Greens to wither back to irrelevancy

Not so much Green, as brown… and dead.

Not so much Green, as brown… and dead.

For a few brief months, their star shone bright. Bob Brown, Christine Milne, Sarah Hansen-Young and their band of environmental ideologues basked in the limelight of being junior partner in a coalition of convenience with a desperate minority Labor government.

With their grubby hands finally on the levers of power, the Australian people were treated to a staggering display of ignorance, ineptitude, naiveté, extreme green dogma and ivory-tower logic that was quite the spectacle. In doing so, Labor’s support from its blue collar power base evaporated, allowing Tony Abbott to win government last September in a landslide.

Federal Labor abandoned the extreme left activists ages ago (too late to save their electoral prospects, however), and now the Labor premier in Tasmania is expected to axe the agreement with the Greens as soon as Monday. Not unexpectedly, the knives are out. Union leader Paul Howes yesterday:

“The Greens are a separate, different, independent political force whose views and ideology are contrary to the views and ideology of the labour movement.

“We don’t think it is in the interests of the labour movement to be forming formal allegiances with the Greens.”

Mr Howes said the Tasmanian experience, and the failure of the federal power-sharing agreement between the Greens and the Gillard government struck in 2010, showed the Greens were “not trustworthy”.

He took particular aim at Mr McKim for publicly undermining investment in mining projects in the Tarkine region and the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill. “Nick McKim has behaved atrociously during his time in that cabinet and hasn’t acted like a normal member of any other cabinet,” Mr Howes said.

I suppose we should be glad that some in the Labor party have come to their senses.

Now, however, we can delight in watching the Greens wither and shrivel as they retreat to the political irrelevancy to which they belong. Theirs is a failed ultra-left agenda which is completely at odds with the views of the vast majority of the Australian people – the exception being inner-city urban trendoids who rarely leave the cosy surroundings of Brunswick or Ultimo and have no understanding of the real environmental issues that the country faces.

And if that weren’t galling enough, on a global scale, the Green movement is losing at every turn. Harsh realities, to which the ivory-tower-bound Greens are oblivious, such as the need to keep the lights on in many European countries, has resulted in a rapid return to cheap, dependable coal, over expensive and unreliable wind and solar, ensuring that emissions will continue to rise. Not only that, but massive expansion in coal production in both India and China over the next few decades will ensure that extremist environmental dogma will slip further into the dustbin of history.

The Australian has a lengthy article on the subject here.

Of course, we should all aim to use finite resources sparingly, avoid despoiling the environment, conserve water – these are all common sense actions any reasonable person would take. However, crippling our economies with pointless “weather taxes”, depriving the world’s poorest of a cheap source of energy, and subsidising inefficient, expensive and unreliable renewables is not what people (or governments, it seems) want.

The Greens are feeling the sharp end of those sentiments right now.

Tasmanian turkeys vote for Christmas

Tassie's tied up in it…

Tassie’s tied up in it…

The Australian state of Tasmania is a wonderful example of what happens when you let the Greens get a grip on the levers of government. Unemployment spiralling upwards, and the economy spiralling downwards.

So what better way to make sure that Tassie disappears completely down the gurgler than to tie it up in yet more Green tape. That’ll fix it!

The Tasmanian Government has released a climate change strategy aimed at 100 percent renewable power usage by 2020.

The Climate Smart Tasmania plan includes energy reduction targets across government, land use, infrastructure, transport and waste systems.

The Climate Change Minister, Cassy O’Connor, says its the most comprehensive plan by any Australian Government to reduce carbon emissions as well as adapt to a changing climate.

The strategy sets a new interim 2020 target to reduce carbon emissions to 35 percent below 1990 levels.

Ms O’Connor says its about showing leadership on climate change.

“We now have in Australia a climate denialist Government that is taking us backwards on climate change” she said. [Thank f*ck for that – Ed]

“Tasmania here has extraordinary advantages with our Hydro power, with the carbon in our forests and we do need to show leadership; it’s also the economically sensible thing to do.” (source)

The Tasmanian climate change minister, Cassy O’Connor, must be smoking something pretty strong to write this with a straight face:

Climate change is the biggest challenge we have ever faced. After many decades of scientific evidence that the world is warming, governments and communities around the world are now taking action.

The Tasmanian Government, through this Strategy, has committed to take State-based action to address the climate issues affecting our State, to build on our low-carbon advantage and to ensure we meet our fair share of the global emissions reduction effort. While Tasmania’s emissions represent only 1.3 per cent of Australia’s national total, we still have higher per capita emissions than Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Brazil and India. We are also noticing the impacts of climate change, such as higher average temperatures and more intense extreme events such as bushfires.

Let’s just do the math here: 1.3% of 1.5% (Australia’s emissions as a percentage of the global total) is less than one fiftieth of one whole percent. But the government is prepared to sacrifice jobs, standards of living, the economy, to make an utterly pointless gesture?

If you don’t believe it (which I didn’t at first), you can read about the miles and miles of Green tape here (PDF – 2.8MB).

Climate Madness.

Attempts to cut CO2 are futile – and expensive

Blondie Bjorn

Blondie Bjorn

Bjorn Lomborg makes a sound case for abandoning attempts to cut CO2, and instead look at investing in R & D for renewable energy sources. Even if you accept the worst predictions of the AGW alarmists, it still does not make sense to slash emissions.

All the planet’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have passed virtually unnoticed by the atmosphere and climate. The pointlessness of it all is summed up by Lomborg’s claim that the current EU climate policy will cost $20 trillion over the century, and will reduce global temperatures by 0.05 degrees C. How about that for a cost/benefit result?

I have always believed that strong economies lead to strong research and industry, which will lead more quickly to competitive renewable energy sources. The opposite, slashing CO2 emissions and strangling economies, means that such developments will take longer, and in the mean time, the population will suffer unnecessarily.

He writes:

Global warming is a problem for the future but a benefit now. Lots of people like to point out that global warming means more deaths from heat waves, but they forget that fewer die from cold. In Britain and almost everywhere, more people die from cold than from heat.

Likewise, higher temperatures mean higher costs for air-conditioning but lower costs for heating. Temperature rises will push some crops beyond their optimal range and reduce yields, but CO2 in the atmosphere acts as a fertiliser and has increased global yields significantly.

When economists estimate the net damage from global warming as a percentage of gross domestic product, they find it will indeed have an overall negative impact in the long run but the impact of moderate warming (1C-2C) will be beneficial. It is only towards the end of the century, when temperatures have risen much more, that global warming will turn negative. One peer-reviewed model estimates that it will turn into a net cost only by 2070.

We need to stop claiming that it will be the end of the world. Just as it is silly to deny man-made global warming, it is indefensible to describe it as the biggest calamity of the 21st century.

Here is how to quantify this. The most well-known economic model of global warming is the DICE model by William Nordhaus, of Yale University. It calculates the total costs (from heat waves, hurricanes, crop failure and so on) as well as the total benefits (from cold waves and CO2 fertilisation). If you compare these over the next 200 years, the total cost of global warming is estimated at about $33 trillion.

While this is not a trivial number, you have to put it in context. Over the next 200 years, global GDP will run to about $2200 trillion, so global warming constitutes a loss of about 1.5 per cent of this figure. This is not the end of the world but a problem that needs to be solved.

Next, consider CO2 levels. With huge, green subsidies showing up on our electricity bills, you would be excused for believing that we have managed to cut CO2 substantially. You would be wrong. Global CO2 has risen relentlessly since 1950. In 1997 the Kyoto protocol put legally binding limits on rich-country emissions. But Kyoto and all our fine policies have had no real impact. The only indication of a CO2 reduction was in 2009 when the global recession put us on track to fulfil Kyoto. Had the recession continued, we might have been able to achieve Kyoto.

Not surprisingly, such a policy has no appeal for politicians or voters in the real world.

Kyoto set a target of 36.6 per cent for the rise in global emissions since 1990. In fact they have gone up by 45.4 per cent. With no Kyoto at all, they would have increased by only about half a percentage point to 45.9 per cent. Put simply, the past two decades of climate discussions have had virtually no impact on global emissions.

The latest peer-reviewed overview of the 311 published estimates show that the entire cost of the most likely future damage is about $5 a tonne. This means that cutting CO2 for less than $5 a tonne is probably a good idea, whereas cutting for more is probably a bad deal.

Unfortunately, almost all policies for fighting global warming are bad deals by this $5 yardstick. Most large nations have managed to enact climate policies for electricity that cost a lot more than the good they do.

China has one of the most efficient climate policies on electricity. Yet it still pays about $46 to cut a tonne of CO2, which is nearly eight times more than the global, long-term benefits. Australia pays about half a billion dollars to cut less than 5 per cent of its electricity emissions, paying about $72 a tonne of CO2, or almost 15 times too much. On biofuels, the excess is even greater and emission reductions even smaller. Australia pays 73 times too much at $364 a tonne of CO2, cutting just 0.1 per cent of its total emissions at a cost of $144m. The US pays a staggering 133 times too much, at $666 a tonne of CO2, costing $17.5bn a year and cutting just 0.5 per cent of its total emissions. (source)

So Australia is paying $364 to solve every $5 worth of problems. An efficiency Gillard and Labor would be proud of.

UK: Energy prices rise 140% in eight years

Note the curly eco-globe

And we know the reason: misguided climate change policies forcing generators to rely on expensive, unreliable and inefficient renewables like wind, and penalising (or taxing) the use of cheap energy like coal, oil and gas. All to “save the planet”, naturally.

From the UK Telegraph:

The average household’s annual energy bill of £1,252 now accounts for 11pc of a couple’s basic state pension of £11,175 a year, the study by price comparison website found.

The cost of energy is now the top household worry for Britons (90pc), ahead of the rising cost of food (77pc) and mortgage payments (42pc).

Almost a third of consumers (32pc) say that household energy is unaffordable in the UK, the poll found.

While the average UK household income has increased by 20pc from £32,812 in 2004 to £39,468 today, the average energy bill has risen by 140pc, according to uSwitch figures.

Households were spending an average of £522 a year for their energy in 2004, but now pay £1,252 a year – 3.2pc of income or double the 1.6pc of eight years ago.

Britons now have an average of £297 of disposable income left each month after all essential household bills are paid.

The study found 83pc of people believe that rising energy bills have had an impact on their disposable income, with 17pc of these reporting that they no longer have any disposable income as a result and 27pc saying energy bills have reduced their disposable income dramatically. (source)

Shocking. And once the carbon tax takes effect in Australia, the story will be the same here.

Green subsidies axed to ease Spain's financial crisis


If you were advising the Spanish government on how to get out of the financial hole they are in, I guess you would say, what is the largest, most pointless waste of money right now? And the answer is:

Spain halted subsidies for renewable energy projects to help curb its budget deficit and rein in power-system borrowings backed by the state that reached 24 billion euros ($31 billion) at the end of 2011. 

“What is today an energy problem could become a financial problem,” Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said in Madrid. The government passed a decree today stopping subsidies for new wind, solar, co-generation or waste incineration plants.

The system’s debts were racked up as revenue from state-controlled prices failed to cover the cost of delivering power. Costs have swollen in the past five years because of an increase in regulated payments for the power grid, support for Spanish coal mines and subsidies for renewable energy plants.

“It’s clear they have to make major cuts,” said Francisco Salvador, a strategist at FGA/MG Valores in Madrid. “The government has already ruled out a significant increase in prices, so the cuts will fall in many places and the spotlight is on renewables, but not just on renewables.” (source, via GWPF)

When the patatas fritas are down, expensive, unreliable and inefficient “renewable” energy subsidies are the first to get the chop.

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