Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Paul Kelly on Renewable Energy Targets

RET is the only part of the Government's package worth supporting. Not according to Paul Kelly, spruiking the business line.

We need to build a whole new energy infrastructure, fast, and phase out completely the killer polluting fossil fuel industry.

RET is the one policy proposed or passed by the Government so far which moves towards this end.

In theory, a well designed ETS could be a successful policy but the proposed CPRS is a failure which would achieve little or nothing - this is why it was rejected by the Greens. Looking at the failure of ETS in Europe, one might suspect this was planned from the outset.

If we were seriously interested in 'best policy' we would do as most economists recommend and introduce a carbon tax - with no exemptions for major polluters. It could be at a low rate at first, and raised later.

Geosequestration does not exist nor is likely to exist in time. The only genuine 'geosequestration' is if the coal is left in the ground in the first place. The introduction of a carbon tax would effectively kill talk of geosequestration - King Koal would be on notice that it had to research and deploy the technology or (more likely) shutdown.

Nuclear energy is not just 'at present' financially unviable - it has never been and never will be without massive government subsidy. Solar and windpower are already cheaper with the gap to only increase over time.

Nuclear energy is costly, toxic, weaponable, non renewable and not the answer.

The true problem is not mentioned in this article, but is mentioned at a discussion held by Professor Ross Garnaut in Melbourne, where he added another memorable phrase to what he has already produced:

The trouble with the case for action [on climate change] is this - there is a vast lobbying industry in all developed nations determined to block action, and it’s one-sixth of lobbyists in Washington, according to one estimate.

Garnaut likened this to the vast lobbying efforts to prevent effective rcause great problems to the global financial system while enriching the big US investment housesegulation of the financial derivatives, which were widely expected to and their managers, before ultimately almost causing the meltdown of that same system.

Garnaut's point was that such people could secure a comfortable future for their grandchildren even in a sadly worsened environment.

The bankers of Wall Street were quite willing to enrich themselves while risking catastrophe.

It seems the beneficiaries of current unsustainable environmental practices are taking a similar stance.

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