Doomed Planet

Dog Dirt is No Substitute for Debate

 

There is now a narrow path to victory for the Coalition.  It relies upon them winning a couple of seats in Queensland and Tasmania, regaining Indi and making a net loss of only two elsewhere (in addition to the likely loss of Farrer to the Shooters, Farmers and Fishers).  But more than one loss is likely in Victoria, and there are vulnerable Liberal seats in Western Australia.

The possible near-term saviours for the Coalition are, first, the sandbagging of seats that contain large numbers of retirees set to be adversely affected by Labor’s intended raid on their savings –a grab even more grasping than that already introduced by the Coalition.  But, secondly, there is the possible gain of seats where green policies have had tangible negative effects. We recently saw the Coalition fall victim to a backlash in the NSW state election as a consequence of green water policies, hence the  possible loss of the Murray-Darling seat of Farrer.  The Coalition is, however, seeing possible gains as a result of green anti-mining policies, most particularly in Queensland.

The picture is overshadowed by a green cloud descending on urban seats. Extremists funded by deep-pockets activists have dominated the campaign in Warringah, where the polls say Zali Steggal is making it a close run thing against Tony Abbott. The Liberals may wrest back Turnbull’s former seat of Wentworth only because they have a credentialed green as a candidate.  In Victoria, green contenders are looking strong in the inner Melbourne electorates of Macnamara, Higgins and Kooyong.  Indeed, in Kooyong, Josh Frydenberg faces four deep green candidates, all well promoted by activists.

In response to an increasingly green-oriented urban electorate, the ALP’s environmental position has moved very close to that of The Greens.  And, like conservative parties in the pre-Thatcher/Reagan era confronted by the  ostensible and purportedly inevitable advance of socialism, the Liberals have adopted a gradualist version of those policies.  The Liberals are selling their position as being responsible green, their policy boiling down to these talking points:

#Australia is already spending more on carbon abatement than the EU, US and China

#We have to temper extreme policies that would bankrupt the nation

#The technology that will enable us to move to 50 per cent renewables is not yet here, but we’re keen to get there.

Only politicians from the minor parties and a handful of Coalition MPs — Craig Kelly and Bridget McKenzie come to mind — venture to say that catastrophic human-induced climate change is not happening, that Australia can do virtually nothing to prevent the growth of global emissions, and that any attempts to do so will adversely affect our economy far more than those of other nations. Apart from a very few members of the Coalition, there is no stomach whatsoever for exercising Trumpian leadership and explaining the limitations of abatement policies and the costs they would inflict. It’s a persuasive argument for a ready audience but it just doesn’t get made.

For the most part, all harmful effects of the green policies are denied. Bill Shorten claims there is hardly any cost attributable to the 50 per cent renewable share and 45 per cent emission reduction that are central to ALP policies. This, along with assertions that the measures will actually lower costs, was the same claim made eight years ago of policies designed to displace the use of fossil fuels. When the outcome of those subsidies emerged as higher prices and lower reliability, as many of us predicted they would, these were blamed on other factors (inadequate network spending, ancient coal plants, price gouging by energy businesses etc.).  The agitprop journal of the renewable lobby, RenewEconomy, noting record electricity prices in the 2019 March quarter, laid the blame squarely with coal and gas generation!

The electorate’s views, to which politicians are responding, have been conditioned by the relentless propagation of alarmism, which has gone largely uncontested.  Among the undeniable facts is the Green Left capture of our schools, which has left a generation of children and young adults convinced dangerous temperature increases, wildfires, droughts, oceanic rising, loss of the coral reefs and so on are inevitable unless urgent action is taken.

In the UK, in response to schoolchildren paralysing London to combat an imagined “extinction crisis”, the UK Parliament voted to endorse the notion that we are facing a climate change emergency. Can Australia’s post-election parliament see things in a different light? Unlikely.

Institutional green alarmism has gone well beyond the schools.  The children’s action in wagging classes to block traffic  and chant slogans is endorsed and encouraged by the UN, which swears blind one million species are threatened.  Leveraging on this, another study sees a need to expel human influence from half of the planet in order to prevent a massive extinction that allegedly threatens the planet itself.  This Global Deal for Nature would prevent damage to 30 per cent of land and oceans by 2030 and 50 per cent by 2050.

Though the Coalition might survive the present election due to a mixture of rather extreme spending and regulatory policies by the ALP, the decision to target urban seats and passively accept climate hysteria means a continued shift to the green left.  This will leave us far poorer.

Taking a contrary view,  John Quiggin notes that the ABARE 1996 estimates, the model Brian Fisher employed to quantify the effects of current ALP climate policies, put the cost of holding emissions at 1990 levels by 2020 at $10,000 per family. Quiggin thinks the ABARE forecast is an overestimate because it fails to account for an inherent flexibility within the economy and for lower costs entailed in renewable energy.  But, as he explains, the forecast is the cumulative loss. In fact the income outcome is likely underestimated since it resulted from controls over land-clearing, restrictions on irrigators and the subsidies to renewables.  The newly proposed policies take these measures to a higher level of intrusion and, unless there are dramatic technological breakthroughs, the costs will be much greater (and if there are such breakthroughs the measures will be unnecessary).

Environmental policies are driving new dimensions in politics, seen in the American Green Left’s visceral hatred of Trump.  In Australia we see politicians and others the Green Left opposes being egged and assaulted, a particularity odious event being Tony Abbott having faeces left on his doorstep in a hollowed-out book.

The Green Left’s militancy is rising, its preening self-regard justifying outrages against people, property and civil discourse, its determination to oppose, confront and silence all opposition seen in demonstrations at universities and “platform denial” for all who dare to differ, from the egg-splatted Fraser Anning to Jordan Peterson and his audiences being harassed. Every action incites a reaction, as Newton tells us, and as a society we need to be very concerned about what comes next. Will we see the so-far restrained Right tear up the rulebook as well? The silencing of one point of view by another is contagious; replace civil argument with dog dirt on an opponent’s doorstep and you can only assume a likewise and no less regrettable response.

What is certain is that if we proceed to strangle the economy with regulations that impose costs on mineral- and agricultural-based activities, in which our international comparative advantage lies, we will be considerably worse off in every sense.  

9 comments
  • Alice Thermopolis

    Thanks Alan
    An accurate and disturbing account of how the bogeyman of the age, nebulous “climate change”, is driving national politics. Who would have thought so many could be duped into believing he nation’s weather/climate could be changed by government decree? We have, alas, no King Canute to convince them otherwise.

    What an irony, too, if Clive Palmer emerges as kingmaker this month.

    In 2014, two high-net-worth chaps appeared together unexpectedly in the Great Hall of Parliament House. They spoke for 11 minutes about saving the world from a “climate crisis” and then zipped off to dinner.

    How did Albert Arnold Gore – 45th Vice-President of the United States (1993–2001), joint Nobel Laureate 2007 (for “peace”, not climate science) – spiritual leader of the climate-calamity movement, patron saint of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) alarmism – come to team up with Mr Palmer and torpedo Tony Abbott’s plans to shut down agencies like the CEFC?

    As to what caused Mr Palmer’s “road to Damascus conversion on climate change” in 2014, Tony Jones asked him this question on Lateline.

    Tony Jones: I’m still trying to get my head around how much you’ve changed in the matter of two or three months. When I asked you, back in April, about the consensus of scientific experts, you said, “I can get a group of scientists together and pay them whatever I want to come up with any solution.” What actually changed your mind here? It can’t have been half an hour with Al Gore in your office today.

    For the answer, go to: https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2014/07/al-clives-alvation/

  • padraic

    I am not surprised that a Green supporter does not know the real purpose of a book.

  • Tezza

    Well observed, Alan. Another aspect in play is that we are now living a second decade of negligible productivity growth and little real per capita GDP growth. So politics is now a zero sum contest of spiteful debate in which the left proposes higher taxes on saving and ever-larger public spending on unionised labour, tricked up as the only path to real income growth for the oppressed masses. The Liberals are hog-tied in responding because they are also advocates for high energy costs and high immigration.

  • Simon Morgan

    Going by the Leaders’ debate tonight, the climate change madness is not ending anytime soon. And there is no doubt Mr. Morrison is a devotee, just not quite as bonkers as Shorten and Natali.

    Shorten compared taking action on C.C to tackling asbestos! He says ‘we didn’t ask the cost of tackling asbestos, it was something that had to be done’. The question asked by Sabra Lane indicated there was not the slightest doubt that AGW was real, that the droughts, floods and fires were getting worse – blah, blah, blah.

    I’m going to be voting for the Conservatives under Cory Bernardi – one of the few remaining sane people in the parliament.

  • ianl

    As the country becomes poorer and poorer, the inner-city millenials driving this will concentrate more and more on strip-mining the assets of older people. They will need the money, you see.

    About a week ago, city-centric Bernard Salt (disaffectionately known as Saltlick) had a truly spiteful, malicious op-ed published, where he basically detailed this strip mining, down to removing expensive treatments of cancer for older people. Genuinely nasty.

    Again, those who think this comment is over the top need to provide a practical, rational, useful way of ameliorating the growth of this malignancy. About 12 months or so ago, I made this same point to Alan Moran, who then oopsy-dood his way out by saying “Defeatist”. Well, where are we now ? Naive optimism is not a strategy.

  • padraic

    ianl – absolutely right about the callous approach to older Australians – the sooner we die the better for them – vide the Green-Left state sponsored killing of oldies in Victoria via euthanasia – for them the less humans on the planet the better. They protest the culling of kangaroos and rabbits, but humans??

  • Biggles

    What a pity that before the UK Parliament voted to endorse the notion that we are facing a global warming emergency, Jeremy Corbyn didn’t consult his brother Piers. Jeremy would have learned from his astro-physicist brother that the real emergency is that the Earth is in fact cooling as the Grand Solar Minimum advances. Death by starvation awaits millions of people over the next decade.

  • en passant

    In the 1920’s Italy had its Black Shirt bully boys
    In the 1930’s Germany had its Brown Shirt bully boys
    In the 1930’s Britain had its Black Shirt bully boys
    In the 2010’s Australia has its Green Goon bully boys, girls and others.
    I leave next week for my alternative home that is building more coal-fired power stations than the total Oz has now. To encourage savings to pay for them they do not tax money deposited into savings accounts.
    Goodbye & good luck – you’ll need it, because the Greenshit Morons who actively want to destroy this evil country have already won their war.

  • whitelaughter

    And this is the comment that sums it all up:

    padraic – 8th May 2019

    I am not surprised that a Green supporter does not know the real purpose of a book.

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