Aussie PM Scott Morrison Brandishes a Lump of Coal in Parliament

New Government Funded Gas Generator Announced, Same Day as the IEA End of Fossil Fuel Report

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

I don’t know if the timing of the Aussie government announcement was a deliberate snub aimed at international climate efforts, but it sure made me laugh.

The Coalition doesn’t want to focus on climate change – but Australia will be forced to

Greg Jericho
Sun 23 May 2021 06.00 AEST

Announcing a new gas-fired power plant when a report urges the world to reduce emissions is in keeping with the climate policy farce

This week we took another spin on the deranged carousel that is Australian climate change policy as the government announced it will fund a gas-fired power station at the very moment an international report detailed the need to do the exact opposite.

I wish this was a new development, but it just felt like a repeat of late 2018, when less than a year before the federal election, the IPCC released a report stating that if nations acted together we could limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

We had to get to net zero emissions by 2050 and achieve a global 45% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 if we started straight away.

We didn’t.

Australia, led then as now by those who profess not to be climate change deniers but who are able to pull off the most astonishing imitation, set about undermining attempts to limit emissions.

The International Energy Agency’s “Net Zero by 2050” roadmap report gave some clear detail of what needs to be done in five year intervals out to 2050.

It noted, for example, that by 2030 60% of new car sales should be electric, with no internal combustion cars being sold after 2035.

So it was oddly in keeping with the climate change policy farce that is the Coalition that it chose the same day the report was released to announce it was going to spend $600m on a gas fired power-plant in the Hunter region.

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Australians feel about the same way as anyone else does, when someone tells us we will be “forced” to do something by outside powers, even if that outside power is an important ally. So I don’t share Guardian author Greg Jericho’s confidence that Australia will accept being “forced” to take the knee to Biden’s climate push.

As for the new gas plant, this is a perfect demonstration of why I don’t believe greens will win. Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to keep his job. The ruling Australian coalition government desperately needs to consolidate support in Hunter Valley region to retain power. Hunter Valley is an agricultural and mining district.

Faced with a hard choice between a perfectly timed public snub of Biden’s international climate push, or winning a key by-election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison chose to snub President Biden.

The gas plant announcement appears to have delivered the desired political boost. Hunter Valley had a by-election this weekend, and it very much looks like the National Party candidate will win. The Nationals are the long standing right wing coalition partners of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberals. The vote for Labor, which embraces radical green policies, appears to have collapsed.

Ultimately politicians care more about saving their own skins than climate virtue signalling, and always have. Self interest prevails. So long as radical greens back economically painful remedies to their imaginary climate crisis, this conflict between expediency and virtue signalling will continue to be a hard limit on their ambitions.

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Ian W
May 22, 2021 6:14 pm

Not really a surprise – wait till Boris has a similar decision to make; it will be just the same. Blackout Birmingham or New coal power station? New coal power station obviously.

Iain Reid
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 22, 2021 11:51 pm


unfortunately, since that report there has been so much pressure on the government that they are reviewing this approval, with the very possible outcome that the approval will be withdrawn.
This despite the coal from this mine being intended for iron production, not for heating or electrical generation due to the type of coal it is. Britain imports coal for this purpose.
Such is the pressure from greens etc that simple logic flies out the window and our neutered government is pandering to a minority.
How can business operate with such variable regulation?

Patrick healy
Reply to  Iain Reid
May 23, 2021 5:40 am

Yes Iain,
The ‘minority’ he is pandering to is his present concubine called Mizz Symonds.

Reply to  Iain Reid
May 23, 2021 3:59 pm

The advantage of using foreign coal is that on the day that comes you quit using coal, you simply end a foreign contract. The damage is done to a probable economic competitor while your own voters cheer, having moved on about their own coal mines closure. Plus some secretly cherry damage done to a coal burner.

Reply to  Ian W
May 22, 2021 7:26 pm

Of course Germany realised they had serious problems some time ago and are building a natural gas pipeline to Russia.

Reply to  Dennis
May 23, 2021 5:25 am

“Nice cold snap you have there. It would be a shame if the natural gas pipeline suddenly needed emergency repairs. But don’t worry, just withdraw your criticism of Russia and apologize and all be okay.”

Reply to  Dennis
May 23, 2021 4:13 pm

The pipeline is being built from Russia to Germany with the controlling spigot on the Russian side. There may be some problems with that in the future and it appears to be with Biden’s blessing.

May 22, 2021 6:35 pm

Don’t be surprised to hear of a new HELE coal fired power station announced before the looming federal election.
Australians want to keep the lights on. Simple really.

Reply to  Rasa
May 22, 2021 7:17 pm

Got it in one Rasa.

Keeping the lights on affordably is a much more critical imperative for Australia than reducing its 1.4% of global industrial emissions.

If Oz was de-populated tomorrow, and all human activity-induced emissions ceased, China would emit that emissions shortfall in less than 2 weeks.

Math is not the strong suit of climate catastrophists.

Reply to  Mr.
May 22, 2021 7:28 pm

The truth is that climate hoax is a smokescreen for the public to debate and worry about while the politicians of the left practise economic vandalism, control and wealth creation for cronies.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Rasa
May 22, 2021 10:22 pm

It’s not about the lights really. It’s about keeping the ball sports, AFL, RFL, Soccer, cricket etc etc, on TV. Shouty knows if any of these sports fail to broadcast there will be riots on the streets.

Last edited 1 year ago by Patrick MJD
spangled drongo
May 22, 2021 6:43 pm

Good obs Eric.

Also it’s interesting that the right wing govt looks to have won the by-election in the Hunter, yesterday, where the gas plant is going, contrary to the usual by-election govt losses.

Reply to  spangled drongo
May 22, 2021 7:29 pm

Right wing? Australia has centre-right which are the real Liberal and National Parties.

Reply to  spangled drongo
May 22, 2021 8:38 pm

There’s no right wing in Australia. The whole political spectrum has shifted to the left after John Howard, and now the greens are full on Marxists, Labor are socialists with a green tinge, and the Coalition are centre left.

Reply to  Lrp
May 22, 2021 11:53 pm

Amen thank you Lrp

spangled drongo
Reply to  Lrp
May 23, 2021 12:06 am

Yes, I should have said the govt supporters who made it happen yesterday are right wing. Even the unionists.

It’s not just about the job. They’re obviously not into climate socialism.

Reply to  spangled drongo
May 23, 2021 6:34 am

Great result. Strangely it didn’t even make the evening news in Perth.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Lrp
May 23, 2021 4:22 am

The same applies in Ireland. Politicians have moved so far left that even those left of center now brand themselves as right of center. What we have in reality is fifty shades of left.

We should stop using the terms left and right and rather contrast actual policy against policy. Do we want to have a nanny from the cradle to the grave or be treated as responsible adults? Do we want to be treated like ignorant and incapable young children or as adults who are able to reason and manage our lives without irrational government diktats?

We need smaller governments, with less power and less regulation, with balanced budgets and reducing wasteful spending. We want politics taken out of health, education, justice, sport and more but rather the encouragement of individual and family responsibility and an appreciation of loyalty to good traditions.

Reply to  Lrp
May 23, 2021 10:29 pm

Please try and explain that to former PM Abbott and others who are real Liberals fighting back against the left leaning LINO side, and who are gaining ground, for example, preselection of candidates for election returned to party members electorate by electorate removing the head office executive power stolen from them some years ago as the left and the lobbyist leftists gained their power base that is now being removed.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
Reply to  spangled drongo
May 23, 2021 3:01 am

they’re not right wing, just sensible.

May 22, 2021 6:48 pm

In the Upper Hunter by-election, people had a look at the Coalition’s pro Energy Stance and Labour’s Climate Change Stance and gave a swing of 4,5% to the Coalition and 4.5% against Labour. People were putting the vote where their wallet lives.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
May 23, 2021 8:15 am

No “u” in Australian Labor Party and the big shock was primary vote for Labor at 21%. The other interesting figure was the green vote down 1.6% in the middle of a climate emergency 🙂

a happy little debunker
May 22, 2021 6:54 pm

What Greg and his cohort of Catastropharians ignore is that China is funding and building new fossil fuel power plants throughout he developing world – ensuring that any Emission reductions taken by the Western World are pointless and self harming.

Emission’s per capita in China now exceeds its equivalent in Europe – but there are twice as many Chinese as Europeans…

Zig Zag Wanderer
May 22, 2021 7:08 pm

Ultimately politicians care more about saving their own skins than climate virtue signalling,

I think too many people misunderstand how democracy works. They often complain that a politician only does anything to gain votes. That is exactly what they should be doing in a democracy! Appeal to the voters, and they will, if you are successful, vote for you!

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 22, 2021 7:33 pm

It was discussed by former Senator Cory Bernardi on Sky News last week (Paul Murray Show) that many of the politicians today have been recruited by the lobbyists who infiltrated political parties, unions on the other side, who fund them and arranged for them to be candidates for election to parliaments.

Thankfully, and long overdue, the Liberals at least have removed head office preselection of candidates and returned that to the branch members in electorates, as it used to be, candidate presentations and secret ballot selection, locally. The left leaning manipulators are not pleased.

Patrick healy
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 23, 2021 5:51 am

Hi ZigZag,
We tried that in Britain. We had a choice between an ex newspaper reporter in Boris Johnson and an avowed Marxist Mr Corbyn.
The Tories (used to be Conservative) won a huge majority.
Now we have no Conservatives but finished up with Boris Corbyn.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
May 23, 2021 7:10 am

You’re right, but…
A politician who will do anything for votes will not restrict themselves to honest appeals by supporting and enacting sensible policies that voters want.

They will make false promises and implement policies that sound like they are good but actually may have the opposite effect. Since they have no principles, they may get elected on one promise but implement the opposite.

May 22, 2021 7:25 pm

Australia is also financing upgrading of oil refineries for fuel security reasons.

Maybe The Australian Government agreed with Toyota Australia that our transport needs would be best served by adopting North America Standards not EU. Consider the vast distances we drive, the considerable distances between fuel stops or road houses that rely on diesel generators for electricity.

EV might be good for lowering city traffic emissions and pollution but at the present prices for even small EVs the retail price differential would pay for a lot of petrol and vehicle services before breaking even.

When all transport including commercial and military are electric then ask for personal transport and business transport to changeover.

Reply to  Dennis
May 22, 2021 9:33 pm

Something with which i agree. However they did not Support BP in Western Australia for improvements there and will now import all products. So much for security of oil based supplies.

May 22, 2021 8:21 pm

I keep repeating this so much that I believe it 🙂 All of the politician bravado about AGW is nothing more than a smoke screen to keep the ecologists/warmists thinking something is being done but in reality it’s business as usual for the politicians while the businesses jump through hoops and waste capital to meet the latest requirements. All of this is paid for by us, the consumers of goods. Everyone (except the radical Left) knows it’s a non starter to go to no fossil fuel use today. Especially the politicians who rely on it powered by Capitalism (or vice versa) to finance their ideology.

Serge Wright
May 22, 2021 8:34 pm

The hypocrisy of the green climate movement is always evident when they make these statements. They claim that Australia, a 1% emitter that is already actively decreasing emissions, will be forced to comply with the push to zero. On the other hand, the world’s largest emitter in China will increase it’s 30% emissions footprint by as much as it pleases and all we hear are crickets from the Guardian Marxists.

Chris Hanley
May 22, 2021 8:35 pm

comment image
The photo at the top of The Guardian story is a stock photo that has been used hundreds of times in similar articles on various sites since 2008 according to TinEye, there is no description of what or where it is nor what the plume is but one thing is certain it is not CO2 which of course is invisible.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 22, 2021 9:34 pm

I always laugh at the backlit photos. 😉

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 23, 2021 2:03 am

I email the publication and admonish them for using a deceptive and bias photo. Require them to publish the location, date and time the photo was taken and if the photo was doctored (colorized) in any way. This deception-by-photo has gone on too long.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 23, 2021 2:37 am

nor what the plume is 

It is not a dirty plume so mostly steam.

I developed a good fix for a steam plume a couple of decades ago. Use waste heat to preheat the exhaust stream above the condensation level in the stack. That separated the plume from the stack. Look 20m above the stack and the plume will magically appear as the plume cools but by then it is not associated with the stack. Looks like low level cloud forming from nowhere.

This also reduces any corrosion issues inside a steel stack.

May 22, 2021 8:55 pm

The decision to built a new gas powered plant, in addition to the one in Illawarra, is a purely pragmatic one. It will reduce CO2 emissions, will enable wind and solar, and it will keep downward pressure on prices.

Reply to  Lrp
May 22, 2021 9:38 pm

. . will enable wind and solar, and it will keep downward pressure on prices.

I think what you mean to say is it’ll encourage more parasitic taxpayer subsidised ‘renewables’ with ist priority access to the power network which will inevitably drive prices up.

Reply to  Raven
May 23, 2021 1:28 am

You’re right

May 22, 2021 8:59 pm

Ultimately politicians care more about saving their own skins than climate virtue signalling, and always have. Self interest prevails. 

Tony Abbott was between a rock and a hard place – his own electorate and a party win. Turnbull was in a similar place and chose electorate over party. Right now ScoMo is meeting both objectives but the green power is spreading in ScoMos direction from the inner city of Sydney. Melbourne is the same.

All those kids who had a day at climate protests on Friday will be influential and voting in a decade. The schools are winning the hearts and minds.

I figure the new gas turbine will run hydrogen as well as natural gas. That will be the story of all new gas fuelled generators in the future; real or not it is a good story. That meets the dispatchable need and is not as much of a red flag to a green voter.

In any case, Australia did quite well in the first quarter of 2021 with its cobbled power generating system:
The wholesale price retraced almost a decade. The FCAS charges were still on their downward trend in price despite upward trend in requirement and the SA synchronous condensers are not yet operating. SA household were directed off for the first time. This will become more common. Sunday minimum demand regularly occurring at midday rather than 4am.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  RickWill
May 23, 2021 12:55 pm

I was looking at the AEMO pages a couple of days ago, about 1AM eastern time. South Australia was importing roughly 50% of it’s power needs from Victoria. So I looked at Victoria’s ‘Fuel Mix” – 74% brown coal. Oh well…..

May 22, 2021 9:06 pm

When you lose the miners and their families and those who rely on those industries, they don’t bounce back automatically,


Eventually, you can’t get away with throwing the majority of the population under the bus.

In America, the Democrats thought the working people couldn’t vote for the Republicans because that would be ‘voting against their own interests’. So they thought the majority of Americans had the choice between voting Democrat or not voting at all. The result was President Trump. Of course the Democrats learned nothing. The next election could bring them an even nastier surprise.

If the Labor Party wants to be supported by labor, they have to earn that support.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  commieBob
May 23, 2021 1:07 am

Clinton got 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016 and Biden got nearly 7 million more
votes in 2020. So whatever lesson the democrats need to learn it certainly isn’t about how to be the more popular party. And the lesson the Republicans seem to have learnt is that they need to stop people from voting which they are attempting with a vengence at present.

Last edited 1 year ago by Izaak Walton
Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 23, 2021 10:13 am

Intentionally misleading comment, Isick. I can’t tell if you’re dishonest or just stupid.

The total number of voters is increasing with time, so the total number isn’t what’s important, it’s the fraction.

Here are the actual numbers (Highest Winning Percentage) –

Winner – Percent of Popular Vote

Ronald Reagan – 59
George H.W Bush – 53
Bill Clinton – 49
George W. Bush – 51
Barack Obama – 53
Donald Trump – 46
Joe Biden – 51

But you know what? It isn’t the popular vote that wins elections, it’s the electoral college.

Winner – Percent of Electoral College

Ronald Reagan – 98
George H.W. Bush – 79
Bill Clinton – 70
George W Bush – 53
Barack Obama – 68
Donald Trump – 57
Joe Biden – 57

Izaak Walton
Reply to  meab
May 23, 2021 11:45 am

CommieBob’s comment was about the lesson that the Democrats needed to learn. I pointed out that their comment was wrong since in fact more people voted Democrat than Republican in the last two elections. The Democratic party is clearly more popular than the Republicans having received more votes than the Republicans in 7 out of the last 8 presidential elections. So clearly they do not have a popularity problem. They do have trouble overcoming the rural bias that runs through the US electoral system but that is a different story altogether.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 23, 2021 2:52 pm

Stupid comment. First, it’s not a rural bias, it’s a state representation thing. The electoral college was developed to keep the most populous states from exerting total control – that happens whether or not their population is rural or urban. Second, Clinton won the popular vote only because of California, she lost it not counting California. Trump didn’t campaign in California because he knew it was a lost cause but Clinton did campaign in California even though it was already hers. That was IDIOTIC. If she had instead spent her time and that money campaigning in swing states rather than California she might have won. By the way, I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 (I did vote), and I’m darn glad that I didn’t vote for Joe Biden in 2020 who is, without any doubt, a demented fool.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  meab
May 23, 2021 4:54 pm

At the current time the US political system is heavily weighted towards small states with rural populations. It might not have been intentionally done that way but that is the current state of affairs. 50% of the US population for example live in just 9 states and so are represented by 18 senators. Rural voters thus get significantly more senators than urban ones. Similarly the combination of having at least one seat per state in Congress combined with the refusal to increase the total number of seats means that urban votes again get less representation in congress as well. So when electoral college votes are tallied that is two strikes against urban votes. Plus of course nobody living in Washington DC (a highly urban area) gets to vote at all for the president despite the fact that if Washington DC were to become a state it would have a larger population than several existing rural states.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 23, 2021 11:05 pm

The US political system is NOT “heavily weighted” toward small states with rural populations – you are falsely implying that the small states vote as a block. That’s complete garbage. Also, the actual areas covered by each representative are set by gerrymandering – states run by Democrats choose to district their representatives and senators to favor their party, ditto for the Republicans. It’s NOT an urban vs. rural thing. Many districts have urban, suburban, and rural areas joined together.

A civics lesson for you seems to be in order. The number of representatives in the House is (roughly) proportional to the population of the state. That’s why California, NY, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and several other states are about to lose representatives in the House while Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Oregon are gaining representatives. In general, people are fleeing liberal run states to go to states that aren’t nearly as liberal. Oregon is an exception but that’s most likely because it’s gaining people fleeing California. Since the House and the Senate must agree to pass any bill, the populous has an approximately equal say as the states. You seem to be incapable of understanding that this was done on purpose. Without getting some chance at influencing legislation, many states would not have joined the union.

Last edited 1 year ago by meab
Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 23, 2021 3:23 pm

also, since you hard to inform, many do not vote in Cali and NY since their vote won’t count (in electoral college votes).

Reply to  Izaak Walton
May 23, 2021 10:50 am

We tried to edjumacate him on this before, but he is good comrade; fully vaccinated against truth.

Ed Zuiderwijk
May 23, 2021 2:58 am

Notice the nausiatingly patronising tone of the guardian piece.

Bruce Cobb
May 23, 2021 5:04 am

Well, I think it’s great that the Alarmists finally recognize the climate policy farce of pretending to do something about a non-existent problem.
Wait – they’re not?

May 23, 2021 5:31 am

“Ultimately politicians care more about saving their own skins than climate virtue signalling, and always have. Self interest prevails. So long as radical greens back economically painful remedies to their imaginary climate crisis, this conflict between expediency and virtue signalling will continue to be a hard limit on their ambitions.”

However, if the politician can win by fraud — like what happened in the United States — then they won’t have to listen to the deplorable people that they abhor. If the politicians can rig the system, then they will have free rein to do what they want because no matter how corrupt and incompetent they are, they will never be voted out.

May 23, 2021 11:47 am

Ahhh please don’t tell me – both sides are liars?

May 23, 2021 3:48 pm

Few readers here seem aware of realities of NSW and Australian politics now.
For a few facts checkout my recent 3 or 4 blogs @ –

May 23, 2021 3:58 pm

Here’s an idea.

Let the IEA and WHO swap roles since it won’t make much difference in the real world. Then swap IPCC with BBC to make it more entertaining.

May 23, 2021 4:01 pm

Gas powered electrical generation plant, less polluting than a new coal fired plant and nowhere as expensive as a nuclear generating power plant as a stable source of base load. Seems like a rational decision to me. Irrational: reliance on solar and wind for industrial and commercial generation. Distributed generation as a residential back up, maybe, but even that is unreliable and fails when the weather turns bad.

Ian MacCulloch
May 23, 2021 10:31 pm

Did win, I am pleased to say that I handed out electoral bumf for the Nats back in 1962 in said electorate. Great feeling that victory and repeated many times over. Go Nats.

The Federal Government worked at the gap in disposable power with the foreshadowed closure of Liddell power station. Sorry greenies – the Government had no option but to ensure the 1,000 gW gap was plugged with a reliable alternative.

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