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The Forum > Article Comments > It’s the greening of industry, stupid… > Comments

It’s the greening of industry, stupid… : Comments

By John Mathews, published 26/7/2011

One has to ask why the government is putting itself through the travail of the bad-tempered debate over the carbon ‘tax’ portion of the package.

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This is pure rhetoric, based largely on the mindless use of simplistic pejorative terms. It starts with 'pollution', which in this context is a propaganda term created for campaigns to demonise carbon dioxide. Next, if it 'pollutes' it must be a 'brown' industry, so it should be replaced by a clean 'green' industry; green is of course nobler than brown. Finally there is the implication that only stupid investors do 'brown', the smart ones do 'green'.

It's all so reminiscent of our own Barry Jones and his promotion of 'sunset' and 'sunrise' industries in the 1980s when he was Minister for Science. Sunrise industries like shape-memory alloys and new superconductors would displace moribund sunset industries based on Australia’s natural resources. For a while there it was embarrassing to confess to be connected with the minerals and energy sector. Why waste your time when it will all be dead soon? Now, the only memorable shape is the pear. Oh, how things have changed.

But the blatant picking of winners in John Mathews piece is only part of its problem. He totally ignores the key role of energy in creating wealth and the crucial problem of replacing fossil fuels as the source of our prosperity. No-one is suggesting that mining coal is a beautiful activity or that burning gasoline is an uplifting experience. But these energy intense fuels just happen to be an inheritance that humans have ingeniously exploited to create all the goods and services we now rely on, presently at the rate of $124 per gigajoule of raw energy (the Australian figure, as well as the global average). There is no sign of anything else (aside from nuclear energy) close to their effectiveness and convenience. Something might turn up, of course. But to plan to shut all of that down while blithely ignoring the lack of replacements is reckless, to say the least
Posted by Tombee, Tuesday, 26 July 2011 9:55:42 AM
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More spin and rhetoric. Article makes no intrinsic logical sense but simply appeals to the emotional need for people to feel 'Clean and Green' and not 'Brown and Dirty' and hopefully be willing to pay for the privelege. This is depsite the fact that no-one can say what Clean and Green actually means.

Relevant quote:

"So far I have not mentioned the topics of climate change or global warming. And the reason is that they are irrelevant."

Because the Carbon Tax has no effect in temperature mitigation, ideologues such as the author now justify their actions as useful in themselves, despite the fact that the only reason to undertake theses changes was originally because of 'dangerous global warming'!

This would be a great comedy, if the whole thing wasn't so tragic and exploitative of the average Australian citizen.
Posted by Atman, Tuesday, 26 July 2011 11:46:24 AM
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Of these statements

"national system of feed-in tariffs (modelled on the very successful system introduced in Germany)"

"China will continue to increase its carbon emissions until the 2030s, by which time its renewable energy industries will take over, and the country’s carbon emissions will fall while its national wealth and income rise. Ditto for India, a few years later."

The first statement is contestable, the other is straight fantasy.

Germany's system of feed in tariffs involves paying three times the wholesale rates for wind and something like eight times for PV. This has certainly encouraged the growth of wind power, although the contribution of PV is still negligable. No one has checked how much, if any, carbon has actually been saved by analysing the network.

The author's projections for China and India bear no relation to anything that is actually happening in those countries. Last I heard about one third of wind turbines in China were not actually connected to the power networks. The generators are obliged to build them, but the grid operators are not legally required to connect them, so they don't. There is also no evidence that the wind turbines are anything but a token offset for China's construction of a vast number of coal fired stations. A single year's worth of contruction is more than the entire, existing Aus network.

And this activist wonders why people here are getting upset over a carbon tax.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Tuesday, 26 July 2011 12:01:02 PM
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Gee, John must be busy. Too busy to keep up with things.

Otherwise why would he be touting all the failed technologies used in the failed economies of the EU. Even the few European economies that are not failing, are backing away from renewable power generation, just as quickly as they can. Like Germany, cutting the payment for solar drastically.

Sorry, I forgot the British, & their improbable decision to make a huge investment in wind power. Perhaps they, like John, are too busy, otherwise they would have seen what a catastrophic investment wind power has been for the Danes. They have to give it away to get rid of it, when there actually is some. Then again we have all heard the song about "mad dogs & Englishmen", & that I suppose explains it.

Hang on, that was about them going out in the mid day sun, not in the wind. Perhaps they are even worse than the first diagnosis would indicate.

Sorry John, back to the research for a few facts, if you want to be convincing.
Posted by Hasbeen, Tuesday, 26 July 2011 1:18:09 PM
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Curmudgeon, agreed, the Green Industry don't seem to realise that we're all fed up with the tricky way information is used, the sly wink wink comments and deception by misuse or omission.

Why do they think everyone is stupid?

Is it because 12% of Australians voted for the Greens?

That's probably about right, 12% of the population are idiots.

There's a joke they have in the USA, they say 20% of Americans are morons, but unemployment is only running at 10%, so the workforce is 10% morons, which accounts for the workers in the service industry who are clearly challenged by the modern world.

All the greens are unhappy about the attention they are getting and especially about being held to account. The days of throwing information around are gone.

This article, misuses information and is the kind I usually see on the ABC sites or Fairfax, where any contrary or negative implications are removed and half facts are sold as solid confirmed information and anyone who questions it should be silenced.

The activists only compound the problem they have with credibility by then adding more such articles to the evidence they are not listening to the people.

Why do they think more misinformation will work where it didn't before? This is the Juliar syndrome, tell them often until they .. what, are worn down? give in? give up?, they stop listening.
Posted by Amicus, Tuesday, 26 July 2011 1:22:44 PM
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Well said, Tombee.

* * *

The sheer illogic of the article just defies belief.

Just because the author wants more so-called green industry does not provide any justification of government policy as a response, since the question is why he, and everyone who agrees with him, don't just pay voluntarily for the kinds of energy and industry they want. But they know that if payment is voluntary, their schemes won't work. Why not? Because they know that people don't want to do what the author and the born-to-rule mob thinks they should do, and so he opts to force them. Why don't the mass of people want to buy what he thinks they should buy? Because they know they will get worse results for the same or a greater expenditure.

The economic illiteracy and ethical bankruptcy of his proposal is this. All other things being equal, the diverting of resources into energy sources *specifically on the basis that they are more wasteful and less wanted* must necessarily result in worse results from the point of view of human welfare, as judged by the mass of the people, who also assess the future, no less than the author. He is not privileged to view mankind from a Gods-eye point of view. So it is a complete and blatant lie to pretend to stand for better economic or ethical outcomes. If that were in the offing, no force, no policy would be necessary. The entire belief system depends on the arrogant assumption that the author and his fellow high priests have privileged knowledge that human consumption of natural resources is immoral and must be forcibly restricted.

None of new catastrophist religion - so reminiscent in so many ways of old-school Christian chiliasm - have ever dared to respond to my challenge to account for the downsides of policy action, and prove how they know that the upsides justify them.
Posted by Peter Hume, Tuesday, 26 July 2011 3:00:46 PM
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