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September 10th 2018 print

Alan Moran

The Bitter Fruit of a Bad Green Marriage

The service was conducted by the high priests of alarmism, with politicians pledging their love for rent-seeking renewables promoters as a media choir sang of the wonders to come. Yes, we've seen wonders aplenty -- obscene power prices, economic hobbles and the further corruption of science

agl IIComments from Josh Frydenberg and Mark Butler  show that neither the Liberals nor ALP understand – or, perhaps more accurately, admit to understanding how carbon policies are destroying the economy. Both promote variations on a theme: subsidies to renewables and penalties on coal, which together  have brought uncompetitive prices. Mr Butler even repeats the shibboleth that without the National Energy Guarantee and its thinly disguised carbon tax, electricity prices, as per the latest model’s fabrication, will cost consumers $550 per year.

Mainstream Australian politicians are responding to a dominant scientific paradigm that says reductions in carbon dioxide emissions will save the world. The science is settled and all that. Only a quarter of these emissions result from electricity production, so it’s not as if the sector’s transformation to renewables could ever be a solution in itself to the planet’s alleged peril. Yet these measures are widely represented by politicians and lobbyists alike as key. Abatement policies remain in place notwithstanding the trivial effect that Australian reductions might have, especially when the developing world is taking no action and the US has withdrawn from Paris.

moran 1

Politicians’ climate alarmism is fuelled by scientific self-interest (grants) and commercial self-interest (subsidies).  Economists will always be around to provide, for a fee, the forecasts that constantly “prove” more subsidies to renewables will bring down prices as we “transition” to a low carbon economy, when no subsidies will be necessary.  The past’s disappointing outcomes, like those illustrated below, are forgotten when the next thought bubble’s killer policy emerges. As always it will deliver “clean” energy at lower cost than provided by those archaic fossil fuel generators or their demonized nuclear alternative.

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Modellers’ optimism that cleverly designed subsidies assisting wind and solar will bring a permanent lowering of prices have constantly been confronted by a reality that the products they favour are duds, and that favouring them raises prices by forcing out the penalised fossil fuel plants. The outcome in Australia from renewable subsidies was the doubling of prices – initially a slow burn but with the dam bursting in 2015 as coal plants closed as the penalties governments imposed brought on unprofitability.

At present, a conference of “climate denier” scientists  in Porto is drawing to a close. For the past 30 years many of the leading scientific minds have demonstrated the absurdity of the forecasts of catastrophic global warming on theoretical grounds and, increasingly, empirically as satellite-based observations mug the forecasts of runaway warming with a reality evidencing little change.

moran 3But the power of vested interests has forced politicians around the world, even Tony Abbott as prime minister, to pay lip service to the need to reduce emissions and implement policies that attempt to bring this about.  All such policies not only bring immediate costs to taxpayers and electricity consumers but inevitably undermine the efficiency of the system, bringing higher prices as sure as night follows day. Australia has been among the most aggressive in attacking coal generators with penalties and is among the most vulnerable to the escalating prices this entails.

Politicians always sound authoritative and their ruminations on climate change and energy are no exceptions.  But, almost  universally, they are responding to their own self-interest as dictated by focus groups.

Six prime ministerial changes in eleven years and the collapse of low cost electricity has been the outcome of Australia’s  political leaders’ attempts to marry economics with the green energy goals.  We may not have seen the end of this. But the Trump victory and the his determination to restore cheap energy will eventually force changes beyond America’s shores.

Sadly, the costs already incurred and those still to be incurred can never be retrieved.

 

Comments [7]

  1. en passant says:

    Alan,
    To put this in perspective your temperature graph shows a 0.25Kelvin increase in 40 years, or 1Kelvin in 160 years. Yet we know this is no more likely than forecasting share prices in 160 years time. Also, as we are currently at a rather cool 288 Kelvin, why are we sacrificing Oz for a 0.34% change 140 years from now?

    This is the level of political insanity ruling/ruining our country

  2. ianl says:

    The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/at-its-current-rate-australia-is-on-track-for-50-renewable-electricity-in-2025-102903) maintains that “renewables”, or more accurately named unreliabubbles, are now so advanced that no subsidies are needed.

    The LRET, which remains unassailably sacred, *is* a subsidy and brutal in its’ application, as it “privileges” wind and solar in the market. When the wind blows or lunchtime daytime cloud cover thins, the retailers *must* buy that power – this deliberately pushes coal and gas generators into economic no-man land for the duration, but these installations must stay on-line for the inevitable spasmodic losses of wind/solar generation. This inbuilt instability is causing continual power losses, barely controlled by the AEMO, over many areas. There are now so many of these losses (blackouts) and with such high frequency that the MSM doesn’t bother reporting them and has no wish to anyway.

    Why has Australia been chosen for this shining path experiment ? 1) It has enormous amounts of coal/gas/uranium resource so proscribing their use is a valuable high-profile propaganda coup; 2) the Aus populace has no idea how to prevent this destruction.

    Nevertheless, the shining path is political heroin. Politicians, bureaucrats as well, just have to touch it because when they do, bells ring, lights flash, headlines burgeon, pompous UN dignitaries label them as wonderful heroes – it’s all just so thrilling. Then they are politically destroyed: Howard got a little bit pregnant but got booted by Rudd who promised to get 100% pregnant; Rudd got booted at Copenhagen and his cantankerousness allowed Gillard to boot him, but she then reneged for the thrills listed above and got booted by Rudd again, who then made no campaign comment on the thrill issue; Nelson as Opposition Leader got booted by Waffle who was aflame for the thrill, but in turn got booted by Abbott when he (Waffle) tried to run the thrill with the ALP rather than with his own parliamentary group; Abbott was then again booted by Waffle for exactly the same thrill issue; Waffle then lost all seats required for majority government, saved only by an unexpected extra seat from Bananaby (who himself was booted for trying to keep Waffle from the thrill) and then got booted for again trying to run the thrill with the ALP rather than with his own parliamentary group.

    It’s easily seen that the green activists – academic, NGO, media, green blob – really don’t mind when the politicians are destroyed. There’s always another thrill seeker full of the noble cause. Watch Morrison and Cabinet dissolve under the influence – already the usual conflicting messages are being run – as the impossibility of reducing power prices and increasing reliability while holding onto the thrill waltzes around again.

  3. padraic says:

    As secularism replaces the traditional religions the same impulses that featured in these religions remains in secularism the form of “the end of the world” scenarios, particularly the “catastrophe” of “climate change”. Just as in other religions the contemporary catastropharians feel that redemption can only be achieved through suffering (higher energy prices, loss of jobs and industries etc) and that their religion is the one true religion and the unbelievers of another viewpoint are to be whipped into shape and converted.

    • whitelaughter says:

      the Church has been a much nicer place since the loonie fringe defected to the protest movement. If we could persuade the remaining dregs of the Anglican and Uniting churches, plus their fellow travelers elsewhere, to permanently defect, we could see a decent religious revival in this country.

  4. padraic says:

    Good point whitelaughter. The Israelites substituted lambs for human sacrifice then Christianity substituted bread and wine for lambs, a more humane form of religious sacrifice. Regrettably, some catastropharians are reverting to the pre-Christian era with sacrificing old or sick people via euthanasia. At least they are showing their gentle and caring side by not sacrificing the first born child, a custom widely practiced around the Mediterranean before Abraham was convinced otherwise, as well as among the Druid religions of Europe. Another element of pre-Christianity religions they are adopting is the use of various substances to enhance the spiritual experience. Some draw on the experience of the traditions of the early indigenous american Mexicans who used the hallucinogen mescaline in their religious ceremonies but mainly they are admirers of the oracle priestess at ancient Delphi who used an intoxicant of some sort before delivering what she considered to be the final word on some issue. The Delphi tradition is also important in the Catastropharian religion because Zeus designated Delphi the centre of Gaia (Grandmother Earth).

    • LBLoveday says:

      “At least they are showing their gentle and caring side by not sacrificing the first born child”.

      Not per se, but they, including claimed Christians, are increasingly sacrificing would-have-been first born, 2nd born … under euphemistically named “women’s health” concerns.

      And Chelsea Clinton recently asserted a connection between Roe v. Wade and an influx of women into the labor force that added three-and-a-half trillion dollars to the U.S. economy between 1970 and 2009, as if that’s unconditionally good.