Andrew Bolt time (and climate change)

Yes, I’ll say, I enjoy reading Bolt. Not that I like him. Consider, for example, this item: Bolt suggests the Sri Lankan asylum seekers may not be genuine refugees. Why? Because the Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka can’t figure out how Tamils could escape Sri Lanka. The other compelling piece of evidence is that one person on the boat used to work at some time in Chennai (in India). It’s hard not to be impressed by such evidence. And also, its idiocy: an asylum seeker is meant to have their status as a refugee evaluated by appropriate authorities. If they’re not genuine refugees, they get sent back, if they are refugees, they are entitled to refuge. Basically, Bolt et al think Australia should not allow people to seek asylum in Australia. Bolt himself probably opposes refugees in general (unless they come from Europe). His source, by the way, is right wing and anti-Tamil. It links to the Sri Lankan government suggestion that the Tamil refugees are Tamil Tigers. Its propaganda is strikingly similar to the Netanyahu government actually.

Bolt also mocks the Liberals plan on climate change:

Brilliant. Let’s back a huge tax to cut emissions, but exempt the companies that emit most:

COALITION amendments to the proposed emissions trading scheme will shield heavy polluting industry from the short-term costs of a carbon price.

So we’ll get a tax that won’’t work to stop a warming that’s halted and which won’t apply to those it’s aimed at most.

Other than the skepticism towards global warming, this isn’t actually bad stuff. This is pretty ridiculous by the way.

The Coalition will hand out $10 billion in compensation for coal-fired electricity generators, who have argued recently that the costs of the Government’s scheme would mean they could not meet debt repayments and would have to shut down.

Coal-fired electricity makes up about 44 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and is currently expected to receive $3.9 billion in compensation over five years from the Government’s trading scheme plans.

The Opposition is also seeking to exclude methane emissions from coal mines and move to permanently ban agriculture’s inclusion in any trading scheme.

The Opposition will also give huge concessions to trade-exposed polluting industry, meaning all will receive 94.5 per cent free permits, dropping to 90 per cent in 2015. Those free permits will continue until 80 per cent of the industries’ international competitors are faced with a carbon price.

Of course, the bar was set so low by Labor that an even worse scheme shouldn’t be too surprising. I just want to note this too: “Yesterday the heads of the Australian Conversation Foundation, WWF, Climate Institute, Australian Council of Social Service and the ACTU said they would withdraw support for the Government’s policy if Opposition amendments were accepted.” We should dismiss and reject every one of these organisations for supporting Rudd’s original scheme, and not give them any credit at all for this.

You can see Malcolm’s scheme here.

  • Amend the CPRS to provide a single level of assistance for emissions intensive trade exposed (EITE) industries at 94.5 per cent until 2015 and 90 per cent thereafter.
  • Lower the threshold for assistance from the CPRS proposal of 1000 tonnes of CO2 per $1 million of revenue to 850 tonnes of CO2 per $1 million.

If any more evidence were needed that capitalism was a racket, this is it. Why give out corporate welfare to businesses which we don’t want to perpetuate? Why give them a helping hand at all? This just shows what capitalism always was in the West: handouts to the rich, market discipline for the poor. If a small business was going to go out of business because it was considered undesirable by the community, right wingers would just say that’s how the market works, life is tough, deal with it. But when these big companies which are destroying the planet face problems, suddenly the government and the right (which has no values, it just supports the rich and powerful) become the party of big government and compassionate capitalism helping out their buddies. Oh, and Malcolm wants to:

  • Permanently exclude agricultural emissions from the CPRS.
  • Exclude coal mine fugitive emissions from the CPRS.

Great. Why bother with a CPRS at all? Why not just exclude all carbon emissions altogether?

But it’s very important to the Liberals they help out big business:

  • Coal-fired generators must be better compensated for loss of value they experience from the CPRS, to ensure security of electricity supply and enable them to transition to lower emission energy sources.
  • The CPRS offers coal-fired generators 130 million permits over five years worth $3.6 billion. Yet three respected private sector analysts estimate their losses at $9–$11 billion.
  • Assistance should be increased to 390 million permits over 15 years (or about $10 billion). Assistance should be allocated to all generators in proportion to the losses they suffer.

Why should they be compensated? To help them compete in the market place? Everyone should read Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State. That’s exactly what this is: the government helping out big business one day, when every other day it’s ideologues claim that they support a free market, which is why government shouldn’t spend money: on helping everyone who isn’t rich.

The Australia Institute has a devastating study of the Labor CPRS.

The bottom-line charge is that while Wong has been relentlessly sounding the alarm about the dramatic action needed now to cut carbon pollution, Treasury modelling buttressing the CPRS shows it will in fact have little or no impact on one of the key offenders — the coal-fired electricity generation industry — in our lifetime.

Denniss takes up the story: “What she (Wong) doesn’t tell us is that her CPRS, complex and impenetrable as it is, does not actually result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from our coal-fired power stations.”

Using graphs taken from Treasury spreadsheets of the CPRS modelling, Denniss argues that when the CPRS comes in there is a slight reduction in the amount of electricity generated from black coal between 2010 and 2020 and virtually no reduction in brown coal electricity — the dirtiest form of electricity generation — over the same period.

After 2020, says Denniss, emissions from black coal-fired power stations are actually forecast to rise slightly before stabilising until about 2033. Brown coal emissions are also stable between 2020 and 2033. It’s only after 2033 — that is, in 24 years — that emissions from black and brown coal both begin to fall rapidly.

Not only that. The decline in electricity generation from black coal is actually driven solely by the introduction of the government’s 20per cent renewable energy arget, an entirely different policy instrument from the CPRS. It is the projected increase in the supply of renewable electricity — unrelated to the introduction of the CPRS — that will slightly reduce the amount of electricity generated by black coal power stations. The bigger polluting brown coal power stations will be virtually unaffected.

In light of the Treasury modelling, Denniss says: “After the 20 per cent renewable energy target is achieved in 2020 there is no further reduction in the amount of electricity generated by black and brown coal-fired power stations.

“This is because the CPRS has no effect on the competitiveness of coal-fired power stations.”

“The projected carbon price of around $20-$25 per tonne is significantly less than the cost difference between renewable electricity and coal-fired electricity. While the introduction of a carbon price will reduce the profits of the coal-fired power stations, it will not reduce the amount of electricity they generate.”

And the reason emissions from black and brown coal-fired power stations plummet in 2033 also has nothing to do with the CPRS. According to Denniss, Treasury has simply assumed that in 2033 we will invent clean coal and that, having invented it, it will turn out to be cheap. Further, it assumes that between 2033 and 2043 we can replace or retrofit every coal-fired power station in Australia. Despite the fact that it takes five years to plan and build a normal one, Treasury seems to think we can replace them all in 10 years.

Based on his analysis of Treasury figuring, Denniss wants three questions thrown at the Treasury and Climate Change bureaucrats this week: first, is the government aware that Treasury modelling shows that emissions from black and brown coal don’t fall until 2033? Second, is the government aware that they only fall after 2033 because of the assumed invention of clean coal? And finally, can the government describe the “transformation” of the coal-fired power industry that results from theCPRS?

Brilliant. Let’s back a huge tax to cut emissions, but exempt the companies that emit most:

COALITION amendments to the proposed emissions trading scheme will shield heavy polluting industry from the short-term costs of a carbon price.

So we’ll get a tax that won’’t work to stop a warming that’s halted and which won’t apply to those it’s aimed at most.

Andrew Bolt on al Qaeda

Andrew Bolt is a very well informed expert on the Muslim threat he’s always pontificating about.

Al Qaeda is Sunni, but Shiite Iran is rich and was previously thought to have shielded it, if not sponsored its attacks.

There’s a poetry here – a terror-sponsoring regime now the target of terrorists itself. And who would have thought the Iranian regime would have been attacked for not being Islamic enough?

Note how racist Bolt is: the murder of Iranians is poetic to him. How do you think Bolt would react if someone said 9/11 was poetic: the terror sponsoring regime now the target of the terrorists it supported. But that’s just aside from his open and earnest ignorance: he knows absolutely nothing about the Muslim world, al Qaeda, and is surprised that Salafist fanatics don’t like a Shiite regime.

The last Andrew Bolt thing for today: he notes (rightly) that Manne tries to smear people like him as something like Holocaust deniers. Bolt is actually right about this. This is sleazy: we might say Manne lowers himself to the level of Bolt, except that Manne has a long history of such smears.

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