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Good luck in Paris

 

On 19 June 2013, Greg Hunt said on Sky News:

“We agree on the national targets to reduce our emissions by five per cent by 2020. We also agree on the renewable energy target. And one of the things we don’t want to do is to become a party where there is this wild sovereign risk where you are, where businesses take steps to their detriment on the basis of a pledge and a policy of Government.”

In July 2013 at the Clean Energy Week conference Labor’s Yvette D’Ath explicitly challenged the Coalition’s representative at the conference, Simon Birmingham, to stop talking about a 20 per cent target and make it clear whether it would keep the target at 41,000GWh.

Birmingham responded without fluffing around, stating that the Coalition supported the RET as currently legislated with its fixed 41,000GWh target.

While Hunt now does a Pyne by saying when they committed to a 20% Renewable Energy Target before the election what they really meant was…..followed by some fancy backpedalling… his own Department website still states

“The large-scale targets ramp up until 2020 when the target will be 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity generation.”

When pressed about the 41,000 target in an interview on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News on August 28 2014 Hunt said

“Look, with respect, our promise – is that our policy was for a 20 per cent, for a 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target, but that there would be a review which had to come, by law, under the ALP’s own law, it was due to come this year.”

He seems to ignore the fact that the “law” states quite clearly that it is the Climate Change Authority that must conduct the review, not a hand-picked panel of climate sceptics and fossil fuel lobbyists.

The Warburton Report also clearly states

The expanded RET scheme, which commenced in January 2010, is designed to ensure at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020. To achieve this, the legislation contains annual targets for large-scale renewable generation, expressed in gigawatt hours (GWh) that rise each year to 41,000 GWh in 2020.

Whilst coming up with the predictable recommendation that “In the presence of lower cost alternatives, the costs imposed by the RET are not justifiable,” they could not hide the facts.

“Analyses suggest that, overall, the RET is exerting some downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices. This is not surprising given that the RET is increasing the supply of electricity when electricity demand has been falling.

The direct costs of the RET currently increase retail electricity bills for households by around four per cent, but modelling suggests that the net impact of the RET over time is relatively small.

The Panel found that the RET has broadly met its objectives. It has encouraged significant additional renewable electricity generation, with output from large-scale renewable generators having almost doubled as a result of the scheme. Installations of small-scale systems have exceeded expectations, with output from these systems already exceeding levels anticipated for 2020. To date, the RET has delivered a modest level of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emissions reductions. Commonwealth, state and territory environmental regulation provides a framework for ensuring that the RET promotes the use of ecologically sustainable renewable energy sources.

Over the past five years demand for electricity has been significantly lower than forecast and electricity demand in 2020 is now expected to be much lower than when the current RET was adopted. At the same time the cost of renewable technologies has fallen, particularly for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. These factors mean that the RET could achieve a 26 per cent share of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.”

Perhaps the real reason for the panel’s recommendations is revealed by the statement that the renewable energy target results in “a transfer of wealth among participants in the electricity market” and we can’t have that now can we. If anyone’s going to get wealthy here it must be the coal miners, not those wind farm people who are making us all sick.

And so much for the One Million Solar Roofs. When asked about this, the Minister’s office said “the Government will take due care and consideration in the design and implementation of any further large initiatives to support solar energy”. Coalition speak for another broken election promise.

The Energy White Paper simultaneously delivers the message that we must privatise to increase competition and keep prices down whilst decrying the competition provided by the renewable energy sector because the increased supply has driven down prices.

The Direct Action Plan has become pointless with toothless safeguard mechanisms to punish polluters who increase emissions.

“Direct Action has no point if it does not have an effective safeguards mechanism and what the government has released seems like a try-on,” Nick Xenophon said. “It goes against what they promised me in the discussions before the vote. I was assured this safeguards mechanism would have real teeth. There is no point in the government spending $2.55bn if there is no requirement to cap or reduce emissions from industry.”

It is becoming increasingly impossible to believe this government has any intention of accepting the burden of addressing emissions reduction. Good luck in Paris is all I can say.

 

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25 comments

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  1. Roswell

    Another great post, Kaye.

  2. stephentardrew

    Poor old Nick took them at their word.

    Bad call sunshine.

    Surprise surprise they lied.

    Who would’a thunk?

    There are the quick, the naive and the delusional.

    Time to wake up and realise that trusting Abbott has dire consequences.

  3. Kaye Lee

    The issues paper said baselines for emissions would “reflect the highest level of reported emissions for a facility over the historical period 2009-10 to 2013-14”. If companies exceeded the baseline calculated that way, they could have their emissions averaged out of the next three years, or apply for a baseline “expansion”, or apply for an exemption, for example after a natural disaster. Only if that all failed would they be required to buy emission reductions.

  4. Owen

    They need to remember ,trusting people on their word means nothing if the words are ambiguous, or can be misconstrued……better to judge on performance…. Lies ,Lies nothing but lies……… People should stand by the content of their promise not the intent behind the lie..

  5. Blanik

    Why do they continually refer to the ALP policies to justify their lies? Don’t they yet know that the LNP are now the government and can lie till their hearts content and nobody cares?

    “Look, with respect, our promise – is that our policy was for a 20 per cent, for a 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target, but that there would be a review which had to come, by law, under the ALP’s own law, it was due to come this year.”

    And they are – according to Ms Miranda Devine – by far the most academically ‘qualified’ to govern.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Labor, the renewables industry, big business and energy users have all agreed on a compromise plan for 33,500 gigawatt hours. The industry minister, Ian Macfarlane, says he won’t budge from 32,000 gigawatt hours because the industry can’t build any more. The industry says it certainly can, but the biggest risk is the investment drought during this endless wait for some kind of political compromise.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/australias-climate-change-debate-all-talk-and-no-action?CMP=soc_567

  7. Kaye Lee

    The Urgenda Foundation is suing the Dutch government for knowingly endangering its citizens by failing to prevent dangerous climate change.

    It comes at a time when an increasing number of legal experts around the world have come to believe that the lack of action represents a gross violation of the rights of those who will suffer the consequences. They also argue that the failure of governments to negotiate international agreements does not absolve them of their legal obligation to do their share in preventing dangerous climate change. These arguments are at the core of the Dutch lawsuit and will undoubtedly be put to the test in other countries before too long.

    Even before the case has been heard, the lawsuit is making waves. It has been extensively covered in the Dutch media and has been discussed in Parliament, with several opposition parties speaking in favor. And when and if Urgenda wins, the political question will change from whether the necessary emissions reductions will be achieved to how.

    Last December a group of 11 Belgians, including a few TV personalities and artists, were the first to follow the Dutch example by launching a similar case against their government. Within weeks more than 12,000 people signed on as co-plaintiffs.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/australias-climate-change-debate-all-talk-and-no-action?CMP=soc_567

  8. miriamenglish

    No real surprise here. The IPA is governing Australia, not the bunch of halfwits who call themselves the “Coalition”, and number one on the IPA’s wishlist is to abolish the carbon tax and not to replace it with anything.

    1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

    Their “Direct Action Plan” for emissions has always been a sham. They never intended to have any kind of emissions control. After all, their brainless mouthpiece did say “Climate change is crap.” How could they make it clearer?

    It always amazes me the degree of Big Brother-like double-speak this government offers up. They talk about corporations lowering the price of electricity, when everybody knows from experience that they only raise it and have never brought prices down. Couple that with their intensely anti-wind and anti-solar statements, saying that they cause prices to go up, when everybody can easily see that they push the prices down — solar electric and solar water heating owners see this more immediately than anybody. The price of photovoltaics is decreasing, and two years ago, at the beginning of 2013, was less than half the cost of using grid electricity in Australia. And we all know wind and solar help to reduce emissions while coal is just about the worst possible thing for emissions, so we have to wonder just how delusional these fools are. I choose to think they are merely delusional, not actively evil.

    I just hope they keep attacking Australia’s great landmarks, such as the Barrier Reef and all the millions of people who make their living from it directly and indirectly, and antagonising all the millions of Australians who prefer renewable energy (more than a million households have solar panels installed). I hope they make all the kids who want an education and their parents who will be mostly paying for it hate them with a passion. I hope they continue to make life harder for the increasing numbers of people thrown out of work, and all the pensioners who see the risk of healthcare becoming more expensive and their pensions possibly being whittled away. After coming through the recent worldwide monetary storm so well, I hope Australian businesses wake up and notice how badly the IPA’s government has damaged Australia’s economy in just 18 months, and I hope the IPA just keeps on with its vandalism. I don’t hope this out of any desire for Australians to be hurt, I just hope for it to unmask for once and for all how dangerous these cretins are so that we can get rid of them at the next election.

  9. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    The Urgenda Foundation in the Netherlands and the 11 Belgians have got the right idea.

    Nothing better than court class action to bring the government’s reprehensible inaction and lack of political duty of care to the attention of the public.

    Especially when there is a fiscal penalty to the government, which it then has to explain to its tax-paying public in these so-called ‘times of austerity’. (Not to forget the non-tax-paying public too.)

  10. stephentardrew

    Spot on Miriam.

    I am starting to think that the L-NP are so self-delusional and self-destructive that their tax policy is falling apart. Current research on global warming is damning. They are the two issues that Labor need to attack, not by providing policy alternatives, but by simply, calmly and constantly representing the facts. It’s telling to see that people are getting sick of the childish angry abuse and want more reasoned communication. Even the Murdoch Gods have been caught off guard by the reaction to corporate tax avoidance however the sycophants are desperately trying to right he good ship Abbott.

    I have wondered for some time how long it will be before legal challenges to countries that ignore global warming. The refugee issues is another hot potato. Hockey’s refusal to hit up the his corporate mates is becoming a substantial issue while the implications of global warming are receiving international support.

    I don’t subscribe to the Australian however I saw this provocative article by Mark Coultan.

    Rich godless voting Greens

    “The appeal of the Greens to the rich and godless has been underlined by an analysis of voting patterns in NSW election.”

    What the hell is going on is this satire or
    serious? Could anyone fill me in.

    Those bloody Godless Greens. What the?
    .

  11. Matters Not

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith said:

    Not to forget the non-tax-paying public too

    Indeed. The significant ‘inheritors’ of the future are the generations to come. In particular, the current and future non-taxpayers are the real ‘players’ here, particularly when it comes to ‘climate change’.

    Whether one pays tax or not, (and we now know that the ‘rich’, whether they be corporations or individuals, seriously avoid their ‘responsibilities’), is in a sense somewhat irrelevant.

    It’s a case of ‘fiddling while Rome burns’.

  12. Jexpat

    stephentardrew wrote: I don’t subscribe to the Australian however I saw this provocative article by Mark Coultan.

    Rich godless voting Greens

    The appeal of the Greens to the rich and godless has been underlined by an analysis of voting patterns in NSW election.”

    I’m just beginning my own analysis, since the Assembly DoP’s only came out on the 9th, but on thing that’s interesting in a few electorates I’ve looked at is the number of Fred Nile Group voters who preferenced the Greens. Or Labor. Despite their HTV recommending a #2 to the LNP.

    It’s a pretty surprising number. In Newcastle for example, more than half of CDP voters directed their preferences away from the Liberal candidate, with about 15.5% going to the Greens and close to 14% going to the Cyclist candidate.

    What that goes to show is that there are, even among this seemingly cohesive group, some rather significant crossover (or “wedge”) issues that are affecting voting patterns.

    Overcoming the conventional “wisdom” spouted out incessantly by the corporate media that the Greens “are Satan.” Or “Godless Communists” or something.

  13. CMMC

    Everyone in this nation is a taxpayer from cradle to grave.

  14. stephentardrew

    Thanks a lot Jexpat very interesting.

    Its seem that the L-NP may be loosing some of the base as a new cohort of swing voters come into contention. There may well be a hidden group of voters that have been comparatively silent up to now who may well lead to an unpredicted rout for the conservatives. You can never take into account the subconscious drives that compel people to change their minds at the last minute.

    I have a feeling that handing the middle class a few lollies is not going to cut it since L-NP dysfunction lying, support of their tax avoiding mates and refutation of global warming has become too well entrenched. Do we really think Hockey has the wherewithal to hit his mates up.

    The ATO whistle blower has been getting some air and disclosing complicity in the tax avoidance ponzy scheme.

    This is a golden bullet for Labor and the Greens so let’s hope they take it up.

  15. miriamenglish

    CMMC, you’re correct. GST ensures everybody pays tax. I recently heard some surprising arguments that income and other taxes should be eliminated and that we should rely upon GST alone. I’d always thought GST was a regressive tax that hit low income earners proportionally more, but this argument was pretty persuasive that using only GST (VAT in Europe) could eliminate tax avoidance in the wealthy and would greatly simplify tax rules. It grows out of the idea that the near future will bring massive unemployment as we automate more, and the only way to avoid spiralling down into a dystopia is via a universal basic income — something I’ve long believed to be self-evident. The video is “Basic Income – The Movie” at:

    (It has English subtitles because it seems to be a Swiss documentary made in the lead up to the referendum there on whether they should provide a nation-wide basic income.)

  16. stephentardrew

    Thought this would be pertinent.

    Corporate tax: ex-ATO official criticises rushed settlements, ‘climate of fear’

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/the-economy/corporate-tax-exato-official-criticises-rushed-settlements-climate-of-fear-20150410-1mih87.html

    Senate tax inquiry: Google, Apple, Microsoft policies highlight golden days of tax laxness

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/senate-tax-inquiry-google-apple-microsoft-policies-highlight-golden-days-of-tax-laxness-20150410-1mi9k9.html

  17. Kaye Lee

    “The outlook for coal just gets grimmer with new research out by Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggesting problems for coal producers in both the US and Asian markets.

    BNEF has released an updated five-year outlook for the US power sector which indicates that the United States will resume the downward trajectory in coal consumption in 2015. What’s quite incredible relative to Australia (where coal power stations at least until recently seemed to be almost immortal) is that they expect the US to shut down 23 gigawatts of coal power plant capacity this year, which is a staggering 7% of US total installed coal capacity. This is because a new Mercury and Air Toxics Standard will take effect next week on 16 April. This has acted to bring to a head the demise of aging power plants, with owners unwilling to invest substantial funds to control their air pollutants. On top of the 23GW of closures they expect this year will be a further 30 gigawatts shut before 2020. ”

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/4/10/energy-markets/grim-and-grimmer-analysts-deliver-double-blow-coal?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1278291&utm_campaign=cs_daily&modapt

  18. stephentardrew

    You get the feeling that when Labor returns the economy and resource sectors will be so totally screwed up that it is going to take a mammoth effort to revitalise alternative energy and wind back coal. I think they must know the writing is on the wall however, out of pure greed, they will hang on as long as possible damn the consequences.

    I takes a certain amount of moronic-ism to ignore the empirical facts and live in la la land. They just don’t realise that the blow back, when it comes, will be devastating for them labeled as pariahs and one day likely legally and morally accountable.

    They are the same greed infested oligarchs who brought on the global recession and got off scot free.

    Damn where is the tipping point? How much longer can this crap go on for?

  19. Kaye Lee

    Hugh Grossman, executive director of RepuTex, a company that provides energy and carbon market analysis, said it remained to be seen if Australia could meet its 2020 target of a 5 per cent reduction in emissions from 2000 levels.

    “At this point we think the Emissions Reduction Fund falls short of achieving that emissions reduction target, and falls short by quite some way,” he said.

    “Best case scenario, we see the Emissions Reduction Fund purchasing about 50 per cent of Australia’s abatement task, about 120 million tonnes.

    “At worst, the ERT will purchase around 20 per cent.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-12/analysts-say-direct-action-auction-is-likely-to-fall-short/6383822

    Billions wasted on something that won’t work to replace something that WAS working. This government gives me a headache.

  20. diannaart

    You get the feeling that when Labor returns the economy and resource sectors will be so totally screwed up that it is going to take a mammoth effort to revitalise alternative energy and wind back coal..

    I get the feeling we desperately require laws in place to prevent the complete trashing of a previous administration’s progress. I realise this won’t be easy. As an example where all the t’s have been crossed, i’s dotted, public clearly voted for the policy, (contracts not signed in haste prior to election) – such as the Gonski plan – enough states had signed on and agreements made for the scheme to be implemented – instead all the expense into research and formulation of a workable plan was completely trashed. Such deliberate waste. No single political party can implant its ideology completely over a country – unless Australia is governed by dictatorship -, therefore, it makes sense to build upon what has been achieved, instead of viciously reinventing the wheel again and again.

    All part of the art of compromise which the L-NP lack completely.

  21. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @miriamenglish

    If the GST replaced the other taxes, so high income earners could not avoid paying tax, then I would want a tiered system that identifies exemptions for low income and no income people.

  22. Blanik

    You have my vote, Jennifer. Maybe Mr Shorten’s ALP will do just that. But, don’t bet on it, I think that the ALP want to see life in straya just as it is, LNP style.

    Professional politicians are all the same, corrupt! We need to take power back.

    But how?

  23. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Blanik,

    don’t despair. I recommend you look at how the Australian Progressives offers alternative policies and proactive political performance. See https://www.australianprogressives.org.au/

    Proportional party politics is the future. Goodbye to the dominance of the two old worn out dinosaur parties.

    It’s the collaboration and negotiation strengths of the upcoming parties, the Greens and sane Independents that will make the difference to our socio-economic and environmental requirements.

  24. miriamenglish

    Jennifer, that’s the neat thing behind the universal unconditional basic income. For poor people it more than offsets the GST, whereas for the rich it has no effect on the GST they attract because of their higher spending. This could be even better targeted by putting a higher GST on luxury goods and no GST on essentials.

    Kaye, I suspect we might actually reach the emissions reductions, but not because of the “Direct Action Plan”. Rather the Abbott government is so damaging the Australian economy that emissions will fall as companies go broke and shut down production, homes continue to cut back on electricity, and greater job losses mean less consumption of goods — all of this will reduce emissions, so we might meet the targets… accidentally. I wonder if Abbott will proudly claim responsibility.

  25. Pierre de Fermat

    The actions of the LNP Government on climate change have been weak, cynical, tardy and driven by embarrassment at being such a laggard in the world … but their action regarding the RET has been shameful, given it supports a number of vibrant industries of the future …

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