The key, mission-critical system used by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency for reporting and calculation of “emissions” by the “biggest polluters”, is called OSCAR.
And now, with just over 4 months till the carbon ‘tax’ begins, the “science” is in.
OSCAR is trash.
As indeed was the government’s $20 million taxpayer-funded advertising campaign for the carbon “tax”, which according to the Auditor-General:
“.. contained facts which were not properly sourced and seven breaches of financial management regulations.”
Last year, we closely followed the unfolding story … fairytale … of the Green-Labor Clean Energy Future legislation.
Regular readers know that close examination of the legislation, and the government’s ever-changing claims about the number of “biggest polluters”, and the comments from the bankster industry, and the comments from the banksters’ “expert” talking head economists, clearly show what the Clean Energy Future really is.
With a ticking time bomb carefully hidden inside.
They also know that the government released a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). It tacitly conceded that Government emissions audits are nothing more than a propaganda exercise, to maintain “public confidence” in the scheme. Because without public con-fidence that the scheme is actually monitoring emissions accurately, and that companies are actually complying with the scheme, then the whole charade would collapse –
“If there was a perception of widespread non-compliance, community support for the scheme would be much harder to maintain (in the absence of community acceptance and support, the long term future of the scheme could be called into question).”
Indeed, the Government’s RIS actually admitted that “perceptions” of the scheme’s effectiveness are more important than whether or not it actually is effective:
“In closing, it is important to note that, in considering impacts on the credibility of the scheme, perceptions of non-compliance can be more important than the actual level of non-compliance.”
Last week, the Auditor-General released an “independent performance audit” by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), into the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. The report is titled “Administration of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme”.
It is a fascinating read.
Now for lazy “give me the headline” readers, you can see the lamestream media’s lazy summary in The Age here – Audit Finds Errors on Emissions.
For more intelligent readers, or for those passionately and sincerely deluded folk who are placing their (blind) faith in the Government’s “carbon tax” to save the world from Warmageddon, you may find the following excerpts discomforting.
A forewarning – there are quite a few excerpts here. The Auditor-General’s report is 124 pages long. I’ve stripped out only the most interesting items, and highlighted them in yellow.
Rest assured, it is well worth your time to go through this. Especially if you wish to have a much clearer understanding of just what a total farce … and money-sucking fraud … the Clean Energy Future regime and its government department actually are.
I’ve done the tedious work.
And to make it a little more entertaining for you, I’ve sprinkled comments throughout.
To “encourage” compliance is code for, “Pleeeease go along with our scheme … pretty please?” At least this thinly-veiled begging makes a change from, say, The Goose’s impotent posturing towards the banks.
“Significantly higher” costs for compliance by business, ‘eh?
Hmmmm. How much higher?
Patience, dear reader. Remember, this is just the ‘Summary’ at the beginning. The ugly details come later.
“Currently, the department does not verify the reported data”.
Ummmm … so it could all be total crap.
Or at the very least, riddled with even more errors than the ANAO audit discovered.
Remember, these (self) reported emissions by the “biggest polluters” are the basic, critical data relied upon by Treasury to “model” the impacts of the carbon “tax”.
How apropos was the title of my July 2011 blog post just days before the announcement of the draft legislation – A Disturbance In The Farce
Just how big is a “significant error”?
Naturally, we have to look in the fine print for that:
So in the Clean Energy Future, a “biggest polluter” has only made a “significant error” if it is “greater than 40%” of the total annual emissions that qualified you as being a “biggest polluter” in the first place.
Would that we all could cruise through life with such a generous standard for (in)accuracy in our work.
She’ll be right mate. We’ll get around to submitting a report of our self-assessed “emissions” … eventually.
Hear that sound?
That’s the sound of Treasury’s “modelling” on the impacts of the carbon “tax” losing any remaining vestige of credibility.
It’s also the sound of your wallet getting emptied at an even faster rate than you thought, as corporations pass on “significantly higher” costs than Treasury had “modelled”.
Great big new “tax”.
No tangible benefit.
Funny how there is such a lack of “progress” under a new global tax regime being instituted by … progressives.
Ok, that’s enough from the “Summary”. Yes, all 31 pages of the “Summary”.
It’s probably more than enough for anyone with an IQ above room temperature to get the picture.
That even according to the Auditor-General, the government’s scheme for monitoring and reporting the emissions of the “biggest polluters” is a farce.
But if you want more … and the really good stuff is yet to come, because as every Yes Minister fan knows, the Summary is for the gormless ministers and the media, and you always hide the stuff you don’t want people to know in the endless pages of tedious detail … then here’s selected excerpts from the remaining 93 pages of detailed subject areas:
And thus, dear reader, we have official confirmation – from the Auditor-General, no less – that your humble blogger was right throughout 2011, in his numerous blogs exposing Gillard’s “1,000 biggest … 500 biggest … more in the order of more like 400” “biggest polluters” lies.
Meaning … if you believe in the accuracy of the government’s data, which of course, as we have seen, you can’t … almost half of Australia’s total “emissions” won’t be directly covered.
Hmmmm … bushfire season coming up again.
Pushing on a string, anyone?
$472 grand to tell us that the emissions reporting regime is a farce?
Great use of taxpayer dollars.
I’d have told you that for one one-hundredth of the price.
Indeed, I have been telling you that … for free.
Translation: The technical requirements being asked of corporations in order to report emissions are too bloody difficult.
Doubtless explaining why so many have either (a) failed to report, (b) reported months late, or (c) screwed up their report.
Arguably the most amusing quote in the entire audit.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) actually defines “compliance” with the scheme as the ability to “encourage” corporations to comply. Its own definition recognises that the onus for compliance “rests primarily” with the corporations.
Oh yes, dear reader … I have no doubt whatsoever that corporations are very much “encouraged” to comply with the Clean Energy Future regime … particularly when they can see how impotent and farcical the DCCEE and its systems actually are.
“because of resource constraints”.
Public ‘service’ (vomit) code for “give us more money”. Sir Humphrey Appleby would be proud of this report.
“a fully functional compliance capability is not yet in place” … “a critical capability to have in place prior to .. July 2012”
Better get a wriggle on then, fellas. You’ve got about 18 weeks.
Oh that’s right. Silly me.
That’s just the coded threat underlying the appeal for more taxpayer money.
“Quick quick La Gillardine, give us another few billion, or we won’t be ready to ‘encourage’ corporations to ‘comply’ in time.”
Just in case you missed our department’s appeal/threat for more funding the first time.
Translation: the DCCEE will only tell the responsible Minister what the department heads decide that he “needs to know”.
Don’t believe that’s what they mean?
Translation: The DCCEE has not been telling the responsible Minister (Combet) that the department is waaaaaaaaaay behind the eight-ball in implementing the basic (and critical) emissions reporting bureaucracy.
Sir Humphrey Appleby would be so proud of this department.
Data integrity is critical.
And yet, how exactly are emissions determined?
Well now, that’s in the fine print, of course:
Translation: The corporation tells us how much electricity they used, or generated, and/or how many tonnes of dirt they dug up. And our special black box called OSCAR “automatically calculates” the number of tonnes of “emissions”.
Sounds like a Great Big New FUDGE FACTOR to this humble blogger.
And since the audit also goes on to demonstrate just how appallingly agricultural (pun intended) the OSCAR software system is, one would have to be wilfully ignorant (or a vested interest) to believe that this system will actually generate and report accurate emissions data.
Don’t believe me?
The “biggest polluters” own record-keeping is not up to par. Indeed, some corporations admit that they are passing this task off to junior staff or “third party providers” (read: the accountant).
But it gets worse, because …
… even the DCCEE doesn’t actually know how poor the “biggest polluters” record-keeping is, because the department’s own auditing program still isn’t finished, and so they didn’t have any documentation to show the Auditor-General, aside from their own “guidelines” handed out to corporations!
Difficult for the construction sector to get the necessary records to report emissions, you say?
Contractors, you say?
I can smell a RORT-A-THON coming on.
Independent third party verification of the “biggest polluters” annual reports?
Never mind. We’ll take your word for it.
Given the quality of data going into, and out of this system, one wonders if some nerdish wag in the DCCEE wasn’t thinking of this Oscar when they chose the name:
Someone left the lid off the trash can.
And the trash can is full of holes.
So, what do we do when the trash is leaking out of the trash can?
Why but of course … we stuff it back in again:
How much trash is leaking out … that we know of so far?
Oh, only 22% and 9% of total reported emissions for 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Or, about 77 million and 30 million tonnes of CO2-e.
At $23 tonne, that’s only about $1.7 Billion and $900 million dollars worth of “carbon credits” in error.
And let’s not forget the fine print caveat at 101 , telling us that there may yet be a further rise in resubmissions for those years … so, we can’t even rely on the DCCEE regarding error rates!
Billions of dollars for a massive department of sloth and gross ineptitude … money very well spent.
And speaking of costs, now we get to the Auditor-General’s assessment of costs of compliance with the Clean Energy Future scam:
If the actual compliance costs are not similar to those estimated when the legislation was passed through Parliament, then “Houston, we have a problem.”
And indeed, we most definitely do.
For those readers who have not yet been enlightened to the woeful record of Treasury “modelling” (see Why Would Any Sane Person Believe Treasury’s Carbon Tax Modelling When Its Budget Forecasting Record Is This Bad? ), then now might be a good time to close your eyes:
And of course, as always, it’s vital to check the fine print:
Translation: we did our best to make the cost of compliance for corporations appear as low as possible, by ignoring the “outliers”. But sadly, we couldn’t fudge the headline “result” any more than this.
And the reason why the costs for corporations is so high, is because complying with the reporting requirements is a major pain in the arse:
Thank you, Mr Auditor-General.
That’s another $472K of borrowed money well spent by the government.
To check up on the (lack of) progress of … the government.
I wonder just how much more money the DCCEE will insist that they “need”, in order to get their “self-assessment” emissions reporting system ready by July 1st?
And I wonder how long it will take the government’s propaganda unit to prepare their next “education” campaign, to ensure that those oh so critical “perceptions of compliance” in the community are favourable?
After all, if we the people begin to have doubts that “big polluters” are fully complying with the scheme, then the “long term future of the scheme could be called into question”.
Wouldn’t that be terrible.
As the inimitable Senator Joyce said recently:
“The carbon tax is the biggest scam since … a pyramid scheme that if I mention its name I’ll get a suit”
Barnaby is right.