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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian's nonsense « Previous | |Next »
June 30, 2006

At a time when South Australia announces a target of sourcing 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2014 an editorial in The Australian denouces the whole approach to sustainable energy. It has a hysterical tone:

When federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran declared this week that wind farms are a "complete fraud" that "only exist on taxpayer subsidies", he injected the first dose of sanity seen in the renewable energy debate for a long time. Wind power fulfils just 2 per cent of the country's electricity needs, is unreliable even on the gustiest of days and is emblematic of everything wrong with the quest for so-called sustainability.

Huh? McGuaran made the remarks in an attempt to roll back the Liberals and raise the profile of the Nationals. Those remarks are just a launching pad:
It is not just on wind farms where politics and feelings are allowed to trump economic reality. Senator Campbell and his ilk like to be seen on the "right" side of the environment. Meanwhile, so-called progressives try to shut down debate over global warming even though the science is far from settled.....The Kyoto Protocol is far too flawed an instrument to reduce pollution. Australia needs to apply cost-benefit analyses to environmental issues, not sentiment or politics....Recycling plants dump toxic chemicals and salt into rivers – including the Murray.

No point in having recycling plants.Let's stay with dumping raw swerage into the Murray so Adelaide can drink it. So can be done?

It's simple.

Even in a world where carbon use is constrained, technologies such as clean coal and geosequestration make more sense for coal-rich Australia than wind power (or nuclear, for that matter). Feelgood environmentalism may win votes. But not only does it fail to pay the bills – it also doesn't save the planet.

So The Australian is speaking for the coal industry. II doesn't even consider research into solar power, not consider energy mixe.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:08 AM | | Comments (6)


The Lord on High Rupert is in town, so no wonder his lackey editor's go all out bashing one of HRH's favourite targets.

The Australian continues to decline, I see. I gave up reading it a couple of years ago, and don't miss it one bit.

I appreciate that editors and journalists of News Ltd in Australia have to impress when their big boss is in town, but they lose public creditibility with their 'rants' when they do so.

Don't they care about about being seen as servile hacks dancing the masters tune? Maybe they see it as part of entertainment? They are entertainers inside the concentric circles that revolve around big media money.

The 'rants' are really a short burst of hate that is switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp. Since the end of the Cold War, refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, Muslims, black and Asian people, and indeed foreigners in general, have increasingly come to take the place that was once occupied by the Left in press demonology.

The media are part of the political establishment. The press (and commercial television?) is a key ally, indeed agent, of the Howard Government's strategies. In the case of the Murdoch papers, such naked collusion with government, trash the idea of the press as a 'fourth estate' - an independent, liberal institution holding government to account on behalf of the people. So we have the parroting of Bush’s myths, such as his claims of bringing democracy to the Middle East, when the very opposite is true.

The rants in the Murdoch Press represent sections of the Muslim community as virtually an occupying force--- or, to use that classic Thatcherite phrase, the 'enemy within'. They seem to adopted a bizarre, paranoid siege mentality with regard to 'foreigners' in general.

I think the fourth estate died a fair while ago now.

In keeping with the modern world, it is now just another product to be consumed.

To a certain extent, all papers have now been tabloid'd, such that sensationalism, bias and poor reporting are all that is left.

In his Latham Diaries Mark Latham says that

It is easier to respect the tabloids and talkback radio as they know that the modern media has degenerated into another form of commerce and infotainment, and cater for it accordingly. The ABC still tries to justify itself in the so-called public interest.

I woudl say tha the ABC (and SBS) try to hang onto the watchdog role as best they can eg. 7.30 Report and Lateline.

Looks as though Australia uses about 250 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year.

As of the end of 2005, there were 59,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generation installed worldwide. That's enough to generate ~170 billion kWh annually, an amount equal to two-thirds of Australia's demand--and most of those wind turbines have been installed in the past 10 years.

Yes, there are issues of variability to be worked through if and when wind rises to that level of anyone's national supply. But it's a joke to call it a trivial energy source.

Tom Gray
American Wind Energy Association

It is suprising to keep on reading this kind of nonsense or mythmaking in the Australian press when the individual states in the commonwealth are pushing ahead with wind power despite the obstacles and lack of federal government support. The Australian media are not good at discussing energy policy.

The situation on the ground is a similar story to the one that you mention here.For my own state South Australia we have this kind of belated recognition of what is actually happening in SA and in Australia.