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Tag Archives: Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

The LNP – The party who cried wolf

We’ve all heard the fable of The boy who cried wolf.

There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!”

The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.

“Don’t cry ‘wolf’, shepherd boy,” said the villagers, “when there’s no wolf!” They went grumbling back down the hill.

I’m sure you know the story.

A similar fable is being played out in our political paddock but with different players; the shepherd boy is replaced by the LNP, the villagers the Australian electorate and the big bad wolf the big bad ‘carbon tax’.

I heard this cry of ‘wolf’ recently when the shout rang through the media that the Libs tip $560m carbon bill on buildings:

The carbon tax will add $560 million to the costs of running hospitals, schools, courts and other government buildings during its first three years, according to a Coalition analysis of the climate change scheme.

Independent schools – which teach more than 500,000 children across Australia – have warned they may have to raise tuition fees to offset an estimated $28 million rise in annual energy bills.

And private hospitals claim the carbon tax will add up to $36 million to their annual expenses, although they say there is no evidence the greenhouse scheme has yet led to rises in patient charges.

According to new analysis by the Coalition and based on a report by the Climate Change Department, the carbon tax will add $558.9 million to the energy costs of public and private hospitals, schools, TAFE colleges, courts, galleries, libraries and museums through to 2015/16.

The Coalition initially claimed the carbon tax sums only applied to public institutions – but later conceded that it also included private schools and hospitals, after being corrected by the Gillard Government.

Hospitals – which receive around $50 billion a year in public funding – will have to fork out $227 million in higher electricity and gas charges, while schools will be hit with a $129 million carbon bill.

Bill Daniels, the executive director of the Independent Schools Council of Australia, last night said there were “two possible outcomes of this additional cost. Either school fees from parents would need to be increased to compensate, or schools would have to seek cost savings from the provision of educational services.”

Well that certainly sounds like ‘wolf’ to me. If the Coalition would bother to investigate whether these claims are factual or fictitious, as I have, they need not have imitated the discredited shepherd boy.

I particularly want to point out what I’d call a furphy in regards to the increased power costs expected to be thrust upon the independent schools. Mr Daniels, despite his role as executive director of the Independent Schools Council of Australia apparently must have had no idea of the National Solar School Program where:

Over $217 million has been provided to 5,310 schools (or almost 60 per cent of all Australian schools) to install renewable energy systems, rainwater tanks and a range energy efficiency measures.

The solar power systems already installed are producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 4600 average households every day.

The funding has helped to educate students about renewable energy and energy efficiency, and that everyday actions can prevent the production of millions of tonnes of carbon pollution.

A spokesperson from the former Department of Climate Change estimates that on average (disregarding the size of the school or the number of solar photovoltaic panels installed) each school has reduced their energy costs by $5,000 a year. Therefore, over the three year period the power costs for 5,310 schools will reduce by $79.5M. That’s a fair whack we can take off the LNP’s $560M wolf-crying debt.

The estimate provided by the department spokesperson is not a stab in the dark amount. The savings are verifiable on publicly available web sites, such as on where hundreds of Australian schools publish the amount of data generated by their solar photovoltaic panels and how much the generated solar power has reduced their power costs since installation. Click on the photo on the sunnyportal that says ‘Publicly available plants’ (plants include schools) and see if your local school uses this site and if so, how much they have saved. I chose the All Saints Catholic School in Casula, Sydney, randomly. Click on their link and you’ll find this little gem under Plant Review:

CO2 avoided:
35,072.73 kg
AUD 8,194.56

That’s one independent school that has so far reduced its power costs by $8,194.56. So much for the increased power costs because of the ‘carbon tax’ that Bill Daniels bemoans. And, obviously, who the LNP are happy to use a credible source. The Government has provided funding of $217M which will contribute to decreased power costs in the range of $79.5M every three years and the LNP pluck out a bloke who says that the ‘carbon tax’ would have a dastardly effect on schools . . . and then they cry ‘wolf’.

Incidentally, nowhere have I found anything to support the Opposition’s claim that “based on a report by the Climate Change Department, the carbon tax will add $558.9 million to the energy costs of public and private hospitals, schools, TAFE colleges, courts, galleries, libraries and museums through to 2015/16”.

I’ve found an error of $79.5M in the Opposition’s costing just on schools alone. Amongst the further readings (below) millions more are to be found. Hundreds of millions, in fact. Too many to include in this post.

There is no wolf. This story ends a bit differently to the popular fable.

Further reading:

Big savings through Energy Efficiency Opportunities program

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Voting for action

In our previous piece, Climate change ‘a lay person’s dilemma’ John Lord provided a logical argument in consideration as to whether to believe or not believe in climate change. His logic cannot be argued with:

Now that’s not to say that they should not have a view and that that view should not be considered as should any laypersons if they are of that ilk. But surely, we must respect the science otherwise you put into question all science.

… for me as a layperson it seems logical to support the evidence the scientists have produced. I think all the people of this earth and our planet deserve the benefit of any doubt.

Alternatively, when science discovers a cure for cancer do I just say crap?

Climate change is sure to be a major and hotly debated election issue in 2013 but I doubt we’ll see the arguments following the same logic. Well, not from Tony Abbott that is. Although I doubt he’ll resort to his famous and ill-conceived climate change is crap mantra, I can hazard a guess that just about everything he says will also be ill-conceived. Take this piece of prophecy:

Mr Abbott pledged at the 2010 election to cut the Commonwealth payroll by 12,000 jobs but his economic policy outlined today could see that number increased.

Major targets will be the Health Department, Education and Defence Materiel Organisation while the Department of Climate Change would be abolished completely (my bold).

Is he aware of the programs and initiatives the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency administer? Does he know what they do Is he interested in promoting energy efficiency even if he doesn’t believe in climate change? I’d say the answer to those is no, no and no. The department has the words ‘climate’ and ‘change’ in its title. It therefore needs to go.

We learn yesterday that Mr Abbott is to embark on a mini election campaign as he gears up for this years battle. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say about climate change in the mini campaign or the campaign proper. He could come up with anything. And it will follow no logic. So far he hasn’t come up with anything to indicate he has an idea of what he is talking about. He doesn’t believe in climate change yet prattles on as if he’s a leading expert in the field.

Take these pearls of wisdom, which add nothing to his credibility but serve to demonstrate that he simply babbles along:

So this is a government which is proposing to put at risk our manufacturing industry, to penalise struggling families, to make a tough situation worse for millions of households right around Australia. And for what? To make not a scrap of difference to the environment any time in the next 1000 years.

Well, that’s not right. According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who just happen to know a bit more on the subject than him, confirm that:

Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.

But nice try. Should have kept his mouth shut, as with this one:

There is no doubt that we should do our best to rest lightly on the planet and there is no doubt that we should do our best to emit as few waste products as possible, but, having said that, whether carbon dioxide is quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be is not yet proven.

Well, that’s not right either.

Over the past 10,000 years, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has remained at relatively stable levels. However, human CO2 emissions over the past few centuries have upset this balance. The increase in CO2 has some direct effects on the environment. For example, as the oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, it leads to acidification that affects many marine ecosystems. However, the chief impact from rising CO2 is warmer temperatures.

Dear readers, I suggest you take a deep breath before reading his next gem.

Climate change is a relatively new political issue, but it’s been happening since the earth’s beginning. The extinction of the dinosaurs is thought to have been associated with climate change.

What school did that man go to? It is universally agreed that the climate changed because a great big asteroid bumped into the planet 65 million years ago. Perhaps he knows something we don’t. It would be nice if he could share his knowledge with us. The scientific community would welcome the findings of his clandestine research.

And if you were ever in any doubt that his interests side with big business, then this should remove it:

These so-called nasty big polluters are the people that keep the lights on. I mean, let’s not forget how essential these people are to the business of daily life.

Does he not know of green, renewable energy-based power, for example:

… geothermal energy is available at all times, concentrated solar thermal energy has storage capability, and wind energy can be stored in compressed air.

He continues:

I am not setting myself up as the great expert here, but the Hadley Institute in Britain, which is apparently one of the most reputable of these measuring centres, according to press reports, has found that after heating up very significantly in the previous 25 years, there seems to have been a slight cooling, but at a high plateau I’ll accept that.

He’s true in one aspect: he is no expert. Here is what the experts say:

The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

But still, he defies the experts:

The fact that we have had if anything cooling global temperatures over the last decade, not withstanding continued dramatic increases of carbon dioxide emissions, suggests the role of CO2 is not nearly as clear as the climate catastrophists suggest.

No, climate scientists are not catastrophists. Mr Abbott is, however. Global warming won’t ruin the country but measures to address it will, apparently.

Now for some contradictions:

I am, as you know, hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change. […] I mean, I just think that the science is highly contentious, to say the least.

OK then, let’s not do anything about it. Why then, suggest we do and at a time that suits Tony Abbott?

Even if global warming is as bad as the doomsayers claim, it’s better to respond correctly than to respond tomorrow. Man-made CO2 emission have been happening for centuries and I daresay the planet could cope if we respond intelligently in 2012 rather than foolishly in 2010.

One more:

The climate has changed over the eons and we know from history, at the time of Julius Caesar and Jesus of Nazareth the climate was considerably warmer than it is now. […] Climate change happens all the time and it is not man that drives those climate changes back in history. It is an open question how much the climate changes today and what role man plays.

It’s the old sceptic’s answer that climate is always changing. For a man who contains such a mass of scientific knowledge he should know that:

A common skeptic argument is that climate has changed naturally in the past, long before SUVs and coal-fired power plants, so therefore humans cannot be causing global warming now. Interestingly, the peer-reviewed research into past climate change comes to the opposite conclusion. To understand this, first you have to ask why climate has changed in the past. It doesn’t happen by magic. Climate changes when it’s forced to change. When our planet suffers an energy imbalance and gains or loses heat, global temperature changes.

There are a number of different forces which can influence the Earth’s climate. When the sun gets brighter, the planet receives more energy and warms. When volcanoes erupt, they emit particles into the atmosphere which reflect sunlight, and the planet cools. When there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the planet warms. These effects are referred to as external forcings because by changing the planet’s energy balance, they force climate to change.

It is obviously true that past climate change was caused by natural forcings. However, to argue that this means we can’t cause climate change is like arguing that humans can’t start bushfires because in the past they’ve happened naturally. Greenhouse gas increases have caused climate change many times in Earth’s history, and we are now adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at a increasingly rapid rate.

He hardly inspires a vote for action.

And what would he possibly replace the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency with? The Department of Extinct Dinosaurs comes to mind.


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You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

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