Climate flip-flopping Coalition condemns Abbott climate flip-flopping

Via The Guardian:

Statements by Tony Abbott suggesting that climate change is “probably doing good” are different to his opinion while he was prime minister and it is up to him to explain why he has changed his view, Julie Bishop has said.

Speaking from South Korea on the ABC’s 7:30 on Thursday, the foreign affairs minister rebuked Abbott by recounting his record of signing the Paris climate agreement and setting the renewable energy target.

Bishop’s comments follow a similar intervention from energy and environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, stating that climate change is real and recalling that Abbott signed the Paris agreement.

On Monday evening Abbott told a climate sceptic thinktank in London that policies to combat climate change were like “primitive people … killing goats to appease the volcano gods”. He also reprised his 2009 assertion that the “so-called settled science of climate change” was “absolute crap”.

Asked about Abbott’s comments, Bishop said he was “entitled to express his views, as any other member of parliament … is entitled to do”.

But she added: “The views he expressed recently are different to those he expressed as prime minister when he supported the Paris agreement, and in fact set a nationally determined targets and the renewable energy target was established under then Prime Minister Abbott,” she said. “So, it’s up to him to explain the differences between his opinion then and his opinion now.”

Bishop said the Turnbull government was determined to deliver “affordable, reliable energy … that will still meet our international obligations, which were, in fact, established under then Prime Minister Abbott”.

Chaos is the only word here. Last week is was Finkel and the CET. Not this week, via Laura Tingle:

Alan Finkel’s proposal for ensuring an orderly shift in the energy market had several parts, and was never simply a matter of replacing one set of “subsidies” for renewables under the renewable energy target with another.

For starters, the CET is about establishing a (completely adjustable) trajectory for reducing emissions, not a fixed end-point target. The whole point of it was to be technology neutral: that is, that it would not just cover renewables but any form of clean energy that would fit within flexible parameters that could be set by the government, right up to some (highly contentious) forms of coal.

It was also supposed to work in conjunction with a range of other policies like obligations to have three years notice of closure of old energy power plants and to ensure any new generation capacity came with storage capacity.

But this is pretty much history now.

The government has been busy trying to ensure that, whatever it does announce in the next couple of weeks, the question of what happens in the energy sector will be downgraded to sit within a broader discussion about what other parts of the economy might do to help cut emissions.

…having set up Finkel as a rational and orderly process for taking the warfare out of energy policy, then walking away from it, the government has hit the reset button on the politics of energy and climate policy.

There is no plan beyond trying to win the next election. The only plan needed to fix everything is lowering the cost of gas but that, perversely, is deemed hostile to winning the election. So we get this kind of energy self-terrorism instead.

The latest brain-fart is a return to Abbott:

The Turnbull government is considering extending its Direct Action climate scheme, including the $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, as an alternative to the now abandoned Finkel review’s Clean Energy Target.

With the Department of Environment and Energy’s review of the federal government’s climate policies due by the end of the year, energy experts said a revised Direct Action policy, which could include international carbon credits, was shaping as a possible replacement the Renewable Energy Target when it finishes in 2020.

DA can work. The problem is it is even more expensive, charging tax-payers ever more instead of polluters as opaque decisions about to shut down are made by bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, the transformation continues beneath the radar:

The Australian Energy Market Operator is racing to secure ­another 800MW of back-up ­capacity for the national power market by the end of the month to avoid a ­repeat of price spikes, blackouts and load-shedding across the country’s southeast.

Industrial and commercial users who are able to shift their energy use or switch it off, as well as small-scale generation, are asked by AEMO under its rarely used Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader powers to supply nearly half the capacity needed to provide insurance during the summer demand peak.

AEMO has set a target of 1800MW of capacity to replace the 1600MW lost through the sudden closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired generator in Victoria in March and has just two weeks left to secure nearly half that amount.

AEMO requires a mixture of private and publicly owned gas peaking generators totalling 832MW to be available for summer, including the 239MW Pelican Point plant in South Australia, Swanbank E’s 385MW plant in Queensland and Tamar Valley in Tasmania, which can produce up to 208MW.

But the threat of a shortfall this summer has sparked a range of government and private sector moves to shore up the grid, including government funding to turn off power at peak times and a trial by Origin Energy to shift demand to non-peak periods.

This week AEMO announced 10 winners of a tender to supply demand response capacity to the grid, with businesses and households to be paid to switch off or dial down use at times of peak ­demand or when generation ­capacity goes offline.

A combined $35.7m of federal and NSW taxpayer money will be paid via big retailers such as AGL and EnergyAustralia to secure an estimated 143MW of ­capacity.

Such demand response initiatives can account for up to 15 per cent of peak demand in countries where they are already in place, according to AEMO.

Beneath the bull, storage and efficiency are the booms ahead.


  1. HadronCollision

    I think the big opp here for MB is parlaying the opportunity into trading (ASX equities or derivatives thereof) opps.

    is RFX etc etc

  2. Through the lens of the banana republic this all makes sense.

    Why “fix” the gas problem with what needs to be done? That would put donations in jeopardy from their friends in the gas lobby. They’re still going to donate, even after the kabuki theatre Malcolm pulled with the CEOs, I am sure ruffles were smoothed through the appropriate back channels.

    Direct Action is the perfect extension of their current program. What better way to direct more public money to donors than through an opaque and complex scheme totally reliant on self-reporting? The $30 million dollar donation gift is a perfect example of this, although “cufflinks” are a pretty cheap reward for that one.

    Those manufacturing guys, who cares about them, manufacturing is done and they’re losers, they can’t afford to compete with the more powerful lobby groups.

  3. Terror Australis

    Haven’t seen any articles in MB predicting Abbott PM 2.0 for quite a while.
    Can we agree that his Full Retard antics this year particularly have put that scenario beyond the Pale?

    Newspoll-schmoll. The LNP has no viable Turnbull alternative.

      • Terror Australis

        Even cockroaches have a sense of self preservation. Any LNP member sitting on a marginal seat must realise that putting Abbott back as PM would be an act of suicide.

        I don’t buy the MB narrative that cutting immigration is an election winning strategy at this point. Not saying I disagree or that it’s the wrong strategy. Simply saying the Titanic is already half submerged. Literally nothing could ressurect the LNP fortunes to a winning position from this point.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      No NO!!! Abbott will return to his vomit, eerrr the Lodge.
      I have a standing $10 bet with Mrs. B that says he will.