Smug, ineffectual energy policy hurts only the poor

Caption: They’re just grateful they’re not using coal.

Celebrities talk a big game on climate change. They?re less adept at actually following through. ?Eco-warrior? extraordinaire Sting has been lecturing anyone who had the misfortune to hear about the ?environment? for decades; nonetheless, the Police were recently named ?the dirtiest band in the world? ? and not for any M?tley Cr?e-style backstage antics.

But such hypocrisy is not the sole preserve of mega-stadium acts. Not long ago, a local Australian band refused to perform a festival because it was part-sponsored by a mining company. Which lead some to ask: how were their gigs normally powered? By hippies chained to treadmills? Quote:

If only hypocrisy could be harnessed to power our country, the ?energy wars would be over. The energy ?trilemma? would be solved, hypocrisy being reliable (see social media any time), affordable (it?s free) and low emission (especially when expressed in writing). Next to sanctimony, it?s the great force of our age. End of quote.

Hypocrisy and sanctimony rule at every level of the energy debate. Quote:

The clamour to stop new coal-fired power generation, even to tide us over until battery technology improves the reliability of renewables, smacks of hypocrisy?Coal and iron ore in particular finance our lifestyle, making affordable cars, televisions, foreign holidays ? indeed all of the $35 billion worth of goods and services we import every month. End of quote.

Not to mention that endless river of i-gadgets, made possible only by staggering pollution in China, that no self-respecting climate warrior can do without. Quote:

The push to derail the Adani Carmichael mine in Queensland, which would provide electricity for low-income Indians, is the pointy end of an even more extreme movement, exemplified by Labor?s Richard Marles, that wishes for a collapse of the coal market.

Without coal exports (and iron ore, the second most valuable) our currency would collapse?A world powered by renewable energy would be a scientific and ecological triumph, but also an economic disaster for Australia?However sunny and windy parts of the nation may be, we can?t bottle and export it?And we?re making life harder for ourselves in the meantime by forcing more renewable energy into our grid while letting reliable baseload power lapse, an approach described as ?chaotic? in the Australian Energy Market Operator?s December health check of the market.

It is hardly a free market in any meaningful sense, distorted as it is by state and federal regulations and interventions?Rent seekers are taking over the power grid. End of quote.

But, hey, at least we?re getting cheap, renewable power! Um?right? Quote:

Renewables advocates argue wind and solar are cheaper than coal and gas. Yet retail prices have increased 56 per cent in real terms across a decade as the renewables? share of energy supply has increased to about 16 per cent (55 per cent in South Australia). Correlation isn?t causation but at some point the dividend from this ?cheap? power source should start showing up on our bills.

Wholesale electricity prices in Victoria have increased from less than $40 to $100 a megawatt hour?In January this year they reached $250 a megawatt hour?

Even the authorities can?t be trusted. In early 2017, AEMO said Hazelwood?s closure ?wouldn?t compromise the security of the Victoria? electricity market. Then in November it pointed to ?heightened risk of supply disruptions for the coming summer.? End of quote.


The biggest problem, politically, is that those most in favour of renewables are largely insulated from the costs of their idiocy. Greens voters are the wealthiest voting bloc in the country. The ?Independent? MP Kerryn Phelps tub-thumps about renewables ? and represents the richest electorate in Australia. Subsidies for solar panels flow to older, wealthier households.

Yet poorer households spend more than three times as much of their income on energy as wealthy households.

But by far the biggest spenders on energy are businesses, who account for three-quarters of electricity use. As we saw with the Gillard government?s disastrous carbon tax, the sanctimonious policies of bourgeois greens cripple businesses and drive up prices everywhere.

The wealthy champion smug, hypocritical energy policies that make not a jot of difference to the world climate (Australia?s total emissions are just over 1% of the global total), and shove the burden of their staggering cost onto the poor, in Australia and the developing world.