June 2nd 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The Greens: the political equivalent of bilgewater

EDITORIAL Malaysian election sends shockwaves across South-East Asia

GENDER AND SPORT Transgender playing in women's football league gains attention

CANBERRA OBSERVED Beyond tomorrow a bridge too far for politicians to plan

ENERGY Why renewables destabilise the power grid

LAW AND FREEDOM Exemptions: at issue with Dr Zimmermann

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Behind the U.S.-North Korea rapprochement

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Two to tango: Where to now for U.S. and China?

LIFE ISSUES So, is this not pro-life?

POLITICS AND CULTURE The West won the world but may lose its soul

MILITARY BIOGRAPHY Commanders: the men who resolve questions of life and death


MUSIC Eurovision: Wailing and gnashing of teeth

CINEMA Superhero movies: A Chestertonian consideration

BOOK REVIEW A man for all seasons and hemispheres

BOOK REVIEW Mid-century gem of Catholic fiction



ECONOMICS Vatican document nails some of the causes of the GFC

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The Greens: the political equivalent of bilgewater

by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, June 2, 2018

The Australian Greens’ federal party platform needs close scrutiny, especially when outlandish claims and radical ideology form the basis of some truly bizarre policies.

Virtue signalling features largely in the Greens’ election platform, for example, “tackling catastrophic global warming”. They plan to “achieve net zero pollution by 2040” with a “Solar Ombudsman” enforcing a “right to solar” for renters, “ensuring that a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse”.

They envisage “rooftop solar for every home, school and business …, our cities with solar panels on every car park and supermarket roof”, requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. How an economy would run without any base-load power supply, given that the Greens will undertake “the gradual, staged closure of coal-fired power stations”, don’t believe in any new dams for hydro power and have a policy banning nuclear power, is conveniently overlooked.

In fact, electricity generation only accounts for 36 per cent of our carbon dioxide emissions, so how the Greens would “achieve net zero pollution” and eliminate the 64 per cent of remaining carbon dioxide generated from industry, transport, agriculture, tourism, and the rest, presumably so far only resides as thought bubbles in the Greens’ heads.

Even the Paris Climate Agreement target of a 26-28 per cent reduction in carbon dioxideby 2030 (on 2005 levels) would require a 64-65 per cent reduction reduction in the emissions intensity of the economy. The Greens want to go way beyond the Paris targets with “100 per cent clean energy” and “at least 90 per cent renewable [energy] by 2030”.

Much has been made of Tesla’s huge lithium-ion battery in South Australia. Its success as a source of immediate power to “iron out” fluctuations in the power supply, which have become more common with the advent of the unstable and intermittent supply of power from renewables (solar and wind) going into the grid, has been touted by those with something to hide. The fact is that the battery generates exactly zero electricity; it is merely a store of electricity already generated by whatever other means (wind, in this case) are available.

As mining company Glencore’s global head of coal, Peter Freyberg, said, Tesla’s lithium-ion battery would power one of Glencore’s aluminium smelters in NSW for a grand total of 7.7 minutes before going flat. The Greens nonetheless perpetuate the “feelgood” hype, while the reality of renewable energies’ inability to replace fossil fuels in base-load power generation is ignored.

Under the Greens, all donations from the fossil-fuel industry will be banned, presumably to prevent them from influencing government policy, but no mention is made of banning donations from the renewable energy industry, which currently siphons off $3 billion a year in subsidies, 75 per cent of which is paid for through higher power bills.

As “evidence” of the need to ban any new coal and gas extraction, the Greens claim that 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef was bleached in 2016. However, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) said of the 2016 event: “An estimated 29 per cent of shallow-water coral was lost across the Marine Park … (to a depth of approximately 10 metres).”

The Greens “plan to move beyond coal and gas” with:

  • No new coal or unconventional gas approvals or expansions and a ban on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), extending the “water trigger” to all forms of unconventional gas, including shale and tight gas.
  • An export levy on thermal coal, an end to fossil-fuel subsidies, and a price on pollution with no free permits for big miners.
  • No new coal or gas ports along the Great Barrier Reef, and no new fossil-fuel infrastructure like gas pipelines.
  • No new fossil-fuel infrastructure like the proposed gas pipeline from the Northern Territory to Queensland.

Under the heading,Ending the free ride for big polluters”,the Greens would introduce a thermal coal export levy of $3 per tonne. This levy, according to Parliamentary Budget Office estimates, would penalise coal producers to the tune of $650 million a year. No doubt the free ride given (via subsidies) to the renewable industry would continue unabated.

Jurisdictions around the world with the highest solar and wind penetration in the electricity market typically have the highest power prices. South Australia, having overtaken Denmark as having highest power prices in the world, also happens to have the largest share of renewable energy in any large electricity grid system in the world. Yet the Greens are determined on the path of higher prices and power grid unreliability.

The Greens would ban all uranium and thorium mining and would allow no nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed vessels in our waters. They would close the OPAL nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights and prohibit any nuclear power plants.

The Greens believe that “Australia must have the self-confidence that can only come once we are a republic”. Really? There are myriad problems Australia needs to deal with first: unemployment, housing unaffordability, unreliable and expensive electricity, wage stagnation, foreign ownership and threats to sovereignty, and so on, that actually affect people’s lives. How the Greens explain our historical prosperity, despite not being a republic, is unknown.

The Greens’ defence policy sounds like the position of a party safe in the knowledge that it will never have to declare war (never being likely to be in government in their own right). They would reduce military spending, threaten our sovereignty with an international peace conference for global disarmament (under United Nations auspices), close all existing foreign bases, joint defence facilities and foreign troop deployments and develop an “Australian Coastguard to replace military personnel and equipment in coastal policing”.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm