Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s new Energy Minister Angus Taylor is not a climate science denier – he’s much more dangerous.

Angus Taylor condemns us to another round of energy stupidity, Guardian 5 Sept 18 It’s not that Taylor is a climate change denier, it’s just that he’d rather work against effective climate policy J

Just as we begin to imagine life without Tony Abbott undermining every sensible interaction between climate and energy policy, his “energy brain” in the form of the new energy minister, Angus Taylor, is now calling the shots.

Taylor has been fighting against the wind industry since the late 1990s, when developers came knocking, wanting to build a windfarm on his parents’ Monaro Plains property. The Taylor family turned down the opportunity, and the Boco Rock windfarm was instead built on the next ridgeline. Last year the windfarm generated enough zero-emissions electricity to power more than 70,000 average New South Wales households, and pumped $6.7m through the local economy.

Ever since that first approach, Taylor has been tilting at windmills.

Just two weeks ago, when Malcolm Turnbull was risking his prime ministership over a policy that would have done practically nothing for emissions, Taylor was busy working conservative talkback radio. Taylor boasted to Ray Hadley that he’s been speaking out against renewables policies “for many many years, well before anyone else … I argued in the party room many times to reduce it … I was able … to reduce the [RET] working with Tony as prime minister”.

While Taylor didn’t get everything he wanted, he did manage to cut 40% out of the renewable development pipeline……

for Australia, the chance of real progress is bleak under Team Morrison. It’s now clear that Taylor will continue Josh Frydenberg’s campaign of half truths and politicisation. When Taylor faced the media (sort of) for the first time in his new role last Thursday, he spoke forcefully of South Australia’s “failed experiment” with renewables.

The truth is that South Australia is an international model of success for energy transition. That such a statement goes so far against the orthodoxy shows the depravity of our national energy conversation – bear with me:

Exhibit A: Wind and solar have pushed coal completely out of South Australia and even displaced some gas. While the state imports 8% of its power from Victoria, it sends more in the other direction.

Exhibit B: Electricity prices in South Australia have always been high, but while its wholesale prices are lower than a decade ago in real terms, prices have risen elsewhere.

Exhibit C: Over the past decade, South Australia has reduced its electricity sector emissions by 56% from 10.1 MtCO2-e to 4.5 MtCO2-e.

Exhibit D: In the same decade SA cut its emissions intensity (measured in kg CO2-e/MWh) from 734 to just 340, five times as fast as the reduction in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Exhibit E: And while we’ve been regaled with endless stories about blackouts, the truth is that SA has only been caught short of generating power for 1.9 “load minutes” this decade (0.00004%), down from 16.8 load minutes last decade (0.00032%).

  1. Tell the truth – our grid is reliable and renewables aren’t the cause of high prices.
  2. Depoliticise energy – industry is crying out for bipartisan policy certainty.
  3. Respond to the science – any policy that’s incompatible with climate science is not credible, and therefore unstable.

Unfortunately Taylor chose to reject all of the above in week one, condemning us to another round of deep stupidity on climate and energy.

Taylor has always been quick to claim he’s on board with the climate science. Yet, as Abbott’s protege, he’s chosen to spend his time in politics actively undermining sensible and effective climate and energy policy.

Angus Taylor is not a climate science denier – he’s much more dangerous.



September 7, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics

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