Archive | July, 2014

Climate News – July Edition No. 2

Australian climate policies in the Parliament

The Senate has voted to repeal the carbon tax and Greens leader Christine Milne named 14 people who failed to show the leadership that the Greens had demonstrated and “in years to come” will pretend they did not “tear down the climate bills”. Among the names were Maurice Newman, Dick Warburton, George Pell, Andrew Bolt and John Roskam. The Labor Opposition will join with the Greens in restoring the tax if they are returned to office, claiming against all the evidence that “nations in every continent are taking new action” to reduce emissions, and seeking to retain all the wasteful programs the Labor/Green coalition introduced.

This piece of mine in the AFR outlines the deregulatory task ahead and here is a presentation that I gave on energy and renewables to backbenchers last Tuesday. The claim by renewable energy firms leeching off the Australian consumer that removing the subsidies they receive will constitute “sovereign risk” overlooks the fact that almost every government action disadvantages some firms.

Renewables: The Next Big Thing

Palmer United Party supported the government in repealing the carbon tax but guess what happened when the Palmer United Party said it would vote to keep the Renewable Energy Target? Yep, the price of renewable certificates jumped 20 per cent (which theoretically increases retail prices by half a per cent).

Renewable subsidies are at the centre of the Australian political stage with Renew Economy editor, Giles Parkinson, claiming that by 2040 half of electricity will be solar. Not to be outdone, Professors Jeffrey Sachs and Frank Jotzo argued Australia should move to 100 per cent renewables. The ABC also did a puff piece, which lamented the inadequate subsidies to renewables while at the same time saying that they were becoming more economic than coal.

Unsurprisingly, Acciona, one of the key beneficiaries of subsidies to worthless renewable energy, suggests “Australia is missing an enormous opportunity if it does not encourage more investment in renewable energy”.

Renewables featured strongly at the Heartland Conference in Las Vegas. Aside from cataloguing the trivial contribution exotic renewables like wind and solar make, a paper by Marita Noon describes the costs including that to green energy projects from the 2009 US stimulus package. This alone amounted to $100 billion with 90 per cent of the projects having personal or financial connections to senior Democratic Party figures. The dependency on these commercially worthless projects on regulatory intervention is corrupting the whole political and media establishment. The Heartland Conference also featured this outstanding roasting by Queensland MP George Christensen. And Bonner Cohen reported a falling out among thieves as the wind industry in California attacks subsidies to solar power.

Climate measures in the media

Andrew Bolt points out that eight years ago Rupert Murdoch favoured emissions reduction action to “give the planet the benefit of the doubt” and warmists were urging his sceptical columnists to listen to him; they are somewhat silent now that that his position has shifted to, “We can be the low-cost energy country in the world. We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish.’’ The environmental activists and arts grads who populate the BBC management have decided they will ensure that sceptical climate scientists are heard less. James Delingpole excoriates the policy and identifies its green left genesis; The Spectator contrasts the Beeb’s previous dedication to free speech with its censorship now the beneficiary is on the political right.

Our ABC lauds the Tory’s Lord Deben, another arts grad who owns an environmental advisory business, for opinionising against Tony Abbott’s repeal of the carbon tax, saying he “appears to be more concerned with advancing (his) own short-term political interests” than dealing with global warming. And the AFR has a piece by The Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss that argues that all we need is a carbon tax of $8 per tonne, which makes a nonsense to the Treasury’s $80 per tonne estimated requirement by 2020, and shreds Garnaut’s 2050 estimated requirement of $250 per tonne! Meanwhile Warwick Hughes assembled this chart illustrating Australia’s tiny carbon footprint.

Modelling, schmodelling … 

The news that Brisbane has experienced near record temperature lows was not supposed to be part of the warming narrative. And, according to a press release from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), climate modelling indicates southern Australia is facing a drier climate as a result of global warming. Odd that this is not reflective of the actual rainfall record.