Red Herring: Abolish The Renewable Energy Target

AS THE GOVERNMENT unpicks the duplicitous, economically destructive legacy of a Communist Greens-imposed energy pricing regime that has led to punitive utility prices driving large numbers of households into insolvency, the Renewable Energy Target must be abandoned; like most of the other doctrinaire and practicably useless “clean energy” measures foisted on Australians, this one achieves little more than to rip Australian consumers off.

I have been reading a story from The Australian today, detailing uncertainty in the Abbott Cabinet over what to do about the RET; to my mind there is only one justifiable course of action to take in relation to this abominable piece of policy, and that is to abolish it.

The financial impost — and economic carnage — that is already being committed in this country in the name of so-called “Green energy” cannot be tolerated, and when it is considered that the damage rendered thus far isn’t even the full extent of what will flow from the eventual realisation of the full objectives of the RET, any desirable outcomes the policy achieves are woefully inadequate when weighed against the cost.

And that cost is significant.

According to The Australian‘s article, the only members of Cabinet supporting the continuation of the RET are Environment minister Greg Hunt and Industry minister Ian Macfarlane.

To some degree, Hunt’s position is understandable; as Environment minister — and a Liberal Party Environment minister at that — Hunt is, by virtue of his portfolio, one of the greatest targets of the ALP and the Greens, and he is hamstrung by the need to balance adherence to Coalition policy against the truculent demands of some of the vested interest groups — and the baying hordes of the Left — that his role attracts.

Macfarlane’s position, however, is unfathomable, and — if true that as Industry minister he is canvassing support for the retention of the RET in Cabinet — unforgivable.

It is bad enough that the carbon tax — yet to be abolished, thanks to the intransigence of Labor and the Greens in the Senate, and their refusal to accept the Abbott government’s clear mandate to get rid of it — has added billions of dollars to the cost base of industry since its introduction.

It is worse, however, to see the supposedly responsible minister attempting to defend an additional measure almost tailor-made to damage the very constituency he is supposedly a champion for.

There is no commercial case of any merit to be made for the schemes that have given body to the RET; the industries around solar and wind power only exist because of multibillion dollar taxpayer subsidies.

So-called renewable energy represents the most expensive form of generating baseload power, despite these subsidies — a reality that, at the domestic level, has been directly responsible for average utility prices doubling over the past few years.

And to my mind, it is a criminal affront to common sense, economic reality and the decency of everyday folk that this outrage is being perpetuated in the name of “emissions reductions” when the cheapest reserves of fossil fuels in the world exist in almost inexhaustible volumes in this country.

The great global “climate change” ruse that has been used by the Left as an economic weapon to attack traditional industries and create others wholly dependent on its pedagogy is, as I have opined previously, the greatest ruse of the 21st century and will eventually come to be seen as such.

Nobody — not even most of those labelled as “deniers” or “sceptics” by a political Left that attempts to simply abuse dissent and opposition out of existence — doubts that the world’s climate is, indeed, changing.

The problem with the theory, however, is that the climate has been changing for millions of years, and will continue to do so — irrespective of the effects of human behaviour.

In any case, the “warming” phase that was the basis for the alarm that in turn gave rise to all this expensive claptrap stopped years ago.

An example of this came to light during the week; a reminder of one of the more outlandish predictions of former US Vice-President Al Gore — a figurehead of the tax-industry-into-oblivion model of climate change advocacy — that has been doing the rounds pointed out that his public warnings that the Earth’s polar ice caps “will be gone by 2015” has amounted, unsurprisingly, to nothing.

Yet it is this kind of blatant scaremongering, and attempts to frighten the living hell out of people using the “substance” of Gore and other public figures like him to engender credibility, that economically lunatic concepts like the carbon tax and the RET are predicated on.

To put all of this into an Australian context, in the past year we have seen two car manufacturers announce they will shut up shop in Australia, citing unsustainable cost factors associated with operating here; Qantas and SPC Ardmona, despite protestations otherwise by the Left, are rapidly approaching financial unviability for similar reasons; and it needs to be remembered that Qantas’ competitor, Virgin, lost $100 million the financial year before last, and would be in real trouble were it not for the bottomless pockets of its foreign owners funnelling cash into the company to pursue their own commercial agendas.

Where there are some, there are others.

The point is that whilst labour costs are a large component of the problems these companies (and others like them) face — and we’ve talked about them at length, here and here for example — the energy regime implemented by the Gillard government (as the tail wagged by the malignant, malevolent, socialist Greens dog) is as much of a problem as considerations of labour costs are.

To complete the point, those five companies I’ve mentioned employ almost 200,000 people: and for the Left to cry about “job losses” without accepting responsibility for the real imposts its own policies have inflicted is to deny reality.

Some or all of these companies will disappear in the next few years, and when they do — far from lambasting the Liberals over the loss of all those jobs — the Left, and Labor and the Greens in particular, will have only themselves to blame.

The only viable alternatives to coal, oil and natural gas that can meaningfully generate a significant portion of Australia’s energy needs are nuclear and hydro: technologies which, thanks to the best efforts of the Greens, are political poison, despite the fact both are cheaper (and arguably greener) than those which extortionate taxpayer subsidies have contrived to shove down the throat of Australian industry.

And given the rest of the world isn’t going down the path of sabotaging their economies and destroying their industry bases with carbon taxes, punitive renewable targets and the like, Australia shouldn’t be either; comments from the Left have in the past responded to my articles in terms along the lines of China “looking at” Australia’s so-called clean energy regime and similar statements about the US. The reality is that looking is one thing. Doing is another. And neither of these countries are stupid or suicidal enough to engage in anything of the kind.

Far from “leading” the world with all of this rubbish, Australia is abrogating its future to it.

The suite of measures that encompasses the carbon tax and the RET is indeed driving demand for electricity down — a change largely driven by the old, the poor and the barely solvent failing to heat their homes in winter, curbing their use of essentials such as cooking apparatus and hot water, or not cooling their homes during summer because they simply can’t afford to.

If the Greens had set out to start a process of driving living standards in this country back to Stone Age levels, they could not have chosen a better way.

This insanity is everywhere: even shopping centres, once renowned as a place to “escape the heat” in summer, now set their commercial cooling units to an unpleasant 26 degrees to comply with government environmental regulations with the result even these oases are uncomfortably warm, humid holes in summer and veritably stifling furnaces in winter — and here again, there is an impact on the turnover of businesses and economic activity generally that all feeds back into the colossal damage the entire, mad regime is doing.

The government must abolish the RET. Hunt’s intransigence can be excused on the basis his portfolio compromises his position on it. Macfarlane, however, should either fall into line with its abolition or resign from the government.