Coalition applauds Lambie’s climate denying, pro-nuclear rant | RenewEconomy

Coalition applauds Lambie’s climate denying, pro-nuclear rant

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Coalition describes Lambie speech damming climate science and praising nuclear as ‘wonderful’. Leyonjhelm, Madigan and Muir also have their say on proposed renewable cuts.

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The Abbott government has warmly applauded a speech by cross-bench Senator Jacqui Lambie, who on Wednesday dismissed the science of climate change, urged a major push to nuclear energy, and called for a bigger army to defend Australia.

The speech from Lambie was made in debate over the proposal to cut the renewable energy target to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh. Lambie said it was excellent to cut the target, because renewable energy (other than hydro) could not support an industrialised economy.

Instead, she said, the only way for “cheap, decarbonised” power, was to push for nuclear energy. ”We have got to become world leaders in nuclear,” Lambie said.


“You are worse than deluded. You are dangerously deluded … and you should be locked up, for helping enemies destroy our nation – if you think that wind energy will solve problems,” Lambie said.

The Senator, echoing comments she made in her maiden speech to parliament, said there had never been a time in history that the climate had not changed. She said the Earth was warmer on “three occasions” in the last 300,000 years.

“I have never heard so much garbage about energy and climate change. To think a 21st economy can sustainably and affordably run on renewable energy. What a load of rubbish.

“Apart from hydro, the only way to decarbonise energy is to move very quickly to nuclear. And it’s about time we move to that option.”

Lambie appears not to be aware that nuclear energy is proving horrendously expensive. In the UK, attempts to build the first nuclear plant in more than 20 years hang in the balance, despite the government offering a base price of $180/MWh, rising with inflation to nearly $500/MWh in 35 years time; even with $32 billion in loan guarantees, and $12 billion of added infrastructure to be paid for by consumers.

As the IEA noted earlier this week, new nuclear is being built, almost exclusively, only in countries with regulated energy markets and where government-owned utilities build, own and operate plants. The Financial Times reported this week that even the UK Treasury is hoping that the plant is not built, because of its costs.

The Lambie speech was welcomed by the Coalition, whose leader, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, expressed his dislike of wind farms last week and who admitted that his goal was to stop the construction of all wind turbines. For the Coalition, each turbine appears to represent success for The Greens. This is despite even the owner of Australia’s dirtiest power station saying that the future of energy lies in local generation, wind and solar and battery storage.

Queensland Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald said: “What a wonderful speech. It’s been a long time since I have heard a speech so clear on the reality of life.”

“I congratulate you on the way you understand …. on how The Greens are hell-bent on destroying Australia in any way that they can …. You have shortened my speech by about 10 minutes ….it’s a wonderful speech and congratulations.”

Senator David Leyonjhelm, who sits on the Senate inquiry into wind farms, and has said their health impacts are proven, said the RET would “do to manufacturing what wind turbines do to wedge tailed eagles.

“I would prefer that nothing would be done, and penalties would apply, and increased prices would create public backlash against the lunacy of the act.” He said the target should be no more than 27,000GWh.

Another anti-wind Senator, John Madigan, also complained about wind energy. He quoted Origin Energy boss Grant King who had said that billions of dollars of new gas-fired generation would need to be built to support wind energy.

Madigan and his advisors have clearly not caught up with the news that no news gas generation is being built, and much of it closed down.

Ricky Muir, from the Motoring Enthusiast Party, said he supported the RET, and its 41,000GWh target, and was proud to support the retention of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corp.

Any amendments would be an excuse by the government to further delay the legislation, Muir said: “Let’s get the legislation through.” Muir also supported the inclusion of native wood waste in the RET. “We are not speaking of cutting down one extra tree,” he said. A vote was expected later on Wednesday or on Thursday, although it was not clear if any amendments would be presented.

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  1. suthnsun 5 years ago

    Highly polarised debate then.. Clearly more education required for Lambie and Macdonald. Ricky Muir seems to have his feet on the ground. I wonder why Lambie does not consult the numerous climate scientists in Tas. who could clearly explain to her why this situation is different..

    • Stephen Gloor 5 years ago

      What difference would that make? These people are just puppets as are the people on the other side just different people pull their strings.

      My next house is off grid – no connection to these idiots and their masters.

      • suthnsun 5 years ago

        That will work for emissions within your control Stephen, others necessarily expend roughly 3 times those emissions on your behalf and notionally attributable to you – our representatives in parliament are necessarily dealing with those, we have no choice. I still believe that a thorough education on the subject would sway some opinion there..

        • Stephen Gloor 5 years ago

          I have been arguing and ‘educating’ people like this for the best part of 15 years starting with Jennifer Morohasy and ending with Barry Brooke. There is no educating people that have a different opinion. Science does not do it nor does reason. Why would a climate scientist like Brooke be such a one-eyed nuclear proponent when anybody with half a degree of economic sense can see nuclear is dead and never will be revived.

          The opposition, instead of being a coal mining government, is coal mining union government and will do exactly the same things.

          Even then we need to change our economy to one that does not need to grow to really be sustainable. As this means some extremely rich people might make a bit less money this is of course deemed impossible.

          The only way we will change is disruption. Rich people will continue to demand the right to make themselves richer until they can’t and then everyone will suffer.

          My favourite cartoon:

          • suthnsun 5 years ago

            I am agreeing with the angles you are taking. Politicians are not climate scientists and I daresay have not been appraised fully of the situation and some may? be receptive.
            Disruption of the minimal, persistent type is my preference since fragility is ubiquitous and I don’t want to add to the catastrophes by type, duration or intensity.

          • Barri Mundee 5 years ago

            Actually we DO need to grow our economy— but growth needs to be of the type that will help to avoid the worst impacts of cc and can include infrastructure of various kinds, including better education, health, retrofitting of homes, businesses and public buildings to make them energy efficient and comfortable, more recycling etc.

            The sort of growth we do NOT need is the mindless consumerist crap, wasteful in its use of resources or the planned obsolescence that is built in to so many products.

            The sort of growth we need will stimulate the economy, soak up un and under-employment and lead to a better, more sustainable society.

          • BsrKr11 5 years ago

            First ask why does the economy have to grow?

            The answer is in the type of money we have and how it comes into existence as debt.

            The best explanation I have come across is Grip of Death by Michael Rowbotham

            This is the mechanism that embodies the idea of scarcity which is perhaps our guiding metaphysical belief about our relationship with reality itself ….

            If we choose to organize ourselves differently and in line with the Earth our sustainable future is one not of deprivation but one of abundance.

          • Calamity_Jean 5 years ago

            That’s a good one.

    • Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

      Her chief of staff is even more insane than she is and prevents her from coming into contact or even close-promimity to/with logic and reason.
      Ironically, his name is ‘Messenger’ and it is indeed Lambie’s ‘messenger’ that is her problem :(*

  2. Emma 5 years ago

    Anyone else feel like banging their head against a brick wall until these idiots are out of office?

    • Gordon 5 years ago

      Indeed, at times it seems like the only option! … but then reality kicks in and I realise we can’t rely on the Feds for any sensible renewable energy policies- communities need to take matters into their own hands, with the support of local government.

      • Emma 5 years ago

        And thank whoever-is-up-there for grassroots community action! And social media on which we can give Jacqui and her ilk a hard time.

    • Marg1 5 years ago

      Constantly Emma!

    • Stephen Gloor 5 years ago

      There is no brick wall big enough.

    • Mick Perger 5 years ago

      Yes Emma , would you like to hold hands & take turns ……

  3. Steve159 5 years ago

    Lambie “said there had never been a time in history that the climate had not changed. She said the Earth was warmer on “three occasions” in the last 300,000 years.”

    Okay, that being the case we don’t need to worry about nuclear, or coal, or whatever we do — it’s going to happen irrespective.

    So why then any suggestion we need nuclear power?

    I must have missed the obvious, it seems.

  4. Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

    It would be incredible and hard to believe if not for the fact that this tosh came from Lambie… I’m almost tempted to buy the dinner with her (as part of the midwinter ball charity) just so I can have an opportunity to introduce her to some reality. How do you think she would react to having to have dinner with a solar farm owner and 7 of my solar/renewables-loving mates?

    • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

      Good luck with that project. Make sure you have a rabies shot before meeting her.

      • Coley 5 years ago

        Or a clear shot;)

    • Alistair Spong 5 years ago

      Do it !!!!!! Be polite , but make your point

    • Caroline4 5 years ago

      Don’t waste your time and money. Many of us in her constituency of NW Tas have tried to discuss these issues with her very politely and from an informed position. Obviously we wasted our time. JL was recently invited to a talk in Burnie by Dr Penny Whetton from the IPCC who spelled out the climate scenarios for Aus and Tas in particular. However she declined to attend as did all the other local pollies. Where’s that wall…

      • john 5 years ago

        how about just copying all these comments and send them to Ms Lambie

    • Cooma Doug 5 years ago

      She is clearly ignorant of most of the facts. Most in parliament are ignorant of the facts. I conclude that Labour and LNP are both knowingly supporting the wrong thing because of corrupt influence from fossils. Knowingly do so via ignorance as the excuse. “Im not a scientist”

    • John McKeon 5 years ago

      Good luck! It seems that her manager/advisor, Rob Messenger, is at least part of the problem. If you can’t get directly to Jacqui to attempt the apparently impossible, is it worth trying to talk sense to her advisor instead?

      Bear in mind the tentacles of the fossil interests that are at the foundation of all of our current woes.

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

  5. Martin Nicholson 5 years ago

    Climate denying is definitely a rant. Pro-nuclear? No more of a rant than 100% RE.

  6. D. John Hunwick 5 years ago

    The best way forward right now is for families to save up for and invest in solar panels. This action reduces the demand for coal and nuclear, while thumbing our noses at the unscientific thinking of Lambie, Abbott and all other climate deniers. They must hate the uptake of solar energy by citizens who are not yet sufficiently taken notice of to get rid of coal.

    • Miles Harding 5 years ago

      Yes, and get a battery buffer as soon as possible — this will help to take out the coal generator’s profitable peaks, while saving the us, ‘the dumb consumers’ from the increasingly unfair peak use tariffs.

  7. Beat Odermatt 5 years ago

    Yes, let’s clean your lungs with a fresh breeze of coal dust and fumes and find a way in which a to make windmills dangerous. Please never go to the beach as the ultrasound of a seabreeze may frazzle your brains.

  8. David McKay 5 years ago

    Australia is in a dangerous place when the ignorant have power. Lambie & Macdonald – what a pair!! Nuclear keeps popping up, Usually proposed by those with absolutely no idea of the costs. Significant schedule delays & cost over runs are the norm for this industry. There needs to be a solution to our politicians just spewing out BS & labelling it as factual debate. Fact, honesty & the need to answer voters questions should be a requirement.
    What we need is a planned, managed evolution in our energy system.

  9. disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

    Lambie’s like a female version of Abbott, all mouth and no brain.
    Just wait till SA reaches 60%+ renewable darling and your own state, at net export renewable
    This women shouldn’t be commenting on the intracacies of complex climate science or energy policy, because she’s got no knowledge or experience of either of the subjects, she’s just a grunt.

    • Nicko 5 years ago

      I don’t agree with the need for ‘darling’ etc, as plenty of men are confused, paranoid and ignorant on this too, but other than that I agree to the extent that Tasmania should be a beneficiary.

      She has been got at.

      • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

        I wasn’t meaning to be sexist in the comment it could of well been a choice word about Abbott, in saying “I’m not a tech head” or “I think windfarms are ugly” comments.
        Or I could just drop this on the head and say that if its good for Abbott and Lambie to be unPC, why should the rest of us be held to such high standards?

    • john 5 years ago

      please do not use disparaging language

      • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

        I don’t feel any respect for Lambie or Abbott & Co.
        They are everything to do with whats going wrong, with what was a great nation.

        • BsrKr11 5 years ago

          Look behind them at those with the money. ..the politics are just a front

          • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

            I’m totally aware of the hidden hands that guide these muppets.
            Mindless, reactionary, sycophants, in the hierarchical order of dogs, who change tune like the weather, to suite and promote themselves and bosses.
            The IPA, miners, business council, Murdoch media, union bosses, zionists, etc.
            But don’t let that deter from criticism of these individuals either.
            Look at them and how they operate.
            They are reactionary conservative in their outlook.
            Untrusting cynics of knowledge, because they represent the mindless grunts and bogans, who see knowledge as a threat to be controlled.
            That’s why they view climate science as a threat, in their mind, it’s a part of the battle of brain v brawn.
            Opposing needed change for the better, just what their puppet master need to keep there established wealth and power.
            Technophobic contrarians, opposing what they use.
            Yes I’m well aware of how they operate.

          • BsrKr11 5 years ago

            no argument there… well said …but I do believe this point of view is travelling farther and wider than we might think at the moment- people globally are shedding the veil and seeing the entire system as suspect. Change is coming …. one way or another this type of banality can not be sustained

          • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

            Yes definately a backlash to this banality of rabid corporatist damage to social and environmental concerns.
            That’s why I think we’re seeing hardliners being placed in positions of power and global surveillance, as a subtle threat to see off revolt.

        • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

          You don’t have to feel respect to show it. No need to stoop.

          • disqus_3PLIicDhUu 5 years ago

            Lambie and Abbott have no respect for the renewable energy sector and our jobs, my anger is a motivator to want to keep this sector going.
            Being precious with these morons is not working.

  10. Andy Colin Hook 5 years ago

    It is very disheartening to see how willfully ignorant and damaging our supposed leaders are. They should be end up injail for disseminating this cancerous nonsense, and stalling on doing what most of us want to happen, and can plainly see is going to happen. I must say I was surprised by the lack of noise, the absence of piles of dead birds, or indeed of disoriented locals wearing infrasound blocking headphones, when I visted Mt Mercer wind farm outside Ballarat. It was all peaceful and pretty. Even the pigs and sheep under the turbines seemed to agree. Compare that to Hazelwood, or Chernobyl…….

  11. BsrKr11 5 years ago

    Okay the gloves have to come off! The problem is Lambie isn’t exactly wrong the EROEI ratio is far lower for renewable energy across the board. But the real problem is the insanity at the root of our economy and that is the idea the economy can grow exponentially on a finite planet forever.
    The question goes right to the heart of the argument of transition off fossil fuels and the ideas of growth. Why does our economy need to grow? Because of the money we have and the way it comes into existence as debt. …our society in its present form can not be sustained it is destroying the underlying health of the ecology that humans actually need to have a healthy society!

    • A Wall 5 years ago

      Your comment is exactly right. I think renewables would have more credence with the populace if we were more realistic about what they can do. I love renewables, but they are not going to sustainably power industrial civilisation as we currently know it. We, as a society, need to be honest about what renewables can and can’t do, and have a serious dialogue about what how our future should look and what is reasonable/possible. I am very doubtful that business as usual can continue with renewables.

      On the other hand, we can probably reduce our energy consumption by 95% (which I think is needed) and still maintain a society that is broadly the same as now (I mean political and social institutions and values, rather than our current energy profligacy and wasteful lifestyles)

      (of course, all these arguments, and more also apply to nuclear — that’s a white elephant waiting to happen!)

      • john 5 years ago

        Australia is blessed with huge amounts of wind available power and solar.
        This is not beyond the intellect of the country only the will to achieve.

        • A Wall 5 years ago

          While it is true that Australia has lots of wind and solar irradiation, it is not relevant. There is a lot of heat in the ocean also, but it cannot be harnessed to do work. My house is a net energy exporter with an on-grid 2 kW solar PV system — I know what it can do and what it can’t. At this time of year, I’m not getting a lot of electricity from it.

          A society that runs on solar and wind (and has to build all of its energy infrastructure using solar and wind power) will be a much poorer society than one where a hole in the ground yields a geyser of oil. In the future, we will be poorer — but that’s not the end of the world — there’s a good chance we’ll live better lives.

          • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

            Wall, oil has been far too expensive to use to generate electricity for a very long time (except during critical peaks), so we’re long past that hump. And wind and solar are now cheaper than new coal and natural gas capacity, so we’re past that hump too. And as our fossil fuel capacity gets replaced we’ll have the benefits of less pollution, so it looks to me that we’ll have more of what we want – clean air, health, cheap energy – in the future than we have now.

            Or things could go to hell and the future could be like Mad Max: Fury Road. Either way, those solar panels on your roof will still be useful. In fact, look at getting some extra ones. Think of it as insurance.

          • A Wall 5 years ago

            Yes, I agree that the future is likely going to be somewhere between utopia and apocalypse 😉

            You seem to think that PV + wind is a drop in replacement for coal, oil, nuclear — I disagree and think we will never again have access to such huge concentrations of energy. The simple fact is that we still have access to a lot of cheap (in terms of EROEI) oil and coal — this provides a huge energy subsidy for all our manufacturing — including renewables tech.

            That cheap (in terms of EROEI) coal and oil is quickly disappearing, and when it’s gone we’ll see exactly what can be done on renewables alone.

          • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

            Well, energy is “free” whether it comes from a hole in the ground or from the movement of air or from sunshine. They require stuff for us to do something useful with that energy and the amount of stuff required is for renewables is now comparable to what’s needed for fossil fuels, particularly when all the ships and trains and pipes and and conveyor belts and loading facilities that are used to transport fossil fuels are included. Paying for stuff to harness wind power is now costs about 5 US cents a kilowatt-hour in Australia. Paying for the stuff required to harness coal power now costs about 7 or more US cents a kilowatt-hour before the cost of the coal included. So it looks to me like new renewables have the edge now and that should only improve as their cost comes down.

          • A Wall 5 years ago

            “the amount of stuff required is for renewables is now comparable to what’s needed for fossil fuels”

            You seem to take our current consumption levels as a given, and argue from there that renewables can provide it as cheaply as fossil fuels. I am arguing that neither fossil fuels nor renewables will be able to provide it. The problem is the *amount* of energy we are using, not just its source.

            Firstly, energy is everywhere but most of it is not in a usable form (it is too diffuse). Take the heat energy of the ocean — there is an almost infinite amount of heat energy there (relative to the background temperature of the universe), but it doesn’t do us any good because we can’t build an engine to do work using it.

            EROI of oil is about 17. EROI of solar is between 3 and 8. EROI of wind is about 17
            “The implications of the declining energy return on investment of oil production” D Murphy

            However, historically the EROI of oil was much higher (50 or more) and that historic energy injection (which is present in all the built infrastructure that was constructed in the 20th century) provides a hidden subsidy for everything we do.

            What I am saying is that the dollar price of energy is not relevant — it is misleading as it does not reflect the true cost of provisioning and delivering it. It is the EROI that is telling us something important about the underlying physical reality.

            I love renewables — in a century or two they’re all we’ll have and we need to transition as soon as possible. But we also need to be realistic about what they can do.

          • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago

            Wall, look up how much energy it now takes to produce solar panels today and correct the figure you are using for EROI. If you don’t believe the figures for modern solar then you can roughy work it out yourself by looking up the materials in a solar module and working out the energy costs of their manufacture. There’s about half a gram of silicon per watt these days and about 80 grams of glass, aluminium and other material. And you want to check your figure for wind too. Unless you have a tardis there is really no excuse for being so out of date.

      • onesecond 5 years ago

        Renewable energy can deliver a bigger return of energy than any industrialised society on earth could possibly need. We will run into problems with the biocapacity (soil degradation, overuse of marine ecosystems) and usage of all ressources long before energy shortage will be a problem. The amount of energy the earth receives from the sun is mind-blowingly huge and easily accessible with renewable energy technologies whose EROI really is high enough. That it isn’t, is a myth of one pro nuclear working group made up years ago and not a topic anyone wastes time on in the scientific community.

        • A Wall 5 years ago

          Hmm, that’s interesting and not what my reading has suggested. Can you cite an article or two supporting this?

          • onesecond 5 years ago

            It is all about the energy amortisation of renewable energy devices. After that time they provide a net gain of energy and they typically go on for decades after that time which is lesser than a year for wind and up to two years for PV.



            I hope these links work, they should be in English too.

          • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

            The de Wild-Schoten article downloads directly from the link, but the link to the Crawford article is broken. Downloading the PDF from the WIT site is free but requires prior registration. In cases like this the DOI (digital object identifier) link is probably the best one to use:


    • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

      Wrong! EROEI of hydroelectric power has always been better than from fossil fuels, with the exception of early 20th century “gusher” oil wells.

      Technological and mass-market learning curve developments in the last decade have raised the EROEI of wind and solar electricity, such that the EROEI from new wind farms is in excess of 30:1 (better than coal-seam gas) and of solar PV installations is in excess of 10:1 (comparable to, though not actually better than, the marginal fracked shale oil wells and bitumen sand mining operations of North America).

      Bearing in mind that thermal electricity generation can convert at best around 50% of the input heat energy to electricity (and in some older power stations far less, eg a mere 26% at Hazelwood), this means that new-build wind electricity’s EROEI is every bit as good as that of new-build coal- or gas-fired electricity.

      In general the monetary cost of energy from a particular source is not a bad proxy for its present-day EROEI (though it may not say much about where EROEI will be in a decade’s time as resources deplete and technology improves). When wind is the cheapest source of new electricity generation in dollars, it is not going to cost more in energy terms than more expensive new fossil-fuel based generation.

      • BsrKr11 5 years ago

        Let’s be very clear renewable energy can and hopefully will power a very prosperous and large civilization.

        What is certain is the economy will stop growing due to the reality there are limits.

        The math is very clear on this nothing grows forever and human civilization needs to fit within the flow of energy and nutrients which happen to be enormous.

        So there is a very prosperous future ahead for humanity if we rid ourselves of this silly idea of growth forever which is a mathematical model hard baked into our money supply.

        Understand at the heart of our society is the banking system and at the heart of the banking system is the money creation process which embodies the governing idea of Scarcity.

        The way money comes into existence as debt through commercial loans results in the absolute requirement for expansion of the money supply to pay interest on the loans resulting in the biggest game of musical chairs in history.

        This idea has now reached its limit and is literally seeing humanity undermine its long term survival on this planet.

        The great news is that the ecology is in truth incredibly abundant so a sustainable future is not one of deprivation but of joyful abundance.

        So I hope you can see that renewable energy can power that society but nothing will allow the current economic paradigm to continue hence we face a cultural shift not a technical one.

        • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

          An interesting turnaround from your previous comment, but let’s run with it.

          I agree, in large part. There are limits to the physical world and the first and most urgent one we find ourselves coming up against is the limit to the ability of the atmosphere and oceans of the earth to act as a sink for pollution from fossil fuels without serious disruption to climate.

          There are other limits which we’re also close to breaking: exhaustion of fisheries, destruction of forests, degradation of land.

          Other limits, such as those on our ability to extract and exploit various non-renewable mineral resources, are in clear sight but not yet exceeded in any meaningful way despite the deep pessimism of many in “peak oil” circles.

          There aren’t any meaningful limits to renewable energy on the human scale or in the timeframe of human civilisation. There are real and hard thermodynamic limits, but they are so enormous as to be irrelevant to our consideration of what humanity should be doing in this century or probably even this millennium.

          The financial system, on the other hand, is nothing more than sleight of hand. Its present conception places no limit on the numerical amount of nominal value that can be created by lending it or printing it, nor how much can be destroyed by retirement, repayment, default, bankruptcy, amnesty, inflation, devaluation, etc. There is nothing inherent in a money-based economic system which entails constant debt-fuelled growth, that’s just the default setting for as long as we can remember.

          Economies can and do shrink, we call it a recession and we seem to dislike it, but it’s perfectly possible and it would be pretty easy, if for whatever reason there was political will to deliberately arrange a prolonged recession, for a government to do so. Where that political will might come from, I’ve no idea, but it’s not some mathematical limitation of the monetary system!

          Let me be very clear: money supply hasn’t “reached its limit” because there aren’t any limits to it. It’s all just numbers on ledgers which governments, banks and consumers all try very hard, almost all of the time, to treat like a measure of real value. This is certainly useful to facilitate trade and investment, but the Emperor actually has no clothes; the only value money has is the value people impart to it through our actions and our beliefs.

          Inflation is an ongoing destruction of the nominal value of money. Debt issuance (and other measures including printing cash and the very rare *de*flation, if the real value of goods and services in circulation grow faster than the circulating money supply) are an ongoing creation of new value. Governments and banks try to maintain confidence in currency by steadily reeling back in the money they have issued through repayments, interest and taxation. Price inflation is a clear and simple measure to see if they are doing a successful job of this: if land, commodity and consumer prices continue to rise just gradually, the money economy appears to be running steadily, and a light hand on the tiller of interest rates, the throttle of taxation and public spending and the brake of banking regulation can be used to keep it that way. But sometimes these gentle means to steer the economy prove inadequate.

          The reason the economic system appears unstable from time to time is that a VAST store of nominal value exists in the hands of large businesses and wealthy individuals which they are allowed to treat as personal private property. Concentration of capital in private hands does facilitate investment and helps the private sector to generate tangible value as well as to “make money”, but it also facilitates speculation which can occasionally result in additional money pouring into circulation or vanishing from it, plunging people into unexpected penury and financial circumstances which can’t be planned for, in just the same way as a government slashing its public sector spending or printing excessive amounts of banknotes might do.

          Of course to attain economic stability we need a cultural shift, but it’s a really simple political one: a tighter rein on speculation and/or redistribution of wealth from hoarders and speculators to spenders and circulators. Pretty basic. We’ve had it before and we can have it back if there is political will to bring it back.

          A word here on taxation: tax plays utterly different roles depending on whether there’s a “hard” sovereign currency issued by the taxing government (or a quasi-independent central bank in a symbiotic relationship with that government). If you’re a local council or the government of Greece, tax is your main source of funds and limits how much you can borrow from elsewhere and what you can spend. If you’re the government of a nation with its own currency like the USA, Papua New Guinea, Norway or Australia, tax is better thought of as how much currency you want to unilaterally withdraw from circulation each year and from whom in order to assure the public (and investors and trading partners) of the continuing value of your currency. You don’t have to match public spending to government revenue, all you have to do is maintain market confidence in your money. You can’t just print as much cash as you like and spend it willy-nilly, because that will result in excessive inflation, but you *can* borrow money (effectively from yourself if you borrow your own currency from your own bank) in substantial quantities, or even make some debt repayments to yourself, eg. if you want to strengthen your currency’s exchange value and make prices fall. The absolute amount you owe yourself is actually immaterial, only the delta in the amount of circulating currency makes a difference!

          None of what I’m saying addresses your implication (which you don’t spell out) that it’s the monetary system which forces unsustainable capitalist exploitation of the planet. You’d be right to blame the profit motive, the concentration of capital, inadequate regulation and corruption for that. You wouldn’t be right to blame the money system in and of itself: it’s the political and financial masters of the money system who are to blame.

          • BsrKr11 5 years ago

            first it is not a turn around at all – both statements are in line with the central point that renewable energy can not sustain a growth based civilization.

            On your point :

            Let me be very clear: money supply hasn’t “reached its limit” because there aren’t any limits to it. It’s all just numbers on ledgers which governments, banks and consumers all try very hard, almost all of the time, to treat like a measure of real value. This is certainly useful to facilitate trade and investment, but the Emperor actually has no clothes; the only value money has is the value people impart to it through our actions and our beliefs.

            I agree, as we see with QE there seems to be no limits to what can be printed or electronically created, but all money, as you point out, are claims on value in the real world, hence when we make loans in the commercial sector which makes up approx 95 to 97% of the money supply, in order to pay the interest the physical economy has to grow, and this growth is powered by the fossil fuel profit with its very high EROEI.
            This is why energy consumption growth over the last 40 years has essentially followed the expansion of the money supply in relative terms. This brings the idea of the de linking of growth from material consumption put forward as a possible solution to this nexus front and centre of picture. I don’t believe this is the solution.
            But the question becomes, is FIAT based money in a fractional reserve banking system, the only option available to us in the Universe? Has it been handed down to us from God and isn’t open to change? Of course not, and this mechanism and the relationship between money coming into existence as debt requiring the material increase in consumption to capture the additional value to pay interest is the very foundation of the problems materializing as ecological break down. This is the mechanism that is driving the crisis…and renewable energy will not sustain this mechanism with its lower EROEI.
            Hence men like Herman Daly et al are offering wise and pragmatic ways to alter this mechanism to set the incentives to operate within the understanding that there are limits, that the idea of infinite growth in the money supply is rather silly and frankly dangerous to continue if we want a prosperous civilization. Because it is too easy to get caught in the belief that money is the thing of value and not the ecology standing behind it, since money as you correctly pointed out is only a symbol of value, or an agreement.
            Now when this becomes clear, you turn to the ecology, and a wonderful thing emerges, the natural systems when properly harnessed and designed for humans to take a yield but done in a manner that keeps the systems fertile and healthy, turns out to be simply and outrageously ABUNDANT.
            To begin to conclude, all knowledge is self knowledge. In my home I have a large solar system, solar hot water, I grow my own food and have created an ecosystem where the beneficial bugs keep in check all the little bugs that want to eat all my production! I have created a system that virtually all of my inputs are generated on site and waste is captured and turned into inputs…
            This understanding of how to balance the natural flows and use nature to create a healthy system where humans can take an abundant yield without destroying the underlying health and in fact result in high fertility of the landscape is embodied within the principles of Permaculture.
            There is no reason why we can not embody these insights into our culture and design a system that provides an abundant yield for the human community while keeping the underlying ecology healthy and highly productive…
            this is the type of society that will endure and will be powered by renewable energy, it will not be a growth based hyper individualist consumer based civilization .
            One last thing, we haven’t even touch population growth and its relationship with energy consumption at varying stages of development…. since most of the world is living in developing nations, these relationships will bear hugely on the direction our global society is pushed as oil productions rates flat line then fall as we continue the current path .
            the stakes couldn’t be higher, literally billions of people are looking to come to the developed world’s consumption levels using this model … i fear it simply isn’t mathematically possible for the world to sustain another 2-3 billion consumers like the Americans or Australians. Is there enough fresh water, iron ore, food, land for cattle, fish in the sea???
            So really the only choice we have open to us, is for nations to do what I have done around my own home, create a system where virtually all the inputs come from within and the waste streams are captured as efficiently and effectively as humanly possible to fit within the nature cycles and create healthy fertile landscapes that provide abundance to the population and can endure for millennia to come….

          • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

            I urge you to detach your thinking on monetary mechanisms from your thinking on energy. Renewable energy technology *does* have an EROEI sufficiently high to fuel a growth economy, and existing monetary mechanisms and theories *are* capable of modelling and maintaining an economy which eschews traditional modes of growth, or even one which disdains growth altogether.

            “Fractional reserve” is pretty much a myth. Banks issue currency according to the conditions of their licences, which are quite arbitrary and frequently these days do not include a fixed minimum reserve ratio. If banking practices become divorced from reality, the monetary system becomes unstable. A substantial fractional reserve requirement is one means, but is far from the only one, to regulate banks so that they do not detach their operations too far from reality.

            The idea that interest needs to be repaid is also a myth. Bankruptcies, repayment amnesties and outright forgiveness of all or part of an owed amount are all quite normal, if rarely necessary in a growing economy. In the presence of inflation, it’s very easy for interest rates to be negative in real terms and it wouldn’t be too fanciful to adjust matters so that in particular circumstances they could be negative in actual numerical terms as well, eg. in the case of Keynes’ proposed International Clearing Union in which both creditor and debtor nations would pay for the privilege of an outstanding trade balance.

            Interest does not force growth to occur. Far from it. Loan repayments merely retire money from circulation which has previously been lent into existence: it’s inflationary to declare yourself bankrupt and deflationary to repay your debts. Interest is nothing more than a motivator for parties to lend and to repay: if interest rates were fixed at or below zero there’d be no incentive for private parties to do either. Maybe public banks lending at zero interest would be a better way of arranging things? Does that really differ at all from printing money? How would we retire that money from circulation, if there’s no interest to be paid on the “loan”? I guess through taxation, that would be fine, but some might perceive it as unfair if the borrowing party isn’t somehow compelled to repay. I can’t say if the outright elimination of usury would be a real improvement, but it would not actually be a truly radical departure from existing options for monetary policy.

            The existence of interest does not require that economic growth occurs. Rather, growth occurs because people do work in excess of what’s required to maintain a strict status quo. The will of people with political and financial power demand that growth occurs. The fact of investment and employment (wherein employers tend to expect a greater return from a business than the value of the wages paid to their workers) causes growth to occur. The fact of population growth demands that growth to occur. People actually creating real wealth causes growth to occur. And of course, inflation and the appreciation of fixed assets like land gives the impression of growth occurring where in fact what’s happening is an arbitrary transfer of exchange value from one asset class to another.

            What’s missing from the world to date is sufficient political will to curb and cease pollution and other practices (including the concentration of capital in too few self-interested private hands) which damage the common wealth of humanity and our fellow creatures on Earth.

            I do think that political will of that sort might just be emerging today.

            As for the thwarted ambitions of the people of the world who don’t yet consume as much as Americans or Australians, but might like to, I see that as two distinct problems.

            One is keeping gross consumption of resources to a sustainable level. Fisheries, water supplies and land simply require protection from destructive exploitation. In the public interest, governments must enforce sustainable management of these resources. There are simple and obvious means for this, including quotas, taxation and simple fences, but successful enforcement itself requires both resolve and resources and most governments lack one or the other. I don’t see sustainability being an outcome of economic contraction, to be honest. People need a certain degree of prosperity and solidarity to be able to ring-fence certain goods for the sake of future generations.

            The other is inequality, which is *also* going to take a lot of prosperity and solidarity to address. And if we do address it through redistributive public policy, it will necessarily cause a lot of economic growth. Yes, growth! Poor people do not hoard their marginal additional income, they invest it and spend it. It’s the wealthy who bank it for speculative purposes.

            And here’s a contradiction. Wealthy people individually consume much more than poor people, especially of premium commodities like quail and fossil fuels. Yet if even the same amount of nominal wealth were spread more evenly, demand would not be smaller, it would be much larger! Rationing or price mechanisms (ultimately the latter, because rationing doesn’t work without either a police state or overwhelming political solidarity, and black markets are impossible to regulate) will have to be used to limit demand. In other words we’re going to have to see *massive* inflation in the price of goods whose consumption is unsustainable. Some adaptation and innovation will be necessary to find ways of satisfying consumers’ needs without excessive consumption of those goods: a creative blossoming of renewable energy and gourmet vegetarianism, basically, as we bid a farewell to petroleum, beef and fish.

          • BsrKr11 5 years ago

            Thanks for your advice but I don’t see any point in continuing this conversation. Cheers

          • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

            Pity. I was having fun. But it probably wasn’t the best use of my time, so thanks. Cheers.

          • DecksUpMySleeve 5 years ago

            It’s nice to see someone equally understand economics. Most people, even those in the field haven’t a clue.
            Interest debt myth, substantiation restraining detrimental overgrowth, etc etc.
            What are your thoughts on the US$’s stability as the reserve currency, and coming bubbles, I was thinking information/tech economy or even advertising as a possible realized/recognized concrete property disproportionate overvestments.

          • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

            Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I don’t think I have quite enough of a finger on the pulse to guess what bubble pops next!

            Since 2008 I think it’s become clear that the financial sector at the time had in the 1990s and early 2000s become exceptionally unstable. A little bubble pricking just about anywhere was bound to lead to failures throughout the sector. Since then, regulation has improved (in most large countries) and finance has become less fictional, not more, even as the supply of money from sovereign sources has been boosted dramatically. While there are certainly still excessive investments and business cycles, I don’t think further abrupt, panicked crashes are all that likely.

            Or I could be completely wrong about that. Who knows what they aren’t telling us‽ 🙂

            The shale gas and oil ‘bubble’ is already deflating, but it hasn’t been a sudden prick, just a gradual perishing as OPEC has elected not to maintain prices by cutting production but instead to undercut marginal producers, many of whom are in the US. The US hasn’t seen this as a major economic crisis because lower oil prices do serve to stimulate much of the rest of its economy.

            You’re right that valuations in the information economy are pretty arbitrary and ephemeral, so a bubble could certainly exist there, but we shouldn’t underestimate people’s commitment to their tech gadgets either. It does seem faintly ridiculous that Apple Computer is the world’s largest company by valuation and that everyday people will cheerfully spend more on a phone than on a washing machine, or as much on a laptop computer as on a second-hand car, but they do, and on the next layer up it’s completely unremarkable that they’ll spend the price of a meal on an app. If that bubble does pop, I expect it too will be relatively gentle, with strong consumer spending underpinning a large fraction of its value.

            For things like advertising or pharmaceuticals to deflate we’d need to see a fundamental change in the way of life of westerners. That *could* happen, but I don’t see any sign of it happening yet, and if it did happen, it wouldn’t happen anything like as fast as the adoption of our way of life among large populations elsewhere in the world.

            I think the US dollar will remain as the principal global reserve currency for some time to come, as most other currencies suffer the same basic weaknesses as the $US. I’m not (quite) with the conspiracy theorists who saw US hostilities against Iraq as being motivated or triggered by Saddam’s decision to price Iraqi oil in euros rather than dollars, but I think it’s inevitable that the dollar must eventually depreciate against the currencies of other nations with stronger trade balances (ie. the BRICS, not western Europe). But a lot of that actually already happened in 2008 without us even noticing. Since then US industrial and resource production has increased significantly (that shale oil deflation is real, but it followed a rapid boom and hasn’t yet reduced US oil production by much at all, certainly not below its pre-crisis levels), so those trying to point out that the US is fading away are clearly mistaken.

            I think our real crises are not financial but material, environmental ones. Global warming is already quietly destructive, no one event conclusively attributable to it but cumulatively amounting (by definition!) to a change in climate that is disastrous to human populations and natural environments alike. That, along with overfishing, agricultural monocultures, soil pollution and deforestation may ultimately degrade ecosystems beyond the point where they are able to recover in the span of human lifetimes.

            I don’t know when or how humans will snap and decide to react en masse to this fundamental degradation of the planet which gave rise to us. If such a snap happens, the revolution is on and all bets in the meta financial world are off. But if people’s anger and action increases more gradually, which is what we’re seeing, it will translate to political and financial will to cease our most destructive practices one by one. It’s too late to prevent much of the destruction, some of it is irreversible, but it’s certainly not too late to hold it back from becoming far worse.

          • DecksUpMySleeve 5 years ago

            We’re one in the same you and I, we can understand complex systems and patterns. You’re preaching to the choir, ecology is my hobby, alternative energy, biocycles, aquaponics, architectural greenhouse design, predicting outcomes ect.
            Yes, much of it is more than likely sparking a culling by 2070. I think we may possibly have a more immediate problem by the mid 2020s, being a Dalton minimum(solar irradiance deficit). Pretty much we need the ecological energy shift to be 50% by 2025 or by 2031 we’ll run-away heat into a highly unlivable dire state. Sadly I don’t think we’ll come anywhere near that mark. I nudge those I can towards it, but in the end I don’t think it’ll be to much effect. More than likely you and I will end up going plan B mode using enginuity, resourcefulness, and knowledge as a course of survival. I’d much rather the world put aside the monopoly for a greater goal but have strong doubts.
            Prediction and pattern recognition have always been the key to survival(crossing the street, touching the stove onward) but in a collective complacent consciousness mankind has stopped watching it’s footing as the foundation slips away.

            PS in you wanna combine forces in plan B I’ve got some decent means for an lifestyle if you can bring some of your own financial resources to the table. I’m all for bulk buying more construction materials especially when it means preserving life and also long term stability.

          • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

            But we’ve scarcely met!

          • DecksUpMySleeve 5 years ago

            True, but I find character to be the defining factors anyway.
            Also this is just a pre-disaster partnership. The event of it is more than likely in the distant future.

        • eveee 5 years ago

          Yes. The banking system is the root of it all. Its compound growth. Compound interest. Exponential growth is a direct consequence of compound interest.

          Its a completely unsustainable notion that drives resource exploitation and depletion.

          Politiicians are woefully ignorant of what a percent growth GDP implies.

          Lately, the trend is toward a reduction in energy “intensity”. Its a little way of saying, we achieved the same thing without consuming as much energy. But there are limits. It can’t just all be a growth party.

          As FF supplies dwindle, resource depletion cause the expected rise in price, reduction in EROI, and reduced margins for those companies.

      • onesecond 5 years ago

        The persistence of this “the renewable EROI is insufficient”-nonsense is really mind-blowing. I get that people have a problem with capitalism and like the degrowth movement, but that doen’t make it right to spout such nonsense.

    • john 5 years ago

      You have put you fingers to the keyboard and outlined a very true question our society is built on 2.3% inflation and yes this is unstainable, because eventually it will come to a holt.
      In the short term it works but as you know in the long term it has to come to a holt then disaster for those poor buggers living at that time.
      Our society however is too self cantered to consider the future this a a moral problem.

    • onesecond 5 years ago

      The EROEI of renewables is high enough. There are other limitations to growth that is confined to earth of course that will be the deciding limiting factors. Renewable energy won’t be it.

  12. Dan Buchler 5 years ago

    The Senator’s ignorance and stupidity are breathtaking!

  13. Alen T 5 years ago

    Someone (PacificHydro preferably) hand Lambie a world map and point out Germany to her. They are undertaking the impossible according to her -phasing out nuclear and boosting their RE. Can she honestly be this clueless? Btw, whatever happened to her claim of being from aboriginal heritage?

    Why do we have such idiots in power?

  14. Nicko 5 years ago

    The lunatics in charge of the asylum.

    OK, Lambie’s paranoia and ridiculousness;

    Leyonjhelm’s manipulative sneering;

    Madigan’s well meaning delusion…..

    But it is the Liberal Party who is entering the chorus of enemies trying to destroy Australia with clean power via the Green’s ‘hell bent on destroying Australia’ idiocy. They have sunk so far.

    What is really worrying is how the ‘enemies are everywhere’ thing is being ramped up on citizenship, terrorism threats, clean energy or whatever.

    Kind of how fascist regimes get their credence. We aren’t there quite yet, but sliding.

  15. Rob G 5 years ago

    Lambie proudly flouts her ignorance. It’s just funny to see this type of carry on in today’s time. Why do these people always want to give us lessons in earths long term climate history? What they are effectively asking is for us to ignore peer reviewed science to believe their own brand of home cooked science… really it is as stupid as it sounds. She really ought to hook up with Maurice Newman. And Tasmania should certainly dump this nobody as quick as can be, after all they have a huge future in renewables the last thing they need is Lambie, wrecking it.

    As for Leyonjhelm, I took great pleasure in posting a comment on his fairfax article yesterday, that he and his views have no credibility whatsoever because of his hostility towards wind farms. Adding, that his reluctance to call out coals harmfulness makes him look even more out of step with reality.

  16. trackdaze 5 years ago

    And we worry about the radicalisation of our youth. The concerns are manifold in all of this. We now have an extreme right conservative government no longer concerned about how it looks to a reasonable observer. Of more concern is that is were the votes are.

  17. Miles Harding 5 years ago

    Alarming news:
    Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

    Reported in the New Yorker:

    “MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)
    – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant
    humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a
    sobering new study reports.

    While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that
    prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize
    that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard
    information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal
    functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,”
    Logsdon said.

    In Jacquie Lambie’s case, she may not have a functioning brain at all and has borrowed a carelessly discarded one from the LNP cloakroom!! 🙂

    • john 5 years ago

      What you have outline is a syndrome where
      People with a belief presented facts only reinforce their belief.
      This is because they feel a threat from the intrusive idea and they respell it and reinforce their misguided belief.
      Sad fact of life I am afraid.

  18. Alan S 5 years ago

    Give her airtime but don’t use logic to interpret her rantings – she’s obviously thick and off the planet. Any LNP voter or even a nuclear supporter with half a brain wouldn’t want to be associated with such naïve rubbish.

  19. Jodie Green 5 years ago

    How is it that the ‘idiots’ approval rating is as high as it is? That is what mystifies me. How can that be cracked?

  20. Jasen Anderson 5 years ago

    OMG, I have been astounded before, but after hearing what this woman, and members of the coalition have said about her speech today, I am actually dumbfounded about the context and content of virtually everything that was said. The utter ignorance, stupidity and assertions that were sprouted from their mouths, especially Lambie’s, left me speechless. As a scientist, I’m am completely amazed as to their beliefs, they seriously need to wake up to themselves. I can’t wait for the next election. Btw, good on Ricky Muir, he seems to be one of the few to actually get it right.

    • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

      And him a Motoring Enthusiast. Somebody give the kid a Tesla 😉

    • john 5 years ago

      I so despair that we elect people to parliament who are totally uneducated and so dismal at basic science.
      Are we to go toward a total low level tolerance of ignorance as the norm I ask?

      • Jasen Anderson 5 years ago

        Thanks John, I completely agree with you. My view is that scientific literacy education begins early at school, so ensuring there is some basic understanding is crucial. However, I fear that even this isn’t an answer and we are doomed to a future of continual ignorance of the most basic of scientific principles upon which our daily lives depend, which now includes cause and effect in climate systems and the physical properties of gases, to name but two aspects of the natural world. To be running a country, influencing it, yet ignoring the very experts who advise on the science, is bordering on criminal.

  21. Coley 5 years ago

    “You are worse than deluded. You are dangerously deluded … and you should be locked up, for helping enemies destroy our nation – if you think that wind energy will solve problems,” Lambie said.

    This is an elected representative?
    She makes even our lot look good!

  22. Coley 5 years ago

    Thing is,reading the article, she is bad but not the worst!

  23. DavidKraft 5 years ago

    It is somewhat reassuring to know that the U.S. Congress does not hold monopoly powers on narcissism, sociopathy, idiocy and ignorance. Sporting the likes of Senator Jacquie Lambie, it would seem the Australian parliament is equally well-endowed. I’m starting to believe the old adage that, with every election, as with making stew, the scum settles to the top. Psychiatric testing should be made mandatory for anyone wishing to hold public office, and the results of such tests made public.
    What a world…..

    • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

      I think that, oftentimes, we struggle to find somebody to vote for.

    • Pedro 5 years ago

      What I find even worse is that the politicians who know better and are well informed sensible people don’t stand up and shut down this total non sense.

  24. Alan S 5 years ago

    Well Lambie’s got it made. A six year, well paid gig with all the perks and doesn’t actually have to do anything. She’s unencumbered by ethics so what would she care?

  25. temphi 5 years ago

    If she doesn’t believe in climate change why does she want to decarbonise energy?

    • Giles 5 years ago

      Same problem with climate deniers and pro-nuclear advocates, can’t read data. Both hoodwinked by coal lobby. If she wants a technology that does not need subsidies, she’s picked the wrong one.

  26. Barri Mundee 5 years ago

    Given the warm reception to Lambie’s speech by the Abbott government, any doubt that most of them are climate change deniers should now be dispelled.

  27. Rob 5 years ago

    The lunatics have taken over the asylum!

  28. Rob G 5 years ago

    Can someone please send this link to Lambies email … she needs some connection with the public on this to show her how out of step she is.

  29. This is frightening. These politicians (Ricky Muir excepted) sound as though they are living on a different planet – in total ignorance of what is actually going on , on planet Earth.

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