As Australians we really do live in a bubble. We like to think we are global in outlook but in fact we are very selective and very parochial depending on the subject. Which brings us to climate change.
Almost every day our political and media classes drone on about looming climate catastrophe and how by Australia unilaterally going green we can save the planet, basking not only in our moral virtue, but the free energy from wind and sun that will lower our electricity bills and provide millions of clean energy jobs of the future.
That none of these fantastical claims ever comes to pass in any country in the world (including Green utopia Germany now doubling down on coal to keep the lights on) and that in seeking to do so almost always ends in political tears never seems to dissuade our dim witted political class from once again trying to square the unmalleable circle.
Meanwhile in the good ol’ USA the mid-terms are just around the corner and neither side of the political divide is campaigning hard on climate change. That’s right, not even the Obama-Clinton complex are campaigning to save the planet anymore. Why? Because, it just doesn’t rate as a serious issue to average Americans.
You would have thought that our ambassador to Washington could have perhaps passed on that vital piece of information to his former Coalition colleagues. Apparently not!
As Alan Moran correctly observed in a post today, climate change doesn’t rate as a serious issue for ordinary Australians either. In the Essential poll he refers to climate change came in a paltry 8th on the list of issues concerning voters.
Considering, as stated above, you cannot escape climate hysteria and renewable utopia on a daily basis in the mainstream media, that is a truly terrible result. That any alternative (sceptic) argument never gets a run, not even from the Coalition, makes it worse. It suggests the climate game is up.
At the same time, herein lies the Coalition’s problem. It just doesn’t have the courage to call out the games up. It cowardly refuses to challenge the scientific premise of climate change and by paying uncritical lip service to the “consensus” it can hence only ever be a poor man’s Labor. It’s political and policy messages are in complete contradiction and a shambles. It is the ultimate vote loser.
On the one hand, we can meet our Paris commitments “in a canter” according to our newly minted PM, and in a way that is somehow great for the nation because we kept our international promise. On the other hand, if we can exceed our commitments in a canter, why not a gallop? Especially if it so good.
You can understand why the average voter is perplexed and more likely seduced by the Labor / Green argument that more renewables must mean better economic and environmental outcomes all round.
It beggars belief that the Coalition has been utterly wedged on a Labor/Green policy so mired in contradictions, flawed logic and fraudulent claims that it should be Labor and the Greens being wedged into political oblivion.
Be that as it may, how does the Coalition dump Paris, end the subsidy racket and craft a point of differentiation from Labor without questioning the science and being labled a denier and international parasite by all of Australia’s press?
To start with, let’s be clear about what won’t work (i.e. current Coalition policy):
- The argument that we (and our emissions) are too small to matter always fails the “must do our part” counter argument. That is a non-starter. As small fries our pollies love the big stage and as a nation we love fooling ourselves we punch above our weight. Heads up! It’s rare!
- The argument that hundreds of coal fired power stations are being built all over the world fails the “green is cheaper” counter argument despite how bogus the claim actually is or investment risk reasons why. I simply state:
- Trying to explain the economics of the energy market is beyond most voters comprehension.
- It is definitely beyond the Coalition’s comprehension.
- It is way beyond the metastasising cancer of energy regulators!
- Singing the praises of HELE or gas as a transition technology suffers from the logical fallacy of investing in renewables in the first place (which they have). If they worked we would needn’t a transition technology (factor in Rafe Champion’s analysis about backup in the worst case scenarios).
So what will work? My seven point plan follows what I call the Lomborg-Trump solution (i.e. the real world):
- Shift the political debate to discussing the inevitability of climate change rather “denial”. Accept the climate catastrophe as laid out by the IPCC in all its fire and brimstone devastation. It’s worse than we thought!
- Highlight the futility of the Paris Treaty as made plain by Bjorn Lomborg, notably that if all countries implement their Paris commitments by 2030, global temperatures will still be in excess of 2°C by 2100. Total failure!
In other words, the Paris Treaty is a non-solution to the problem as stated by the IPCC, and even then is predicated on the heroic assumption that all countries will actually meet their targets. This would be a world first. None (that count) at present are on target
Worse still, the Paris Treaty is already redundant according to the IPCC. It was predicated on a 2°C scenario. The latest IPCC report now says the goal must now be 1.5°C. Climate Armageddon is locked in!
- Zero in on the adverse specifics of the Paris Treaty, in the manner in which Trump does:
- This is a horrible, horrible deal for Australia. We spend billions and billions of dollars for nothing in return.
- China doesn’t reduce a single emission. They take our coal, our jobs, our wealth. As they get richer we get poorer and the emissions continue to rise. All the while buying our farms and real estate. China is not alone. None of the big emitters across the developing world make a contribution.
- China and developing countries aren’t the only winners from this terrible deal. Foreign dictators will receive billions and billions of tax payers money for years and years in the delusion that third world thugs will invest in windmills and solar panels instead of guns and ammunitions (when not lining their own pockets).
- And let’s not forget the big end of town – the bankers and superfunds that have performed so honourably at the Royal Commission – that profit from ordinary Australians energy poverty with subsidised, government guaranteed investments paid for by the tax payer.
- How cosy for Labor and the Unions (superfunds). Union proxy politicians legislating sweet heart renewables deals that profit union super funds. A virtual cycle for Labor. Vicious to the nation.
It is important that when focusing on specifics one should always relate back to the existential question: to what end?
For Australia to wear the consequences of climate change have squandering our nation’s prosperity and resources and ability to adapt? This is the ultimate lose-lose deal. It is madness.
- Challenge the claim Australia is a high emitting nation. Accounting for forests, grasses and oceans Australia likely sequesters more carbon dioxide than it emits (or at the very least pushes us way down the list). Fairness and equity (Labor / Green articles of faith) demand the rich, major emitters do the heavy lifting.
If Australia is a global carbon sink then the premise of any future international agreement should be compensation paid to Australia for sequestering other nations emissions.
To the extent we emit CO2 through bushfires emphasise Green policies that promote this very outcome such as hindering efforts to reduce fuel loads.
- Re-orientate the debate to domestic policy issues that matter, as Alan Moran highlighted in a previous post (aforementioned), also in the manner of Trump. That is to say, never concede to being opposed to lowering emissions, but do be prepared to argue not at any cost, and only when the ends justify the means. For example:
- “The Coalition is all for lower emissions but not if it means higher cost of living pressures and lower living standards.”
- “Not if it means making housing even less affordable for ordinary Australians.”
- “Not if it means exporting Australian jobs to China.”
- “The Coalition is more than happy to commit Australia to real solutions shared by all nations.”
- “We will not, however, damage our economy and weaken our country on non-viable solutions that will not solve the problem.”
- “The Coalition will not raise taxes or waste money funding fake solutions that should be spent on real hospitals, real schools and real ways to improve people’s lives.”
- “We will not lump future generations with the consequences of a climate the IPCC has all but conceded is inevitable, but without the fiscal means to adapt. That is morally bankrupt.
- Sow a seed of climate doubt presented as hope and optimism, (i.e. “in the absence of a solution we can only hope the IPCC are wrong”). Mercifully, there is cause for hope on this front:
- We know the climate models used by the IPCC have been over sensitive to CO2 to date.
- We know the planet has not warmed over the past 18 years as these models predicted.
- We know the satellite record shows less warming than surface based records.
- We know the IPCC is contradictory regarding the impact of global warming in relation to hurricanes, floods, droughts and bushfires, both on global and regional scales. It concedes a low level of certainty and contrary trends.
- Adopt a climate realist policy: hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Australia cannot risk its future relying (against all evidence) on global action. We have been waiting for such action for twenty years ever since the Kyoto Protocol. Paris is no different other than time has run out.
The Paris Treaty is a fake solution that robs Australia of future resources to adapt. We must plan for the worst in the absence of a genuine and enforceable global solution. Any global solution must also recognise Australia as a global carbon sink (assuming we are one) and compensate (or discount) accordingly.
Hence, we must re-orientate our climate policy to one of climate realism (global inaction) and hence future adaptation. Anything less is an abrogation of the first duty of government to defend its citizens from all threats including global climate inaction. The time for empty gestures and tilting at windmills is over.
Climate resources must be weighted to better climate research that can better determine Australia’s likely climate future taking into account all variables and feedbacks, whether human induced or natural variability. This is critical in adaptation planning regardless of the source of the climate forcing.
To the extent mitigation is still possible government policy must focus on R&D involving genuine breakthrough technologies, rather than wasting precious resources / limited funds subsidising mature but inferior technologies that at present offer no solution to the problem at hand.
Australia could also boost its net CO2 position by taking more stringent fire management practises that focus on fuel reduction. Reducing emissions from bushfires is good for the environment and good for landholders and regional people living at the front line. Lives versus bracken. You decide.
In conclusion, prosecuting a climate realism policy has the potential to have enormous political upside. Without conceding a single politically correct (i.e. denial) point it demolishes the dystopian lunacy of Labor and the Greens.
It returns the debate to bread and butter issues that matter most to ordinary Australians. It does so without resorting to guilt or relying on ignorance. To the contrary it educates voters to appreciate the rationality of it.
It catches Labor / Greens out in all their duplicity with a logic they cannot hide from. Starting with a ban on coal exports (or carbon tax attached) if they genuinely believe it has no future and is killing the planet.
Make Labor / Green own the killing off of mining in Australia!
Climate realism is patriotic, in the national interest and self-interest. Climate globalism is a con-job and sell-out waiting to be exposed.
Educating the public, rather than pandering to a mob (or poll) is leadership. Strength of leadership – in the national interest, aligned to voter interest – is what wins elections.
Time to burst the bubble. Time to call the alarmists bluff. If the climate is irretrievably buggered (as we are told it is) we are beyond the point of tilting at windmills.
Only a heavy dose of realism will protect Australia’s future prosperity and security and win public opinion.
Time to turn the polls!