Flat White

Climate Change, the art of sophistry

18 July 2022

7:00 AM

18 July 2022

7:00 AM

Sophistry is the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.

Climate alarmists who know the world is not coming to an imminent end (and that they aren’t going to save the planet from apocalyptic destruction), are creating clever – but false – arguments.

There are plenty of them around in the ranks of the World Economic Forum, United Nations, and the world’s political parties. They are, to their eternal shame, exponents of the subtle art of sophistry.

These people continually end sentences with words like ‘climate action’, ‘tackle Climate Change’, and ‘climate is an existential threat’. This juxtaposition of words should not be used together in any sentence in the English language. They make no sense yet have become modern catchphrases.

The best way to combat the vagueness of climate alarmism is to present facts and specificity. Start with declaring what Climate Change is in clear English. Put simply, it is a change in government energy policy.

What is the estimated cost of changing energy policy from fossil fuel, oil and gas to wind and solar?

In 2018, a Yale University study in America estimated their cost of conversion to a new energy policy would be $4.5 trillion. Therefore, the ridiculous dismissal of cost by the Australian Labor-Green-Teal alliance is questionable.

In the recent Federal election, changing energy policy was taken out of the debate. The then Liberal government committed to the nebulous 2050 emission reduction target and a 35 per cent emission reduction by 2030 thus making changing energy policy a by-partisan approach. The current Labor government and all state governments are committing to even more ambitious changes to energy policies.

The costing of the changing energy policy was not debated because it was not an election issue. Nor was the potential harm to standards of living for almost all Australians.

The Labor government does not wave a magic wand and gift us a different energy infrastructure. There is a costly and onerous transition period that will have significant economic ramifications.

The good news is that there are in place principles of economics. These principles can assist in an educated and advanced society to calculate and plan efficiently such transitions over a period of time. Once we eliminate the alarmist rhetoric, we can establish that time is on our side and one of our greatest allies in changes to the energy policy.

Every major government policy change involves a cost-benefit analysis, yet the detail is lacking in the new Labor government regarding energy policy changes. The Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has a template of the major steps in a cost-benefit analysis which requires you to follow a logical sequence of nine steps. Step 5 of that logical sequence is referred to as ‘Monetise (place dollar values on) impacts’. Step 6 is ‘Discount future costs and benefits to obtain present values’. In other words, how will the cost of the change in energy policy impact on our current interest rates and current inflation?

If such a cost-benefit analysis has been conducted, why is it not made available for debate and scrutiny? If it has not been conducted, then all sides of a responsible Parliament should be demanding such an analysis.

If there is to be a policy shift from fossil fuel, petroleum, and natural gas to wind and solar energy what will be the impact of the products currently made from fossil fuels?

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) at least 144 products used commonly in the community come from fossil fuel. Each of those products produce other products and this multiplier effect penetrates almost every aspect of society until the effect of fossil fuels reaches thousands of products. This list was done in 2013 and has been growing ever since as new inventions are created.

The list contains such items as clothing, motor vehicle bodies, and parts, car tyres (and not just fuel-injected cars but electric motor vehicles as well), parts for white goods, water pipes, cortisone, aspirin, antiseptics (what will happen if there is another Covid breakout), fertilisers, house paint, eyeglasses, artificial limbs, dentures, heart valves, and the list go on and on.

Fossil fuel and petroleum products have a significant impact on our food supplies and every doctor’s surgery, hospital, and operating theatre has equipment that owes its existence to fossil fuels in some way.

Consider for example a factory manufacturing site. Almost every item of machinery owes its existence in some way to fossil fuel. The more the federal Labor government and state governments phase out fossil fuel the scarcer the items of production become. The scarcer, the more expensive and the greater cost of production. The greater the cost of production the greater the end price to the consumer. Multiply this by almost every consumable item in the Australian market and the result is economic disaster.

The Labor government must have a costed plan for this potential outcome. If they have, they should make it public. If they have not, it would be an extraordinary act of irresponsibility.

Governments in Australia seem to have confined principles of economics to the desk drawer never to see the light of day. They are also not interested in science. One of our best scientists, Professor Ian Plimer has written extensively opposing the climate apocalypse theory and in an article in May 2022 he scientifically showed that Australia is already at Net Zero emissions.

Prime Minister Albanese was asked, ‘What do you want your legacy as Prime Minister to be?’

His one-word response was, ‘Climate.’

He may be poor at the art of sophistry, but it is sophistry, nevertheless.

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