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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Tell me what I want to hear - » The Australian Independent Media Network

Tell me what I want to hear - » The Australian Independent Media Network

Tell me what I want to hear

As it becomes increasingly apparent that households will not be
$550 a year better off without the carbon tax we hear the rhetoric
change.  Andrew Laming said

“It will be $550 lower than it otherwise would be, but if other
elements have made prices go up then you won’t see a $550 fall on any
bill.  But you’ll be $550 better off than you otherwise would have been,
and that’s a very important caveat.”

So if I understand him correctly, because prices are going up at a
slower rate that is a cut.  How come the same does not apply to funding
for health, education, and pensions?

Despite cutting $80 billion from State funding for health and
education, Abbott assures us that this is not a cut because funding goes
up each year, albeit by less than promised.  Likewise, Tony repeats
over and over that pensions will go up twice a year.  The fact that they
will be going up by less (CPI rather than AMWE), thus expanding the
relative gap in standard of living, is not to be considered a cut.

Having abandoned carbon pricing, and facing criticism of, and
opposition to, its Direct Action Plan, the government, at the behest of
its masters, has now set its sights on the Renewable Energy Target.

Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia, recently wrote

“We might be able to farewell the carbon tax, but it is just one of a
long line of green energy policies which federal and state governments
have layered on top of one another that are driving up the cost of

It is the cumulative impact of these policies that is pushing up the
cost of electricity and making our businesses less competitive.

Repeal of the carbon tax therefore must be the beginning of removing
shortsighted schemes and programs, and the start of a process to design
an integrated approach to climate change and energy policy that supports
rather than weighs down our economic competitiveness and jobs.”

Tony Shepherd,
the man chosen to lead the “audit” of government expenditure, was also
chair of the Business Council of Australia, which threw its weight
behind the government’s move to repeal the carbon price.  As a previous
chairman of Transfield Services, he has long-established ties to the
Liberal Party and ex-NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, and was an outspoken
critic of the Gillard government.  He criticised the carbon tax
legislation and warned of the dangers of Australia leading the world on
climate change, stating “tails do not wag dogs”.

Shepherd wants nuclear power to be in the energy policy mix, not “excluded on ideological grounds”, which, as Crikey
points out, seems to forget that for Australia nuclear power is
excluded on simple maths — it’s hideously expensive, compared even with

In January 2012, Maurice Newman, head of Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council, wrote in the Spectator

“Even before they threatened my property, I was opposed to wind
farms. They fail on all counts. They are grossly inefficient, extremely
expensive, socially inequitable, a danger to human health,
environmentally harmful, divisive for communities, a blot on the
landscape, and don’t even achieve the purpose for which they were
designed, namely the reliable generation of electricity and the
reduction of CO2 emissions.”

In an interview on Lateline, Newman said

“I just look at the evidence. There is no evidence. If people can
show there is a correlation between increasing CO2 and global
temperature, well then of course that’s something which we would pay
attention to. But when you look at the last 17.5 years where we’ve had a
multitude of climate models, and this was the basis on which this whole
so-called science rests, it’s on models, computer models. And those
models have been shown to be 98 per cent inaccurate.  CO2 is not a

Newman is calling for the RET to be scrapped  saying

“Whether the Coalition will change their policy on the RET is up to
them … I believe it should be removed because the basis upon which we
accepted in good faith that we needed it is no longer there.  When we
look at the experience of Germany, they have not been successful in
reducing emissions; when we look at the science it no longer supports
the global warming theory and when we look at the health and economic
effects of windfarms and the obscene wealth transfer from poor to rich
we have to ask: why are we persisting with them? I think it is a crime
against the people.”

David Murray, a former CEO of the Commonwealth bank of Australia,
former head of the $90 billion Future Fund, and the man chosen by  Tony
Abbott to lead the review of the $5 trillion Australian financial
services industry, has also dismissed the threat of climate change, and
suggested climate scientists had no integrity.

In an interview on ABC TV’s Lateline Program, Murray said the climate problem is “severely overstated.”

Asked what it would take to change his mind about the climate
science, particularly in light of the recent IPCC 5th assessment report,
Murray replied: “When I see some evidence of integrity amongst the
scientists themselves,” – an interesting comment considering what has
come out about shonky practices at the Commonwealth Bank that he led.

He said if he were in a leadership role, he would “set up some
scientific approach to get a community consensus here about what is the
truth on this matter.” Rather than listening to every major scientific
institution around the world, and the overwhelming scientific consensus,
he wants “community consensus”?

Murray’s appointment to head the first full scale review of the
financial system in 17 years is problematic given his stance on climate
change. The financial services industry is probably the most exposed to
risk created by a changing climate, changing policy, and the likelihood
of stranded assets as the world accelerates towards a low carbon

A growing number of actuaries, advisors and investor groups are
raising concerns that banks and funds managers are “flying blind” on
climate risk because they are effectively ignoring the issue.

They argue that systemic reviews, be they in finance or resources of
manufacturing, need rigorous attention to how the world is changing.
Denying climate change is the wrong way to start.

In 2011, Dick Warburton became the executive chairman of the
newly-formed lobby group Manufacturing Australia, whose members included
big players like Amcor, BlueScope Steel and Boral and small-to-medium
business.  Their aim was to urge for a delay to carbon tax legislation.

When Warburton, a self-professed sceptic, was interviewed on the ABC, the following exchange took place:

TICKY FULLERTON: You said earlier today that why should we be doing
this when the rest of world is actually pulling out of carbon taxes and
the ETS? I’m just wondering what countries you’re thinking about there?

DICK WARBURTON: Canada has announced that they’re not going to go
ahead with any carbon tax, so has Korea, so has Japan. They’ve made
those announcements they’re not going ahead. And no country has gone
ahead with a carbon tax or an ETS since Copenhagen.

TICKY FULLERTON: Can I take you up on that?  Because my understanding
is that they are – Japan is still going to be putting a carbon tax in
place; in Canada the carbon taxes are being put in – going to be
scheduled in through different states. And indeed, in Korea, they used
their stimulus money into new green initiatives. And so these are very
strong moves. They may be shifted back a bit, but everybody’s moving in
that direction, aren’t they?

DICK WARBURTON: No, they might be doing moves like Korea – you’re
talking about is the moves of mitigation or moves of change. That’s
good. I’m very much in favour of that. But they announced that they
would not be introducing an ETS (inaudible). Canada announced it
straight after the election. They announced that. Japan, I can’t recall
when they made the statement, but Canada and Korea definitely have.

Mr Warburton may like to change his sources of information.

South Korea’s
only securities exchange, the Korea Exchange, is reported to have won a
contract to operate world’s second largest Emissions Trading Scheme
(ETS) from the start of 2015.

Two Japanese regions have operational mandatory ETSs in place: Tokyo
and Saitama. Similar schemes, although likely voluntary, are being or
have been considered for the Osaka-Kansai Prefecture and the Chiba

In March 2010, the Japanese government introduced the “Basic Act on
Global Warming Countermeasures.”  An initial feature of the Act was a
nation-wide emissions trading system (ETS) that would have begun in
April 2013.

While this nation-wide ETS was removed from the Act in December 2010,
other cap-and-trade measures, such as the Japanese Voluntary ETS (which
began in 2005 and became part of the Experimental ETS in 2008), the
Tokyo ETS, and the Experimental ETS (the trial period was for 2008-2012,
and the government continues to encourage firms to participate), have
been active in the country.

According to Japan’s former National Strategy Minister,
Koichiro Gemba, the primary reason that the Japanese ETS was deferred
was because fellow nations (particularly the United States and
Australia) struggled to develop their own robust climate policies.

With the Government’s recent coal-fired electricity regulations, Canada became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units.

”Our approach will foster a permanent transition towards lower or
non-emitting types of generation such as high-efficiency natural gas and
renewable energy.”

The Province of Alberta passed its Specified Gas Emitters Regulation in 2007 establishing an emissions intensity trading scheme.

To achieve its emissions reduction goal, the Quebec government has
enacted regulations for an ETS. As with the Californian scheme, it began
in 2013.

Warburton said on repeated occasions that climate science was not
settled. “On the cause there’s huge debate about whether carbon dioxide
is the main cause.”

Last year, Tony Abbott said “We have to accept that in the changed
circumstances of today, the renewable energy target is causing pretty
significant price pressure in the system and we ought to be an
affordable energy superpower … cheap energy ought to be one of our
comparative advantages,”

Earlier, the Climate Change Authority’s review of Labor’s renewable
energy scheme had concluded that the current targets should be kept.
Although it had the statutory obligation to undertake the next review,
the government moved quickly to appoint its own inquiry and what better
man to appoint to head the RET review panel than Dick Warburton?   The
other members of the panel are Matt Zema, the CEO of the Australian
Energy Market Operator, Shirley In’t Veld, the former head of WA
government owned generation company Verve Energy, and Brian Fisher, the
former long-term head of ABARE who gained notoriety for his positions on
climate policies and is a noted free-market hardliner.

Environmentalists’ fears that this inquiry was set up to reach a
predetermined conclusion were strengthened by the government’s rapid
moves to cut funding in this area. The budget recommended the abolition
of the $3.1 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency, or ARENA, an
institution formed to help bring new technologies into production and
deployment, and to fund Australia’s world-leading solar research. While
it retained funding to meet its existing contracts, it had almost no
funds to enter into any new agreements.

But what can we expect when we have the Prime Minister
who said in a radio interview he understood why people were anxious
about windfarms that were “sprouting like mushrooms all over the fields
of our country”.

“If you drive down the Federal Highway from Goulburn to Canberra and
you look at Lake George, yes there’s an absolute forest of these things
on the other side of the lake near Bungendore,” he said.

It must be on the daily song sheet as we heard the Treasurer make similar comments.

“If I can be a little indulgent please, I drive to Canberra to go to
Parliament, I drive myself and I must say I find those wind turbines
around Lake George to be utterly offensive.  I think they’re just a
blight on the landscape.”

The government is under pressure from the coal lobby, incumbent
utilities, network operators and state governments to either dump, or
sharply reduce the renewable energy target.

As Ross Garnaut said

“Whether or not Abbott really does believe in anthropogenic climate
change, it is extraordinary that the four business leaders the
government has appointed to senior advisory roles – Dick Warburton on
the inquiry into renewable energy, David Murray on the financial system
inquiry, Maurice Newman to chair the PM’s Business Advisory Council, and
Tony Shepherd to head the Commission of Audit – all share a strong view
that the science on climate change is wrong.”

ian macfarlaneSeeing
Senator Cory Bernardi heading the Senate Committee into Direct Action –
”I do not think human activity causes climate change and I haven’t seen
anything that changes my view. I remain very sceptical about the
alarmists’ claims.” – and Senator Ian Macdonald wearing a high vis
“Australians for Coal” vest in the Senate at the behest of the Minerals
Council, just underlines what we are dealing with – a bunch of
hand-picked flat earthers who get their climate advice from Christopher
Monckton and Andrew Bolt.


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