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Howard's backflip on energy « Previous | |Next »
September 24, 2007

The newspaper headlines say that John Howard has gone green on climate change. He has outlined a scheme to generate between 15%-20% of Australia's energy from low emission sources by 2010, including renewables (solar and wind) and new technology gas-fired power stations.

Hang a mo. Wasn't Howard opposed to setting targets around climate change? Hasn't Howard been arguing that the ALP is an economic wrecker because it has committed to a greenhouse reduction target ? Wasn't that the core of his attack on the ALP over climate change?

Oh I see, what is being offered is an amalgam of a series of existing state and federal energy programs into a single national regime. It's a rationalization to cut red tape, as the scheme's target is simply the sum total of existing and planned targets under the Commonwealth and states' energy target schemes.

Oh, I see the reason why the scheme's low emission source 'includes' renewables and gas fired power station is because it also includes clean coal technology--coal fired stations equipped with carbon capture and storage. I'm sure the scheme is open to nuclear power.

So we have been offered little more than a bit of housekeeping by Turnbull and Howard. Why now? Of course, Al Gore is in the country arguing for the ratification of Kyoto, the Howard Government will end the mandatory renewable scheme, and the United Nations has a summit that aims to break a deadlock in efforts to craft a global treaty on greenhouse gases.

So Howard has to be seen to be doing something, doesn't he. Newspaper headlines indicate he is doing something in terms of policy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:25 AM | | Comments (17)


didn't John Howard call Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth a “piece of good entertainment”?

The Australian, which reckons that it runs the country, has an editorial on Howard's clean energy puffery:

To the extent to which the issue of climate change will feature as an issue in the federal election campaign, yesterday's announcement by John Howard of a national clean energy target requiring 30,000 gigawatt hours of power each year to come from low-emission sources by 2020 pushes all the populist buttons. Wind, solar and wind generation are the feel-good, low-pain solutions beloved of the green movement. The Prime Minister has rightly introduced carbon-capture and storage into the low-emission basket, a recognition that any plan for Australia's energy future in the mid-term must include fossil fuels. The timing of the release, however, with its bold projection of targets and shortage of underlying economic explanation are reasons to be cautious.

We already know that carbon capture and nuclear technology won't be up and running anywhere near 2010, so why mention them at all?

It's too vague to give the renewables industries anything to aim at.

It's just words.

Don't worry, it's a non core promise.

The Tourism Minister Fran Bailey is insisting that wind power is largely unsuitable for Australia, saying there was no evidence it was a feasible alternative energy source. She said wind had not been subject to adequate cost-benefit analysis and that industry claims of job creation were a "furphy". Wind is an intrusive energy source that doesn't have anything to substantiate it."

I wonder how that insistance squares with all the wind farms providing energy in SA.

To her credit Bailey is arguing that solar energy in a country like Australia, is the way we should be going.

Howard's plan for a mandatory clean energy target of 15 per cent by 2020 is at odds with what his senior Ministers were saying three years ago. Then they had warned three years ago that a more modest doubling of mandatory renewable energy targets would cost the economy $23billion, when they were arguing against any increase to the original mandatory renewal scheme.

I still recall in August this year four Government MPs rejecting the basic premise that humans are causing global warming.

That was when Liberals Dennis Jensen, Jackie Kelly, Dana Vale and David Tollner used a House of Representatives Science and Innovation Committee’s Inquiry to declare in a dissenting report that those who believe humans are causing climate change are "fanatics".

I see that The Australian' is none too pleased with the way that Howard has gone green on climate change.Todays editorial says:

What Mr Howard has introduced is a system that compounds reward for inefficiency. In doing so, he has surrendered the high ground on an important debate for what promises to be little electoral return. It is at stark odds with the advice of task group chair and prime ministerial confidant Dr Peter Shergold that the key to getting it right is to aim high, commit early to taking action and implement change with caution. The task group favoured a market-based solution driven by price signals. It recognised that government subsidies did not always get the best outcomes and often imposed cost penalties on consumers. The Government used the task group report to justify not setting a target before knowing what meeting it would cost. But faced with the prospect of a tough election, Mr Howard has junked his conservative stance and decided to indulge in a spot of populist climate change me-too-ism.

How does that square with subsidies for the coal industry and the energy intensive industries?

It seems pretty safe to conclude that Howard said something about targets because he had to, not because he wanted to or had any intention of changing anything. I don't understand why he bothered.

After reading these comments I know my ears weren't playing tricks on me listening to Malcom Turnbull on Lateline last night.
He had no hope of dealing with cabinet's contradictory approach, and knew it!

He has to keep the momentum going. He has to look as if he is swinging them punches.Doesn't mastter if they punch the air. It's the momentum that counts.

It is like his early morning walks around Lake Burley Griffin when he is Canberra. I'm up and about doing things---keeping in shape for the fight. It's so Hollywood.

In the light of Nan's comments Turnball has to give the impression that they are seen to be doing something.

I wonder who they are trying to fool. It cannot be the European players--eg the British--- no matter what Downer says at the UN. So they must be trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the Australian electorate.

If you think Turnbull was in trouble, you should have heard Alexander Downer's convoluted commenting when interviewed by Jones tonight. Al to do with this Kyoto style gabfest in New York he's attending.
Jones DID wangle out of him the candid admission that Kyoto had been "badly implemented". But this was subsumed in recitation of a fable about Labor party branch meetings voting socialist: eventually all world climate problems came to restat the feet of Rudd, whilst current issues receded before the immensity of Alexander's above revelation.

I live in an area which is already starting to feel the effects of climate change. By the time I reach old age the street in which I live will probably be part of the coastal shelf sea floor. Reading John Howard's continuing efforts to run on the spot with regard to climate change has me seriously wishing his mother had drowned him at birth.

Howard is now saying he's had a road to Damascus conversion--he's seen the light. He's reformed. Malcolm Turnbull is writing the gospel of the conversion and what it means for us.

His road to Damascus is paved with so many political lies that I do not believe this 'conversion' will last past next election day. As to the Turnbull 'gospel' - that too changes daily according to opinion poll results.
This pair are nothing more than pea-and-shell tricksters.
Enjoyed your tongue in cheek post!

The Getup ad on climate change is hilarious. Almost worth watching two grand finals to see it. All funded by voluntary contributions from the public. Wonderful.