Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GWPF Newsletter - Tony Abbott’s Victory: Australian Govt Dumps Green Energy Target

Labor Party Accuses Turnbull Of Capitulating To Abbott

In this newsletter:

1) Tony Abbott’s Victory As Australian Govt Dumps Green Energy Target
ABC News, 17 October 2017

2) Labor Party Accuses Prime Minister Turnbull Of Capitulating To Tony Abbott
The Advertiser, 16 October 2017

3) Tony Abbott Launches Warning Shot Over Climate Policy
The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 October 2017

4) Abbott’s Speech Tells It Like It Is On Global Warming
The Australian, 16 October 2017 (subscription required)

5) The Clean Power Plan’s Counterfeit Benefits
The Wall Street Journal, 15 October 2017

Full details:

1) Tony Abbott’s Victory: Australian Govt Dumps Green Energy Target
ABC News, 17 October 2017

A Clean Energy Target recommended by Australia’s chief scientist will not be adopted, with the Federal Government instead proposing a new plan to bring down electricity prices.

The details have not officially been released, but the ABC understands Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will argue his policy will lower electricity bills more than a Clean Energy Target (CET), while meeting Australia’s Paris climate change commitments.

It is understood Cabinet last night also agreed to force retailers to guarantee a certain amount of so-called dispatchable power that can be switched on and off on demand, to avoid outages.

The plan will be put to the Coalition party room today and is likely to appeal to a group of backbenchers who favour coal-fired power and had opposed a CET from the outset.

The target would have mandated a certain percentage of power be generated from gas and renewable energy, but some backbenchers did not like the idea. Former prime minister Tony Abbott argued a CET was effectively a “tax on coal”.

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly, who in July 
said renewable energy was killing people, said he was pleased with Cabinet’s plan for more dispatchable, switch-on/switch-off power.

“The problem we’ve had in the past is we have hot days, the demand for electricity spikes, and we haven’t had enough power that you can turn on with a switch to get that,” Mr Kelly told AM.

“The problem with solar and wind, for as wonderful technologies that they are, when there’s no wind you get no electricity generation and as soon as the sun sets, you also get zero electricity generation as well.

“So as good as technologies as they are, you’ve got to have them backed up in some way, and that’s either got to be a coal-fired power station, a gas generator or some form of battery.”

Cabinet is also keen to adopt a generator reliability obligation, which requires three years’ notice of closing a power station, in order to prevent a repeat of the sudden 
closure of Hazelwood power station in Victoria in March.

MP suggests Paris target delay

Mr Kelly has also suggested the Government delay action on reaching the Paris climate targets until closer to 2030.

“We know that a cost of a lot of this technology is becoming cheaper every year, therefore if we have a target in 2030, we’re far better to adopt those new technologies and to be paying for them in 2025, 2026, 2027, rather than be paying for them early, so you can actually backload into the next decade to achieve your Paris targets,” he said.

Full story
2) Labor Party Accuses Prime Minister Turnbull Of Capitulating To Tony Abbott
The Advertiser, 16 October 2017

A WORLD-first scheme to drive down power prices and prevent blackouts will be put to government MPs on Tuesday, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull scrambles to get agreement on energy policy within his party room.

A senior Government source told The Advertiser the plan would lower prices more than the $90 a year flagged under chief scientist Alan Finkel’s Clean Energy Target.

Cabinet discussed the proposal Monday night ahead of a presentation at Tuesday’s Coalition party room.

It is understood the plan includes scrapping subsidies for renewable energy generators and is heavily geared towards energy security and forcing down power prices.

Conservative MPs have condemned the level of subsidies renewable generators are given and warned the Prime Minister they could not support extending handouts. Labor has accused Mr Turnbull of capitulating to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and fellow conservative backbenchers over their threats to cross the floor.

Mr Abbott yesterday continued to intensify pressure on Mr Turnbull over energy.

“Let’s have no further subsidies for unreliable power. Let’s get cracking with the new coal-fired power station. Let’s do what we can to end the gas bans and let’s remove the bans on nuclear,” Mr Abbott told 2GB radio.

“The important thing is to stop running the system to reduce emissions and to start running the system to give us affordable, reliable power so that our jobs are safe, industries are secure and people’s cost of living is not going through the roof.”

3) Tony Abbott Launches Warning Shot Over Climate Policy
The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 October 2017

Tony Abbott has fired a telling shot across Malcolm Turnbull’s bow, warning that any energy package agreed to in cabinet must also pass a party room wary of anything approaching a clean energy target or other subsidy scheme for renewables.

It came as the Turnbull government received more bad news in the fortnightly Newspoll series, prompting Mr Abbott to declare a future return to the leadership was possible but would occur only if he was drafted by colleagues, which he described as “almost impossible to imagine”.

The government is expected to announce this week its new energy policy with the clean energy target likely to be dumped.

Signalling that Coalition MPs will be no rubber stamp on energy, the dumped former prime minister said the backbench deserved “plenty of chance to digest” the formula.

Mr Abbott’s blunt message sets the stage for another showdown over a policy area that has divided moderates and conservatives within the Coalition for a decade, and become a constant cipher for simmering leadership rivalries.

Just hours before the Turnbull cabinet was due to discuss the contentious energy affordability and reliability formula, itself a reframed clean energy policy due to internal frictions, Mr Abbott used a regular radio chat with 2GB host Ray Hadley to lay down some political markers.

Acknowledging the government was now just nine losing Newspoll surveys away from the 30-poll benchmark Mr Turnbull set as his trigger for challenging Mr Abbott in September 2015, Mr Abbott emphasised the importance of “getting the right policy”.

“I don’t think this is something that should be, as it were, rushed through, but nevertheless, it’s got to be got right,” he said.
“We have to get it right, and I hope that a lot of very serious thought has been given to this matter by [Energy] Minister Josh Frydenberg; he’s a bloke I respect, he’s very capable, he’s very talented, and let’s see what he comes up with.”
Full story
4) Abbott’s Speech Tells It Like It Is On Global Warming
The Australian, 16 October 2017 (subscription required)
John Stone

After reading the full text of what The Australian’s leading article called Tony Abbott’s “provocative” London speech, in my considered opinion it is one of the most outstanding speeches in years by any Australian politician.

Daring to Doubt: Tony Abbott delivers the 2017 GWPF Lecture, London 9 October 2017
That “provocative” appellation notwithstanding, The Australian’s coverage of the speech has been an object lesson to the intellectual pygmies in the Fairfax press, the ABC, SBS and most politicians from the Prime Minister down. While the focus has been on Abbott’s well-reasoned trashing of the global warming scam, the speech is also impressive in the way it frames that quasi-religious phenomenon within “the broader struggle for practical wisdom … across the Western world” — a struggle that could have us “entering a period of national and civilisational decline”.

For “civilisational self-doubt is everywhere” in the Western world: “We believe in everyone but ourselves; and everything is taken seriously except that which used to be.” (Does “marriage” come to mind?) “Far from becoming universal” after the failure of the Marxist folly, “Western values are less and less accepted even in the West itself”. While “climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom … only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia … could have made such a religion out of it”.

So what should we do? “The heart of any recovery … has to be an honest facing of facts and an insistence upon intellectual rigour”, qualities conspicuously missing from the “global warming” arena from the outset and, as the quality (sic) of the attacks on Abbott’s speech has again demonstrated, in spades.

Writing years ago on this topic I noted “the telltale signs” that invariably indicate resort to falsehood. The Orwellian linguistic transition from a hypothesis about man-made “global warming” (since largely discredited) to one about “climate change” (which naturally everyone acknowledges); or the demonisation of carbon dioxide, present in our atmosphere in minuscule proportions and an essential plant food without which human life would become extinct, as a “pollutant” (being deliberately confused with those genuine particulate pollutants that once belched from power station smokestacks): these are the clearest signs of the intellectual dishonesty of their proponents.

It is those untruths Abbott has called out.

And the response from his critics? Personal abuse, distortion of what he said, refusal even to publish what he did say, but above all no attempt to engage with his facts, all of which I have checked and all of which are accurate. Extreme cold does cause 20 times as many deaths as extreme heat. To the (limited) extent to which Earth has warmed, it has grown greener as a result. Hence “a gradual lift in global temperatures … might be beneficial”. Yet the Prime Minister snidely refers to “it being Mental Health Day”; a minister (Josh Frydenberg) who resorts to the self-demeaning criticism that, as prime minister, Abbott defended the renewable energy target and signed up to the Paris Agreement, both of which he now criticises.

Of course he did, because, despite his long-held view that this new paganism was “absolute crap”, a Turnbull-led majority of his cabinet, to their eternal discredit, had gone along with it and tied his hands. Being at last free to speak the truth, should he be mocked for doing so?

The fact is, as Terry McCrann said (The Daily Telegraph, October 12), Abbott’s speech was “a seminal event”. Make no mistake: it will ring around the world, and is already doing so. A (real) political leader, someone of stature domestically and internationally, has pointed to the global warming alarmists and declared that, like the emperor, they have no clothes. “Beware the pronouncement ‘the science is settled’ … the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages”. Amen to that.

John Stone is a former secretary to the Treasury and former National Party Senate leader.

5) The Clean Power Plan’s Counterfeit Benefits
The Wall Street Journal, 15 October 2017 (subscription required)
By Steve Milloy

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan is a milestone. No Republican administration has ever mustered the courage to roll back a major EPA regulation.

In a clever twist, the Trump administration has done so by directly challenging the plan’s purported health benefits.

Although the Clean Power Plan was pitched as a way to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, averting climate change was not how the Obama EPA justified the rule. In 2015 House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith forced Obama’s EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, to acknowledge that the plan would produce no change to global temperatures. Instead, the EPA justified the net benefit of the rule based on collateral reductions in power plants’ emissions of fine particulate matter. In regulatory parlance, this soot is called PM2.5.

While the compliance costs to industry of the Clean Power Plan could be as high as $33 billion a year, the Obama EPA claimed that the economic benefits from reducing PM2.5 emissions would be even larger—as much as $55 billion a year.

What are the supposed $55 billion in economic benefits? That sum is intended to represent the value of thousands of premature deaths allegedly prevented every year by the Clean Power Plan via the co-benefit of reduced PM2.5 emissions. The EPA values lives “saved” at around $9 million each. Thousands times millions equal billions.

EPA staff invented this calculus in 1996 to justify the agency’s first effort to regulate PM2.5, although there’s no scientific evidence, then or now, to support the notion that particulates in outdoor air kill people.

The EPA regulated them anyway, stiff-arming not only the Republican-controlled Congress’s demands for proof of the danger of PM2.5 emissions but the objections of then-Vice President Al Gore, who thought the rule too costly.

The Clean Air Act requires air-quality standards for pollutants such as PM2.5 be set at a “safe” level. The EPA has long claimed that there is no safe level of exposure to PM2.5 and that inhalation can cause death within hours. But the EPA could never lower the PM2.5 standard to zero because such a standard could not be attained even if the economy was entirely shut down.

The Trump EPA has now largely jettisoned the notion that PM2.5 is a killer by slashing the supposed economic benefits of reduced emissions by $29 billion per year. That nets out favorably against the rule’s anticipated annual costs of as much as $33 billion.

A robust body of scientific literature—from large epidemiologic studies to clinical research to historical air-quality data—supports the EPA’s reversal. Standing against it are a few decades of dubious agency-funded studies, the underlying data for which the agency has kept well hidden in order to prevent independent analyses. The Obama EPA even 
defied a congressional subpoena in order to keep its PM2.5 epidemiologic secret.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has hailed repeal of the Clean Power Plan as the end of the Obama administration’s “war on coal.” It’s more like the beginning of the end.

New York’s Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and green groups have already announced they will sue. Good luck. When the Supreme Court voted to stay the Clean Power Plan in February 2016, it was a clear signal that the coal industry and red-state plaintiffs would prevail on the merits in any future legal challenge. The EPA’s acknowledgment that the Clean Power Plan has no economic or climate benefits is the final nail in the regulation’s coffin.

Mr. Milloy served on the Trump EPA transition team and is the author of “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA” (Bench Press 2016).

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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