28.1 C
Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

Climate-doubting coal baron saves wind and solar

Latest News

Byron Shire Council elections still being counted

There are 25,414 registered voters in the Byron Shire local government area (LGA) who are responsible for electing a...

Other News

Teachers’ strike

I welcome the vote by NSW teachers to strike for the first time in a decade. Teachers are leaving the...

For the love of dogs!

In response to Alison Drover’s opinion piece (November 17, 2021). She said Byron is not a ‘doggie destination’ and...

Master Mariner Bill Fenelon looks to the future of Tweed Shire

Bill Fenelon, who has called the Tweed Valley home since 2009, is heading up Group A and is running...

Cadwallader, Lyon and Krieg most likely new Far North Coast mayors

With most of the votes cast, and counting over until tomorrow, the New South Wales Electoral Commission stats would suggest that there are three clear winners of the mayoral contests in Ballina, Byron and Lismore Shires.

Not cats

It’s climate change, stupid. Not cats that is impacting birds and wildlife. One in six Australian birds are now...

Aussies got drunk more than any other country during the pandemic (are we surprised?)

The Global Drug Survey 2021 reveals that Australians got drunk the most during 2020 and that drug and alcohol habits changed during the pandemic.

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer, right, and former US vice-president Al Gore speaking at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday. AAP Image/Alan Porritt
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer, right, and former US vice-president Al Gore speaking at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy

So what just happened there? That was the first, second and third reaction of the extraordinary sight of Clive Palmer – he of the outstanding carbon tax bills, dismissive of climate science and renewables, the promoter of a massive coal mine, proprietor of a dinosaur park and the builder of a replica Titanic – standing side by side with Al Gore to deliver Tony Abbott an inconvenient truth: his climate policy is a mess and he doesn’t have the numbers in the Senate.

And it’s still the lingering impression.

Palmer, who just two months ago suggested he could buy any opinion from a climate scientist, now says he accepts the science of climate change. Just two months after saying the renewable energy target had to go, he now says it has to stay. And he will protect the Clean Energy Finance Corp and the Climate Authority too, and probably the Australian Renewable Energy Agency when someone tells him what it is.

But what will he say tomorrow? Or next week? Or next month?

The only certainty about Wednesday’s extraordinary events is that confusion now reigns, and Abbott’s climate policy is in disarray. It is one thing to have “axed the tax”, but quite another to have nothing to offer in its place. And Palmer has made it clear that he thinks that Abbott’s version of Direct Action is a joke.

Quite where carbon pricing and emissions abatement goes from here is not at all clear. Abbott could, in theory, enact at least parts of Direct Action through executive decree, but it would be unlikely to get to 5 per cent, let alone the 19 per cent recommended by the CCA, which will have full voice on the matter.

The alternative – Palmer’s conditions for an emissions trading scheme, such as he understands it (essentially one with no price) are vague and contradictory.

As Labor and the Greens have pointed out, we already have an ETS – it’s just that it has a fixed rather than a floating price. That can be easily changed. All Australia’s trading partners cited by Palmer – China, Japan, South Korea, the US and the EU – all have an ETS too in some form or another. Even with a general agreement in Paris next year, it will be hard to imagine an international trading scheme for a decade or more.

Reputex estimates that a carbon price of zero will result in Australia’s emissions rising 12 per cent out to 2020, rather than falling 5 per cent, or meeting the more ambitious targets likely required of an international agreement.

The key import of what Palmer has done, however, is to leave the key infrastructure of the carbon pricing mechanism in place. That is essential. Once the political intrigues have been dispensed with, and once the Liberal Party follows in Palmer’s lead, isolates the right wind rump currently at the controls, and re-embraces the need to address climate change with the best tool at their disposal – a market based mechanism – then the scheme can be dusted off and re-introduced at short notice.

In the meantime, the renewable energy industry can look forward to some confidence. With the retention of the renewable energy target, the CEFC and hopefully ARENA, there is a chance that WA can become the world leader in large scale solar; Australian miners can embrace renewables and storage as a substitute for gas and diesel; that South Australia can charge beyond 50 per cent towards an unlikely goal of 100 per cent renewable energy; that NSW can match its green energy rhetoric with action; and that Queensland might finally build something green and useful.

So, what just happened here? Palmer did a triple backflip and landed on a surprised and a little deflated Al Gore. Now we need Palmer – and his Senators –  to hold course. But as an investor, would you bet on that?

This article was first published in RenewEconomy.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The consensus is just 32 years of; “could be” and science has NEVER “believed” beyond their laughable 95% and “could be”. Prove me wrong. Not one IPCC warning says; “will be” or “inevitable” or “eventual” or “proven” like how evolution and smoking causing cancer are. You “believers” are exaggerating a consensus of nothing and history is watching this Reefer Madness of climate blame. A mob of determined “believers” do not get to determine certainty, only science can. Deny that.

  2. I was always thought Palmer to be a bit of a joke,…but suddenly I think he is showing he is quite a slick politician and quite capable of out manoevering out classing and out running Tony Abbott.

  3. Bringing Al Gore into the climate change debate is a dead loser to any reasonable observer. The kiss of death in fact. No wonder the Yanks labelled him’ Al Bore’!

  4. What is Al Gore doing in our Parliament? We have enough US input in this country. Input in wars we are dragged into. Fast food chains that do nothing but ruin young peoples health. Go home Al Gore. We can sort our own climate change issues thank you.

  5. Makes you wonder how Gore got Palmer to switch sides. Of course Gore stands to be the first carbon trading billionnaire (along with his buddy Ravendra Pachauri) so maybe they convinced Palmer to join in the game? Just a guess ….

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Alcohol-free zones to continue in Ballina Shire

Four areas of public land in the Ballina Shire are to stay alcohol-free zones for at least another three years.

Work is starting on Tweed Rail Trail

The Tweed Council section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is a 24km section that stretches from the Murwillumbah Railway Station to Crabbes Creek and work is starting on the construction.

Jo Jo Smith back in town for one show only

It will be a night to remember with Jo Jo Smith back in town for a performance at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club this Saturday, 11 December.

NORPA announces stellar 2022 season

This morning in a special online event, NORPA revealed some of the adventurous, world-class shows that will transport audiences to different worlds in 2022.