GW, Temperatures & RET – Mar 30 2015

One or two aspects of the NSW election result are of some importance, as are developments on climate change policies.

First, although some sections of the media  drew attention  to the swing in NSW of 9-10 per cent against the Coalition, the result of  53 to 34 seats (prelim) was a good one for it. The 2011 result gave them 69 to 20 seats but the extent of that win reflected the realisation of the electorate that the Labor Party had been performing abominably under a heavily unionised leadership. True, the new Labor leader (Foley) was also heavily unionised and this should have meant a better result for the Coalition. But Premier Mike Baird gave little attention to the damaging effects of the exercise of union power and, as an avowed religious man (also favouring a Republic), is unlikely to push for reform in workplace relations. Nor is he likely to question the need for action to reduce emissions.

Second, although the result is seen as a victory for the Greens (who may have increased their Legislative Assembly seats from 1 to 4), it seems that any such increase in seats will have come from Labor, which astonishingly gave the Greens preference in  vote cards (see Andrew Bolt article below).

Third, related to this Greens “victory” is the opposition both it and Labor gave to coal-seam gas. However, as pointed out in The Australian article below, the Greens do not appear to have won votes in areas where CSG and coal mining generally were active. This sends a message to the Baird Government to remove the freezing of CSG licences and promote the development in NSW of much needed gas based on US developments where, properly regulated, there is no substantive evidence of adverse effects on water supplies.

Fourth, the announcement that the forum examining temperatures published by the BOM will examine submissions by outside experts (even though that is not in their terms of reference) indicates how badly environmental policy is being run by Environment Minister Hunt and his Parliamentary Secretary Baldwin. It has been well known for a considerable time that many experts have justifiably questioned the “adjustments” made by the BOM to the recorded data and that the published figures may overstate the increase in temperatures since 1910 by as much as 0.4C ie half the increase over the past century or so. What is needed is a proper inquiry that includes some of the many climate experts from outside those committed to global warming. This is now of particular importance given that analyses are being prepared for the IPCC conference in December and that new emissions targets are being considered by the government.

Fifth, associated with the temperature fiasco is the wrangling over the RET policy. As with the temperature inquiry there should be a proper inquiry into whether, with the growing questioning of the supposed threat of dangerous warming, this costly renewables policy should be phased out at the federal level. Again, this is relevant to the IPCC conference.

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