Category: Energy

Intervention will NOT solve our energy crisis

The Liberal cabinet have officially dumped the contentious National Energy Guarantee (NEG), but Scott Morrison and new Energy Minister Angus Taylor are now faced with a policy vacuum which they urgently need to address.

The combination of modest wages growth and higher electricity prices are hurting Australian households, who have been forced to endure a 56 per cent increase in real terms on their electricity bills over the last decade. The NEG, formulated to address the “energy trilemma” of security, reliability and affordability on a national scale (excluding WA and the NT), was the Turnbull government’s answer to the crisis, but ultimately sparked  its demise.

In their rejection of the defunct NEG, the new Ministry stressed that emissions reductions have been stripped away from the energy portfolio. Taylor instead has revealed a renewed focus on affordability for households and businesses, and hopes to be recognised as “the Minister for reducing Read the rest

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We have to talk about Germany

Author: Rafe Champion

The bottom line for people in Canberra who are too busy to read to the end is that German emissions have not gone down since 2009.

Australia has a lot to learn from the German experience with renewable energy. Their program is called the Energiewende, the German dream of a green energy transformation.

The roots of the dream are in the anti-nuclear protests of the 1970s although the British policy analyst Rupert Darwall in Green Tyranny traced it further back to the long tradition of environmental fundamentalism in Germany.

In the 1980s the German Greens became a political power and activists started to use the term Energiewende. They hated nuclear energy and the Chernobyl episode helped them along. Then in the 1980s climate change entered the discourse.

In 1991 came feed-in tariffs followed by a comprehensive Renewable Energy Act in 2000 and a commitment to … Read the rest

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Rothbard explains the proper response to climate change

Author: Curtis Williams

In 1982, Murray Rothbard published a lengthy article titled “Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution” which laid out a free-market, private-property-based approach to environmental issues. Discussing air pollution Rothbard concluded:

If A is causing pollution of B’s air, and this can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then this is aggression and it should be enjoined and damages paid.

In his view, the legal system, not government regulation, is responsible for solving environmental issues because:

In libertarian theory, it is only permissible to proceed coercively against someone if he is a proven aggressor, and that aggression must be proven in court (or in arbitration) beyond a reasonable doubt. Any statute or administrative regulation necessarily makes actions illegal that are not overt initiations of crimes or torts.

In reality, there is no such thing as “environmental issues.” There is only human conflict over the use of … Read the rest

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Why do you hate the environment?

Whenever I object to the government banning plastic bags or tripling my electricity bill, I’m always asked, “Why do you hate the environment?” The truth is: I don’t. What I do hate is environmentalism. I hate its eco-austerity, its quasi-religious demands for penance and its anti-human rejection of progress. I love the environment, its eco-diversity, clean air and its beauty. What I’m not prepared to do is give up on human progress and economic development for some vision of an environmental nirvana.

Last year, I travelled to Sydney for the Australian Libertarian Society’s Friedman Conference. My original Airbnb cancelled last minute and as a last resort I booked a room in “Sydney’s sustainability house”. The Ultimo terrace house was completely off the grid, it generated its own solar electricity and stored it in batteries. The house used rainwater that my host informed me was cleaner than Sydney’s tap water. Read the rest

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Australia: open the door to atomic innovation

Energy and in particular electricity has become a topical issue in Australia. This is because of high retail electricity prices but also because of issues with reliability. It is in that context that Senator Cory Bernardi has put before the Australian Senate a bill to end the prohibition on nuclear power in Australia.

But, is nuclear power really the answer? Isn’t nuclear power dangerous and expensive? A tired old technology promoted by tired old conservative politicians with some strange sort of tired old axe to grind? Certainly these propositions are promoted by opponents.

However, I contend that the nuclear energy sector is entering a period of not just rapid but radical technological change. This innovation is still mostly on paper and won’t be visible for several more years but it is certainly coming. As a nation we need to be both open to it, and ready to embrace the exciting … Read the rest

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