Green dreamers: when ideology overreaches reality

Green dreamers: when ideology overreaches reality, by Tony Abbott.

Tony Abbott

It’s bordering on absurd that a country with the world’s largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium should have some of the world’s highest power prices and can’t be sure of keeping the lights on this summer; but that’s what happens when policy is driven by wishful thinking and green religion.

Soaring power prices, industries relocating offshore and the statewide blackout in South Australia last year have finally forced us to face up to the obvious: we can’t avoid a choice between keeping the lights on and pretending that we’re saving the planet.

Reducing Australia’s emissions is not worthwhile if it closes down industries and puts power prices through the roof without having the slightest impact on the long-term fate of the planet. Australia is responsible for just 1 per cent of global emissions and nothing that we do to reduce them will matter, given China and India’s understandable desire to lift living standards on the back of affordable, reliable energy (often provided by Australian coal). …

The only way to get our country back on track is to rid ourselves of the emissions obsession that’s produced the wind-power-induced blackouts in southern Australia. We need a “jobs first” energy policy that once more builds on our comparative advantage as the world’s near-largest exporter of coal, gas and uranium, as it can’t be wrong for us to exploit the resources that we gladly export to other countries.

No one is against renewable energy, just the $3 billion-a-year subsidies that give it an unfair advantage and the instability that this preference for wind has injected into our system. Although coal is by far the cheapest energy source, it can’t compete if it has to be switched on and off as the wind blows; and, once it’s closed, there’s nothing there when the wind fails. …

As for the Finkel-recommended clean energy target, it simply must be dropped. It would be unconscionable for a government that was elected promising to scrap the carbon tax and to end Labor’s climate change obsessions to go down this path.

Hear hear.