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Laughs, lies and lights out

By John Mikkelsen - posted Tuesday, 30 April 2024

Oh the irony. Here I was reading our local Noosa newspaper last Saturday morning and laughing when the power started to blink off and on half a dozen times before finally cutting out completely and staying off for about five hours in our beachside suburb.

No lightning strike, no strong winds, just rain. Back to the newspaper and what I found unintentionally amusing - a long rambling letter from a local perpetual climate worrier attacking another correspondent for having the temerity and good sense to defend nuclear energy in the quest for "net zero", then a regular column from Zero Emissions Noosa (ZEN) plugging its guide " Rewiring Noosa - Electrify Everything". This group, with the backing of our Noosa Shire Council, has far outdone even the most ambitious Green Dream Believers including the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris "Blackout" Bowen, and his boss, PM Anthony (My Word is My Bond) Albanese.

Forget 2050 or even the target of 82 percent renewables by 2030, ZEN's aim is to achieve "net zero" here in our beautiful slice of paradise by 2026!


Presumably the hordes of domestic and international tourists visiting throughout the year will all arrive on electric buses which we don't have yet. They will then tour the hinterland, the Noosa River and lakes, the local Everglades (one of only two in the world) and our northern beaches up to Double Island Point in electric cars, boats, bikes and buggies. Great! Just don't run out of charge in the wilderness.

According to ZEN, switching everything to electric - all appliances, cars etc - will reduce household costs by up to 50 percent and help save the planet. Its guide for residents covers "eight different technologies and strategies, including rooftop solar PV, heat pump hot water systems, pool pumps and heaters, home batteries, electric vehicles and energy monitoring and control systems". Gas stoves are obviously a no-no under this plan, so prepare for cold salads for dinner when the lights (and electric stoves) go out.

And with soaring electricity prices even with our 20 rooftop solar panels which produce zilch on cloudy days - of which there are many - I find that forecast cost saving, or any cost saving, hard to believe. Just like Albo's promised "$275 reduction in electricity prices by 2025" which turned out to be "aspirational" rather than a firm undertaking, even though he repeated it more than 90 times in the lead-up to the last federal election.

But don't take my word for it - I'll hand over to the ABC's financial guru and collective climate change believer Alan Kohler from a recent article:

Kohler says that a previous free trade consensus has fractured:

…as nations desperately try to hang onto jobs in the great transition to renewable energy.

Unfortunately, Australia is bringing a pocketknife to a gunfight.. ..Nevertheless, the investment in renewable energy has been ramping up lately, and it has to: Investment has been falling well short of what's needed to meet the government's target of 82 per cent and without a dramatic increase in effort and spending, Australia and the world are going to fall well short of net zero by 2050 and will exceed the Paris target of 1.5 degrees of warming, probably quite soon…

…In the Pathway to New Zero published in 2021, the International Energy Agency put the annual energy investment needed at $US5 trillion by 2030. That's per year…

…As for Australia's capital requirement, the outgoing head of the Net Zero Economy Agency, Greg Combet, told the National Press Club last week that "hundreds of billions of dollars will be needed to achieve net zero in Australia by 2050.

And the rest.

In July last year, a research organisation called Net Zero Australia (a collaboration between the Uni of Melbourne, Uni of Queensland, Princeton and Nous Group) put the cost for Australia at $9 trillion by 2060, or hundreds of billions every year for 36 years. ….

All the cheerleading about the benefits of the energy transition shouldn't disguise the fact that what we're all trying to do here is prevent a global catastrophe and the way things are going, we might not succeed, or only half succeed….

In short, getting to net zero will be a cost not a benefit, and the less it costs us now, the more likely it will be to fail, so the higher the cost later.

I understand the political and business impulse to talk it up and tell us that everything's going to be terrific, with a future made in Australia etc, because if they told us the truth we'd all line up at a bridge or tall building and jump off.


Well if Kohler is right and Bowen and Albo are wrong, better take a torch - there's a fair chance the lights will be out on the bridge or the tall building. It might be safer just to wait for reality to bite and follow other nations transitioning to clean green modern nuclear energy.


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About the Author

John Mikkelsen is a long term journalist, former regional newspaper editor, now freelance writer formerly of Gladstone in CQ, but now in Noosa. He is also the author of Amazon Books memoir Don't Call Me Nev.

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