The deep green state’s control of energy policy

I have a piece in the Spectator, a synopsis of which is below. 

The Commonwealth attempted to divert money from the Emissions Reduction Fund from the negative value ventures it normally funds to supporting investment in a coal plant.

The Emissions Reduction Fund was set up by the Abbott Government following its election in 2013. Its Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, was an avid promoter of “direct action” which involves buying out firms’ greenhouse gas emissions rather than reducing emissions by taxing coal. In fact, buying out emissions provides negligible effects on total emissions, since the cashiered production is replaced by that of other supplies.

Conservative governments set up agencies to deliver policy outcomes but either lock in an inflexible process that cannot be subsequently modified or fail to establish the appropriate machinery from the outset.  An example of the latter is the $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund, whereby Energy Minister Taylor sought to shift soft loan subsidy funding of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to reliable new (and hence lower emissions) coal generation.  But, of the 12 projects recommended for further consideration by the panel he set up, only one was a coal project. And that will eventually be killed.

The fact is that the bureaucracy appoints its own gatekeepers. The committee set up to guard public spending through the Emissions Reduction Fund is headed by an environmental activist, ANU’s Professor Andrew Mackintosh (who was recently congratulated by the Environment Department for also being appointed as a reviewer of the Commonwealth’s expansionist Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act). Its other members also comprise environmental activists from within academia and the bureaucracy, and are supported by the pro carbon tax Climate Change Policy Branch in the Department of the Environment and Energy.

Minister Taylor is attempting to change the decision-making body as part of an additional funding package and has appointed a new “expert panel” for advice.  The tentacles of the Deep State however run deep.  Even though the head of the panel is Grant King (previously Origin Energy and AGL), its other members are Susie Smith, CEO of the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network, the aforementioned Prof Andrew Macintosh, head of the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, and David Parker, the Clean Energy Regulator.

Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose

As a nation we are throwing out of work a million people from activities that provide consumers with the products and services they want. But the jobs remain of those – inside and outside government – dedicated to undermining the economy’s efficiency.

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5 Responses to The deep green state’s control of energy policy

  1. RobK

    Well said Alan.
    I think; “ The fact is that the bureaucracy appoints its own gatekeepers while ministers pretend to be in charge with portentous speeches. “, is the nub of hugely wasteful environmental posturing that has gone on for decades with mostly completely negative triple bottom lines.

  2. Faye

    What’s democracy if the same (unelected) bureaucrats wield the power?

  3. Ben

    Let’s not forget that when states decide to make their own decisions in delivering power it is now termed ‘go it alone’. States are meant to do their own thing. That’s the point of having states. But the electricity network is run by bureaucrats with national agendas and KPIs.

    Example is Taylor’s $70/MWh average wholesale target. If SA goes down while VIC goes up, if the average is lower it’s claimed as a win. But not much of a win for those whose power went up.

    When will a state decide to ‘go it alone’ to lower its own prices and attract investment? Probably never.

  4. Herodotus

    All true. While kneecapping the nation first through climate change idiocies and now with lockdowns, there has been a stringent limit put on the mandarins, politicians and judges: no pay rises for the time being.

  5. Rayvic

    Perhaps not surprisingly, Andrew Macintosh lacks academic science qualifications:
    B.Com/LLB (1st Hons) (USyd), Grad Dip Legal Practice (College of Law), Grad Dip Enviro Mgt (UTas) ( https://law.anu.edu.au/people/andrew-macintosh.)

    He is a practitioner of climate change bureaucratic groupthink, that relies heavily on IPCC proceedings.

    Expert reviewer of IPCC climate assessment reports, John McLean, asks in the latest News Weekly where’s the evidence for man-made warming:

    “The term “climate change” has become very nebulous since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) redefined it to mean “man-made climate change”. For some people it retains its old meaning of any change of climate, but others take the newly imposed definition.

    Some of the second group have completely ignored the natural influences on climate that have been around for billions of years. They are now trying to claim that we have a climate emergency that mankind can somehow rectify. If only they had evidence to support their claims.

    CHRONIC LACK OF EVIDENCE
    Most people probably think that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has that evidence; after all, it was established just over 30 years ago. Those people are wrong. The IPCC changes its so-called evidence with every new IPCC climate report.

    The IPCC started out by saying that it didn’t know what else, other than mankind’s activities, could be causing warming. That line of argument might be OK if the IPCC had good understanding of every influence on climate. But subsequent IPCC reports said that the level of scientific understanding of many such influences was low or very low.

    The key chapter of the IPCC’s second climate report cited a scientific paper, written by the authors of that chapter, as evidence that mankind’s “fingerprints” had been found in the temperature record. The paper had been submitted to a journal but not reviewed and certainly not published before it was cited. It was eventually published almost 18 months after the IPCC’s report and was quickly criticised and dismissed.

    The third IPCC climate report, published in 2001, featured Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” temperature graph. It showed that global average temperatures had been declining for the previous 1000 years but had shot up in recent times, its shape thus resembling a hockey stick. The “hockey stick” graph appeared eight times in the IPCC’s report. A few years later, however, two Canadians showed that the method of creating the data shown in the graph would create a similar “hockey stick” even from random numbers. It didn’t appear in the next report.

    The fourth IPCC climate report, published in 2007, tried to imply that the increase in temperatures was very close to what climate models had predicted. This was undone when the fifth report, published in 2013, showed that 111 of 114 climate model predictions of temperature trends over the previous 15 years had exceeded the trends calculated from temperature observations. What’s more, it wasn’t certain that any warming had occurred in that time; this despite an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    The sixth IPCC climate assessment report is currently being prepared and I expect that its so-called evidence will probably be different again.

    Some years ago, Senator Malcolm Roberts asked several individuals and organisations, including the CSIRO, for evidence of man-made warming. The few that responded directed him to the IPCC reports but none said where among the thousands of pages of text that evidence could be found, which is hardly surprising as it isn’t there.

    A group in New Zealand made similar requests in that country and received similar responses, even though one organisation that responded boasts on its web pages that it advises governments. It is hard to take man-made warming seriously when no one seems able to show credible and consistent evidence.”

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