Guest Notes

Dis-con notes

23 October 2021

9:00 AM

23 October 2021

9:00 AM

ScoMo will lose, thanks to net zero

Last week I focused on the media noise over AUKUS and nuclear-powered submarines. Today, ‘the resident galah in every pet shop in Australia’ (to quote Paul keating) has been insisting that the government commit to net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. As Vladimir Ilyich reportedly said, what is to be done? To answer that question, we need to ask another. What is this fuss over CO2 emissions all about? Is there any intellectual substance to it? – or is it now just a quasi-religious belief, indeed a genuine cult, with all the ‘Last Days’ overtones that are the signature utterances of such worshippers?

The answers to those questions are that no, the net zero push is essentially without intellectual foundation; and its adherents are driven not by reason, but by their cultist religious fervour. Would-be persuasive arguments will not move them one iota.

What then of the push by Scott Morrison’s Liberal party for his Coalition government to endorse this cult? Morrison may not be the sharpest knife in the intellectual toolbox, but no reasonable person would suggest that he has surrendered his own Pentecostal religious beliefs (one of the very few things in which he does apparently believe) to be driven down the net zero religion road.

Will some facts help? Probably not, but they should be stated anyway. Space precludes an exhaustive list, but here are a few.

Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless, non-toxic gas constituting 0.04 per cent (four one-thousandths) of the world’s atmosphere. How can any sane person really believe that reducing its minuscule presence even by (say) a quarter could make the slightest difference to the world’s temperature? As George Orwell said, only an intellectual could believe such stuff; no ordinary person would be so stupid.

Equally fundamental is the fact – which ought to be game, set and match for our farmers and their parliamentary representatives – that CO2 is plant food. Every high school botany student knows that CO2 is a vital ingredient in the natural photosynthetic process that underlies all vegetation growth. It is that process, indeed, that millions of years ago, when the world was much warmer than today, and plants flourished accordingly, led to the laying down of the world’s coal, oil and natural gas deposits whose burning today is returning a small portion of their ‘embedded CO2’ to our atmosphere (and oceans).

Notwithstanding all these (and other) facts, people have been subjected for decades to the Animal Farm-like chant of ‘climate change supporters good, climate change deniers bad’. (In truth, everyone agrees that climates change over time; the only question is whether that derives from human activity or natural variability.) It’s therefore not surprising to find opinion polls (many of them asking loaded questions) purporting to ‘prove’ that majority public feeling agrees with not only the existence of some undefined ‘climate change’, but also believes our governments ‘should do something about it’. The potential costs of doing so are never spelled out. What the editor-in-chief of this magazine described on October 9 as the ‘carpetbagging “renewable investment”’ fraternity has already cost us many billions and continues doing so.

But facts-based, logical arguments cut no ice with greedy corporate chieftains whose eyes light up at the prospect of making fortunes from the net zero emissions push. Consider the recent despicable example of the Business Council of Australia. During the 2019 federal election, that body described Labor’s then policy (reducing emissions by 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030) as ‘wrecking’ our economy.

And well they might: pre-election, a groundbreaking study by Dr Brian Fisher (the highly respected former head of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics) revealed the huge cost Labor’s policy would impose on Australia’s GDP growth, workers’ real wages, and job losses of around 330,000. Yet now the BCA trots out a dodgy model to demand a 46-50 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, and net zero by 2050, to make us better off. Do these charlatans – and the Morrison government – take us all for fools (or knaves)?

With current demand for coal, natural gas and oil pushing their respective prices sky-high, could there be a more obviously stupid approach to policy than that contemplated with seeming equanimity by Morrison and co. of ‘phasing out’ those industries over some undefined ‘transition period’? Verily, the mind boggles.

Boris Johnson’s COP26 gathering in Glasgow (31 October to 12 November) is already doomed to failure. China’s Xi Jinping will not attend and his representatives will certainly not contribute one jot to its CO2 emissions-reducing objectives. The Indians will attend, but only to tell us why they too will not cut their emissions. The developing countries (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) will follow their examples, whatever they may say in Glasgow. The Europeans will, as usual, talk big and act small.

Amid all the net zero chatter, remember too that man proposes but God disposes. Right on cue pre-Glasgow He has shown us how puny we are when Nature’s forces are arrayed against us. Two volcanoes – Fagradalsfjall in Iceland and La Palma in the Canary Islands – have erupted, pumping out many gigatonnes of CO2 to reverse whatever emission cuts we little humans may have been achieving. Might snow fall in Glasgow next month, while the UK shivers in an energy crisis? Cartoonists will have a field day!

I said here last week that, by signing us up to the Glasgow fantasia, Scott Morrison, despite his recent AUKUS/nuclear-powered submarines triumph, will still lose the coming election. Recall the 1999 republic referendum, when without exception the Yes vote had every media organisation on its side. We No voters then rallied around our slogan: ‘Vote NO to the politicians’ republic’. Come the election, I can already see the billboards: ‘Vote NO to the politicians’ net zero’.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments