10 things we learned about Tony Abbott's war on renewables | RenewEconomy

10 things we learned about Tony Abbott’s war on renewables

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50 Shades of Grit: Tony Abbott wants new coal generators and now admits he wants to kill the renewable energy target – and he may be just one vote away from being able to do so. That has serious implications, because it will likely extend the uncertainty that has plagued the clean energy industry in the past 18 months.

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Ever since the Coalition election victory in September 2013, and indeed beforehand, RenewEconomy has been accused of making a harsh assessment on its approach to climate and clean energy policies.

Wind energy the biggest loser as Abbott sweeps to power, we wrote the day after this ultra-conservative Coalition came to power. And we continued with headlines such as Australia’s wind turbine syndrome, why Abbott hates the RET; Abbott’s Achilles Heel – is it ideology or ignorance?: and Tony Abbott’s energy rules: It’s goodies versus baddies.

Harsh? Turns out we were probably not harsh enough. Our lingering suspicion that the Abbott government’s policy positioning and actions have been designed with one thing in mind – to cripple the clean energy industry in Australia – have been proven to be true … by the Prime Minister himself.

power-plant-coal-tatamund-india

On Thursday, as we and many others reported, Abbott not only said that he did not like the look of wind turbines (he thinks they are awful), he believes they may be harmful to human health, and it has always been his government’s intention to stop their roll-out. He would, if he could, dump the RET entirely. He may only be one Senate vote away from being able to do just that.

In saying this, Abbott blew away what little credibility remained of the Coalition’s clean energy policies, contradicting just about everything his government has said about the sector in the lead up to the election, and since.

The tragedy for the wind industry is its problems will be ongoing. Given the precarious nature of the Senate, uncertainty will linger, the sector, international companies in particular, will know its $10 billion investment is not welcome, and Coalition Senators will continue calling for greater regulation from a government that promises to de-regulate.

So, what have we learned from the latest offering from the Abbott government, at the altar of 2GB’s Alan Jones? Here’s 10 things.

The Coalition will kill the RET for good, if it gets the chance  The intentions of the Abbott government are clear: If they could get it past the Senate, they would kill the RET. And the Senate numbers, and the anti-wind rump on the cross-bench, suggest he is just one vote away from being able to do that. Before he became PM, Tony Abbott had praised the RET as an initiative of the Howard government. Knowing what we now know, he told Jones, it was probably not the best way to go. But what exactly is it that he now knows? The impact on coal-fired generation?

The lingering uncertainty could make investment more difficult and expensive  The wind industry has been crippled, not by the lack of legislation, but by the uncertainty surrounding its future. Abbott, the self-titled infrastructure PM, is effectively telling international investors that he is not interested in their $10 billion proposed infrastructure investment. No wonder some of the biggest international financiers, such as Banco Santander, have effectively packed their bags and left. The impact could be felt in risk assessment by banks, and higher costs of finance. That, in turn, will make wind farms more expensive than they need be.

Give Abbott credit, he’s very good at strangling industries he doesn’t like  Whatever else you might say about Abbott’s antipathy to wind farms, he has been devastatingly effective in bringing the industry to a halt. Investment in large-scale renewables in Australia has been virtually zero over the last 18 months, punctuated by only a few projects (Nyngan and Broken Hill solar, plus Moree) supported by institutions that Abbott has tried to repeal, and the 90 per cent renewable energy plan pushed by the ACT government.

Nearly everything the Coalition says about renewables is untrue  As we pointed out in the story Abbott government’s 10 biggest whoppers about renewable energy, the Coalition government has been making stuff up as they go along, including the idea that they are “supporters of renewable energy”. They lied about the commitment to renewables promised by Abbott and his senior ministers before the poll. They made up stuff about the impact on energy prices (disproved by its own review led by climate skeptic and nuclear advocate Dick Warburton), and then about the inability to reach the target, and the likely payment of penalty prices. Contrary to Hunt and Macfarlane’s claim that the revised 33,000GWh target is an increase in renewables, Abbott makes clear it is a cut (from 41,000GWh) and deliberately so.

Abbott is guided by dodgy web-sites  Last year, Abbott was caught out dog whistling to climate deniers when he described emissions trading as a “so-called market, in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one.”, an expression he and/or his advisors borrowed from some dubious websites. Talking with 2GB’s Jones, Abbott constantly referred to the wind turbines he wanted to stop as “these things” (eight times in fact) – an uncanny reference to a particularly venal and nasty web-site called Stop These Things, which is run by anonymous opponents of the wind industry.

The group organised a poorly attended wind farm rally in Canberra last year which was MC’d by Jones, and attended by some Coalition members. Is this really where the Abbott government sources its information? It is certainly not based on personal experience, because he has only ever visited one turbine, a single one on Rottnest Island. Maybe Abbott just relies on the input of his closest advisers, Maurice (global warming is a UN hoax) Newman, and Dick (I’m not a skeptic I just don’t believe the science) Warburton? It’s quite possibly the most misinformed government in Australian history.

Abbott has run these campaigns before  As a former minister of health, you’d expect Abbott to have a greater respect for medical evidence. But Abbott has form. Here is Abbott on mobile phone towers way back in 1985, promising to “change the rules” to prevent Tesltra building “these things” wherever the company liked.

Big utilities should be worried  The country’s big utilities have been enthusiastic co-conspirators in Abbott’s campaign against the renewable energy target, but now they might not find his latest intervention very helpful. The utilities’ contempt for renewables was driven by their desire to protect profits from their fossil fuel investments, as well as their disdain for new technologies.

bnef people power

Now, however, they have suddenly realised just what impact rooftop solar, and soon battery storage, will have on their businesses, and the options they present for their customers. Uniquely among industries, these technologies give consumers the ability to tell utilities they no longer want to be a part of their network, or their billing system. That has created an about-face in tactics and strategy where the utilities are trying desperately to be their customers’ best friend, and to prove their green credentials. Abbott’s defence of the interests of big coal is not helpful. The consumers’ beef is not with utilities, in particular, but the abuse of centralised power in general. And now they have the means to act. This graph above from Bloomberg New Energy Finance illustrates they already have, households and small business (represented in grey) have taken over as the biggest investors in renewable energy.

wind farms popularAbbott is out of step with the general population  As an enunciated electoral position, it is not entirely clear whether Abbott’s views on wind farms and renewable energy in general are a vote-winner. This poll (right) shows how various forms of energy are received. With 1.4 million households with rooftop solar PV, and two million if solar hot water is included, this is a potential issue at the next poll. The next big movement, though, is not just individual households, but community power. On Thursday 70 people turned up in Lismore for an information session on the first big solar arrays to be jointly funded by the community and a council. It is, says project proponent Adam Blakester, just one of nearly 60 projects in the making, and the precursor for hundreds more.

Abbott still says coal good for humanity  Abbott has a different view on community expectations. Just a few weeks before his audience with Jones, he was in the north Queensland city of Townsville exhorting the region’s business community to develop a plan for a coal-fired power station, one that could be paid for through the $5 billion subsidised loan facility set aside in the recent federal budget, the so-called Dirty Energy Finance Corporation. As one wag put it, if his policy were romantic novel, it would be 50 Shades of Grit.

Labor really has to get its act together  Despite the compromise on the 33,000GWh renewable energy target, there is now daylight between the Conservative position on renewable energy and Labor’s – which is to increase the renewable target should it get elected (no certain thing, given Bill Shorten’s performances of late). But Labor needs to get its messaging, and its transitional policies clear on this. As seen by the closure of Alinta’s two coal-fired generators in South Australia, jobs are at risk and union pressure, which has neutralised Labor’s climate and clean energy policies in the past, means that Labor needs to plan a clear path for workers to transition to the new industries. Perhaps they should borrow a few ideas from the Labor government in the ACT.

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51 Comments
  1. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    Wind and solar are no longer cute cottage industries. The realisation of it will take some time. Although this time would be shortened by politicians doing some objective listening.

    • Ken Dyer 5 years ago

      Sorry Fred, it is a subscriber only article which means it isn’t worth reading anyway.

      • Jim Simpson 5 years ago

        Really? Seems pretty relevant… this is what the author, Simon King says..

        “Simon Carlile, the Neuroscientist who set up the Sydney University Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory — and who was asked to be involved in assessing the National Health and Medical Research Council’s targeted research examining the effect of wind turbines — says the growing body of evidence points to the low-frequency infrasound they create directly affecting the human nervous system.

        Medical faculty associate profes­sor of neuroscience Simon Carlile said it was time to properly examine the effects of low-frequency wavelengths and recognise that, like seasickness, they don’t affect everybody.

        “In terms of the physiology, in terms of how we know the nervous system responds to this low-fre­q­uency noise, the evidence says ‘yes, the nervous system is activated at these frequencies’,” he told The Australian.

        “But not in the traditional way you might think hearing works — it’s stimulating the system that’s involved in balance — the vestibular system. So there’s some good physiology, some good neuro­science, that this does exist and it’s been shown in animal models.”

        But Associate Professor Carlile said its existence was only “one part of the story”.

        “The other part is that some people are susceptible and some aren’t,” he said.

        “It just means that when you look across 1000 people you can’t see a statistical effect across that population — because 90 per cent of them aren’t affected. Then the question is: why are some people affect­ed and other people aren’t?

        “And the answer to this could be because it’s not stimulating the ears — you can’t hear it at low frequency — it’s stimulating the vestibular system.’’

        Associate Professor Carlile said that was similar to people who suffered seasickness.

        “They get seasick because of the simulation of the vestibular system — and there seems to be quite significant variations of susceptibility to vestibular-induced nausea.

        “A lot of the symptoms some people report around wind turbines are very similar to vestibular induced nausea or seasickness, like sleep disturbance.

        “The nervous system is defin­itely sensitive to this stimulus.”

        He said research could feed back to design: “This is going to be an important energy source and if we’re building tons of these things in the wrong places or building them in the wrong way then we’ve got big trouble.”

        He felt the statistical and epidemiological approaches informing the debate had not been “hitting the mark. You have got potentially a wide range of individual difference on this: you’ve really got to be homing in on those differences.”

        • Ken Dyer 5 years ago

          Jim, anything the Australian publishes has to be viewed with great suspicion. I prefer to get my information elsewhere such as
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21914211
          This is a double effect. It comes from the UK Government and covers peer reviewed articles.
          In the Australian, Professor Carlisle is expressing an opinion, and he admitted that the statistical and epidemiological approached are not correct. But that won’t get in the way of a good story nor the rabid anti wind campaigners.

          Here is an “independent” view

          https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-truth-about-health-impacts-of-wind-farms-and-infrasound,5067

          Enjoy!

        • john 5 years ago

          Just a note infrasound levels caused by natural sources and by existing industry are already here in the envelope we inhabit.
          Predisposed effects are to be viewed with some disquiet.
          I have seen measurements showing quiet high background sound reading which are totally transparent to the recipients of the sound pressures.
          Now as to whether some are more effected than others this may be an area of research worth pursuing.
          Just one cautionary note however we have now had industrial noise and have been exposed to infrasound for well over 80 years and yet no disenable effects have come to light.
          This I think is a rather important aspect of this apparent sudden onset of windmill disease.

  2. Diego Matter 5 years ago

    Giles, I was waiting for this piece on the Abbott Government and Renewables from you. Thank you!

  3. lin 5 years ago

    In future, the SI unit for bullshit should be known as the “Abbott”.
    For example: The Tony and Alan interview yesterday was filled with lies and misinformation. It contained at least 10 Abbotts of bullshit”.

    • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

      One of the more subtle lies was Abbott saying he would have got rid of the RET if he could but he had to make a deal in the Senate. Actually if he really wanted to continue to destroy the wind industry all he has to do is move no legislation and the RET stays at 41,000 GWh — but effectively zero growth in Large Scale projects due to sustained uncertainty and what’s emerging as sovereign risk where the Government of the day plays Machiavellian games to destroy a promising clean industry of the future.

      Repeal of Section 7(c) is the only way forwards know. Victoria has been dudded into removing the VRET in exchange for empty promises by the Federal Government. It deserves the right to set it’s own target, as do all other states.

    • Miles Harding 5 years ago

      my lemma:
      Remember Helen of Troy, whose beauty was said to be able to launch a thousand ships, leading to the unit being called the Helen. Obviously launching a thousand ships is too large a unit for our normal use, so the millihelen was suggested as that quantity of beauty necessary to launch a single ship. Does this imply negative 1 millihelen will cause a ship to run aground?

      The same with using the Abbott as the unit of bogosity. Again, the Abbott is too large a unit for daily use, as most examples will be in the milliabbott range. The bogometer may well need to be re-calibrated for this new unit.

      • lin 5 years ago

        Sweet. A microabbot could result in a school detention, a miliabbott a suspension from school, and a full abbott could result in a contempt of parliament or court.

        • Miles Harding 5 years ago

          Very Good!

          Now to install the meme in the population.

          Bogosity equal to, or greater than 1.0 Abbott is apparently very dangerous and it may result in the entire nation being sold up the creek!

    • matt bounds 5 years ago

      Steady on! One whole Abbott is an awful lot of BS for a single interview. For practical day-to-day purposes I’d like to propose Micro-Abbotts and Milli-Abbotts as they’d be more in keeping with BS levels from ordinary interviewees.

      • matt bounds 5 years ago

        Ah – I see quicker minds are already onto this one. Must be something in it 🙂

    • Deathypoopoo 5 years ago

      Sadly, given the huge levels of Abbott in the airwaves, that we are being exposed to mega-Abbots which is have profound effects on keeping people properly informed. Its the same kind of abbott that is stopping boats, stopping wind generators, killing our eduction and medical with corporatised abbot and generally screwing the Australian population.

  4. Ken Dyer 5 years ago

    By the time the next election rolls around, solar will be cheaper than coal, and batteries will have established a substantial foothold, making it even harder to ignore the fact that Abbott (Worst. Prime. Minister. Ever) will inevitably lose his war on renewables.

  5. Sid Abma 5 years ago

    Mr. Abbott. Your guesstimate is right. Clean Coal Combustion is very possible.
    Coal can be combusted with less CO2 emissions going into the atmosphere than combusted natural gas “The Clean Fossil Fuel”.
    Did you know when every time 1 Million BTU’s of heat energy is recovered from this combusted waste exhaust, and is utilized `~ 117 Lbs of CO2 wiil Not go into the atmosphere.
    Please compare that to “others”, and let me know what reduces bigger emissions numbers.
    Our goal is to Reduce CO2 Emissions and Bless our Economy.

    • juxx0r 5 years ago

      We can pump the exhaust through yours and Tony Abbott’s office and then you can both ‘Bless’ it on it’s way through, and i don’t mean pump it through in a pipe.

      You can also bask in it’s cleanliness, or bathe, whatever, i don’t care.

      • Sid Abma 5 years ago

        Such a negative attitude. Are you always like this?

        • juxx0r 5 years ago

          If it’s not clean enough to breathe, then IT IS NOT CLEAN ENOUGH!!

    • Miles Harding 5 years ago

      I wouldn’t be so sure about this.
      In a previous RE story, the Coal industry shot themselves in the foot after declaring Obama’s proposed mandate on CO2 sequestration to be “unproven and unacceptably costly”

      Assuming that methane can be our saviour may have the opposite effect. It would seem that the coal seem gas, the darling of the gas industry, has the side effect of having fugitive emissions almost equal the gas produced. Any frack promotion we ever see shows the frack occurring neatly into the formation of interest, whereas Dave Summers (professor of mining engineering Missouri state university) describes it as the frack following the path of least resistance that is frequently not in a desirable direction [towards the surface]. This goes a long way to explain the water quality issues exposed by FrackMan and others.

      Methane (CH4) is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, estimated as 25 times that of CO2 over a 100 year period. Adding a new methane source may prove to be mankind’s biggest mistake.

      Also, another major store of methane are Clathrates (hydrates of methane stored in northern tundra and seabeds) which may be released as the oceans warm. The vast amount of methane stored this way may trigger that catastrophe.

      On the positive side, I agree that making use of all of the heat energy would be more acceptable than not. The reject heat is low grade, so not much use for further electricity production, but ideal for building heading and some industrial processes. Australia doesn’t receive any cover here — this is a largely sunny and warm country.

  6. George Takacs 5 years ago

    “Abbott just relies on the input of his closest advisers, Maurice (global
    warming is a UN hoax) Newman, and Dick (I’m not a skeptic I just don’t
    believe the science) Warburton”.

    Above is Abbott’s problem, he has a Maurice in one ear and a Dick in the other.

    • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

      And he has himself in the pockets of the big end of town.

  7. Nicko 5 years ago

    Nailed it. Thanks.

    Usually, it is hard to see how much is cynical manipulation and how much is mad thought bubble stuff that has to be justified later (never being straight – nope, nope, nope).

    This time I think it is the latter and he has let a cat out of the bag. The true intent should have been hidden behind the spin and Hunt’s lies and misuse of numbers.

    (By the way, I nearly mistyped ‘latte’ for ‘latter’ – what a giveaway that would be!)

  8. Cooma Doug 5 years ago

    Watching a couple of things on Tv and a couple of youtube items with a 12 year old yesterday, the kid asked me a question. “Is the prime minister really that stupid or is he a crook”?
    My answer….hopefully stupid.

    • Calamity_Jean 5 years ago

      Smart kid. Must be a pleasure to know him/her.

    • Richard Koser 5 years ago

      I would have said: both.

  9. Chris Sanderson 5 years ago

    Why doesn’t Bill Shorten name the elephant and challenge Abbott to explain publicly his ideological reasons for denying the scientific reality of climate change and why he still thinks it benefits Australia for him to put the interests of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the need to commit Australia to play its part in the now international efforts by 164 countries to stop burning fossil fuels?

    Or is it, as we fear, that the opposition MP ranks are also still full of FFI supporters like Martin Fergusson and Gary Gray?……./Chris

    • John McKeon 5 years ago

      Absolutely agree, Chris. Let’s not forget this fact about the Labor party.

      • Miles Harding 5 years ago

        We vote for the least bad government these days!
        Labor is only inept, while the LNP is pernicious.

        I would greatly like Labor to seize the elephants lining the room by their trunks. They could do far worse than an honest platform addressing the country’s long term prosperity.

    • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

      We have to think carefully about which Lizard we would like to lead us in Government.

  10. Cooma Doug 5 years ago

    Giles
    You are a very valuable member of our democracy.

    • Calamity_Jean 5 years ago

      As a US citizen I have to say he’s an asset to the rest of the world also.

  11. John Bromhead 5 years ago

    As I write this comment the NEM is being powered by 22GW of fossil fuel generators and 450MW of wind and solar. In 2020 in the same conditions and with the new RET achieved, wind and solar would struggle to get to 1.5GW while the coal-fired generators are being driven out of business. The is only about 12GW of gas fired power and who will invest to increase this number?

    • WR 5 years ago

      There is also about 8GW of hydro capacity.

      With 20GW of flexible generation and about 200GWh of storage, the NEM could receive 80% of its total energy supply from wind and PV and still meet current demand.

      • Ian 5 years ago

        WR can you clarify what you are saying. Is that 8 GW of continuous hydro generation, and 20 GW of peak generation capacity with a total storage of 200GWH. That does not seem to be much storage capacity. That total storage capacity seems too low to sustain the 8 GW of continuous production. 8 x 24 is 192 GWH . In other words the whole storage capacity requires to be replaced daily.

        Why I ask is this: if this country is to have 100% renewables for electricity production then hydro is required to provide the storage solution. This could be achieved with pumped storage by possibly building dams at the outflow sites of existing hydro, or if the water storage is sufficient enough in the top dams , only generating from hydro when other renewables like wind and solar come off line.

        There appears to be 7 or 8 GW of continuous hydro capacity. If it’s use was restricted to peaking or filling in the gaps left by intermittent renewables , then current storage capacity should allow up to 30GW for 6 hours a day without the need to build any more dams. Obviously the limitations of the bass link and other factors would reduce this figure but still it highlights the fact that this country could very well achieve 100% renewables without much effort.

        You cannot tell me that this fact is not well known in government planning circles! This smacks of conspiracy to maintain the existing fossil fuel generators! Abbott must know this or he is very misinformed.

        • WR 5 years ago

          Roughly 200GWh of storage is the total amount of storage that would be needed if the NEM was receiving 80% of its current yearly energy demand from wind and PV. The amount of storage required would be only about 50% of average daily energy demand.

          Supply from storage would be used mostly during evenings, with smaller amounts being used throughout the night to moderate supply from flexible sources such as hydro. Storage would supply a total of about 13-15% of the yearly energy supply( which means it would require about 16-19% of yearly supply to recharge storage).

          The 8 GW of hydro would not be run continuously. It would only be needed when demand is greater than supply from other sources.

          Some flexible generation (hydro, etc) would be needed most nights of the year and in the period after sunrise before PV production takes off. But the total amount of energy from flexible sources would be only 20% of total supply. Currently, hydro supplies about 9% of yearly energy demand on the NEM, and I would expect it to be providing about the same amount to an 80% wind/PV NEM.

          The peak demand for power from flexible generation would occur on cold winter nights when wind generation is low and demand is unusually high because of domestic heater use. We had a couple of those nights last week where demand was about 30 GW in the period between 6pm and 9pm. On an 80% wind/PV grid, about 15-20GW of this would need to come from flexible supply sources, a small amount would come from the barely-generating wind farms, and the remainder would come from storage.

  12. JIm 5 years ago

    Poised to invest in international not local energy stocks. This leaves me feeling like a rat leaving a sinking ship!! As well as angry! The best hope is that the viability of Abbott beyond one term is seriously in doubt.

  13. Professor Ray Wills 5 years ago

    Loved the fifty shades of grit – here’s the line from the wag duck Giles referred to 🙂

    https://twitter.com/DaffyDck/status/608874505490997248

  14. Andrea 5 years ago

    Just one problem with this. Giles states: “Last year, Abbott was caught out dog whistling to climate deniers when he described emissions
    trading as a ‘so-called market, in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one’, an expression he and/or his advisors borrowed from some dubious websites.

    In fact, the quote was plagiarised from Mark Schapiro in “Conning the Climate”. Schapiro was making the point that there are inherent flaws in the validation and verification process for carbon credits (with a specific reference to validation companies that had been suspended). Schapiro argues that since with emissions trading nobody actually receives a tangible product, we must place great trust in these validation/verification companies. He demonstrates why this whole process is problematic.

    So the article was about valid criticisms of emissions trading. What I think many people miss is that the two political parties have greatly circumscribed what people regard as a suitable climate mechanism.
    Abbott opposes emissions trading, and he uses some valid criticisms of
    emissions trading to do this. Of course, his intention is to do nothing about climate change. But critics of Abbott are led into thinking that whatever Abbott opposes must be a good thing. So the Labor Party advocates emissions trading and people think that is a good thing. (BTW, big business wants emissions trading.)

    What is missing from the whole debate is that there are other
    ways (such as strong regulation) that will reduce carbon emissions. This is what the climate movement should be putting forward.

    • John McKeon 5 years ago

      I agree with you, Andrea.

      As a matter of interest I don’t think it would be hard to find Tony Abbott on YouTube saying that a carbon tax is a very efficient way of helping us move away from coal. He is on record as saying this before he became prime minister. He wouldn’t like anyone to remind us that he said this of course.

      I agree with that historical notion from the mouth of Tony Abbott.

      So, bring back the carbon tax.

      Oh, and remove the diesel fuel tax rebate for the mining industry. That should happen first.

      • juxx0r 5 years ago

        We should make the fisherman pay the diesel road tax tax too in that case.

  15. John McKeon 5 years ago

    Tony “climate science is crap” Abbott has not ceased to amaze me during the term of his prime ministership so far. Just when I think each time that he could not more clearly demonstrate what a dick head he is, he does it AGAIN.

    For him to join the loud chorus of the miserable few in describing wind turbines as not aesthetically pleasing …… as if a dusty, dirty great gaping black hole in the ground of an open cut coal mine was just a nightmare figment of our imaginations, nothing to worry about, not even worth mentioning,

    I have to conclude that he has a very tough hide and a tiny brain.

  16. hugh spencer 5 years ago

    Kinda late in the party … but somehow we have to reduce our energy WANTS and really figure out our energy NEEDS .. not a simple issue.. but one someone has to try and tackle this one .. while I live on stand alone PV – days like today I need generator backup to remain within the C21… we really need to tackle the energy ‘wants’ issue .. as a child – cooking was by wood, we had no electricity .. and I had a contented and busy childhood.. it wasn’t fatal, our current society cannot, it seems forgo one minute of connectedness (to who??) – or not have a climate controlled living environment.. I could, but won’t go on…

  17. Jacob 5 years ago

    What I really want to know is, how corrupt is he?

    • Richard Koser 5 years ago

      I think he’s in it for the power to kick people in the head. I don’t think he needs paying but I’m sure he expects a seat at the table when he retires. The big boys will send him around to the servants’ entrance.

  18. Phil Smith-Lawrence 5 years ago

    Australia could be a world leader in the renewables sector, showing others how to implement renewable energy strategies and vastly reduce the dependance on carbon spewing fossil fuels – but it won’t achieve this with it’s current leader in place ( a fact not lost on most Australians). Reading various articles online and the comments below, and taken Abbott’s somewhat bizarre comments, there does seem to be a valid reason to launch an independent investigation into any possible collusion between Abbott, and /or his advisors, and the fossil fuel industry. We have had some half-baked politicians here in the UK but Abbott is clearly ‘fully baked’! Australia is ideal for Solar PV generation coupled with battery storage. Tidal energy generation technology could also play a part in providing sustainable energy, but I do suspect that this technology would be a far more emotive issue taken the beauty of the Australian coastlines. Philip Smith Lawrence.

    • John McKeon 5 years ago

      “… there does seem to be a valid reason to launch an independent investigation into any possible collusion between Abbott, and /or his advisors, and the fossil fuel industry.”

      Indeed, Phil, a former government (in which our current prime minister was a participant) used to be advised by a fossil fuel lobby who boasted of themselves as the “Greenhouse Mafia”.

      The influence of the like is now as perfidious as ever.

  19. Ian 5 years ago

    As much as we love wind turbines, we have to ask the question: do we really want them close to our homes, or looming over our national parks and scenic areas. Infrasound or flicker are just terms reflecting that concern – NIMBYism is very valid. There have got to be areas suitable for wind turbines that minimise their impact. For example open farmland. Imagine wind turbines studded across the Great Ocean Road or taking centre stage off shore of the Gold Coast, Abbott would be right about those being downright Ugly, but in productive green pastures standing tall amongst cattle and sheep grazing- majestic and welcoming. We need to see studies identifying suitable sites and centering debate around those. I find it interesting that in the crowded UK there is very little debate about off-shore wind but plenty of strife regarding the siting of on-shore wind farms.

    • Pedro 5 years ago

      No technology is perfect, there is always some compromise. I ask my self what would I prefer, wind turbines popping up throughout the landscape or massive open cut coal mine getting bigger?

      Ugliness aside why are there no wind turbines located in heavily industrialized zones and port facilities where visual ascetics is not such an issue?

  20. Deathypoopoo 5 years ago

    So..how did the liberals get into power again? what was the mechanism that convinced the Australian voter that they would get a better deal? Is anyone surprised that this government is hell bent on dismantling just about everything that was setting our country on the path to a modern new future? How sad it is to know that one buffoon that hasn’t evolved beyond the “straw hat and steam engine” is capable of dragging the nation into a sad, Detroit style dark ages. We’re most certainly being dragged into a thick mire of Abbott fueled, greed fueled and ignorance fueled devolution instead of creating a new future with new industries, new opportunities and employment prospects. I fear that right now, our ship is sinking and abbot and his cronies are the anchor. So much for that hypocritical “Challenge of change”. Dr Karl must be regretting being involved in that con.

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