Wednesday, October 11, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Tony Abbott's GWPF Lecture Makes Waves Down Under

Under Growing Pressure, Australian Government Ditches Green Energy Target

In this newsletter:

1) Tony Abbott Calls For Climate Pushback As CET Goes Cold
The Australian, 10 October 2017 
2) On Eve Of Tony Abbott’s GWPF Lecture, Australian Government Ditches Green Energy Target
The Courier & Mail, 9 October 2017 

3) Andrew Bolt On Tony Abbott’s GWPF Lecture 
SkyNews, 10 October 2017
4) Tony Abbott: Daring To Doubt
2017 Annual GWPF Lecture, 9 October 2017 
5) EPA To Repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan 
Fox News, 9 October 2017

Full details:

1) Tony Abbott Calls For Climate Pushback As CET Goes Cold
The Australian, 10 October 2017  

Tony Abbott has doubled down on his scepticism of climate change science, reigniting a decade-old debate in a major speech in London after the Turnbull government moved yesterday to rule out proceeding with a clean ­energy target proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

The former prime minister has labelled the likely backdown on a CET a “belated” gesture and warned that the Coalition is courting a “political death wish” if it fails to put cost of living and protection of jobs ahead of reducing emissions.

In a speech due to be delivered early today that will further test the political fault lines over ­energy policy in the Coalition partyroom, Mr Abbott resurrected his 2009 declaration that the so-called settled science on climate change was “absolute crap” and claimed that any effort Australia made to reduce emissions would be futile in a global context.

In his most controversial speech on climate change since the 2009 speech to a country Victorian gathering, Mr Abbott told London’s Global Warming Policy [Foundation] that climate-change policies had done more harm than climate change itself, suggesting global warming was “probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm”.

Likening the economic harm from climate-change policies to “primitive people once killing goats to appease the volcano gods”, Mr Abbott accused lobbyists of creating a religion out of global warning while rent-­seeking on government subsidies. He warned that the Coalition was at risk of becoming captive to this new “post-Christian theology”.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg yesterday responded to mounting pressure within the Coalition partyroom, hinting the Finkel recommendation of a CET to reduce emissions and secure generation would be dropped.

“It is against this backdrop of a declining cost curve for renewables and storage, greater efficiencies that can be found in thermal generation (upgrading to existing coal fired plants) and the need for sufficient dispatchable power in the system that we are considering the Finkel Review’s 50th recommendation to which we’ll respond before the end of the year,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Mr Abbott welcomed the ­development but said the government needed to go further and abolish all subsidies for renewables and freeze the Renewable Energy Target.

“Belatedly, the government is now suggesting that there might not be a new CET after all,” Mr Abbott said. “There must not be — and the government still needs to deal with what’s yet to come under the existing target.

“At last year’s election, the government chose not to campaign on power prices even though Labor was promising a 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target, requiring a $50 billion overbuild of wind farms, and a 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, requiring a new carbon tax).

“After a net gain of 25 seats at the previous two elections, when we had campaigned on power prices, we had a net loss of 14 when we didn’t. And subsequent events have made the politics of power once more the central battleground between and within the two main parties.”

Mr Abbott’s speech comes at a critical juncture as the Turnbull government seeks to mark out ­opposing territory in the debate with Labor leader Bill Shorten who yesterday confirmed his party’s commitment to a 50 per cent RET.

Mr Abbott’s most provocative statements, reserved for climate change science, are certain to ignite outrage from the climate lobby and stir accusations he buried his scepticism while prime minister. It will also revive the defining point of difference with Malcolm Turnbull, which in 2009 elevated Mr Abbott to the leadership.

“Beware the pronouncement, ‘the science is settled’,” Mr Abbott was due to tell the forum, to be attended by 200 people, and chaired by leading British climate science sceptic and former UK chancellor of the exchequer Nigel Lawson.

“It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages. Almost as bad is the claim that ‘99 per cent of scientists believe’ as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts. Contrary to the breathless assertions that climate change is behind every weather event, in Australia the floods are not bigger, the bushfires are not worse, the droughts are not deeper or longer, and the cyclones are not more severe than they were in the 1800s. Sometimes, they do more damage but that’s because there’s more to destroy, not because their intensity has increased. More than 100 years of photography at Manly Beach in my electorate does not suggest that sea levels have risen despite frequent reports from climate alarmists that this is imminent.

“Then there’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide — which is a plant food after all — are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields. In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”

Mr Abbott said that Australia needed to adopt “evidence-based policy rather than “policy-based evidence” and questioned whether reducing emissions really was necessary to save the planet. “Our effort, however herculean, is barely better than futile, because Australia’s total annual emissions are exceeded by just the annual increase in China’s,” he said.

2) On Eve Of Tony Abbott’s GWPF Lecture, Australian Government Ditches Green Energy Target
The Courier & Mail, 9 October 2017 

The Turnbull Government has prevented a backbench revolt by moving to ditch the Clean Energy Target proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has given the strongest indication yet the Federal Government would not adopt the policy, saying a freefall in the cost of renewables meant there was no point in more subsidies.

Instead the Government is considering another kind of target, which would mandate a certain amount of dispatchable generation – power that can be dispatched on request – within the grid.

Dawson MP George Christensen said he would have crossed the floor to vote against the CET.

“I think that the Energy Minister’s comments regarding the lack of a need for subsidies for renewables are an astute observation,” Mr Christensen said.

“I declared my hand (opposing the CET) long ago, I was against it. There were a lot of backbench members who were expressing privately what I was saying publicly.”
Nationals senator Matt Canavan said more supply of baseload power was now needed.

“We now need more power in the market and our job would be made so much easier if Labor dropped its opposition to new coal-producing technologies,” Mr Canavan said.

It is understood the Government will not proceed with a target as recommended by Dr Finkel, which would have required a certain amount of power come from clean energy and likely included subsidies for renewables through the issue of certificates.

Full story

3) Andrew Bolt On Tony Abbott’s GWPF Lecture 
SkyNews, 10 October 2017


4) Tony Abbott: Daring To Doubt
2017 Annual GWPF Lecture, 9 October 2017 

The Honourable Tony Abbott MP
Former Prime Minister of Australia

Thank you for giving me the same platform that you’ve previously given to fellow Australians John Howard and George Pell. I will strive to be worthy of their example and their friendship; to offer a common sense way through the climate conflict; and, also, to place this particular issue in the broader struggle for practical wisdom now taking place across the Western world.

It would be wrong to underestimate the strengths of the contemporary West. By objective standards, people have never had better lives. Yet our phenomenal wealth and our scientific and technological achievements rest on values and principles that have rarely been more widely challenged.

To a greater or lesser extent, in most Western countries, we can’t keep our borders secure; we can’t keep our industries intact; and we can’t preserve a moral order once taken for granted. Eventually, something will crystalize out of this age of disruption but in the meantime we could be entering a period of national and even civilizational decline.

In Australia, we’ve had ten years of disappointing government. It’s not just the churn of prime ministers that now rivals Italy’s, the internal divisions and the policy confusion that followed a quarter century of strong government under Bob Hawke and John Howard. It’s the institutional malaise. We have the world’s most powerful upper house: a Senate where good government can almost never secure a majority. Our businesses campaign for same sex marriage but not for economic reform. Our biggest company, BHP, the world’s premier miner, lives off the coal industry that it now wants to disown. And our oldest university, Sydney, now boasts that its mission is “unlearning”.

Of course, to be an Australian is still to have won the lottery of life, and there’s yet no better place to live and work. But there’s a nagging sense that we’re letting ourselves down and failing to reach anything like our full potential. […]

Full Lecture

5) EPA To Repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan 
Fox News, 9 October 2017 

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday that the Trump administration is moving to scrap the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration's signature regulatory program to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Pruitt made the announcement at an event in Hazard, Ky., casting the previous policy as unfair.

“That rule really was about picking winners and losers,” Pruitt said. “The past administration was unapologetic, they were using every bit of power, authority to use the EPA to pick winners and losers on how we pick electricity in this country. That is wrong.”

He said that on Tuesday, he will sign a proposed rule to formally withdraw from the plan.

“It is right for this administration to say the war is over," Pruitt said.

The decision comes after President Trump in late March ordered a review of the controversial program, which was put on hold more than a year ago by the Supreme Court amid legal challenges from, among others, Pruitt himself.

The Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants by having states meet certain targets. Supporters see the plan as a critical plank in efforts to curb global warming, but critics contend it would kill thousands of jobs and take direct aim at the struggling coal sector.

The move to officially nix the program was expected, following Trump's vow to end what he calls the "war on coal." Pruitt, however, can likely expect a new wave of litigation from the other side of the debate, as environmentalist groups and allied Democrats are sure to challenge the rollback.

Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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