Tony Abbott’s carbon war shifts to renewables

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is determined to rid Australia of all carbon mitigation it seems. From the AFR:

Tony Abbott has sparked a war with the renewable energy sector by claiming their product was driving up power prices “very significantly” and fostering Australia’s reputation as “the unaffordable energy capital of the world”.

…The attacks came as Nobel laureate and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz and former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin told the Crawford Australian ­Leadership Forum, co-sponsored by The Australian Financial Review, that Australia should have a carbon price.

…All players told the Financial Review that modelling conducted by ACIL Allen for the government’s Warburton review into the RET found that power prices would fall as more renewable energy was deployed.

Andrew Richards, head of external affairs at Pacific Hydro, said the RET added about $40 a year to average household power bill. This, he said paled into insignificance against recently approved gas price rises in NSW which will add up to $240 a year to the average household bill.

“Let’s keep things in perspective. Changing the RET to lower energy prices is mucking around in the shallow end of the pool,” he said.

Correct. If the RET inquiry’s own modelling shows that the policy will provide cheaper prices in the years ahead than without it, that rather begs the question what’s driving the PM’s objection.

Here is the chart again showing the real cause of the major electricity price rises from the Garnaut Review:


68% is from the distributors (poles and wires) not the producers. Why aren’t we reforming them? Add in the rush to export gas and the RET contribution falls even further.

Now, I agree that the RET is flawed. A carbon price would be much more efficient, as McKibbin and Stiglitz say. But given the deal with Clive Palmer is going to scrap both the carbon price and the alternative “Direct Action” policy which uses regulation, what else is there except the RET to meet Australia’s UN carbon mitigation obligations of 5% reduced emissions by 2020?

The combination of the carbon price and RET has got us tracking towards a better than 5% reduction but without either or direct action we’ll have nothing at all driving change. Last year, Treasury modeled what it would cost the budget to make up the difference in meeting the target if only the carbon tax was scrapped and direct action went ahead:


Modelling by the Treasury for the CCA…shows that abatement at the price incentives required by the budget constraints on the ERF the Government has announced (around $5-8/tonne) would fall well short of the abatement required to achieve Australia’s emission budgets. They conclude “an effective carbon price rising to over $65/t CO2-e by 2020 would be required to achieve the minimum 5 per cent target through domestic reductions alone.” At these prices, this would require spending $8.5 billion in 2020 alone to achieve the minimum emission commitment.

What’s is it going to cost without any mitigation policy if there’s a mad scramble to catch up later amid punitive tariffs from offshore?

The Prime Minister’s anti-climate change zeal is damaging the national interest.


  1. You forget the Abbott hankers for a return to 1950’s Australia where such fang dangeld technology didn’t exist so therefor is not required.

    • He’s not so dumb. He knows how to very effectively demonise and better, unlike Gillard – get away with serial lying.

      If the facts don’t support your ideology – demonise it.

  2. He’s fighting a “war” that he cannot win. He will no doubt succeed in the short term but the long term play is for renewables; even if they are ugly!

    • migtronixMEMBER

      Not as ugly as the Libs, I’m still waiting on Hockey to take up the battle with George the bull of the wind farm cattle farm

      • They seem to be getting uglier each day. What’s going on? Can’t they read the polls?

      • How long until Tones does the one thing he said he wouldn’t do – sell his arse – in order to get a couple positive basis points in the polls?

  3. typo? “poles and wires”, not “polls and wires”

    Though it could be a droll pun – not sure.

  4. The Prime Minister’s anti-climate change zeal is damaging the national interest.

    And perhaps even the Liberal Party.

  5. migtronixMEMBER

    I’m coming up with a new Goodwins law:

    The longer an Internet debate on climate change drags the chances that everyone on that debate develops a God complex asymptotically approaches 100%

  6. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Abbott needs to find a scapegoat since energy prices will not come down after the carbon tax is repealed. In NSW, electricity prices will be deregulated from July. It may not go down at all.

    • Yep. This will be a test for substance over zeal for the media. I can guess how the MSM will handle this one.

    • Ian LucasMEMBER

      That makes sense. I’ve been wondering about the weight that should be given to calculation vs. stupidity in trying to understand Abbott’s utterances.

  7. My business is investing in efficiency technologies. This ultimately means that they save money for the businesses that use them. Australia is actually quite advanced in such technologies, partly due to impressive research staff in the Universities but also the highly qualified engineers from mining operations who are moving into the research world. Its a pity that one of Tony’s wars is on education as we could generate huge amounts of money from commercialising such ventures. We try our best, however like everything funds are finite and lots great opportunities miss out.

    Regarding the RET, I agree with HnH there will be punitive tariffs placed on Australian industry if we dismantle the RET amongst the rest of any logical energy and process efficiency policies (really that’s all these are), it is time to take the primary green angle out of it and say it how it is: It ultimately will save money in the end if we maintain its current momentum and happen to decrease the crap we pump into the air and improve our health. Its all about money and well being in the end for most people.

    World wide momentum is against Tony and his politics and his position doesn’t make sense. That is unless we could analyse those who make donations into one of those LNP donation dark pools, then we will understand who the script writers are.

    I think Australian industry understands the importance of decreasing energy use, however as always they will hold off as long as possible from using clean energy, which ultimately will cost a fortune in the future. Short termism really, the bain of civilisations; perfected by politicians.

    • That is unless we could analyse those who make donations into one of those LNP donation dark pools, then we will understand who the script writers are.
      Surely its the IPA.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Isn’t the IPA just the fanatical mouthpiece, much like that insane Cat-whatever site?

        it goes much darker and deeper. It’s a world even Buffy the Slayer wouldn’t have entered into.

    • “however like everything funds are finite and lots great opportunities miss out”

      Funds are not “finite” when you are “saving the global financial system”. $23 Trillion out of thin air, and counting.

      “Saving the planet” on the other hand? Naaaaaah, can’t print money for that. Ye gads no!

      We need a usurer-enriching “free market” pollution-offsetting mechanism, to generate “investment” in renewable tech.


      • haha that is so true. I’m not convinced that free markets are the solution, however really regulated markets are something that the politicians seem incapable of embracing. It’s too easy to just allow the “free market” gods to take it over; and for the LNP tea party types it really appears to be a religion. (Not that ALP etc are any better)

        We really need to change the discourse surrounding pollution. I am convinced that the Greenies have got the message wrong and that there is a massive opportunity here to change the way we power society. Shell etc say that all the time, however you go to a event put on by them and you can see that that is only lip service, they do not want to change and actively undermine their PR departments advertising campaigns.

        I’m sure that there is a world where the 3D types and those of us who want to breath clean air can work to find ways to find a balance. There is though a significant threat to many business models, hence the highly paid PR campaigns that we see. It’s a pity that they don’t put that money and the rest of the copious amounts that they have into adapting their business models to benefit not only themselves but also those around them.

        No more should they be the Captains of industry (I’ll scream if I hear another person say that in glowing tones), they should be Stewards, using their power and financial clout in balance for themselves, their families but also those around them. Because, really when it comes down to it, do they really need that much money? I believe in profit for risk, but profiting at the expense of so many others, that is plain Greed.

    • SP

      You say “your business is investing in efficiency technologies”. Does that mean you’re the investor, or it is where you work?

      If it’s the former then there’s an innovative electric bus technology that allows for cheaper motors and high efficiency looking for a leg up. Can also be used for any electrical motor that’s run at variable speeds.

      If not, it’s nice to see some business execs have got efficiency as a means of investing in productivity growth figured out. If only you and your cohort could get the message through to the luddites in charge of the liberals…now that would be efficiency at work.

      • Hi mdsee, yes I’m the former. if you email the macro business guys on their info email and ask them to forward some information through to me and we can have a look at it. I promise we will give it our full consideration.

        Regarding your last paragraph, I work with a bunch of ex-execs who are doing just that. There is building momentum, and it appears that people are getting it, the problem as always are the vested interest industries who want to hold the status quo and those who they control in the political arena.

  8. “…Stiglitz and…McKibbin…told the Crawford Australian ­Leadership Forum…that Australia should have a carbon price.”

    Fascinating. The blind, faith-filled acceptance of the “economic” dogma insisted upon by all those same genius, “expert” economists and usurers who brought you every financial bubble, “free market” inequality, fraud, manipulation, and distortion of the past century. Oh, and that minor recent and ongoing event called the GFC. By reason of which they’ve given themselves $23 Trillion and counting, created out of thin air.

    You don’t blindly trust them on any other economic matter. Exchange rates. Capital flows. House price bubbles. Et al.

    But you do blindly trust their dogma, their economic solution, to “save the planet”. In spite of abundant evidence proving its another, galactic financial fraud:


    “The combination of the carbon price and RET has got us tracking towards a better than 5% reduction…”

    Still ignoring our increased coal exports for others to burn, I see.

    Still ignoring the reality that global emissions continue to rise.

  9. It’s hard to find a comparison in our own recent history for Abbott’s ideologically-driven campaign against action on GHG emissions.

    Considering this will lead to enormous future losses in the economy and in other terms, his course is completely incomprehensible.

    There is a military analogy though. He is doing the economic equivalent of trying to march his army from Lisbon to Moscow. Doubtless there will be many casualties before the rout.

  10. that rather begs the question what’s driving the PM’s objection.

    Well that’s quite obvious really, despite telling everyone before the election that he now believes 99% of the planet’s scientists on the issue he clearly still thinks that it’s crap.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      Since this will get eaten by spam anyway here’s your answer to Mondays question:

      The United States Marshals Service announced on Tuesday that one bidder had won all of the nearly 30,000 Bitcoins auctioned on Friday.

      “The U.S. Marshals Bitcoin auction resulted in one winning bidder,” Lynzey Donahue, a spokeswoman for the Marshals Service, said in a statement. “The transfer of the Bitcoins to the winner was completed today,”

      What rigged load of sh!t!

      EDIT: Oh bl**dy hell the one time it doesn’t get eaten by spam and its totally off topic!

    • Jason it is not 99% of the planet’s scientists! It was claimed that 97% of ‘climate’ scientists believed the claims but when drilling down as to that statistic was achieved, the waters get murky.

      The number of final participants was very low (sub 80 – of all the potential 1000s; and if you follow the Cook/Tol dispute may indeed not number more than a handful.

      • The 97%: whittled down to the final opinions of 12. ‘Climate’ scientists, not the broad base of scientists some of whom (>30,000)have signed opposing many climate science claims

        ‘Mr Cook and co selected some 12,000 papers from the scientific literature to test whether these papers support the hypothesis that humans played a substantial role in the observed warming of the Earth. 12,000 is a strange number. The climate literature is much larger. The number of papers on the detection and attribution of climate change is much, much smaller.

        Cook’s a sample is not representative. Any conclusion they draw is not about “the literature” but rather about the papers they happened to find.

        Most of the papers they studied are not about climate change and its causes – but many were taken as evidence nonetheless. Papers on carbon taxes naturally assume that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming – but assumptions are not conclusions. Cook’s claim of an increasing consensus over time is entirely due to an increase of the number of irrelevant papers that Cook and co mistook for evidence.

        The abstracts of the 12,000 papers were rated, twice, by 24 volunteers. Twelve rapidly dropped out, leaving an enormous task for the rest. This shows. There are patterns in the data that suggest that raters may have fallen asleep with their nose on the keyboard. In July 2013, Mr Cook claimed to have data that showed this is not the case. In May 2014, he claimed that data never existed.’

        And there’s much more, in depth throughout

      • Why would we believe anything published by the lying liars who lie about everything including their own lies?

        Really 3d, the disingenuous do not deserve to be taken seriously. They have become self-parody.

      • 3d,

        So, tell me precisely how many peak bodies reject AGW……. Oh, that’s right. Still no a one.

        Not the Russians, not the Saudi’s, Chinese, Germans, not even the 6 peak Geological peak bodies. Even the geo’s 3d.

        But, hey the must all be part of group think. All 100% of them. 100% of them for 10 years. Despite the political leanings. Despite their culture. Despite their varied scientific backgrounds…..

        The 97% arguments are easy to manipulate.

        But, there is, unambiguously a persistent, 10 year old 100% peak body consensus.

      • 3d,

        So, if Guardian is routinely biased – I suppose the Australian is perfectly balanced then, is it?

      • hey 3d,


        …All players told the Financial Review that modelling conducted by ACIL Allen for the government’s Warburton review into the RET found that power prices would fall as more renewable energy was deployed.

        ROAM and Schnieder say the same thing. So does the AIG.

        How is it not lying when Tony lies? But, lying was lying when Julia lied. Which she did, rather idiotically.

        If it’s not about the RET price impact today – it’s his repetition of his acceptance of AGW. NOW – you know he’s unambiguously lying about that!

      • @Briefly. Tol is not lying. The truth will out.

        @Hr. More than happy to wait for the outcome of the RET review panel.

      • 3d,

        We don’t have to wait for the outcome of the RET review panel. It’s a forgone conclusion.

        Since you’ve not bothered to challenge me on, one can only conclude that you accept that Abbot is a liar.

        Pity it doesn’t rhyme.

      • Tol accepts the orthodox propositions on climate change and the errors in his purported analysis. None of his claims correspond with the assertions you promulgate.

        The deceptions belong to you and the frauds on whom you rely for your mendacious spew.

        There are liars, damned liars and then there are climate change denialists, who really take the prize for dishonesty.

  11. b_chrisMEMBER

    Separate issue, but while we discuss climate change:

    “Location, location, location and some more good news — the sea ice surrounding Antarctica, hit a new all-time record high for areal coverage. On June 28, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s The Cryosphere Today site showed that the ice encircl- ing the Antarctica is 2.074 million sq. km (801,000 sq. miles). That is .99 million square kilometers more than average! What! You thought the ice was
    shrinking. Look at Figure 14 and notice the tip of the peninsula sticking out of the growing ice. Guess what our satellite pictures show – the icebergs breaking off that peninsula. The ice on the peninsula is shrinking but the ice in East Antarctica is growing. Unfortu- nately, pictures of growing ice are too boring to make the news. We are now hearing scientists telling us that the shrinking ice in the north is more important to global climate circulation than that pesky ice growing in the south. Tell that to the Aussies! “

    • Forget the polemics….and think about what is and is not known….

      Antarctic sea ice covers a vast area of the Southern Ocean and is one of the most dynamic environments on the planet. The seasonal sea ice zone over which sea ice advances and retreats each year is about 30%, or approximately 14 million km2 of the Southern Ocean, reaching its maximum extent in September-October. Sea ice is a key factor in ocean-atmosphere interactions, global ocean circulation, and through the ice-albedo feedback mechanism an integral part of Earth’s climate system. It is also a dominant seasonal force in marine ecosystems.

      While sea ice extent can be routinely measured from satellites, there are no data available to detect change in sea ice thickness and changes could currently be going unnoticed. During the satellite era (1979-present), no significant net reduction in Antarctic sea ice extent has been measured, although there are significant reductions around the Antarctic Peninsula with compensating increases elsewhere. Changes in Antarctic sea ice extent are predicted under future climate change scenarios, although models for the 21st century show wide variability with a 25-40% decrease predicted. In relation to thickness, emerging techniques such as satellite radar and laser altimetry need calibration and validation.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Exactly Briefly what you just posted was pure conjecture, and you go on, correctly, about 3d obfuscating?

      • The statement is not conjecture – that is to say, it is not speculative.

        Nor is there any guess work involved in commentary about 3d. He just plain lies. This is not controversial or conditional. 3d actively seeks to mislead, disguise, elide, distort, misquote, corrupt, blur, fake, cheat and fabricate. He is thoroughly mendacious.

        Climate change is upon us all. No amount of obfuscation can conceal that. It’s causes are completely understood. That is not in dispute by any honest thinker.