Silly Season Arrives Early on “Dangers” From Fossil Fuels
Yesterday’s meeting of COAG confirm that discussions of energy policy between federal and state minister have reached the point when people do or say things that are not sensible or serious ie the silly season has arrived (it appears that the only area of agreement was in regard to retail reliability!). The Liberal Energy Minister in NSW, Don Harwin, who somehow acquired a BEc(Hons), advised COAG to aim for zero carbon emissions by 2050 even though his website says “coal will remain a vital source of energy”. To put it mildly, these two propositions conflict and Harwin was not even allowed to put a motion to the meeting.
True, Harwin did rightly say “climate change is a scientific fact”. But nothing was said on what causes climate changes to happen. Since the year 2000, temporary increases aside, global temperatures have been relatively stable despite the strong increase in carbon emissions staying in the atmosphere. Temperatures also remained stable in the post WW2 period to the late 1970s in the face of increasing emissions. The implies there is no substantive scientific correlation between increases in carbon emissions and temperatures.
In reality, the danger threat (sic) from usage of fossil fuels has lost credibility and policies aimed at reducing emissions should be re-examined . Australian governments should not continue policies to reduce emissions unless climate scientists can explain the periods of relative price stability in the face of increasing emissions.
As Judith Sloan points out, “one of the troubles with Harwin (and his Victorian counterpart, Lily D’Ambrosio) is their combined understanding of the energy market is measured in nanowatts; in other words, neither has a clue”. And “ Why would Harwin be worried about 2050 when NSW households have been hit with a rise of nearly $400 in their annual electricity bills over the past two years? Low-income households in NSW are now paying more than 10 per cent of their disposable incomes just to keep the lights on. It was surely ironic that in the same week as the conference, the wholesale price of electricity in the National Energy Market was soaring well above $100 a megawatt hour. Yet Harwin is more concerned about what’s going to happen in 31 years’ time” (see Sloan on Harwin)
As I have previously suggested, if Morrison moderated Australia’s emissions reduction targets in order to start reducing prices naturally, that would be a potential election winner in circumstances where Shorten’s target of a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 would increase them.
Labor Policies Have Dangers
In an article today, Andrew Bolt argues that at Labor’s National Conference Shorten made promises which would be better NOT kept if he gains office. One is climate change which I deal with above. Bolt adds that “few realise those cuts don’t apply just to coal-fired power stations, but also to cars, trucks, planes, farms, factories, mines and even cattle and pigs, huge sources of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. That is crazy. Doing this, as the Chief Scientist admits, will make virtually no difference to the temperature” (see Bolt on Promises NOT to Keep).
Bolt’s other three “danger promises” by Shorten are a wind back in negative gearing on investment properties as house prices fall; a change in the constitution to create another parliament, an advisory one just for Aborigines, to advise the real parliament meant to represent us all; and increases in refugee immigrants and in grants to the UN to help resettle refugees in the region.
Shorten also said Labor would continue to support the turning the turning back of the boats and offshore detention. But the policy supported in the House’s last day of sitting to fast-track the transfer of asylum seekers to the mainland if assessed by two doctors (and with no ministerial intervention except on security grounds) has the potential to further increase migrants as “asylum seekers”. The national conference showed there is considerable pressure from Labor’s left wing to liberalise the admission of so-called refugees.
Immigration Policies Changing Overseas
Relevant here is the increased resistance to admitting refugees into European countries. Immigration policy is a major issue in the popular protests in France, where there is said to be between 200,000 and 400,000 illegal immigrants in a population of 67 million, which already includes an estimated 5.7 million people born in another country (see French Immigration Policy). In Belgium the Prime Minister has been forced to resign over a dispute on immigration policy (see Belgian PM Resigns on Immigration) and the protest movement across Europe includes an anti-migration component. In the US the Trump government, in conjunction with Mexico, has pledged $5.7 billion “toward development in Central America and Mexico, as part of a plan to strengthen economic growth in the region and curb illegal immigration” (see U.S. Aid to Mexico). In short, it seems that an increased resistance overseas to allowing refugees has developed, which has implications for Australia’s policy too.