June 29, 2014
There is a lot of nonsense written about Clive Palmer on climate change policy. The Canberra Press Gallery focuses on the politics and interprets it in terms of smoke and mirrors by the showman seeking to increase his public profile. It's the image that counts.
Those on the political right concentrate on the removal of carbon pricing (the "Carbon tax" is axed) and assume that nirvana is just around the corner. It's a grand victory for the climate do-nothings in the Coalition and all the rest is a sideshow, rather than a political headache.
The Coalition and its denialist allies and conspiracy theorists want no meaningful action on climate change, are deeply hostile to green technologies and want to remove restrictions on coal mining and fossil fuel energy in Australia. In doing so they have embraced the of the Coalition base.
In contrast, Sophie Morris in Goring the Tax in The Saturday Paper, doesn't line up with the denialists. recognizes that carbon price pushed up power bills by about 10 per cent, but it was just one of a number of factors contributing to higher prices and so electricity prices will not plummet. Though she recognizes that some climate change architecture will be salvaged by Palmer she doesn't address the significance of this.
What the mainstream press consistently overlook with their focus on the fossil-fuel producers being regulated about their pollution, is the antipathy towards the Renewable Energy Target (RET) from the electricity utilities, the steady decline in the demand for electricity, and the increasing importance of renewable energy (solar and wind) in supply electricity at the expense of the coal fired power stations. The mainstream press, like the politicians, just assume that since energy demand growth is essential for a growing economy, so demand growth must inevitably continue to rise and that the coal fired power stations will supply more and more energy across the ever expanding grid.
Maybe those assumptions no longer hold because renewables are disrupting the national electricity market to such an extent that the process of creative destruction is well and truly under way.