Here is an extract from an article I have in Quadrant On Line
In response to an increasingly green-oriented urban electorate, the ALP’s environmental position has moved very close to that of The Greens. And, like conservative parties in the pre-Thatcher/Reagan era confronted by the ostensible and purportedly inevitable advance of socialism, the Liberals have adopted a gradualist version of those policies. The Liberals are selling their position as being responsible green, their policy boiling down to these talking points:
#Australia is already spending more on carbon abatement than the EU, US and China
#We have to temper extreme policies that would bankrupt the nation
#The technology that will enable us to move to 50 per cent renewables is not yet here, but we’re keen to get there.
Only politicians from the minor parties and a very few members of the Coalition, there is no stomach whatsoever for exercising Trumpian leadership and explaining the limitations of abatement policies and the costs they would inflict.
For the most part, all harmful effects of the green policies are denied. Bill Shorten claims there is hardly any cost attributable to the 50 per cent renewable share and 45 per cent emission reduction that are central to ALP policies. This, along with assertions that the measures will actually lower costs, was the same claim made eight years ago of policies designed to displace the use of fossil fuels. When the outcome of those subsidies emerged as higher prices and lower reliability, as many of us predicted they would, these were blamed on other factors (inadequate network spending, ancient coal plants, price gouging by energy businesses etc.). The agitprop journal of the renewable lobby, RenewEconomy, noting record electricity prices in the 2019 March quarter, laid the blame squarely with coal and gas generation!
Though the Coalition might survive the present election due to a mixture of rather extreme spending and regulatory policies by the ALP, the decision to target urban seats and passively accept climate hysteria means a continued shift to the green left. This will leave us far poorer.
Taking a contrary view, John Quiggin notes that the ABARE 1996 estimates, the model Brian Fisher employed to quantify the effects of current ALP climate policies, put the cost of holding emissions at 1990 levels by 2020 at $10,000 per family. Quiggin thinks the ABARE forecast is an overestimate because it fails to account for an inherent flexibility within the economy and for lower costs entailed in renewable energy. But, as he explains, the forecast is the cumulative loss. In fact the income outcome is likely underestimated since it resulted from controls over land-clearing, restrictions on irrigators and the subsidies to renewables. The newly proposed policies take these measures to a higher level of intrusion and, unless there are dramatic technological breakthroughs, the costs will be much greater (and if there are such breakthroughs the measures will be unnecessary).
If we proceed to strangle the economy with regulations that impose costs on mineral- and agricultural-based activities, in which our international comparative advantage lies, we will be considerably worse off.