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"Chalming" no-one:  Labor rommances communism
The Spectator,  29 January 2023

   Jim Chalmers is proving to be the most iconoclastic Treasurer since the Whitlam government’s Jim Cairns, a man who only joined the Labor Party after his application to join the Communist Party was rejected. Cairns spearheaded a previous assault on conventional capitalist economic theory and, like Chalmers, sought to borrow, spend, and regulate the nation into prosperity with fairness. Both Chalmers and Cairns came into politics with doctorates in economic history – that of Chalmers was a hagiography of Paul Keating, whose policies he now wants to reverse.

Like Cairns, Chalmers faced a budget crisis but was unable or unwilling to make the expenditure reductions necessary to rectify this.

   ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Energy chaos: the shape of things to come

The Spectator,  25 January 2023
   Australian governments have made energy policies focused on achieving higher shares of renewable energy that they claim is the cheapest source of power. The Commonwealth government is planning for renewables to reach 82 per cent of supply by 2030, while the Liberal Party’s plan is for 85 per cent by 2050 and 61 per cent by 2030. State governments have additional plans. In pursuit of these goals, governments around Australia are being sucked into a vortex requiring ever-increasing controls, while seeing mounting cost increases.

Subsidies that amount to $6.9 billion per year have propelled wind and solar, which had virtually no market presence 20 years ago, to their current market share of 27 per cent. The CSIRO and other    ..... Read online  ..... pdf

The Old Man’s Tale

by Viv Forbes


 

 

The council man was adamant:
“The Law must have its way,
The shed you built is not approved
It must come down today.”

 

“No doubt the shed is safe and strong
And no one has complained,
But plans and rules must bind us all
Or anarchy will reign.”

The old man clenched his horny hands,
He gripped the planner’s arm,
Then changed his mind and led him out
To look around the farm.

“You see that shed” the old man said,“With shingle roof and wattle wall,With no advice from coots like youMy Grandpa built it all.”

“He came out here from Birmingham
With no help from the Crown,
Without a passport or a card
He sailed to Sydney town.”

 

“He got himself a riding horse
Bought cows and found a dray,
But sought no travel permits
As he left for Moreton Bay.”

 

“There were no maps to guide him
Once he left the city blocks,
And flooding of the Richmond
Cost him half his mob of stock.”

 

“But when he got to Moreton Bay
A sickness swept the place,
So Grandpa saddled up again
To see a safer base.”

 

“For weeks he struggled northwards
Thru the bush and hostile blacks,
Until he reached a mighty stream
Which stopped him in his tracks.”

“The soil was deep and fertile
And the flats were green and lush,
So Grandad thought he’d squat a while
He had no need to rush.”

 

“He cleared the scrub and dug a well
And found himself a wife,
He brought her to that wattle shed
To start their married life.”

 

“Then rangers tried to take his land
(For squatters rights were spurned.)
My folks were forced to sell their stock
To buy the land they’d earned.”

 

“My Pa was born in that old shed
He worked to earn his land
‘Twas he who built the homestead
And no planner lent a hand.”

 

“The sweat of generations
Feeds parasites like you,
And now you tell us builders:
‘This shed will never do.’

“With subtlety and cunning
You have nibbled at our rights,
You’ve taxed away our substance
So now we cannot fight.”

 

“But this is where I draw the line
And I won’t be alone,
So if you try to smash my shed
I’ll fight for what I own.”

 

“So clear off or I’ll clout you
Do not bother us again,
Take all your forms and files and fees
And shove them up the drain.”

 

The planner started shouting
But old Nigger bit his leg.
He cleared the fence, and yelled a threat:
“When next I come you’ll beg.”

 

The wreckers came next morning
But the neighbours got there first.
They stood six deep across the gate
And bid them do their worst.

Before the planners could react
Before the police could call
The old man’s son, a barrister,
Restrained them with the law.

 

He quoted laws and precedents,
He combed the ancient books,
He tied the council up for months
In writs and counter suits.

 

By then there were elections
And the old man led a team;
They sent the planners packing
And restored the builder’s dreams.

 

Once more a man could build a shed
Without a planner’s chit
And no one could invade his home
Unless he had a writ.

 

The planner got an honest job
The red tape was undone,
The Old Man got a Knighthood
His mighty fight was won.

Collapse of the $35 billion Sun Cable

The Spectator,  16 January 2023
   Last week saw the collapse of Sun Cable, a pie-in-the-sky $35 billion plan by alternative energy enthusiasts, Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes, to generate solar energy and transport it by cable 4,200 kilometres to Singapore. The taxpayer provided $14 million for the project’s solar system, Australian-developed 5B. But major spending, which amounted to $210 million before Andrew Forrest pulled the plug, came from the two entrepreneurs.

 

Last week also saw Energy Minister Chris Bowen release his consultation for the disarmingly named Powering the Regions Fund. A centrepiece of this was weaponising the ‘Safeguard Mechanism’ from the emission reporting requirement that the Coalition  ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Dark money

The Spectator,  11 January 2023
   Recent years have seen a strengthening dominance of politics over individual and commercial decision-making. This is readily evident in the growth of regulations and government spending increasing from under 20 per cent of the economy a century ago to around (and over) 50 per cent today.

 

Within democracies, these developments are due to electorates demanding income redistributions and tolerating increased national debt – oblivious to the adverse effects on their own future living standards. There are very few political leaders of stature like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Margaret Thatcher, or Donald Trump who seek to persuade voters of the folly of such demands. Most opt for.    ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Batteries not included

The Spectator,  29 December 2022

Renewable energy battery farms threaten to cripple the economy with cyclic costs
   The replacement of fossil fuels (and nuclear) by wind and solar is said to be a ‘transition’ implying, like that from sail to steam and horse to motor power, that this is being inexorably pushed by consumers adopting a lower cost technology. In fact, the ‘transition’, wherever it is taking place, is due to government subsidies and regulations. Not one significant unit of wind or solar power generation anywhere in the world has been installed without such assistance

 

Moreover, a wind/solar-rich electricity system requires expensive features that are naturally present or available at a trivial    ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Chris Bowen’s rendezvous with bad ideas

The Spectator,  22 December 2022
   Back in July 2022, Chris Bowen the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, launched the latest CSIRO electricity costs report which says wind and solar are the cheapest forms of electricity supply. He said, ‘This underlines the need for Australia and the world to invest heavily in renewable energy sources to put downward pressure on power prices.’

 

He continues to call for eliminating coal and gas in Australia, claiming this is necessary to prevent harmful climate change. Climate change was the focus of his September address to the American Australian Association. He said 80 years ago, ‘Curtin and Roosevelt had a rendezvous with destiny. Our job is to avoid a rendezvous with  ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Energy collapse: it all begins with a market cap

The Spectator,  14 December 2022
   Thousands of years of experience – from the ancient Babylonians and Roman Emperor Diocletian, through to modern times – have demonstrated how price controls prevent the allocation of scarce goods to their most valuable uses, lower short-term production, and cause investment to seize up.

 

The inevitability of such outcomes is lost on Australia’s political class. Politicians, egged on by self-interested and socialists, are once more embracing price controls that were abandoned in the 1980s when the Hawke-Keating government accepted market prices stemming from supply and demand as the most efficient means of running the economy

..... Read online  ..... pdf

ESG: climate virtue bleeding super dry

The Spectator,  7 December 2022
   B usiness, where the profit motive is explicitly dominant and where the hundreds of millions of direct and indirect owners want to see it remain the crowned ruler, might be expected to reject spending that syphons off profits to political causes… And yet, nearly every firm funnels funding to politically acceptable causes, in the main involving those of a social and environmental nature.

 

Sometimes, pressured by governmental regulatory stances, like the soon-to-be mandatory reductions on the top Australian emitters, a growing number of firms also engage in expenditure that replace fossil fuel derived energy with more expensive wind and solar. Also important is the avoidance by superannuation fund managers of ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Dan enters the pantheon of ‘great’ leaders

The Spectator,  28 November 2022
   N ow the hurley burley’s done, and Dan Andrews is in the pantheon of the state’s great leaders, it’s time to see what Victorians voted for.

Like other electorates in the Western world, Victorians proved themselves to have a large appetite for government spending. The Lib-Nats joined Labor (and, of course the Greens) in proposing big increases in hand-outs. For Labor, these included subsidies for electricity, travel, kindergartens, and ‘infrastructure’.

But, reflecting voter preferences for free stuff, Labor was reticent in approving tax increases to cover these increases. These election gifts therefore (as did the Liberals’ offerings) add to the ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Victoria’s looming energy disaster

The Spectator,  23 November 2022
   A centrepiece of Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’ campaign is to renationalise Victoria’s privately owned electricity businesses. He claims that the private owners have scammed ‘$23 billion in profits off pensioners, families, and businesses’.

The state’s electricity assets, previously managed by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) were sold under the Kennett government in the 1990s. Kennett inherited a near-bankrupt state.

 

The SECV had been a drain on government finances due to its excessive levels of staffing. Over-staffing is a hallmark of ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Our retreat from rational economics

The Spectator,  16 November 2022
   In today’s world, government spending accounts for up to and (in the EU) over 50 per cent of GDP – Australia’s at 38 per cent may be understated due to it being a federation. In the 1920s, no significant government spent more than 20 per cent of its nation’s GDP (federal spending in America and Australia was 4 per cent 6 per cent respectively).

 

Sovereign debt is now well in excess of 100 per cent of GDP in most EU countries, America, and Japan – Australia’s is 57 per cent. Until 100 years ago no state went into debt except to combat an existential crisis – indeed few states had the creditworthiness to do so.

 ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Greta and her green-communism

The Spectator,  8 November 2022
   Many breathed a sigh of relief when Greta Thunberg announced she was not going to attend COP 27 Climate Change meeting which is now underway at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. The COP process is a ‘greenwashing scam’, she explained.

It seemed that the girl, although not even having reached the age of 20, had already emerged from the catharsis of teenage simplistic idealism. Was she having doubts about promoting a goal of dubious worth at a cost that is unknown but without a scientific breakthrough is incalculably high? Seemingly so, and that corroborated the notion that at a coming of age (historically at 21), she reached a maturity society expects of each emerging generation to take balanced judgements ..... Read online  ..... pdf

Andrews’ Leninist approach to power

The Spectator,  24 October 2022
   Last week, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews paraded his inner Lenin. He attacked Victoria’s privately owned coal generation businesses, claiming that they have taken ‘$23 billion in profits off pensioners, families and businesses’ and announced that they must be effectively driven out of business by state-owned alternatives.

 

Those facilities were sold to the private sector during the 1990s.

 

Jeff Kennett and his Treasurer Alan Stockdale pushed through the privatisations, which netted $11 billion for the   ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Dirty dependency: superannuation and ESG

The Spectator,  21 October 2022
   Condemning those who have glued themselves to roads to create chaos, the (now former) UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman hit out at ‘the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating, Wokerati anti-growth coalition’. Her indignation about the economic damage caused by climate radicals is warranted, but she said nothing about the economic harm stemming from the fund-manager/governmental institutional wing of the anti-coal climate alarmists, which uses the Environment Social and Governance (ESG) pastiche as cover for its control aspirations.

Indeed, as she was speaking the Bank of England..... Read online      ..... pdf

Dead-weight drowning productivity

The Spectator, 14 October 2022
   Productivity growth is the key to income growth – we can’t have the latter without the former. A matter that has troubled many economists in the Western world during recent decades is a slowdown in productivity growth. 

Australia is typical. Multi-factor productivity – the overall return on labour and capital inputs combined – has been growing at only 0.3 per cent per year in recent years, while the more commonly understood, labour productivity, has also seen growth at only 0.9 per cent a year. These are half the levels seen in the 1990s. 

That slowdown is less evident in many countries ..... Read online      ..... pdf

The price of environmental activism

The Spectator, 7 October 2022
   The environment social and governance (ESG) movement commenced life over 100 years ago with wowser investors avoiding shares in brewers and distillers. Embargoes on the merchants of sin, with gambling and smoking joining alcohol, have long ceased to be the primary target. The sin is now hydrocarbon energy (particularly coal), with gas and oil as secondary prey. That other bête noir of green agitators, nuclear, is considered an additional activity to be avoided and divested.

 

With this agenda, ESG investors have come to dominate stock exchanges, and their funds expected to total $50 trillion by 2025 which is over one-third of total global stocks.       ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Argentina’s socialist demons are coming for the West

The Spectator, 26 September 2022
   How did we arrive at the position where, throughout the Western world, political decisions to undermine the cheapest and most reliable energy sources are bringing about economic stagnation and possibly collapse?

Notwithstanding evidence of this, why are policy settings intensifying the very measures that have created the breakdown?

Europe is seeing record energy prices and the America’s renewable subsidy-oriented Inflation Reduction Act portends a following of suit.

For Australia, similar measures are intensified by law courts deciding that individual Indigenous voices, now extending to a  ..... Read online      ..... pdf

The sharp decline since Paris

The Spectator, 14 September 2022
   Returning from the 2015 Paris Agreement, former Clinton Energy chief Joe Romm, proclaimed:

‘You know, change happens slowly, until it happens quickly.’

He was talking about climate ‘guru’ Michael Mann declaring that the Paris Agreement signalled the end of ‘the age of fossil fuels’.

Of course, there was a major speed bump along that road in the form of Donald Trump, who commenced dismantling the subsidies and regulations that were forcing this rapid change in the world’s biggest economy. And, to the ridicule of the German UN delegation including its Foreign Minister, Trump presciently urged Germany to.     ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Transition teething problem or permanent disaster?

The Spectator, 27 August 2022
   Politicians, regulators, and subsidy-seekers portray the present difficulties in the energy market as being part of the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy – and perhaps to more exotic forms of energy derived from extracting hydrogen from water.

They go on to claim that transitions always involve teething problem difficulties.

This is false.

Transitions in the past from horse-drawn transport to trains, motor vehicles, and aeroplanes involved only benefits to    ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Dangerous energy politics

The Spectator, 02 September 2022
   Electricity has properties that require supply and demand to always balance every few seconds.

This means, firstly, that there has to be a considerable surplus of supply in order to cope with swings in demand. Secondly, a large share of supply (and/or demand) has to be capable of rapidly switching on and off. 

There is probably no other area of the economy with such time-sensitive complexity and an array of different providers with vastly dissimilar cost profiles.

Electricity is an area of commerce that is highly unsuitable for political control.     ..... Read online      ..... pdf

An Open Letter Concerning AEMO’s 2022 Integrated System Plan

By Dr James Taylor PhD

Independent Engineers and Scientists     ..... Read here

A mild case of split portfolio disorder

The Spectator, 18 August 2022
   As a one-time senior public servant, I find the debate over Scott Morrison’s supposed power seizure of separate ministries to be based on somewhat unrealistic depictions of the powers of individual ministers.

 

There are two issues in Prime Minister Morrison’s visits to the Governor-General. The first concerns the massive overreaction to Covid and the Prime Minister’s decision to formally appoint himself as several ministers as an insurance against his colleagues’ incapacitation and, astonishingly, doing so without informing those colleagues. The second was the insertion of himself as de facto Minister in the Department of Industry, Energy and Resources.

With regard to the latter, Morrison has said,     ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Labor’s Climate Bill is an economic precipice

The Spectator, 08 August 2022
   In what The Australian called a ‘capitulation of the Greens’, the government’s Climate Bill has passed the House of Representatives. Its passage through the Senate is a formality.

With the Bill’s central requirement being that greenhouse gas emissions fall by 43 per cent (from the 2005 base), it amplifies the 28-30 per cent formal reduction level set by the previous Coalition government. In pursuit of decarbonisation to combat a mythical ‘climate crisis’, the Bill is designed to stymie the use of coal and gas. In doing so, it will increase the costs of mining, manufacturing, and other services; it will also increase costs in the farming sector – including by diverting the use of productive agricultural land into a carbon sink.      ..... Read online      ..... pdf

Wrecking a Nation One Electricity Bill at a Time

Quadrant Online, 29 July 2022
   The first thing to recognise is that for many years now governments — Labor and Coalition alike — have been hard at work destroying the low-cost electricity market that Australian businesses and consumers once enjoyed . The second thing to note is that there is an actual undertone of energy realism — yes, really! –about the Albanese government, but it is no portend of good news: “You’ll know what we’re up against when your electricity bill arrives,” the Treasurer said on Thursday (July 28). That would be the bill we were assured during election season would fall by $275 once Labor waved its magic wand. 

We can see the degeneration of Australia’s electricity security graphically presented in the chart below which tracks July electricity    ..... Read online

Politicians destroy nuclear when the world needs it most

The Spectator, 25 July 2022
   Human advancement has rested on harnessing increasingly dense sources of energy from non-human origins. Animal power, burning wood, wind technology, and water power were crucial in allowing early civilisations to develop.

The Industrial Revolution that gave humanity income levels 10-100 times higher than those of antiquity was driven by hydrocarbons which brought over 100 times the power density of wind.

Nuclear, with 10,000 times the power density of coal, has been heralded as ‘the next step’ for the last fifty years.      ..... Read online     .....pdf

Europeans punished by expensive renewables backed by Russian gas

The Spectator, 14 July 2022
   Europeans are now paying heavily for their shift in abandoning coal and nuclear and adopting renewable energy supported by Russian gas.

Across the continent, coal generators have been closed as have nuclear facilities in a headlong pursuit of the ‘transition’ to renewables. Throughout the Western world, that transition has been touted as inevitable by the ‘experts’ now dominant within government and among their advisory detritus.

Only this week Australia’s very own CSIRO           ..... Read online     .....pdf

The (expensive) brave new world of ‘clean energy’

The Spectator, 09 July 2022
   The market was working pretty well 20 years ago and is not expected to be much larger by 2030. It involved a capital asset base in terms of transmission at about $22 billion and for the electricity energy itself, in today’s dollars about $100 billion.

We now have two national plans for the future: Rewiring the Nation,  ..... Read online     .....pdf

Climate Justice? Victoria’s fresh assault on businesses

The Spectator, 01 July 2022
   Last week’s restoration of the electricity market, following the regulator assuming full control on June 15, means the energy crisis is apparently over. But spot prices remain at around $230 per megawatt hour – a mere sixfold their historical levels. As for gas, well that’s still price-controlled and consequent supply shortages are causing business closures.

Victoria has done his bit to create the crisis.

Premier Dan Andrews tripled the royalty tax on coal – the straw that broke the back of the Hazelwood Power Station, which produced a quarter of the state’s electricity. Then, as with South Australia’s  .... Read online  ...pdf

Climate Change's 'Pigouvian' tax

The Spectator, 27 June 2022
   Rod Sims, formerly head of the ACCC, advocates a carbon tax as a ‘Pigouvian’ solution to the global damage which he says is being created as a result of burning coal, gas, and oil.

A ‘Pigouvian’ tax is set at a level where the damage from distorting the economy, which any tax inevitably causes, is offset by the rectification that it brings about. Such a tax is generally considered superior to having the government centrally determine measures to redress inadvertent damages resulting from production. This is because it incentivises firms to seek out the cheapest solutions and avoids governmental failures inherent in ‘winner picking’

Henry Ergas points out that the proposal Rod Sims .... Read online  ...pdf

Standard of living to fall sharply

The Spectator, 24 June 2022
   In the pre-Covid days, strike activity was fast disappearing. In Europe, the average days lost from strikes more than halved.

In Australia, the fall was even more dramatic – from over 500 strike days per 1,000 workers in the 1970s, to just 14 in the decade to 2020.

Suddenly, in Europe a spate of strikes is underway. They are in England and threatened in France, Spain, Italy, and even Germany. These are taking place ‘amid spiralling increases in the cost of living’ which describes EU annual wage increases averaging 2 per cent compared to price increases of 8.8 per cent.     ..... Read online     .....pdf

Albo's war against Capitalism

The Spectator, 21 June 2022
   Seeking to disabuse critics of the notion that his interest and expertise in economics were Whitlamesque, Anthony Albanese released a couple of pages of an undergraduate essay on economics he wrote nearly 40 years ago. The material was replete with supply and demand curves to burnish his credentials on any sceptic.

Mr Albanese’s economics degree was from the ‘political economy’ school of Sydney University – which had a strongly Marxian focus – stressing on how the economy should best be managed by those who consider themselves well able to understand and manipulate it. The university mentors favoured central direction rather than what they perceived as the anarchy and heartlessness of the market system. ..... Read online     .....pdf

Politicians have sabotaged the energy market

The Spectator, 13 June 2022
   'After a decade of denial and delay, Australia deserves a better future – one with cheaper power, more jobs, and less emissions,’ said Energy Minister Chris Bowen, in his last media release prior to gaining government.

Mr Bowen advocated replacing coal generators with wind and solar, with their shares of electricity supply to increase from 30 per cent to 82 per cent by 2030. To facilitate this, he proposed spending $80 billion on transmission, thereby quadrupling its present costs.

He also ridiculed a Morrison government that ‘does not believe renewables are the cheapest form of energy, or that the    ..... Read online     .....pdf

Customers won't like the new energy game

The Spectator, 3 June 2022
   Right now in Australia, we are seeing some smaller electricity retailers being forced out of the market and voluntarily shedding customers. One example came this week, when ReAmped Energy told customers they should leave because bills were set to double.

These sorts of retailers have gained a few percent of the overall market by offering cheap prices via wholesale purchases on the electricity spot market, which is usually cheaper than arranging supplies through long-term contracts with generators.

But with shortages of electricity (which are from time to time inevitable) come very high spot market prices. What we are  ..... Read online     .....pdf

This is worse than we thought

The Spectator, 24 May 2022
   It’s much worse than we thought.

The ALP will govern in its own right, but will be forced into extreme positions by a Green-left Senate.

The first thing to recognise is that the result demonstrates a new consensus.

There are some differences between the ALP, the Coalition, the Teals, and the Greens. To placate its funders within the union movement the ALP will seek to abolish the ‘gig’ economy and promote a 5 per cent wage rise, something the Greens would also support. But that apart, the consensus represents a goal of abandoning the fossil fuel    ..... Read online     .....pdf

The Seinfeld election: a show about nothing

The Spectator, 17 May 2022
   With the virus abating, and with the confected anger over supposed government inadequacies for compensation owed to those harmed by adverse weather conditions losing topicality – the issues that should be dominating the present election campaign are taxation, spending, energy costs, industry policy, and defence.

The Coalition and the ALP have tried to minimise their differences on these matters.

For its part, the Coalition has little alternative after five years of clothing itself in the ALP policies it claims to oppose. It has been spending in Whitlam-esque proportions since its MPs ..... Read more     .....pdf

Build More Dams

Letter to the Editor, Regulation Economics (from Viv Forbes) - 12 May 2022

   Since the days of Joseph in ancient Egypt, droughts have periodically rationed water and food supplies for humans and wildlife. Sensible peoples store water, but it is about 40 years since Australians built a big dam – young Aussie engineers have no damn experience.

Even beavers build dams and weirs to provide long-term wetlands and food supplies along rivers. Dams also moderate floods downstream.

See here for pictorial comment (right):
 

Foolish children and Green politicians think that floods are caused by carbon dioxide, but farmers know that it is La Nina that brings flooding rains to Eastern Australia             ..... Read more

beaver-dam.jpeg

The politics of an energy dystopia

The Spectator, 10 May 2022

   We are seeing unprecedented prices in the Australian gas and electricity wholesale markets.

The first five days of May saw electricity prices average over $400 per MWh in Queensland and NSW, and over $150 per MWh in Victoria and South Australia. Compare this with the historical average daily prices of $40-$80 per MWh.

Forward electricity prices for 2023 averaged 122 per cent higher than in 2021. 

 ...... Read online     ..... pdf

Stoking the fires of energy policy

The Spectator, 26 April 2022

   Stung from previous election losses, the ALP is at pains to deny that it will introduce a carbon tax. The Coalition is trying to claim a Labor government would do so.

That aside, both sides are seeking to marginalise environmental issues and their all-important impact on the economy. Many on the government side believe the Matt Kean dogma that there is an inevitable ‘transition’ away from coal, while others feel obliged to murmur assent in the face of popular support for that same view, funded as it is by subsidy-dependent renewable energy interests.

In fact, we already have carbon taxes and an ALP ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Scomo, Albo, and their fantasy Net Zero policies

The Spectator, 15 April 2022

   Both the ALP and the Coalition have the same Net Zero goal for 2050, but that time frame is, at best, aspirational and is contingent upon technological breakthroughs many of which verge on the fantasy.

A 2030 time-horizon is a more realistic means of comparing the two sides of politics.

For 2030, the Coalition has a goal of a 26 per cent reduction in emissions compared to the base year of 2005 and hopes to achieve a 35 per cent reduction with its present policies.

The ALP is targeting a 43 per cent reduction on  ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Renewables subsidies: $22 billion by 2030

The Spectator, 5 April 2022

   Energy Minister Angus Taylor noted that the Commonwealth Budget added $1.3 billion to assist uneconomic renewable energy, bringing the total support to $22 billion by 2030. Added to direct budget support are the regulatory subsidies that force consumers to pay for otherwise unviable wind and solar energy as well as the networks that have to be built to bring their energy to market. 

Green energy enthusiasts and vested interests fraudulently claim wind and solar are cheaper than coal-generated electricity. Some also concoct data purporting to prove that fossil fuels benefit from enormous subsidies.

..... Read online     ..... pdf

You can't save the world with Net Zero

The Spectator, 24 March 2022

   Ever since socialism’s credibility collapsed in 1990, environmentalism has increasingly dominated the political agenda. Central to this was the global warming scare and its implications for energy supply and economic activities in general.

Environmentalists’ pressures ensured that this agenda was widely embraced. Every Western country agreed to pursue ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions, replacing hydrocarbons with wind, solar, and prospectively hydrogen as power sources. In most countries, this was combined with rejecting another environmentalist bogeyman – nuclear power.

China, India, and other burgeoning economies ..... Read online     ..... pdf

Will war end the climate alarmist zeal of the central banks?

The Spectator, 21 March 2022

   Faced with implacable opposition from the Senate, Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Biden’s pick for supervising banks within the Federal Reserve (Fed), has withdrawn her candidature. During the Obama administration, she was one of the Fed’s seven governors and a Treasury deputy secretary.

Her rejection by the Senate was a result of her expressed intent ‘to incentivise a rapid, orderly, and just transition from fossil fuels and other high-emission investments’.

Not so long ago, that opinion would have not been a barrier to the job – indeed her appointments under Obama faced   ..... Read online       ..... pdf

Practicalities in addressing autocrats’ aggression

The Spectator, 11 March 2022

   The shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that it demonstrated a form of aggression most people thought belonged to an earlier time.

Following the Napoleonic era, a war of conquest against a recognised sovereign state was considered legitimate only if fought in the name of national self-determination.

National self-determination remained a worthy goal in the Wilsonian world of 1918, but its practicalities were always uncertain in the mix of languages and what were deemed to be ‘races’ that still characterised Europe. Even territorial claims based on national coherence disappeared post-1945, though in certain circles aggression