6
Jul
2018

More Questioning of Turnbull Energy Policy

Continued Questioning on Turnbull’s Role & Particularly on Energy Policy

The public address on 3 July by Tony Abbott advocating withdrawal from the Paris agreement has produced favourable reactions from several quarters but a response from Turnbull and some of his ministers which is largely dismissive and an attempt by much of the media to suggest Abbott’s analysis is outdated and should be ignored. That is what might be expected from people who have locked themselves into a fixed position that we face dangerous warming unless carbon emissions are reduced. My commentary below concentrates on those who have challenged that position.

Advertisement on Policy Implications

Richard Morgan has again succeeded in persuading The Australian to accept an advertisement (paid) which argues that a review of the Dangerous Global Warming Theory is overdue (see Advert on Climate Model Review Policy Implications). It rightly draws attention to the failure of modelled predictions of temperatures to get anywhere near what has actually happened since the mid 1970s (note that the actual figures in the first graph are five year averages and as such do not show recent actual yearly figures). The other two graphs show, first, that actual storms and hurricanes have not increased in recent years and, second, that nor has storm activity. This is contrary to the media publicity painting a scare picture due to warming. Note also that the advert draws attention to the doubling of wholesale electricity prices since the increased use of renewable here and to the increased use of coal-fired plants in some other countries. It concludes that there seems no valid reason for staying in the Paris agreement.

Andrew Bolt Analysis on CChange

Through various analyses Australia’s most prominent media commentator, Andrew Bolt, has once again exposed the extensive faults in the warming theory and in Australia’s policies.  In Bolt on Paris Agreement he agrees with Abbott’s view that there’s “no plausible evidence” that Turnbull’s NEG can work: “The government is kidding us when it says that it’s about reducing prices when there’s an emissions target, plus a reliability target, but no price target.” In fact, Bolt also points out that the key designer of the guarantee, Kerry Schott, chair of the Energy Security Board, conceded last year: “I don’t think anybody can guarantee a price reduction.” His summing up is that “the Paris Agreement is a useless fix to a fake catastrophe that hurts more than it helps. It binds Australians while freeing the world’s biggest emitters”.

Note that Turnbull has attempted to dodge the price issue by referring to recent falls in wholesale power prices in the various states (except Victoria). But those falls still leave the prices well above what they were before the renewable and other changes started 10-12 years ago and are likely to rise again if the NEG goes ahead. The price in South Australia (which is now reliant entirely on renewable or interconnected sources and gives an idea of what might happen under NEG) has fluctuated wildly but is well above what it was in 2006.

In Bolt on Bishop’s View on Australia’s Obligation to Paris the response by Foreign Minister Bishop to Abbott’s address is described as “fake”. Bolt says “Bishop is wrong. The Paris agreement in fact does not oblige Australia to stick with it for the rest of history. In fact, it contains a get-out clause for all signatories: countries can indeed leave the treaty on four years’ notice”. (Note that Bolt incorrectly describes the agreement as a “treaty”; it is no more than an international agreement of which there are many that are not implemented in practice).

Stone on Turnbull

The mounting evidence that Turnbull has adopted a flawed energy policy may have inspired John Stone to draw attention in today’s Spectator to the wider problems facing the Coalition under Turnbull (see Stone on Turnbull). He suggests that the “three issues on which the Coalition has the potential capacity to differentiate itself from Labor sufficiently to win the next election are, respectively, energy policy, immigration policy (with its associated issues of housing costs and low-income earners’ wage rates) and border protection.

”But, he argues, “the Turnbull-led government (Peter Dutton apart) shows no signs of taking up any of these cudgels”… and…“Notwithstanding the Murdoch press’s best  efforts, the Coalition is going nowhere (except over the electoral cliff) so long as it sticks with Turnbull”. Stone also sees little hope that the new leadership of the National Party will insist on Turnbull making substantive policy changes (the idea of having the government build 3 or so coal fired power stations while still proceeding with NEG doesn’t address the question of why Australia should have only 3 while countries such as China and India are able have cheap power and we are not. If we had coal fired power that would not damage China or India –or the rest of the world),

My Letter in The Australian

Through a letter published in The Australian I also participated in the public commentaries on Turnbull’s energy policy (see my Letter on Climate Change). I note in particular “the failure of the Turnbull government to ensure that analyses of global warming have resort to expert skeptics as well as the expert believers. Abbott’s analysis and conclusion is clearly based on an examination of both sides whereas Turnbull relies on only one”.  (A more up to date letter sent after the one published included references to the ESB Chair’s statement that a price reduction cannot be guaranteed and Abbott’s statement that NEG has no price target).

Conclusion

Unless support for Abbott is revived (and the Murdoch press moves directly to replace Turnbull) , it seems likely that a Turnbull led Coalition will not do well in the up-coming by-elections and the full election due to be held next year. In that event Australia will have a Canberra based government operating a set of policies which will have adverse economic and social effects.

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