Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

An emissions intensity scheme? But Turnbull is in the grip of the climate denialists

We need them to fix the unconscionable mess they made. We need the government to get this right. They really do owe us that much….

Right now we have the deeply odd spectre of every major business group in the country (minus the Minerals Council, which can’t seem to find its constructive gene) telling the government that the market signal required to drive future investment in the energy market, and reduce emissions at least cost to households and businesses, is a form of carbon trading known as an emissions intensity scheme.

Delicate feelings can, in contemporary politics, triumph over facts.

We have the strange sense right at the moment that a Liberal government could emerge from this process arguing that regulation, or more boondoggles, like Direct Action, are preferable to a simple market mechanism. A curious posture for the party of free markets.

The government must fix this unconscionable energy mess – it owes us that much Guardian, Katharine Murphy, 17 Mar 17 “……. what might the prime minister be up to?

It is possible all this blather is about subduing his own internal critics – a small prime ministerial fan dance of distraction while you get on with the business of trying to set up what needs to happen.

I noted earlier this year the prime minister used the cover of a pivot to “clean” coal technologies at his parliamentary year-opening National Press Club speech in early February to commit a modest heresy against conservative culture warriors and climate sceptics – he tasked the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with funding large-scale storage projects.

Storage matters, because if you solve storage, you solve the intermittency problems of low emissions technologies, and you move closer to decarbonising the grid.

Over the last couple of months, while maintaining the wicked Weatherill wind mantra on a loop, on an intermittent, lulling, frequency – Turnbull has been pursuing his favoured low emissions technologies, like pumped hydro, and also emphasising the importance of storage, even before the tweeting tech billionaires got involved.

This week, a head-turning move, a feasibility study examining whether it is possible to build a 2GW pumped hydro scheme in the Snowy Mountains.

If this ambitious project ultimately comes off (you did read the if in that sentence, right?) – it would be a very significant move in the direction of a decarbonised Australian energy grid, which is obviously no small thing.

By expanding the Snowy scheme, Turnbull was able to wrap a massive pro-renewables project in the cloak of Snowy mountain high nostalgia, which is obviously clever when you consider the delicate sensibilities of the regressive forces in his party room.

Who could come out and bag the Snowy scheme after all? That would be un-Australian.

So folks, a couple of green shoots.

But unfortunately, little pulses of reason are not the whole story, and they don’t change the fundamental problem we currently face. There’s still an enormous vacuum at the heart of the enterprise.

The vacuum is, of course, national energy policy.

Let’s be very clear. The reason Australia is in this mess is because we have zero certainty about future direction, and the reason we have zero certainty is because Tony Abbott, between 2009 and 2013, thought he could win an election by conjuring up a monstrosity called carbon tax, and promising to axe it.

So making this someone else’s failure, or someone else’s problem, really isn’t a viable option for the Liberal party.

We need them to fix the unconscionable mess they made. We need the government to get this right. They really do owe us that much….

Right now we have the deeply odd spectre of every major business group in the country (minus the Minerals Council, which can’t seem to find its constructive gene) telling the government that the market signal required to drive future investment in the energy market, and reduce emissions at least cost to households and businesses, is a form of carbon trading known as an emissions intensity scheme.

The man running the energy review for the government, the chief scientist Alan Finkel, has given tacit support to an intensity scheme as well……

But the government keeps ruling out an intensity scheme because the delicate sensibilities of conservative hold outs are apparently a more important consideration than the considered views of the energy industry, industrial users of energy, institutional investors in the energy market, and the expert views of the chief scientist, a bunch of market analysts and energy policy experts.

Delicate feelings can, in contemporary politics, triumph over facts.

We have the strange sense right at the moment that a Liberal government could emerge from this process arguing that regulation, or more boondoggles, like Direct Action, are preferable to a simple market mechanism. A curious posture for the party of free markets.

That dynamic isn’t cause for hope. In fact on a good day, it can lead to your head hitting the desk. On a bad day, it can make you lose all hope in politics. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/17/the-government-must-fix-this-unconscionable-energy-mess-it-owes-us-that-much

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March 18, 2017 - Posted by | General News

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