Turnbull will pull Abbott into line—really?
A furtive Finkel fumbles frequently founding folly for fools.
Shadow environment minister Mark Butler says that if Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t pull Tony Abbott and other conservative MPs “into line” on climate policy, chief scientist Alan Finkel’s energy review will achieve nothing.
There wouldn’t be too many informed people with faith in the ability of Alan Finkel. Finkel appears to be more on tune with Labor which loves regulations. Finkel’s waste of time and money will no doubt be shoved up our noses in some form despite it’s many snags that litter the path like IEDs just waiting to cause collateral damage to the battler’s wallet. And, as for Malcolm pushing Abbott into anything foreign to his beliefs—tell his he’s dreaming love!
On Q&A last night Dr Finkel set the tone when he stressed that the report was “interested in outcomes, not detail.” We all know the devil is in the detail.
Finkel was asked if his report was for a clean energy target (CET) —a price on carbon, he avoided the question by saying “the CET was a combination of incentives to new generators and costs to highly polluting generators.
“It’s designed as an incentive mechanism,” he said.
“You’re putting an incentive on low emissions and you can interpret it however you wish. I’m quite serious.”
Source: News Corp
‘Pull Abbott into line’ on climate, Labor tells Turnbull
Dr Finkel handed down his review, which calls for a new clean energy target, on Friday.
The government’s response to the review is expected to be hotly debated in the Coalition partyroom when parliament returns tomorrow.
Mr Butler said groups as diverse as unions, environmentalists and businesses had called for careful and deep engagement from MPs in responding to the report.
“Malcolm Turnbull tomorrow at his partyroom meeting needs to pull his partyroom into line, particularly senior Liberals like Tony Abbott, who are clearly trying to wreck this process before it even begins,” he said.
Everyone’s said give this full and fair consideration before a kneejerk response, and Tony Abbott, Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, a growing list of very senior Liberals seem designed to undermine this process before it begins.
“Malcolm Turnbull simply has to bring them into line.”
Mr Butler said Labor was considering the report and engaging with groups in the energy sector and big users of energy to test its recommendations.
“We think it is the foundation for a constructive discussion, but if Malcolm Turnbull’s not able to pull people like Tony Abbott into line, this process is not going to go very well,” he said.
“We’ve said that the clean energy target has not been the preferred position, not just of federal Labor, but of the Business Council, energy groups and others, but notwithstanding that, in an effort finally to get some bipartisan policy in this area, we will sit down with the government, with state governments and with private stakeholders to talk about a clean energy target.”
No “magic pudding” on energy, says Abbott
Tony Abbott says chief scientist Alan Finkel’s energy target should be judged firstly on whether it takes the pressure off power prices, and secondly on whether it allows for coal.
Mr Abbott said the “absurdity of our situation” was that Australian coal was being exported to countries such as Japan, India and China.
“Australian coal can be used everywhere except Australia. It doesn’t make much sense,” the former prime minister told 2GB.
“There are two criteria that I think are essential when we judge the Finkel report.
“First, does its proposals take the pressure off power prices, because prices should be going down, not up, and second, does it allow coal to continue, and my anxiety listening to reports of the report, and this statement that they’re going to reward clean or low emissions fuels while not punishing high emissions fuels is that it’s going to be a magic pudding.
“Now we all know that there is no such thing as a magic pudding, and if you are rewarding one type of energy, inevitably that money’s got to come from somewhere, either from consumers or taxpayers, and if it’s from consumers, well it’s effectively a tax on coal, and that’s the last thing we want.”
“More homework” needed to earn partyroom support
Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly, who recently quipped that he had ‘champagne on ice’ to celebrate Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, said he would need to see more economic modelling on how the Finkel target would affect business competitiveness before supporting it.
“Absolutely we need to do a bit more homework,” he told Sky News.
“Let’s get the modelling released, let’s get a couple of other independent organisations to run through the numbers where the Finkel report says we can possibly lower electricity.
“Let’s have a look at how we stand on an international competitive basis. If we have electricity in this country for industry at $120 a megawatt hour, how does that compare with Canada, how does it compare with the USA, how does it compare with China, vis-a-vis these countries, what does it do to our competitiveness? They’re things that we need to look at in great detail before we make any decisions.”
Target “a carbon tax” which will be passed on to consumers, says Roberts
One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts said the Clean Energy Target was no more than “a carbon tax levied at the retail level” which will be passed on to consumers.
Senator Roberts said he had not read the more than 200 page Finkel report, but had discussed its contents during a conversation on Friday evening with Dr Finkel, which lasted for up to three quarters of an hour.
“What I see is this problem has been created by regulation, and the solution that (Dr Finkel) is proposing is more regulation, and that just does not make sense,” Senator Roberts told ABC radio.
“If we just went back to normal coal-fired operations we would have the reliability, the security, the stabilisation and the lower cost that we used to have.”
“Instead of what we rely on now where we are able to go and flick a switch and get cheap power, or used to be able to ten years ago, what will happen is that ‘flick a switch’ will be replaced by ‘kill with a bill’. We will have old people, people on fixed incomes not being able to afford energy. That is already happening. This is a disaster.”
Senator Roberts disputes the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide emissions, describing the peer review system as “buddy review”.
He disputed Dr Finkel and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s assertions that the new clean energy target will not prevent new coal-fired power stations being built and the sector will not be punished.
“This is a carbon tax. That’s all it is. It’s a carbon tax levied at the retail level, but who pays? The customer and the user of electricity, businesses and residential users, and we will be exporting jobs and we will be destroying our industrialisation in this country,” Senator Roberts said.
“This is another carbon tax. The Liberal backbenchers that I’ve spoken to are nervous, very nervous.
“Malcolm Turnbull when he took over was in good shape in the grassroots. He is no longer in good shape in the grassroots. This could be a very serious issue for the Liberal Party. A very serious issue.”
Senator Roberts said the Labor Party had abandoned its base on climate change policy.
“Its base used to be the honest workers and its base used to be people who depended on cheap energy — coal miners, for example,” he said.
“They’re abandoning that base, and what’s more they’re abandoning humanity, because we need to export our coal to continue the standard of living rises in foreign countries.”
Labor supports emissions intensity scheme
Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh said rising emissions and power prices and falling jobs in the renewable energy sector mean we need a market-based mechanism.
“That’s what (economist and Rudd government adviser) Ross Garnaut, who just got his AC today, has been pointing out,” Dr Leigh told Sky News.
“It’s what Malcolm Turnbull has been pointing out for years.
“You can do that through a range of forms of carbon pricing. The one that business supports and Labor supports is an emission intensity scheme.”
Business groups as diverse as the ACTU, National Farmers’ Federation and major energy customers have issued a rare joint statement, calling for the “full and fair consideration” of Dr Finkel’s target from Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers.
Dr Leigh said people should distinguish between what people were prepared to settle for, and their first-best preference.
“The Business Council of Australia and a range of important business groups have backed an emissions intensity scheme,” he said.
Dr Leigh said the Finkel review had found that most of our coal generation capacity was reaching the end of its natural life and there is very little appetite among investors to put new money into coal-powered fire stations.
Finkel “just a political fix” say Greens
Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the Finkel Clean Energy Target was “hamstrung”, because it was based ON “Tony Abbott’s climate targets” of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030, as agreed at the Paris climate talks in 2015.
“That’s what frames this plan, and when you start employing Tony Abbott’s climate targets, what you end up with is a finishing line where you’re going to see coal and gas burning until 2070,” Senator Di Natale told ABC radio.
“Our view is that dangerous climate change sits above everything else.
“There’s no middle ground here.”
Senator Di Natale denied the Greens were making the perfect the enemy of the good in opposing the new Clean Energy Target.
“What we’re doing is we’re saying we’ve got a climate crisis,” he said.
“There’s no point in having certainty if we lose the Great Barrier Reef, if we end up in a warming world where we see more extreme weather, heatwaves, cyclones, bushfires.”