Why Not Ignore the Finkel Energy Review?

Since the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel (referred to in the media as the Finkel review) was released last Thursday, all the media commentary has been about how the Turnbull Government is going to implement its recommendations. There is hardly any discussion, apart from the already marginalized climate sceptics, that the government could ignore the review.

The key recommendation of the Finkel review is the adoption of a Clean Energy Target (which is different from a Renewable Energy Target in that under this target the energy mix can theatrically include coal and gas). Under this Clean Energy Target renewables would make up 28% of the energy mix by 2020, 42% by 2030 and 73% by 2050. The 2030 renewables rate of 42% is very close to Labor’s ludicrous 50% Renewable Energy Target by 2030.

What Finkel is proposing for the Turnbull government is a Labor-lite energy policy. Though Finkel has the audacity to claim that this proposed target will actually see power prices fall. This makes no economic sense as how can you have prices go down when the capacity of our electricity grid is falling and our population and therefore demand for electricity is increasing? It seems to rely on the assumption that renewables will magically increase their generation capacity.

The Coalition had a long party room meeting yesterday to decide how they will respond to the review. The fact that the media, business community, academia, celebrities, international bureaucrats, cultural elites other political parties all expect the Turnbull government to add to its already legislated climate change policies demonstrates just how entrenched the commitment to the climate change religion has become in our political establishment.

There is some dissent in the Coalition backbench from conservatives such as Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz and Tony Abbott who have questioned the need to implement the Finkel review, raised the possibility that it is a form of carbon tax and also urged a rethink of Australia’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. But the main players, Turnbull himself, Barnaby Joyce, Josh Frydenburg have all reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the climate change items and stated business as usual is not an option.

But here’s a radical idea for them, why not simply ignore the Finkel review? What have you got to lose apart from the scorn of the political class? Opinion polls show that although Australians think something should be done about climate change, but when they learn that it will increase their power bills and cost of living expenses they oppose measures such as the renewable energy target. Does everyone forget the unpopularity of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax that caused a change of government in 2013?

Donald Trump has demonstrated that it is politically achievable to run for high office as a climate sceptic and reverse the climate change abatement policies of a nation. What are our leaders so scared of? Is it only because the media might be mean to them? In a nation where electricity prices keep soaring and one state has been suffering a series of blackouts, the silent majority would reward any party which wanted to put an end to this impoverishment of our nation.

An argument that is always put forward by the business community for increased action on climate change is that they need certainty on climate policy. But for certainty to be in place must that mean government massively interferes in the energy market? Surely putting coal miners, power stations and manufacturing plants out of businesses cannot be good for the economy? It sounds like the so-called business community wants these climate schemes in place so they can make a quick buck off the various trading schemes and make inflated returns due to the subsidies given to renewable energy by governments. Meanwhile it is the Australian worker who is disadvantaged by these policies, they would reward a government which promised to keep their jobs in Australia.

But no matter what comprise the Coalition party room agrees too, it still won’t be enough to satisfy Labor, the Greens and the rest of the climate cult. Meanwhile they leave their conservative base and ordinary Australians disenfranchised, not to mention economically worse off. Our government needs to have the guts to simply stand up to the vested interests and say we will not implement this climate madness. They can chuck a tantrum all they want but this is what is in the best interests of Australia. They would be surprised deep down how much the Australian community would respect them for it if they simply ignored this review.