I cannot tell if Liberal MP, Craig Kelly, is dumb as a post or if he thinks we are.
Highlighting the internal divisions in the Liberal Party, we have Josh Frydenberg, the Energy and Environment Minister, throwing his support behind electric cars while backbencher (and Tony Abbott ally) Craig Kelly, who sits on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy and is chairman of the Coalition backbench environment and energy committee, is all over the media running them down.
First off, Kelly played the battler card.
“Why should a bloke in Penrith who’s driving a Corolla subsidise a rich person in Balmain buying a Tesla?”
But it’s not just about fair dinkum battlers paying for rich inner-city latte-sipping dilettantes.
Oh no. Mr Kelly is doing it for the environment.
He informs us that a petrol Toyota Corolla emits significantly less carbon dioxide than a Tesla.
I could, as Fact Check did, go through lots of evidence about how Kelly used outdated emissions intensity figures and how he compared a high performance electric vehicle with a sub-compact, low-power petrol one, but that misses the main point.
Leaving aside the emissions created by the manufacture of the vehicle, the CO2 emissions for the running of an electric vehicle depend on the energy mix of the grid supplying the power to charge the vehicle. The higher the proportion of energy from renewable sources, the lower the emissions.
When charged using 100 per cent renewable energy, electric cars produce no emissions other than those used to create parts and build the car.
Yet it was Kelly who last year urged the government to scrap renewable energy targets or risk being responsible for an increase in deaths over winter as people were too scared to turn on their heaters because renewable energy was making power unaffordable.
No mention of the price of gas, I note.
On Monday, Mr Kelly linked to a Daily Mail article quoting an amateur weather forecaster who runs a facebook page called East Coast Weather who says that Australia is set for the coldest winter on record.
Mr Kelly commented in response that “with over $5 billion in subsidies for Chinese solar panels and wind turbines directly added to our electricity bills – we’ll be paying some of the highest electricity prices in the world to keep from freezing.”
Ignoring the gratuitous “Chinese” dogwhistling, there is no mention from Mr Kelly of fossil fuel subsidies, no mention of inflated network costs, no mention of gas exports, and, most significantly, no mention of the data from the Bureau of Meteorology released in January which said:
The 11-year mean temperature for 2007–2017 was the highest on record at 0.61 °C above average. Seven of Australia’s ten warmest years have occurred since 2005 and Australia has experienced just one cooler than average year in the last decade (2011). Background warming associated with anthropogenic climate change has seen Australian annual mean temperature increase by approximately 1.1 °C since 1910. Most of this warming has occurred since 1950.
In May last year, Craig Kelly applauded Donald Trump’s anticipated exit from the Paris climate accord, describing the deal as “cactus”.
Despite every regulatory body, every stakeholder, every scientist, every economist and every commentator blaming a decade of toxic politics for our current energy crisis and inaction on climate change, the Coalition is happy to send out this ignorant man to be their spokesperson in the media, a man who would rather rely on what he reads on facebook than actual evidence.
Malcolm Turnbull is incapable of getting his own party to agree on a direction let alone leading the country in the direction we must go to deal with the existential threat posed by climate change.
Will Labor have the courage to do what must be done?
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