Giles Parkinson, editor, RenewEconomy
Buckets of information
It didn’t take long for Tony Abbott’s new government to swing into action, Direct Action. As soon as the official photos were taken on Wednesday, Operation Sovereign Borders was put into place.
Briefly, this involved deploying the Bintang Army to patrol the beaches and clubs of Indonesia dressed in thongs, t-shirts and shorts, buying ‘intelligence’ and old boats as part of a co-ordinated plan to stem the flow of ‘illegal’ refugees. Operatives – mostly members of the ruling UMBP (Upper Middle Bogan Party) – have been instructed to keep the boats off the Great Western Highway, so that Abbott and Barry O’Farrell can build the roads of the 21st century, which will be completed by the 22nd. The operatives have also been instructed to communicate with their superiors only by code. They will do this by using straws to blow bubbles into buckets of Arak.
At home, the first full day of government coincided with a full moon, a giddy combination. Abbott’s Green Army – another branch of the UMBP – was deployed to pick up litter, plant trees, and remove any sign, repeal any legislation, and dismantle any institution that featured the words ‘climate’ or ‘clean energy’. Legislation for the repeal of the carbon price, stopping the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, dumping the Climate Change Authority and keeping its recommendations secret was crafted. The Green Army also went on a ‘graffiti hunt’ and reported any public servants that had written the words climate or carbon pricing in notebooks or post-it notes. They were promptly sacked, and the two most recent heads of the department of climate change were shown the door.
‘No science thanks, we’re Australian’
The word science was also removed from any portfolio, and the Climate Commission, which provided independent and professional advice on climate science, was shut and its commissioners sacked, just one week before the release of the IPCC report. The UMBP said it could produce independent scientific analysis itself, apparently misunderstanding the meaning of the words independent and science. An office junior will compile a report on the IPCC, with the help of columnists from the Daily Telegraph.
Meanwhile, a program was launched to remove references to ‘coal seam gas’ and replace it with a more pleasant association of ‘natural gas from coal seams’, with the emphasis on ‘natural’.
This will be just the first step in a comprehensive rephrasing of Australia’s energy sources.
With the agreement of the Motoring, Shooting, Sporting and Palmer United Senate members, the government will introduce legislation from July 1 next year that will require CSG to be known henceforth as ‘happy gas’, coal-fired generation to be known as Coke, as in ‘things go better’, and its future will be represented by an image of a nodding donkey in a sombrero (si, si, yes). Wind energy will be rebadged either as ‘infrasound’ or ‘chapped lips’, while solar will be known as ‘sunburn’ or ‘uncloud energy’.
Meanwhile, a large dossier entitled ‘carbon bubble’ was placed on the desk of energy and resources minister Ian Macfarlane, and the messenger shot. It warned that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report to be released on September 27 would likely recommend even tighter ‘carbon budgets’, meaning that even more than 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves would need to be left in the ground to meet climate targets.
There was no time to lose for the UMBP, which is a party of action, Direct Action. Macfarlane announced that he would make sure that ‘every molecule of gas that can come out of the ground does so’, and issued a ‘use it or lose it’ manifesto to coal miners who have yet to get their projects under way. Those who had not begun production by Friday afternoon would be forced to hand over their permit to the person next in line, as long as they were holding a shovel.
You should always read the back of the book first
As Abbott’s mentor, John Howard, the former leader of the Liberal Party, the predecessor of the UMBP, began to write his speech for climate sceptic group The Global Warming Policy Foundation, Abbott’s chief business adviser, Maurice Newman, the former chairman of the ABC, the ASX and other acronyms and anachronisms, declared climate science to be a myth and accused the CSIRO and the weather bureau in having a vested interest in encouraging extreme weather events.
Bars, counselling groups, churches and various charitable organisations began to fill with dismayed members and employees of wind-farm developers, solar companies, carbon traders, green think tanks, environmental activists, advisers and other optimists, who all complained that ‘we didn’t think they would do it. We thought that once they were elected, they’d back off.’
We hate to say this, but we told you so. The UMBP is a party of action, Direct Action. They were always going to do exactly what they said they would do, no matter how ridiculous the idea. Even US president Barack Obama saw this coming, because he has been dealing with Tea Party types and UMPB act-alikes for the last six years. And so he appointed a gay environmentalist to be the new ambassador in Canberra, which is proposing gay marriage laws that the UMBP – a party of action, Direct Action – is vowing to repeal.
So, shut your eyes and count to 1,071. That’s how many days it is till the next election. Or keep them open and watch the fun. The UMBP has big plans and exactly the wrong tools to implement them. HSBC has given its verdict on what this means for clean energy investment and stranded assets. We think it will be like watching someone trying to nail jelly to a tree.