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Australian Doublespeak: a policy “vacuum” still means $billions in renewables subsidies

From the headlines you might think Australia is going to stop giving free money to Renewables shareholders from 2020:

Australia abandons plan to cut carbon emissions

Scientists say this move amounts to walking away from the Paris Climate agreement.

—  Adam Morton, Nature, Sept 2018, vol 561, page 293

Australian energy policy vacuum beyond 2020 officially confirmed

An energy policy vacuum in Australia beyond 2020 is now looking inevitable, with the baseload-focused reliability guarantee the sole remaining piece of the shelved National Energy Guarantee the Coalition government is hanging onto.

–PV Magazine Australia

My reading is that this is wild exaggerated spin (and that Nature used to be a science journal). Remember that Kevin Rudd signed away $7 billion dollars in a flick just before he left Parliament. He extended the RET subsidies to keep drawing from your electricity bills til 2030:

Electricity customers face an extra burden of between $3.8 billion and $7.5bn in “windfall” subsidies for renewable power generators in the next decade ­because of the stroke of a pen in the last months of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership. Against advice from consultants, energy companies and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Rudd government in 2010 extended the phasing out of the renewable subsidies for existing operators from 2020 to 2030. The 10-year extension beyond the contracted 2020 phase-out under the Howard government is estimated to cost households and businesses up to an extra $7.5bn.  — Dennis Shanahan, The Australian

Only last week, the Environment Minister was talking up Direct Action auctions for carbon reduction.

Knowing that, then read between the lines of Angus Taylors speech last week:

Addressing the parliament on Tuesday, Energy Minister Angus Taylor confirmed the Morrison government will not be replacing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) “with anything“ when it expires in 2020.

“The truth of the matter is the renewable energy target is going to wind down from 2020, it reaches its peak in 2020, and we won’t be replacing that with anything,“ said Taylor answering an MP’s Adam Bandt’s question.

What he did not say was that there were no subsidies after 2020 or that Australia would axe the RET, or walk away from the Paris agreement. Clearly, in Greenspeak $7,500,000,000 is the same thing as “a policy vacuum.”

My reading is that  there will not be even more freeloading gravy-train riders destroying the grid than there already is.

Methinks Angus Taylor is trying to whip up false hope to satisfy the sensible deplorables but the collectivist folk are spinning his spin back to fire up their own team. The truth lies seven billion dollars to the left of center.

The Australian Government shows no intention of giving up on the Paris Agreement.

The trade minister, Simon Birmingham, has claimed Australia will honour its Paris climate agreement commitments but failed to name a mechanism for emissions reduction in government policy.

A more accurate question is Will we or wont we meet that target? A better question — Why Bother?

As for Nature, the same magazine that would never interview a skeptic who was a physicist because they are not a “climate expert” is happy to quote a climate scientist’s opinion on economic policy. John Church is a specialist in sea level research, but he’s the goto man for Nature on the National Energy Guarantee and a political analyst on the passage of laws on that through parliament.

When is an expert not an expert — when they stand between a scientist and a bucket of money.

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