Policy will be a mess until Turnbull sacrifices Coalition's climate goat

Policy will be a mess until Turnbull sacrifices Coalition’s climate goat

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Is this really what Malcolm Turnbull signed up for? Short of sacrificing this particular climate goat, he will be obliged to defend the indefensible, the outright rejection of climate science. And Australia will remain a laughing stock.

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It is now abundantly clear what Malcolm Turnbull signed up for when he vowed to leave Tony Abbott’s climate and clean energy policies untouched when negotiating his ascension to the prime minister’s office in 2015: it was for a complete and utter repudiation of everything about climate he once said he stood for.

Abbott, in a much anticipated speech to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the temple of climate denial in the UK laughingly described by The Australian today as a “centre right” think tank, dispelled any doubts about his take on climate science. His rejection is absolute.

“There’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide – which is a plant food after all – are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields,” Abbott said.

“In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”

And, he claimed, it is climate change policy that is doing harm. “Climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm,” he added, before comparing climate policies as the equivalent to “primitive people … killing goats to appease the volcano gods”.goat.pixabay

There was more. It was Abbott uncut, and unhinged, on climate science.

The speech was packaged highlights of the sort of myths you find in the lousiest climate denier websites, in the same way that former resource minister Matt Canavan’s comments on ABC’s Q&A were a mishmash of nonsense about energy prices and the impact of renewables.

Canavan argued that the renewable energy target and the closure of two coal-fired power stations had caused a doubling of wholesale prices in most states, and he specifically cited prices of more than $300/MWh in Queensland over the weekend.

The comments did not bear much scrutiny. Queensland does not have any large-scale renewable energy facilities on line, apart from a single 20MW solar farm at Barcaldine. It has the youngest coal fleet and the most ample supply of fossil fuels of any state in the country.

So why does it have high prices? Well Canavan actually explained that himself. Gaming by the fossil fuel generators, who have been able to do that because of the investment drought caused by the Abbott attack on the RET meant that few projects have actually been switched on.

The fossil fuel industry is taking Australia for a ride. It funds climate denial, nonsense about renewables, and is single-handedly responsible for the outrageous prices paid at the meter by Australian households and businesses. This gaming is rampant across the nation, and has been for years in South Australia.

And on it goes.

Abbott might have been ousted from Australia’s top office by Turnbull, but his continuing impact on Australia’s climate policy is undeniable. It is simply not plausible to wish him away or ignore him. He and his followers present a massive and deliberate road block, even where his justifications are barking mad.

Turnbull will never have a more powerful mandate to act, given the reports from Alan Finkel, the Australian Energy Market Operator, the CSIRO and the recognition by his own energy minister that the cost of renewable energy technologies has fallen to the point where they need little or no subsidies.

Emissions can be cut, the grid can be modernised and decarbonised, and it will undoubtedly cost us less than what we have now. Yet Turnbull is unable or unwilling to move. Short of sacrificing this particular climate goat, he will continue to defend the indefensible.

Action on climate and clean energy will fall, yet again, to the states, and even then there is no that is no guarantee of policy certainty, given the fact that both South Australia and Queensland need to go to the polls.

And the sad fact is that the Coalition parties in those jurisdictions are just as bonkers as their mates in Canberra, and the Trump administration in the US, which this week will finally make good on picking apart Barack Obama’s signature climate policy, the Clean Energy Plan, just as Abbott already did in Australia.

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  1. Sunbuntu Ltd 3 years ago

    The morons will continue to deny everything. But the market as moved, large-scale renewable are being installed everywhere. In two years time, renewables will be the norm and people will wonder what was all the fuss was about.

  2. Ray Miller 3 years ago

    One has to wonder why the fossil fuel lobby keeps adding nails to their own coffin, they are very close to having their social license to operate torn up. If they think they will get any handouts when they close early then thing again. The horse has indeed bolted….

    • RobertO 3 years ago

      Sorry Ray, they will be asking for $ millions and the COALition will try to give them billions of our tax payers money in the form of capacity payments, or reliability payments for “BASE LOAD”! They may even try to contract the payments so to make it impossible for Labour to get out of the contracts. Desperate people do desperate things

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Robert, contracts are made to be broken.

  3. Thucydides 3 years ago

    Best headline of the year.

    • John McKeon 3 years ago

      Best head butt of the year.

  4. RobertO 3 years ago

    I wonder if malcom turncoat will shaft the mad monk (abbott) on renewables the day before he calls an election. He will claim “We need this, we need that” and so on as he trys to bribe the general public with lies, on his way back into PM office.

    • phred01 3 years ago

      .The captain is hanging around to do a Keven Rudd.

      • Scottman 3 years ago

        OMG! I might have to neck myself if that were to happen. Our parliamentarians should be gaoled for such lies and incompetence.

  5. Joe 3 years ago

    How has Australia sunk so low. We have a once PM who had all the facts and the science of climate change at his fingertips when he was PM and yet he continues to not only deny the science but to make up ‘his own facts’. The business of cold snaps killing more people than heatwaves needs to be called out. Where are the facts that he bases his opinion upon. And Carbon Dioxide may be plant plant food but it is also causing damge because it is in excess quantities. That Two Tongues Turnbull is so weak that he is unable to stand up against the Abbott and his posse is a sad indictment of the man that as Liberal Party Opposition Leader once so strongly supported RE that he even criticised his own party. The COALition Government needs to be gotten rid of, Turnbull and Abbott need to leave Parliament altoghter as neither has any credibility.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Yes the more deaths due to cold is BS. There is a link in a thread over at the Guardian disputing it.

    • trackdaze 3 years ago

      Abbot and co still have people voting for them.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Yes, Abbott and his posse leading their the punters into The Valley Of Death.

    • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

      If you check his statements, they are all deceptive half truths. He is deliberately misleading.

    • juxx0r 3 years ago

      It might be plant food, but it’s depleting nutrients in the plants and destroying our health, though lower nutrition levels:


      • Marg1 3 years ago

        Yes true

  6. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    Regardless of the truth…we are still paying the most for electricity in the world. No amount of backstabbing and talk about CET or climate change this! It is the backdoor deals the LNP are doing that are hurting normal Australians….
    The only way to cut prices of electricity is to: 1) increase subsidiaries on PV for both business and consumers; 2) increase subsidiaries on batteries; increase the feed-in tarrif….it is that simple. All the rest is BS, smoke and mirrors.

    The fact is we pay TOO much for electricity and it is the DIRECT result of the government. We the people need to tell the government to get…..

    • trackdaze 3 years ago

      If your paying too much take control and install solar and storage.

      This government is doing all it can to get in the way.

      • Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

        I have got PV and Batteries…but I had to pay through the nose…I want the whole of the country to take control…and

      • RobSa 3 years ago

        Don’t forget that the tall, shady trees, apartments above and uninterested landlords are all in the way.

        • trackdaze 3 years ago

          A chainsaw or fractional ownership can assist.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      “we are still paying the most for electricity in the world”

      That is because we are still too scared to move forward and try different things.

      Ffs let us try.

      • Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

        Too scared and too corrupt and too much in the pockets of Big Business…..I have just sent another letter to the federal and state members…expecting the usual reply…nothing. But eventually if I chip away the may realise what they are doing is wrong. I could use more emotive language…

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          Yes you fucking could!

  7. Peter G 3 years ago

    Goat-speak – we’ll all be rooned by marriage equality, but now changing the climate that will be a good thing…

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Cory Bernardi…Goats…Marriage Equality…Climate…everything is possible.

  8. Malcolm M 3 years ago

    Perhaps a Clean Energy Target that includes HELE coal plants wouldn’t be such a bad thing, now that the market won’t touch them. Perhaps cap the proportion of the CET that can be met by HELE coal to a low proportion that Labour is happy with so it can pass. And each market region would have new “firming” capacity constructed with new renewables, in a ratio set by AEMO as per the Finkell review.

    Then the CET becomes a de facto “New capacity target”, which allows new renewable and pumped storage to become bankable beyond the RET. Neither renewable nor HELE plants would receive subsidies other than the guaranteed market through the CET.

    The market failure in Australia is in building new capacity. Nearly all our current power stations were built with governments taking some of the risk by providing a guaranteed market.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      I’d be very disappointed in Labor if they shifted away from Finkel’s 700g CO2/kWh recommendation (at that number HELE plants could still be built but would have to buy 60g worth of credits, and that’s reasonable). Labor have the Coalition on the ropes with a straight flush right now and the Coalition only have a pair of deuces ……their biggest deuce just gave a moronic speech to an international climate denial forum ffs.

      Labor needs to say 700g CO2/kWh – as per the Finkel recommendations – and we can do a deal. If not, we’ll take the Finkel recommendations which you (the Coalition) commissioned to the next election to smite you. We’re calling your bluff, deuce bags!

    • Chris Jones 3 years ago

      Nobody now except a particularly stupid government would even dream of a significant HELE plant. They would all point you to the immense expense and waste of Southern Power’s Kemper plant in Mississippi where $2.4 billion USD turned into $7.5 billion USD before they gave up and turned it into a gas plant.

      The unfortunate citizens of Mississippi are paying for it in their electricity bills.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      The Clean Energy Target is now dead…long live…The COAL Energy Target.

  9. JohnM 3 years ago

    The goat thing’s gonna stick, I hope.
    Tony the goat.
    Goat man.
    Like that joke….

    • John McKeon 3 years ago

      Who’s the GOAT?
      [You beat me to it!!]

    • John McKeon 3 years ago

      Baaaa..aa..aa…aaa…aaa Humbug!!

    • John McKeon 3 years ago

      Yes, JohnM, I couldn’t agree more. Tony is the goat. A head butting goat.

    • My_Oath 3 years ago

      Problem is Goat is usually used as a nickname for Greatest Of All Time. He and his lackies would spin it to fit their ego..

      • Steven Gannon 3 years ago


  10. Jacob 3 years ago

    Between this and the NBN I cannot fathom how any thinking person of my generation could ever cast a vote in their direction. They’ve sacrificed our economic competitiveness and our climate. I will never forgive the Liberals or the Nationals for what they have done.

    • John Corney 3 years ago

      You are right about the NBN, Even though it was going to be expensive we would have had the best network in the world if the original plan had been followed. Now we have a broken network full of faults and speed issues that NBN are struggling to fix because they had to change the plan in the middle of the job. I am pretty sure that the cost now is just as much as fibre to the home would have been and they will have to spend billions in the future to get it up to what we should have had in the first place. We had to buy back the wire network that these idiots sold. That network belonged to the people of Australia, they had no right to sell it. So much for Turnbull and Abbott saving us money. Abbott’s brain has been fried by global warming to the point that there is nothing between the rabbit ears any more. If the people of Warringah actually vote him back in at the next election we should cut off any federal money to that electorate for all time. When I worked for the PMG which became Australia Post and Telecom, Telecom was the world leader in fibre optic research. That went out the door when it became Telstra as they were only interested in their wireless network and the underground network was allowed to go to rack and ruin.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        Warringah is Liberal Heartland Territory and they will re elect the Abbott. On the NBN, Chairman Ziggy was on ABC’s The Business show last night and basically said that the NBN will need some extra work to be done in the 2020’s to make it fit for purpose. My Dad always said to me when I was a young fella that when you do something…”do it once and do it right”. I rest my case.

        • John Corney 3 years ago

          So is Bennelong but Little Johhny Howard managed to get himself the flick over work choices and rightly so. Once again it was work of the extreme right. They found that they had control of both houses and thought they could do anything including destroying the unions. Wrong!. The next election sorted that out. All Warringah needs is a good quality non labour candidate with a good knowledge of technology and the advances including energy and communications that are coming our way to steer or country in the right direction, not selfish the selfish drivel that that Abbott stands for.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Yes, ‘Honest Johnnyboy’, pulled off the the impossible Quinella by getting his Liberal Government and indeed himself chucked out in 2007.The punters can take a lot of lying and deception before they ‘switch on’ and act. And so it took 10 years to oust ‘Honest Johnnyboy’. With the Abbott, Turnbull did half the job by knifing him for the Liberal leadership. I am afraid the punters in Warringah still have a soft spot for the Abbott and he wiil hang around Parliament for little while longer yet. Besides what job prospects are there for the Abbott outside of Parliament…I would say that he is unmemployable.

    • Marg1 3 years ago

      Spot on Jacob

  11. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    As usual some entertainment gold from the former Prime Minister. Turnbull 2.0 could have been his speechwriter …

  12. Jake Frederics2 3 years ago

    “It was Abbott uncut, and unhinged, on climate science”….I don’t agree with everything on both sides; personally I think most politicians are clinically insane.

    Facts are facts however:
    – Global food production is going up faster that population growth
    – More people die from cold than heat
    – Global warming much, much slower than predicted.

    All of this doesn’t change the facts that due to massive price erosion for PV and especially storage renewable energy should be cheaper that fossil in a couple of years.

    • DevMac 3 years ago

      Can you please cite references for your three “facts”?

      They’re either contradictory or out of context as far as my knowledge of these “facts” go. I read, just today, a scientist stating that climate models have been very accurate.

      • Jake Frederics2 3 years ago

        Global food production and more people dying from cold is not really debated… (Although I think Australia is at a much higher risk when it warms; already dry and warm)

        Older climate models now more than 40 years old. Later ones obviously more accurate. Warming since 1880 has only been ~0.8 deg. CO2 levels going up exponentially and modelling unpredictable. So ok, one can make the comment that 1 or 2 deg warming is ok in the short term but it is a potential slippery slope.

      • hydrophilia 3 years ago

        I seem to recall some murmuring among scientists that they may have been too moderate in their predictions, showing us the low-side rather than consensus, trying not to look like doomsayers….

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      You STILL haven’t replied to reasonable questions re your bona fides so why should we believe that you are not a (rank amateur) propagandist?

    • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

      Re your first fact, this doesn’t seem to be supported by evidence: population growth seems to be outstripping population, and meat and fish production are increasing but seemingly in an unsustainable fashion. The overall population:food growth ratio of 2:2.5 doesn’t account for inequitable distribution or sustainability.

      True that 17x more people die of cold than heat, but the majority of this number die of mild lack of heat, not extremes, whereas climate change affects extremes much more than averages. The heating deficit can be readily overcome by better home insulation, whereas the extremes of heat and cold are very expensive to overcome.

      Re your third point, I can find no evidence of “much, much slower” which I would interpret as being many times or orders of magnitude. The models and predictions are way more accurate than that, and in many cases conservatively so.

      Abbot has proven again that he is dishonest, lacking in integrity or credibility, hypocritical and ideologically disinterested in genuine skepticism. He has a deliberate interest in misleading people which is almost psychopathic. That other politicians don’t act to stop the damage he is doing is an indictment on our parliament.

      • hydrophilia 3 years ago

        Is this all a Murdoch thing? Look at the USA administration insanity…..and Brexit! Coincidence?

    • Steven Gannon 3 years ago

      Ahh, the old red herring tactic, nice try.
      “Much, much slower than predicted”. Evidence?

      The planet is warming ~190 times faster than ever before, that makes your remark irrelevant.

  13. DevMac 3 years ago

    As crazy and dangerous young Tony’s words are, it really is great to have him making headlines again. He could single-handedly destroy the Liberal Party for years to come.

    If he truly believes everything he said it would be astounding. I think part of the hyperbole that he’s spewing is caused by his hatred of Malcolm Turnbull and his desire to both make his life difficult and distance himself ever further from where Malcolm wants him to be.

  14. Phil 3 years ago

    Well i’ll just keep saying this i have a DIY 10kwh day 100% offgrid system that costs $2.20 per day funded in perpetuity with triple redundancy and 99.9999% uptime

    I just do it , the world debates it

    • Jake Frederics2 3 years ago


      Our system average use is around 25kWh per day with up to 60+ in middle of summer. Dual battery banks and Diesel backup. I estimate cost is just over $10 per day.

      Can be done and break-in point is nearing fast for the average household.

      Think your reliability estimate could be slightly optimistic 🙂

      • Phil 3 years ago

        Reliability of 99.9999 % proven now over a 3 year period

        With triple redundancy the genset is the 3rd option and you can normally run half solar power mode when you do maintenance or repairs / replacements
        Downtime is about 2 minutes per annum in total just while you flick changeover switches

        There is 2 of everything , inverters , genset chargers,mppt chargers and the solar panel array is split as well

        • Jake Frederics2 3 years ago

          We offer 99.95% reliability to customers when using generator backup and dual Batt Inverter/Controller (4 hours per year). 99.5% when single point of failure.

          Would you mind if I ask the brand of inverter you are using?

          • Phil 3 years ago

            2 X Cheap chinese powerstar 7’s 3kw cont / 9kw peak @ $530 each delivered

            A 12v system with 4.5kw of panels and 1000ah of forklift batteries
            All 90mm2 cables

            Zero days autonomy , relies on a budget of 8 x 2 hour bursts of a genset per annum to augment the panels

            It just works.

  15. Rob 3 years ago

    Tony Abbott has has just confirmed he is a giant butthead!

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      Yes he has has.

  16. mick 3 years ago

    this is great burn motherf—— burn motherf——- burn

  17. Roger Franklin 3 years ago

    Oh gosh – what on earth was in that Onion? This must come close to falling into the #PeakStupidity category!

  18. solarguy 3 years ago

    Now everyone, please take my advise. Smoke two joints and call me in the morning.

    Well it won’t change anything, but it can’t hurt……… well can it Tony.

  19. Joe 3 years ago

    This week is Mental Health Week. I watched ABC’s 7.30 show last night with a historical look at ‘some’ of the different positions that the Abbott has taken in public over the last 10 years…’Multiple Tongues Tony’ is my description of the Mad Monk. And his little speech in his homeland of England getting the big attention…..the dude should seek some medical help quick smart.

  20. Francesca 3 years ago

    There are many words to describe Tony Abbott. “Unhinged” is just one of them.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      ,..Demented ?

  21. Jake Frederics2 3 years ago


  22. Hettie 3 years ago

    It would be instructive to examine the details of the share portfolios held by Abbott, Canavan, Christensen, Roberts, Frydenberg, Joyce and the rest of the strident coal advocates, to see how much they have invested in coal and gas.
    It would be of great advantage to the good governance of the nation if shareholders in various industries were barred from voting on legislation that affects such industries .

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Young Hettie, are you thinking that there might have a ‘conflict of of SELF interest’….noooooo, say it ain’t sooooo.

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