In this post I meant to show how the science has been showing for years now that we need rapid and concerted decarbonisation for a safe climate, and any hope of keeping global warming to 1.5˚C, in order to frame a consideration of the Finkel review. However, Abbott’s climate denialism is dramatically on full show and now George Christensen has thrown a grenade into the ring by saying he won’t vote in favour of Finkel’s Clean Energy Target. He says that most other Nationals won’t vote for it either. Indeed:
- He said that, rather than legislating a clean energy target, the government would be better off building high-efficiency coal-fired power stations to replace the ageing coal fleet. Christensen contended that approach would reduce carbon pollution.
Indeed Finkel’s review, which was carefully crafted to meet the full range of views in the LNP including climate deniers, looks dead in the water.
Surely One Nation could not vote for a scheme that encourages renewables and does not fully embrace coal. It’s hard to see the Greens voting for scheme that does almost nothing over ‘business as usual’ to 2030 and smooths the path for coal so that in 2050 we would be burning more of it than in the BAU case. Here are three graphs which illustrate the problem:
Generation mix with BAU:
Generation mix with CET:
Those images are from the Jacobs Group modelling via The Guardian link above.
Labor could hardly endorse the future energy mix either, although you never know when politics will take priority over policy. Surely, on politics, they need to be aware of greenish inner city votes, plus there is a huge opportunity to wedge Turnbull. I do think Mark Butler understands the issues reasonably well and shows their possible hand when he said:
“You can’t rig the definition of clean energy to include new coal-fired power stations just to placate Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce.
“That would make a complete mockery of a very serious process that the chief scientist and his panel followed over months”.
Shorten says they’ll give Turnbull a hand if he stares down the “recalcitrants who have held back climate policy in this country for 10 years”.
It looks as though those recalcitrants won’t be moved, and Turnbull may delay the response until the LNP’s climate policies are reviewed. That review is in train now and due to be finished by the end of 2017.
From the critiques so far I think Finkel’s proposals are problematic for three reasons.
First, the modelling it’s based on is complete crap, according to RenewEconomy, who say it favours fossil fuels over renewables, solar in particular, and seriously underestimates distributed generation, especially rooftop solar with batteries.
Secondly, Finkel says that the CET is scalable, but Giles Parkinson says it isn’t if we seriously want to achieve the Paris commitments of 1.5˚C.
Thirdly, Finkel’s brief was not to meet Australia’s fair commitment to the Paris Accord, rather to facilitate the Turbull government’s explicit target of a 28% reduction of emissions by 2030 in the electricity sector.
Finkel cannot be blamed for the Turnbull government’s lack of ambition, or the rubbish modelling.
At least now the carbon dinosaurs have been flushed out into the open. This uncomfortable image illustrates Turnbull’s dilemma as he declares war on glibness:
To be honest personally I’ve only skimmed the Finkel review itself, available here. I heard Abbott has not actually read it. I’ll have a go on the weekend, meanwhile I’ll do a bit of a summary on what the science says in a separate post.
I did think Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science did well on the Finkel Review and the need to follow the science with due regard to risk when talking to Patricia Karvelas on RN Drive. Abbott, Christensen et al, however, will hold their ground.
By the way, Christensen, in my view, will at some stage jump ship and join his soul-mates at ON before the next election.