Canberra’s costly carbon follies outdo even the Danes

Story submitted by Mike Jonas

writes Angus Taylor, MP for Hume, New South Wales, Australia.

How refreshing it is to read something written by a politician that shows that they “get it”!

Some of the article follows, but first an explanation: Canberra – also known as the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – was specially created in the early 20th century to be the capital of Australia, and that is its only reason for existence. The federal government of Australia is housed in Canberra. But Canberra itself is run by the local ACT Legislative Assembly aka the ACT Government. When Angus Taylor refers to “Canberra” or “the ACT” in this article, he is referring to the left-wing-controlled ACT Legislative Assembly, not to Australia’s federal parliament.

 

Angus Taylor is a member of the Liberal Party, which is the right-of-centre party of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Angus Taylor entered federal parliament in the 2013 election, representing the electorate of Hume which stretches from the edge of Canberra to the edge of Sydney and is roughly the area of Maryland but with a fraction of the population. Expect to hear much more of Angus Taylor in years to come.

Angus Taylor opens with:

AUSTRALIANS are learning the hard way that moral vanity comes at a high price. After many years of climate policy chaos, we know that most people want some action on climate change but they don’t want to waste money on expensive, inefficient schemes.

He then goes on to criticise the ACT’s “plan to mandate that a dizzying 90 per cent of the ACT’s electricity supply will come from large-scale renewables by 2020” and quotes Bjorn Lomborg to draw a parallel with “the folly of Copenhagen’s plans to be the world’s first CO2-neutral city“.

There’s lots of downright common sense in the article, such as “As old-style industry protection has fallen out of favour, rent-seekers are hungrily eyeing green industry subsidies.“, “today’s huge investment costs are hidden in tomorrow’s electricity bills” and “when the wind blows, ACT-sponsored wind farms will send their electricity into the NSW grid, yet the ACT will demand a reliable and constant supply in return“.

The article in The Australian is paywalled, but is reproduced here.

The only thing that Angus Taylor gets seriously wrong is in his last paragraph “We need efficient, careful and well-timed emission-reduction policies.“. What a pity that he thus spoiled an otherwise excellent article. Maybe when most people don’t “want some action on climate change“, this part of the narrative might change.

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39 thoughts on “Canberra’s costly carbon follies outdo even the Danes

  1. “We need efficient, careful and well-timed emission-reduction policies.“

    Well if he is talking CO2 then I agree his statement is wrong. But if he is talking about all the pollutants from fossil fuel burning (esp. coal) then I don’t see anything wrong with the statement.

    The non-CO2 emissions from fossil fuel plants (even the ‘clean’ natural gas plants) are known to cause health issues. Responsible reductions in those pollutants, no matter your stance on CO2, is something I believe we can all get behind.

  2. Will the CO2 science bias and policy lies end by 2020? Energy policy observers might do well to upgrade both the cost analysis and science re-examination. Both aspects have been flawed for too long. The misdirection plays of nuclear power advocacy from the 1970s are being repeated in the low due diligence process of wind power and most solar. The evaluation process for renewable energy is so flawed that even the lowest-cost leaders and pace setters are unrecognized.

  3. Why lower emissions when CO2 does NOT affect climate? The GHE cannot work as NASA recently proved by using the Ideal Gas Laws. Mind you it was the part of NASA that go into Space not the climate bunch of know nothings.

  4. ” “the folly of Copenhagen’s plans to be the world’s first CO2-neutral city“.”

    Seriously? CO2 neutral? Do they intend to kick all the residents out? Eliminate al the birds, rats, mice, squirrels, and insects? Tear the streets up and plant fields? What would the purpose of a dead city then be? A monument to monumental stupidity?

  5. These green idiots are making their beds (troughs?) .
    When electricity costs increase by 300%, as the story says, they will have to live with the result of their actions. And that will not be a pretty sight….

  6. There was a Woody Allen movie made long ago called “The Sleeper”, in which Allen finds himself woken from some form of cryogenic hibernation in the distant future. Human knowledge has greatly advanced with surprising results. When he wakes up the doctors give him “the healthiest thing we know” and hand him a lighted cigarette proclaiming “in the 20th century people thought these were dangerous – the complete opposite of what we now know to be true.”

    Although it is a form of comedy of the absurd, there is an irony here.The irony is that if people today awoke in some future age they would be equally surprised to be told “in your day people thought co2 was harming the planet. This was the complete opposite of what we now know, that co2 is in fact bringing fantastic benefits to the planet.”

  7. Around 90% of the reason for Canberra’s existence was government mandate, with about as many people in Canberra involved with government in some way, so its no wonder they want 90% of energy from renewables.

    There is a direct correlation between government mandated renewable energy IQ and political expediency. They don’t have to live in the real world so why have real energy?

  8. ddpalmer says:
    August 11, 2014 at 5:54 am
    ——-
    Those pollutants were taken care of in the developed countries decades ago. Current reductions are just gilding the lily. Lost of expense, miniscule if any health benefits.

  9. Canberra, Washington DC or Ottawa all the same.
    As long as we let the parasites vote and write the rules they must conform to, we have the classic definition of democracy.
    Two wolves and a lamb voting over lunch.
    I am coming to see that it is a conflict of interest and a blatant disservice to the taxpaying citizen, for the tax taking “helpers” to have any say in the spending of public treasure.
    From this mistake we devolve to Kleptocracy in less than 3 generations.
    Either we reset now or the reset will occur on its own.
    The cost to maintain civil society currently exceeds the benefit to those who pay.
    Hence the shrinking tax base and expanding underground economy.
    And the growing tribalism.
    As trust vanishes so does civilization.

  10. Australians know how to tackle an ever changing climate. For nearly a decade they complained about drought, some blamed climate change, some said they had to prepare for permanent drought.

    The Daily Gazette – 28 Sep, 2003
    Researchers in Australia announced the country might be facing a permanent drought due to an accelerating vortex of winds spinning around Antarctica.
    ====================

    NatGeo – 6 January, 2011
    Unprecedented, “Biblical” Floods Inundate Australia
    ====================

    Herald Sun – 8 Oct 2012
    Fourth desal plant mothballed. Billions more wasted

    At least contractors got rich. Maybe even a few politicians.

  11. The claimed wind costs of $100/MWhr (10 cents/kilowattHour) obviously doesn’t include side effect costs resulting from using an unreliable power source (cost of backup capacity). There are also the difficult-to-quantify costs due to wind’s enormous environmental footprint : over 100,000 acres to site enough wind turbines to produce the same gross power as a nuclear reactor, which typically (these days) has a 50 acre footprint for the plant itself, plus a source of cooling water.
    Solar requires enormous tracts of land as well – roughly one third that required by wind, and also
    requires a desert site to achieve even remote practicality. I don’t know why Angus believes solar
    power to be practical, other than his vague claim that farmers have used it for years. No doubt they used it for pumps to irrigate (which likely don’t even require inverters or batteries) but such applications do not require reliable power, which solar lacks. And pumping requirements are a drop in the bucket compared to what’s required for residential homes. While one can get by (more or less) using self contained residential solar power systems, (batteries and inverters required) the total costs are much higher than when connected to a grid, and the power even with battery backup, is not, in actuality, reliable – the sun might not shine brightly enough for days, far beyond the capacity of a practical backup battery system, which typically can only supply a dozen or so hours of power (or less). Australia has plenty of uranium – they export quite a lot – and I can easily show cost estimates that demonstrate nuclear power costs of roughly 4 cents per kWhr, which includes every cost related to the technology : build costs, financing costs, fuel costs, ops and maintenance costs, decommissioning costs, nuclear waste disposal costs. And can also guarantee
    no cost overruns. Russian nuclear power companies will build a state of the art nuclear plant for fixed cost of $5 billion and the Russian govt will even finance it for you. And operate it as well, if you wish. That transates to a power production costs of roughly 4.5 cents per kWhr. Even the most unreliably optimistic winds cots are 10 cents per kWhr, and we know they have to be considerably higher than that – the cost of maintaining the necessary backup capacity guarantees a signifcantly higher cost – some have estimated 16 to 18 cents per kWhr true costs for wind power (on average : wind costs vary directly with the amount of wind available).
    And for an even simpler solution, Russian companies are now constructing small nuclear reactors, the same they use on their ships, and mount them on barge-type boats, which can be towed anywhere in the world to supply cities close to the ocean. The Russians operate these power plants and sell the power to the city’s grid. When refueling is required, they float another nuclear power barge into place and tow the other back home for refueling – there is no down time – power is constantly available to the city. The environmental footprint of these barge-boats is, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent, as is any possible danger from plant failure – the barge boats would not be positioned all that close to the city they serve and can be towed out to sea if an accident should happen. Andd there are NO UPFRONT costs to build power capacity (plant construction, land required, empoyees, etc). A VERY attractive alternative.

  12. ddpalmer says:
    August 11, 2014 at 5:54 am
    “We need efficient, careful and well-timed emission-reduction policies.“

    Well if he is talking CO2 then I agree his statement is wrong. But if he is talking about all the pollutants from fossil fuel burning (esp. coal) then I don’t see anything wrong with the statement.

    The non-CO2 emissions from fossil fuel plants (even the ‘clean’ natural gas plants) are known to cause health issues. Responsible reductions in those pollutants, no matter your stance on CO2, is something I believe we can all get behind.

    While I have no disagreement in principle with your statement. the facts of the matter is there is quite a bit of disagree on what the meaning of “responsible” is.

    Is saving one life no matter the cost responsible when it comes to reducing pollutants? How about saving one person from asthma no matter the cost?

    The devil is always in the details. I often find the actual regulations or legislation being proposed to be quite unreasonable on onerous. There are always trade-offs involved and costs v. benefits always must be considered.

  13. ddpalmer: “The non-CO2 emissions from fossil fuel plants (even the ‘clean’ natural gas plants) are known to cause health issues. Responsible reductions in those pollutants, no matter your stance on CO2, is something I believe we can all get behind.”

    Although there are undoubtedly some health issues at some level, junk science has so poisoned the atmosphere (so to speak) that my default position is not to believe the magnitudes found by the studies we read about in the newspaper. The health effects may indeed be great enough to justify even further reductions of, say, particulate emissions. But it will take more than the finding of a popularly reported study to make me believe it.

  14. Is saving one life no matter the cost responsible when it comes to reducing pollutants? How about saving one person from asthma no matter the cost?

    The people who would make the argument that a dollar cost for improving pollution control should always be trumped by the cost in human life or suffering caused by those pollutants rarely consider the ramifications of those dollar costs. If a new pollution control that will “prevent 100 new cases of asthma a year” costs so much that energy prices have to raise, forcing 1,000 people who can no longer afford to heat their home to suffer and possible die, have we really made a ‘responsible’ choice?

  15. ddpalmer says: “Responsible reductions in those pollutants, no matter your stance on CO2, is something I believe we can all get behind.”

    As you have by now seen, not even that. I agree with you that many emissions are harmful in varying degree, even CO2, while its impact on the climate is debated, it’s impact on water is well established (turns it into a weak acid). It also makes your drinks fizzy while it eats the enamel from your teeth (weak acid thing again).

    Sulfur produces two forms of a stronger acid (sulfurous acid being weaker and sulfuric acid being stronger).

    Eventually these sources will run out. In other words, what people *might* mostly get behind is a mixture of these reasons, you pick your reason and I’ll pick mine but the goal is more or less the same — a suitable replacement for coal and oil.

  16. Col Mosby says:
    August 11, 2014 at 8:42 am

    You need to stop reminding everyone of the great benefits of nuclear power or Roger Sowell will be along shortly to sue you for something. :)

  17. I could get behind a reduction of “emissions” of a lot of things, in particular, the emission of raw sewage (untreated or effectively untreated) into creeks, rivers, lakes, and the oceans by governmental agencies. All over the world it’s the same thing. The NA Great Lakes are notable examples, with the recent toxic bloom forcing import of water into Toledo, Akron, and environs. Note that the blame immediately was pointed at farm runoff, the Pols won’t ever admit how they kick the pollution can down the road.

  18. ‘After many years of climate policy chaos, we know that most people want some action on climate change but they don’t want to waste money on expensive, inefficient schemes.’

    Sure they may want some action. Perhaps there is some small chance of an ill effect from AGW (although I doubt it). In the same manner there’s some small chance of a tornado obliterating my Chicago suburban home. So, I’ve got a homeowner’s insurance policy. But I don’t spend 30% of my income on the policy. I don’t spend 10%, not even 5%. In fact, I barely spend 1% of my income on it. And, if someone suggested that I move my home (at great expense), or give up my home to save my home, I just might inquire as to their legitimacy. And, if they suggested I spend $25,000, or $15,000, or even $5,000 to insure my $120,000 home, well by golly, you can rest assured I’m going to inquire about their backgrounds. Yeah, the public may want some action but when the blinders are pulled from their eyes the action they want may be a little bit different than originally expected.

  19. wsbriggs says:
    August 11, 2014 at 11:07 am
    I could get behind a reduction of “emissions” of a lot of things,…… Note that the blame immediately was pointed at farm runoff, the Pols won’t ever admit how they kick the pollution can down the road.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I hear this a lot. I haven’t seen aggregated studies of either industrial or municipal waste point source amounts lately although I worked in that area for quite some time. Generally you work to the permit and the responsible government agency (responsible as in supposed to manage) reviewed aggregated results for meeting policy or establishing new policy. Point sources are relatively easy to control.

    BUT – non point sources are difficult to assess and manage (and that has been known for my lifetime which isn’t short.): http://www.fao.org/docrep/W2598E/w2598e04.htm
    I am sure there are probably test results for agricultural run off though I have never looked for papers. What I do KNOW, however, is that when on endurance rides through irrigated areas, we have always been warned not to let our horses drink the return flow from irrigated fields due to potential toxicity. There are places that collect and treat the return water. In some places the return water is recycled but in many places the agricultural tail water is discharged to adjacent water courses – “the solution to pollution {was} dilution”. That is no longer an accepted strategy in many places. See reference doc above. In many intensive livestock facilities, the rain water runoff is collected and treated and other waste management practices are implemented. It depends on the permitting and local policies. It will take time.

  20. IMO 90% sounds too close to a perpetual motion machine. ACT reach their target quicker by switching off 80% of their electrical appliances and supplying 10% with their own muscle power.

  21. Canberra is only known as the ACT in much as Washington is known as the District of Columbia. (ie, not really, one is in the other, they are nor the same)

  22. I wrote about this amazing proposal on my website (http://donaitkin.com/the-capital-city-of-believers/). One commenter suggested that in fact the 90% target is achievable but disingenuous: the ACT will contract with alternative energy providers to provide the equivalent of 90 per cent of the city’s electricity needs by 2020. But because all the energy comes from the national grid, which is 70% coal-powered, Canberra will still be getting 70% of its power from coal. He also noted that because the city is compact (it is a city-state) the delivery charges for power are much lower than in other jurisdictions, so that Canberra consumers will still have cheaper power than elsewhere.

    But, as you will see from the article on my website, Canberra is also a city of AGW ‘believers’

  23. The ACT (Canberra) would make an ideal testbed for the viability of ‘renewables’; it has no internal power generation capacity and relies entirely on electricity generated in the other states via the national grid.
    Let them convert to renewables entirely, at their own cost, cut the joint off from the national grid and watch them stew in their own juice, I say.

  24. I read this article on a frosty morning in Launceston, Tasmania and as I wandered across to take the espresso pot off the (gas fired) stove and pour myself a coffee it occurred to me that if ‘renewables’ were so readily transitioned to then we could all morph into being plants, such is the degree of transition being fantasised about.

    At its most basic we are a species, just like every animal species on the planet, that makes use of plants to do the long, slow, hard yards of trapping the sun’s energy and storing it in a useful form that we can then exploit by eating ( be it directly or indirectly ) or burning.

    Maybe such a transition is what the green leftards really aspire to so as to reconcile their moral compass readings with observations as they travel the mobius strip world of their self referenced “morality”.

    In that case bon voyage to them all.

  25. I for one, would NOT like to be in Canberra during winter with an unreliable power supply.

    Cold winters, often with little breeze, and the sun lacking any punch.

    What sort of energy are they thinking of using ?

  26. As a small correction the Liberal Party has moved to the Left over the past few years so that as some recent events have shown now many of its members are slightly left of Center with only a few of its sitting members remaining to be called in any way right of Center. One member Mr Turnbull is more left than others which is why he is the darling of the Left. There is no truly conservative party in Australia any more.

  27. August 11, 2014 at 8:22 am | Jimbo says:

    At least contractors got rich. Maybe even a few politicians.

    ….

    Indeed, multinational contractors, the labor unions (in particular), and the like-minded politicians, made a killing.

  28. It’s a ticking time bomb I tell yer-

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/companies/superannuation-and-climate-change-is-a-ticking-time-bomb-that-puts-almost-every-australian-at-risk/story-fnkjk9kt-1227021454513

    “Mr Hewson is the chair of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP), which produces the Global Climate Investment Index that evaluates how most of the world’s biggest investors are managing the risk of climate change.”

    As you were folks, it’s just another well oiled rent seeker.

  29. ACT (Australian Capital Territory) is a territory not a state, and controlled by the ALP, Hume does border it to the North. But I agree that pollution all types can be controlled, and the point that any clean energy or green energy, being very morally right with some, will do no good or change the weather or climate. It would be like throwing a sugar cube into Loch Ness to attempt to make the water sweeter. They are trying to get funding for a solar farm in Moree. It appears it is going ahead but at what cost? When I attended a lecture by Prof Bob Carter in Tamworth some years ago, then it was mentioned. It was going to cost millions to build and the target number of households to receive it was not worth the expense. But the solar companies here, if they have not got a foreign company, must be rubbing their hands.

  30. …just got my yearly electricity bill (Copenhagen) – I have used 3437 kWh in a household of 3 (which is regarded as high in a urban flat) – the payment in $ ,,,, 1530,- ,,,, or 0.44 $ pr. kWh.

    How much of this is the fee to the electricity company? (the rest (green) taxes of course)
    ,,,, 218,-$ ,,,,,

    If you wonder why global warming is still hot among politicians in Europe? Don’t….

  31. As I reported this was from NASA who you seem to thing are the angels of the GHE thought police. Some parts of NASA are sane and live in reality.

  32. Uriarra solar farm wears community backlash
    John Conroy
    Government receives 120 objections to 10MW Canberra outskirts farm.
    the link doesnt seem to have copied over..

    ClimateSpectator.com

  33. Ironic, considering Canberra has been hovering around record minimums and maximums for most of a week now.

  34. Col Mosby says ( August 11, 2014 at 8:42 am) “I don’t know why Angus believes solar power to be practical, other than his vague claim that farmers have used it for years.“.

    Angus’ full paragraph on this said “The ACT has ignored sensible alternatives. For instance, decentralised solar is economic without, repeat, without subsidies in many rural and remote areas. Farmers know this — many have been using solar for years for a range of purposes.“.

    In Australia, “remote” really does mean remote. See http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/australian-cattle-stations.html : “[..] the Australian cattle stations are by far the biggest in the world.
    In fact, some Australian stations are bigger than some European countries… Take Anna Creek Station, well known as the biggest Australian cattle station: this station in the Outback of South Australia covers 6,000,000 acres, or 34,000 km2. (Belgium by comparison is just over 30,000 km2, and the biggest American ranch is about 6,000 km2.)
    “.
    Or see http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2005248 : “ the average driveway in a cattle station (ranch) stretches more than 20 miles [30 km] from the front gate to the house!“.

    So, in many rural and remote areas, connection to the grid is not an option. Even where it is available, solar power is still likely to be economic for many uses.

  35. Good article in news.com.au. The business adviser to the PM, says, too much money is being spent on schemes to avoid global warming, when it should be spent on what to do if the planet cools. Sensible man, eh.

  36. I support emission standards based on clear evidence of human health effects. For example, the NAAQS standards were pretty solid until they decided to toss CO2 into the mix.

    Yet what I find telling is that it is ALWAYS renewables that greens turn to for salvation. Nuclear runs basically carbon free and is just as reliable as coal power. It’s proven technology, and Australia has tons of Uranium. Nope, got to build windmills and solar cells.

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