret for a few months ?

Why they don’t get Crumlin station and its line back into regular service is beyond me.
it can begin to solve the above station proximity problem.,_Northern_Ireland

There has been a massive rise in Crumlins population since the 2001 census.
No need for the airport link to justify this line coming back into regular use.

@ Robert Browne

Hubris green foot prints and carbon charging all go together.

After twenty or thirty years’ evidence to the contrary, you still think that the Greens and developers are hand-in-hand, then there really is no reasonable debate with you. It’s an insane claim.

@ Dork

I’m still waiting for you to set up your Irish railways blog! Bonus points for nice updates of train pictures.

Taking the piss I see……………

Northern Ireland transport reports can be very important – they are a form of scientific control for us down south.

i.e Northern Ireland has a more appropriate monetary envoirnment but a extreme lack of fiscal investment on the commons much like the rest of the UK.
The report stated.

Only 4% of people live within a 6 minute walk of a railway station.

“Relatively few households were close to a train station. Sixty-two percent said it
would take them 44 or more minutes or that it was not feasible to walk. Overall,
just over one quarter (26%) of households lived within 26 minutes walk of an NI
Railways station, 9% within 13 minutes walk.”

But there is numerous settlements with train stations not in use “up North”

The 2011 Census report will find this town & village with intact unused stations will have grown even more (2008 approx pop data)

everybody is within a 6 minute walk.

The advantage of rail is that it is inflexible.
I know thats a strange concept but its true.
It creates nodal points of development.

there was not one additional acre of forestry added to our forestry acerage during the Greens time in office

Ireland’s area under forest increased by 69,000 additional acres from 2006-2010 net of depletion through felling and fires. More than a third of this increase was broadleaf rather than conifer.

Year: Area under forest in acres
2006 1,772,484
2007 1,789,651
2008 1,805,090
2009 1,821,518
2010 1,842,062

source: Dept of Ag./EPA

So the litter problem is about to quadruple
Household waste recycling rate nearly doubled in Ireland (from 22 to 41%) from 2005-2010 (EPA Nat. Waste Reports)

The deployment of brown bins for organic waste and increased landfill levies will further drive the recycling rate higher.

EDF will extend the life of 2 British 1970s era advanced gas cool reactors.

They will just continue to run these possibly until something happens – They have no choice really.
The British could have built at the very least a dozen 1990s era Sizewell B type PWRs when it had the expertise …………it built just one before retiring the crew to pay financial types at huge cost.
(one of anything is expensive)

You are witnessing the failure of the extreme neo liberal British energy policy as now fully corporate technicians endeavour to keep its previous nation state investments going.
Many of Its 1990s era private investment dash for nat gas stations have been stood down this past year with nothing much to do as coal does the heavy lifting.

This dumping of gas stations also means the wind energy investments are almost useless.

Of course Ireland is a far more extreme neo – liberal energy basket case given the fact we were never really a nation state to begin with.

Moneypoint was a pre 1986 Europe idea given the failure of the Nuke thingy in Ireland.

If Ireland leaves the EU with the UK it needs to consider building a second coal fired power station as any possible Nuke build will be in the UK if at all.

Without doubt all of Europes energy policy post 1986 as been a absolute disaster zone.
It was the global banks idea I guess.

From a energy perspective the bankers have built a global barbell economy.

With the neo liberal western dash for nat gas weight (now collapsing in Europe)
And the other coal weight in China.

These 2 gigantic weights is /was linked by Marine Bunker fuel………

But the entire construct is becoming unstable as it has no nation state redundancy.
One of those 3 things going the way of the Dodo and the global market economy is sunk.
Nat Gas going down in Europe appears to have sunk the wage arbitrage beast.

At least we can be thankful of that.
Before long the masthead will disappear into the abyss.
Its just a matter of time now.

We should have prepared for this post 2007 – instead we gave our surplus to the core who with the possible exception of the French wasted our treasure on more car stuff.
As the German shutdown of Nuclear is beginning to affect the European gas market in a big way.

happy new year to all at irish economy… my wish for the blog in 2013 is that it gets a design overhaul…. it would also be great to see less ranting and snarkiness and more constructive dialogue.. good wishes to all in 2013.

In this IEA electricity report (jan -sep) the only real good news that I can see is Denmark getting a surge of imports from Hydro rich Norway – up 36% and almost as much as its domestic fossil fuel production…..
Norways elec exports up 101 %

Irelands (albeit tiny Hydro) is also up 106% as a result of higher rainfall I guess.

The collapse of German & indeed French nuke energy as “Green” socialists work their twisted way through policy decisions which are irrational to say the least will have grave long term consequences.

I agree with Dork from Cork when he says if Ireland does not burn it someone else will.

I am all in favour of carbon taxes if that is what it takes to keep the Gov’t and the country functioning. Every little bit of carbon that exists in the world will be mined, pumped, fracked, cracked and burnt. I might add steamed out in situ (tar sands). The virgin forests, the ocean fish, agricultural land, all being exploited beyond their capacity to regenerate. Why should carbon be different.

Enjoy it while it lasts and if carbon taxes make you feel superior then that is good. Let us not kid ourselves into believing that a reduction in fuel consumption in Ireland will make one whit of difference to the eventual outcome on a world wide scale.

I believe a lot of people like myself do what is in our immediate best interest. When natural gas went up I insulated. When I bought a new car the women in the family insisted on an awd behemoth and to hell with petrol consumption. Their offspring are more precious than the added cost of operating the car. My preparation for fuel shortages was to buy a house on public transit both rail and road. I suffer no pangs of conscience as I contemplate the tragedy of the commons. Those of you that read the NYT comments now have some insight into what is likely to happen in the large and heretofore prosperous economies.

The US path towards energy independence and the European path from nuclear is complicating the climate change issue. Coal demand is on the rise.

In Asia, the big economies, China and India, already have serious pollution problems and low car usage compared with the developed world. Meanwhile, in SE Asia, the burning of rain forest peatlands on islands such as Sumatra and Borneo (the third biggest island in the world, which is divided among three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei), to make way for palm oil plantations, results in haze and pollution problems in neighbouring countries.

The United States will become increasingly energy independent in the next three decades as it boosts its production of oil, natural gas and renewable power such as solar and wind. Meanwhile, US crude oil production averaged almost 6.5m barrels per day in September 2012, the highest volume in nearly 15 years. The last time the United States produced 6.5m barrels per day or more of crude oil was in January 1998.

The IEA said last month that coal’s share of the global energy mix continues to rise, and by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world’s top energy source. Demand for coal rose 4.3% in 2011.

As US coal demand declines, more US coal is going to Europe, where low CO2 prices and high gas prices are increasing the competitiveness of coal in the power generation system. This trend, however, is close to peaking, and coal demand by 2017 in Europe is projected to drop to levels slightly above those in 2011, due to increasing renewable generation and decommissioning of old coal plants.

US oil demand fell 2.3% in October from a year earlier, to 18.4m barrels a day – – the lowest in 17 years. Meanwhile, the US will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020 due to a boom in shale oil production.


The IEA is full of contradictions.
I just look at their data – their conclusions are rubbish.

I have stated on this site since the beginning that burning gas for electricity generation is perhaps the most wasteful thing a utility can do in the long run and will be looked on in the future just as burning oil in plants today is seen – very very wasteful.

They also said the price of Transport (oil) for LNG is not competitive.
Its almost as cheap to get a coal boat from Australia as a LNG boat from Norway.
Especially as sov Japan is outbidding non sov Europe for the gas now.

Therefore coal use in Europe will only decline because they are not replacing old coal plants.

Renawables with the exception of hydro can only work in a envoirnment of Gas fired powered generation.
No Gas and most of the wind stuff gets wasted…….
Its registered as significant output in some countries but most of it is wasted output.

And Micheal the EIA are even worse.
Take their physical energy independence with a lorry load of salt.
The $ is the mechanism for US energy independence.

Forget about production for a second.
Look at US consumption………..
Many European cities can be linked together with Trams again given their old hearts.
In most US cities French style heavy trams / light rail have very low passenger numbers because the density is simply not there.
The now very extensive (oil rich /boom) Dallas Dart passenger numbers still does not compare with Depression era Dublins DART ,LUAS & suburban lines.

While all new trams systems include elements of property speculation in France ,Ireland & the US.
There is little strategic understanding of their role in the US.

This video from the summer is instructive (Tuscon Arizona)
It could work but its a light streetcar on too short a run – its however links the popular astronomy / geological focused university of Arizona – it could work.

The decline of Nuclear is directly linked to neo liberalism.
For Nuclear to work governments must spend new interest free or almost interest free money into existence. (and also have the people – which are mostly dead or retired now)

The banks are preventing this as it would dilute their existing claims on the now rump economies.

The French understand critical mass for their public transport systems……….

The Americans & Irish don’t…..

The light Streetcar is Arizona is nice to have but for every one step forward in Anglo countries you get two steps back.

“This is part of a bigger vision for this area of Tuscon………”

“Theres 300 jobs here”…………..

but 500 less downtown.

Its sad really.

This global wage arbitrage is very very energy intensive.
Could Walmart survive without this global wage arbitrage ?

Dallas metropolitan population is 3 times larger then Dublins

DART is the largest light rail operator in the United States, with 85 miles (136.8 km) of track since December 2012.

It is somewhere in between LUAS & Dublin DART in its set up.

Dallas Dart carried 37.960 million people in 2010.

Luas carried 29.066 million in Y2011 on 37km of track
Dart carried 15.924 million in Y2011 on 33Km of track
(a huge decrease from its peak of 20.244 million in Y2007 but nonetheless much higher then Dallas numbers.)
Also commuter diesel trains in the Dallas area almost do not exist except for a new Denton county line and the older trinity express to Fort Worth
Dublin suburb service despite huge passenger drops since 2007 still transported 9.911 million people.

Having said that there is so much low hanging fruit in the US the growth rates must be & indeed is impressive on some of these small lines.

Austin Texas capital metro line has seen a 35 .55% growth third quarter.
Denton county diesel line which feeds into Dallas DART has seen a 12.66% growth rate third quarter.
Trinity express has seen a decline.

Before natural gas there was coal gas. In Limerick’s fair city and in many other places in Ireland there were coal gas plants down by the docks. They stunk to high heaven but they provided gas for cooking and heating. Coal gas production is a chemical reaction occurring in an enclosed vessel. The vessel in Limerick was obviously leaky, but that is Ireland for you. The cinders were used on driveways and the fly ash was used in concrete. The process was highly controllable which means pollution was easily controlled.

One should not look at any country in isolation due to the fact that there is a world market and a world price for energy. America in particular, a very heavy user of energy is in deep denial because it is too painful to contemplate what $200 oil or oil equivalent will do to their economy and life style. In Frankfurt or any large European city $200 oil will not cause the ruination of the city economy. People will simply use existing public transit, a small inconvenience.

American energy independence is a figment of the American over fertile imagination. Energy independence will come when they cannot afford to import energy. You could say that they have a 200 year supply in the ground, it is the rising cost of extraction that will make it an expensive and scarce commodity. The course of least resistance will be coal which will be used to produce coal gas, electricity, heating oil and yes fuel for vehicles. The Germans perfected the techniques before WW2.

Life will go on but the air will get dirtier.

Look up “good car bad car” and you will see that pick up trucks are the volume sellers in America. Ford F series (F150), Chevrolet (Silverado), GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan. The wild frontier in the genteel suburbs.

Of course Austin is a good place to party…………

The capital is stinking in oil wealth tax income…………

But its not a nice place for Santa.

A economic study should be done regarding the public transport systems of peripheral Euro areas which have seen huge investment and the general massive wastage of their capacity which followed post 2007.

Its clearly linked to a lack of domestic monetary authority.

A good (small) area to look at it would be Majorca (pop 0.869m) / capital Palma (pop 0.404m)
Although the main investments came both during and after the crisis began.

However I guess it would merely confirm the obvious as Irish public transport systems have done.
Still I would like to see the current passenger numbers.

Their vulnerability to outside oil dependent capital flows (in the case of Majorca tourism) is obvious.
With the nearest fast ferry Barcelona I think ( I was on it back in 2004)

Palma Metro has seen 312 Million euro invested – reopening in 2008 after some problems.
Some of its remaining metre gauge line of 50 miles~ has been electrified as recently as Y2011 for 30 million. Website

Indeed the Spanish model in particular of truly massive rail investment within a non sov framework is a epic disaster movie of chronic over capacity.
And a great warning signal for all that wish to enter the dreaded euro torture chamber.

Euro Master –
“Your function is to bail out the core
Your function is to bail out the core
Your function is to bail out the core
Your function………………………….”

Conduit economy – “but there is no core.”
“Its a black hole”
” I do not wish to cross the event horizon”

Euro master –
!Your function is to bail out the core
Your function is to bail out the core
Your function is to bail out the core”

Conduit economy -“Yes Master”

I have no idea how reliable the linked article on the Iceland rescue efforts is. It may contain a few grains of truth. I particularly like the part that claims the government was to incompetent to do an Irish style bailout of the banks.

@ Mickey Hickey

One should not look at any country in isolation due to the fact that there is a world market and a world price for energy.

There is no world price for natural gas.

European gas prices are more than double the level four years ago while US prices are down about 40%.

The US price on Monday was $3.30 per 1 million British thermal units, Feb delivery; the ICE Natural Gas TTF Feb 2013 price, the European benchmark in BTU equivalent, set at the Dutch trading hub, was more than treble the US price while in Dec, Asian spot prices were almost quintuple the US level.

US natural gas at its current low price would cost $10 or $11 per million BTU once it’s liquefied and transported abroad.

So the Asian market, in particular Japan, maybe the only feasible market to export to. However, the new Japanese government may well reverse the decision to close the nuclear industry.

I think Japan is outbidding Europe for LNG
Even sov UK.
The UK imported most of its LNG from Qatar & sometimes from Norway.

Dec 2011 (third quarter) UK energy trends publication.

“The UK started large scale commercial imports of
LNG in Q3 2005. While LNG imports accounted for
a significant proportion of all UK imports in 2006,
they fell sharply in 2007 and 2008. The trend was
reversed again in 2009 with LNG imports increasing
virtually every quarter to reach a peak in Q2 2011 at
81.5TWh. Imports of LNG accounted for nearly half
of the UK imports in Q3 2011.
Total imports in Q3 2011 increased by 34 per cent
compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Total exports increased slightly over the same
period, up 5 per cent.
The UK imported 58TWh of LNG from Qatar in Q3
s imports in Q3 2011 compared to 38 per cent in Q3
The UK imported 48TWh and 14TWh via pipelines
from Norway and the Netherlands, accounting for 39
per cent and 11 per cent respectively of the UK total gas imports”

see chart 4.5

Now Japan is bidding for LNG as far as Norway.

The above report contrasts with the dec 2012 report (third quarter)

“Total imports in Q3 2012 decreased by 22.9 per
cent compared to the same quarter a year ago.
The main bulk of this decrease was with imports of
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG imports
decreased sharply by 42.1 per cent falling from 60
TWh in Q3 2011 to 35 TWh in Q3 2012. LNG
imports accounted for 37.0 per cent of total imports
in Q3 2012 compared with 49.3 per cent a year ago.
Pipeline imports also decreased but to a lesser
extent – from 62 TWh in Q3 2011 to 59 TWh in the
latest quarter. The majority of this was with imports
from the Netherlands due to planned maintenance
work at the Dutch Balgzand terminal in September.
However, Norwegian pipeline imports were also
impacted by planned maintenance work at St
Fergus associated gas terminal in September.
Total exports also decreased by 16.2 per cent in Q3
2012. This was largely due to Bacton – Zeebrugge
interconnector switching from export to import mode
during September of this year. Energy Trends table
4.3 – Natural Gas imports and exports.
As mentioned above there was a sharp decrease with
LNG imports. The majority of LNG imports are
sourced from Qatar which were lower by 42.4 per cent
in Q3 2012 compared with the same quarter in 2011.
The fall in LNG imports is likely to be a combination of
factors, such as the decline in UK gas demand and
the strong competition for LNG in the global market,
especially Japan following the closure of their nuclear
facilities in 2011.
Pipeline imports from the Netherlands were 24.2 per
cent lower in the recent quarter compared with the
previous year falling from 13.6 TWh in Q3 2011 to
10.3 TWh In Q3 2012.
A complete country breakdown for pipeline and LNG
imports are provided in Energy Trends table 4.4 –
Supplementary information on the origin of UK gas”

If the US were to export LNG less US coal would be available to export………..
We are really dealing with a catastrophic energy situation. , a crisis caused by a lack of redundancy in world energy systems which was & is used to increase short term profits

I am broadly in favour of a carbon tax.

The Irish one is small but nonetheless a step in the right direction.
Surely as well as monetary sovereignty, an optimum tax system is to be aspired to.

A carbon tax is consistent with the principle taxing resource usage not labour – a possible tax system including this is laid out at the end of the excellent book ‘Future Money’ by James Robertson.

I don’t understand your logic.

“The important point is that carbon trading schemes (CTS) are neo-liberal constructs which start with the presumption that a free market is the best way to organise allocation.

They recognise market-failure – that is negative externalities arising from the fact that the true cost of carbon use is not reflected in the final price we pay in the goods and services that rely on it and hence we over allocate resources to those industries. The ETS aims to reduce emissions through price incentives. But as I argued (see the blogs cited) they are deeply flawed as a result of their rationalist underpinnings.

Emission trading schemes amount to nothing more than a privatisation of the commons asset which we call the atmosphere. It is hard to see why progressive thinkers (including The Greens) would ever contemplate supporting such an approach. Emission trading schemes create private property relations over public space.”

79,498 new private cars were bought in 2012

More then 10,000 less then last year……….although its far too much in my book as its a waste of precious capital.

A huge 74.18 % of cars were diesel.

Were all these diesel buyers farmers living in isolated locations ……. GPs who do house calls , taxi drivers etc etc…..
I doubt it.

@ Dork – that excerpt and indeed the linked article itself seem to critique carbon trading schemes, something I would agree with. However surely a carbon tax is a different thing. Carbon trading schemes keep the total carbon emissions constant whereas a tax however small will reduce emissions where polluters seek to avoid the cost. The Irish tax is probably too small but it should have some impact.

I do agree that the oil will be used one way or another, unless all countries commit to a carbon tax or more desirably but even less likely; monetary reform. I must read up on Modern Monetary Theory – a quick search reveals there is more to it than I’d imagined.

Increased Carbon tax will merely dictate where coal will get burned ……it might indeed increase carbon emissions as more Marine Bunker fuel is burned to reach markets.

Again the largest objective one can think of is national goals that can increase energy redundancy.
I have a open mind about Anthropomorphic Global Warming but it is impossible to achieve anything globally as politics is all local.

I would prefer a Norwegian style post war system of using what you have got and keeping your savings local to your political construct.

“The fuel shortage during World War II made trolleybuses extremely popular, since Norway had an abundance of cheap electricity”

“The ridership reached its peak in 1959 with more than ten million passengers per year on the two routes. In 1960 the sale of cars in Norway was deregulated, resulting in fewer public transport riders.”

Anyway if the UK needs coal like it did in 2012 to keep the lights on the global warming narrative could slowly change.

The Dork of Cork covered it. This is my understanding of the international gas market.

Gas containing formations accessible by horizontal drilling and fracking in the US and Canada have been commercially exploited for only three years. This has distorted gas markets in North America in the East the new gas fields have displaced conventional product from the West. Prices are less than half what they were five years ago. Exploration drilling has dropped off markedly recently, this means shortages and increasing prices in the short term. Output drops off rapidly compared to conventional gas fields. This is no long term bonanza. However, LNG terminals are being built for exporting gas. At Kitimat in British Columbia and on the East coast USA. Instead of importing to East Coast USA there is now a move to export. This may not be profitable in the USA but it will be profitable at Kitimat. There has been a world market for CNG/LNG since the 1960s’, the volumes were low.

The lead time to build pipelines and terminals is long, in the order of 7 to 20 years. Shortages of crude oil and the increasingly competitive price of NG is leading to developments such as NG engines in heavy trucks, particularly short haul trucks. These engines are in use now this is not pie in the sky. On demand electricity generation using aircraft type engines fueled by NG has been spreading like wildfire. It goes so far as NG being used to generate electricity in private residences. These are now off the shelf items which could become mainstream as part of a solar/photovoltaic green initiative, tied into the grid with opportunity to be a net supplier and profit maker.

As crude oil becomes more expensive it is likely that for one or two decades NG will be widely traded internationally. NG well depletion rates ensure that the gas bonanza will be short lived compared to the crude oil bonanza.

Electricity can now be transmitted over longer distances using ultra high DC voltage transmission lines. Look at Muskrat Falls in Labrador with the market as far away as Boston Mass.

Dork of Cork is correct when he says NG should not be used for electricity generation and I agree with him. The problem is the engines are cheap and the gas is cheap so the usual line of least resistance is the modus operandi.

By the way you are right when you say there has not been a world market for NG, that is now changing.

The NYT on US gas exports.

Published: January 4, 2013 12 Comments
HOUSTON — Only five years ago, several giant natural gas import terminals were built to satisfy the energy needs of a country hungry for fuels. But the billion-dollar terminals were obsolete even before the concrete was dry as an unexpected drilling boom in new shale fields from Pennsylvania to Texas produced a glut of cheap domestic natural gas.

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Now, the same companies that had such high hopes for imports are proposing to salvage those white elephants by spending billions more to convert them into terminals to export some of the nation’s extra gas to Asia and Europe, where gas is roughly triple the American price.

Just like last time, some of the costly ventures could turn out to be poor investments.

Countries around the world are importing drilling expertise and equipment in hopes of cracking open their own gas reserves through the same techniques of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that unleashed shale gas production in the United States. Demand for American gas — which would be shipped in a condensed form called liquefied natural gas, or L.N.G. — could easily taper off by the time the new export terminals really get going, some energy specialists say.

“It will be easier to export the technology for extracting shale gas than exporting actual gas,” said Jay Hakes, former administrator of the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration. “I know the pitch about our price differentials will justify the high costs of L.N.G. We will see. Gas by pipeline is a good deal. L.N.G.? Not so clear.”

Even the terminal operators acknowledge that probably only a lucky few companies will export gas because it can cost $7 billion or more to build a terminal, and then only after a rigorous federal regulatory permitting process. The exploratory process to find a suitable site for a new terminal alone can take a year and cost $100 million, operators say, and financing can be secured only once long-term purchase agreements — 20 years or more — are reached with foreign buyers.

“It’s a monumental effort to put a deal together like this, and you need well-heeled partners,” said Mark A. Snell, president of Sempra Energy, which is based in San Diego and is applying for permits to turn around a Hackberry, La., import terminal for export. “There are only a handful of people who can do this kind of thing.”

At least 15 proposed terminal projects have filed regulatory applications to export gas, and if all were approved, they could export more than 25 billion cubic feet a day, equivalent to more than a third of domestically consumed natural gas.

Environmental advocates say that kind of surge in demand would produce a frenzy of shale drilling dependent on hydraulic fracturing of hard rocks, an industrial method they say endangers local water supplies and pollutes the air. Dow Chemical, a big user of natural gas, and some other manufacturers express concerns that an export boom could threaten to raise natural gas prices for factories and consumers and, ultimately, kill jobs.

Opponents are already lobbying the Obama administration to reject most of the planned terminals, and protests have already occurred. Sempra, Exxon Mobil, Cheniere Energy and others have already built import terminals on the Gulf of Mexico. With docking facilities and giant gas tanks already built on land they had acquired and received permits for, they have a huge advantage over companies that have not yet built terminals. Cheniere, the only company to secure an export license, already has entered long-term purchase agreements for its L.N.G., and several other companies are only a few steps behind.

Dominion Power, which operates a nearly idle import terminal near Cove Point on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, is also expected to proceed with a conversion to exports, since it is strategically located near the mid-Atlantic gas fields of the Marcellus Shale.

“You have got to be able to change, adapt as changes take place in the world,” said Michael E. Gardner, manager of the Cove Point plant.

The companies with import terminals now wanting to export won a victory in December when an Energy Department report said exports of L.N.G. could produce $30 billion a year in export earnings without driving up domestic gas prices significantly.

Many energy specialists expect the Obama administration to approve several export license applications in the next couple of years, and exports could begin as soon as 2015.

The plans for a gas export boom are based on the theory that cheap American gas will remain cheap for decades while Asian and European gas supplies remain tight and expensive. Global demand for natural gas is expected to expand for decades as nations seek a replacement for coal, nuclear energy and increasingly expensive oil, energy specialists say.

If the American terminals could be built tomorrow, they would have a perfect market opportunity. The production glut in the United States has reduced natural gas prices in this country by more than two-thirds since 2008.

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Gas prices in most other places around the world are much higher because they are linked to oil, which has remained comparatively expensive. Gas prices in the United States are around $3.30 per thousand cubic feet, compared with $10 to $11 in Europe and over $15 in Asia.

But analysts say that the price spread could quickly shrink as a host of factors converge. Gas prices in the United States will face upward pressure as exports rise, electric utilities switch to gas-fired plants from coal, and companies use more natural gas in manufacturing and for fleet vehicles.

“With rising U.S. gas prices, U.S. L.N.G. could be priced out of the market,” said Noel Tomnay, head of global gas research at the consultancy Wood Mackenzie. “Even without L.N.G. exports, the price of gas will go up.”

The indexing of Asian and European gas to oil prices is beginning to erode. At the same time, huge natural gas pipelines are being built around Asia to supply China, while new gas finds around Australia, East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean are likely to flood the markets with more L.N.G. Russia, a major global gas producer, is also moving aggressively to protect its markets.

And the cost of shipping and processing liquefied gas will cut into American suppliers’ competitiveness.

Nikos Tsafos, a gas analyst at PFC Energy, said if the current gas price of slightly less than $3.30 per thousand cubic feet rose to $6, “by the time it gets to Asia, it’s double that price and that means there is no arbitrage.” The biggest threat, over the long term, is the spread of the American shale boom overseas. The United States has a big lead; shale drilling has been slow to get started in Europe, South Africa and South America because of environmental concerns, water shortages and political obstacles.

But China, which potentially has more shale resources than the United States, is poised for development. And Poland, Britain and Argentina are moving forward with more shale drilling.

Resistance from environmental groups like the Sierra Club could help stop some export projects, especially outside the Gulf of Mexico region, which has long been comfortable with the oil and gas industry. And manufacturers like Dow Chemical are campaigning against unfettered exports to keep their costs down.

Over all, these factors will make it challenging for export projects to raise enough financing. L.N.G. terminal developers note that more than 20 import terminals proposed a decade ago were never built because of local opposition or lack of government permits and financing.

“Can all these projects get financed? That’s a good question,” said Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Company, which is looking at various possible L.N.G. terminal sites to invest in. “The outcome of this is not likely to be unlimited L.N.G. exports.”

Charif Souki, Cheniere’s chief executive, predicted that by 2018, the country would manage to export only one billion to two billion cubic feet of gas a day, or roughly 2 percent of current domestic consumption. In 10 years, after two to four projects have received permits and have been built, he said he expected exports to grow to three billion to five billion cubic feet a day. The total global production of L.N.G. is about 40 billion cubic feet a day, and growing rapidly.

George Biltz, Dow Chemical’s vice president for energy and climate change, said that exports that come near Mr. Souki’s projections would ease Dow’s concerns. “That is a range that I think will maintain a competitive advantage for the United States,” he said.

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