Allan Takes Aim Blog

Meet the new Luddites

Posted on: 16 March 2011

First Posted The Chronicle, Tuesday, March 15

 Reports by experts often confuse rather than inform. For example: reports of various experts say the National Broadband Network (NBN) will cost either $36 or $44 billion while some say the cost could be $100 billion. I can only say that if the experts can’t agree and because Government seems loath to publish details, lttle wonder voters are confused as to the real cost of the NBN.

Another example is the recent report from the Climate Change Institute, ‘Clean Energy Jobs in Regional Australia’ which says that almost 34,000 jobs could be generated in regional Australia by 2030 if the Government introduced ‘strong and decisive pollution and climate change policies, including a price-tag on pollution.’

The 34,00 jobs are hailed as a green miracle. But are they? Not according to Bjorn Lomborg, Danish academic, environmental writer, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, former director of the Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, who wrote recently: ‘the purported economic payoffs, above all the promise of so-called “green jobs,” does not measure up to economic reality.’

Lomborg’s words are supported by Gurcan Gulen, senior energy economist at the Centre for Energy Economics, Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas, Austin, who, when asked to assess  ‘state of the science” in defining, measuring and predicting the creation of green jobs, concluded that ‘job creation cannot be defended as another benefit of well-meaning green policies.’ In his view, the number of jobs these policies create is likely to be offset – or worse – by the number of jobs they destroy.

Gulen’s analysis also raises the question: are the alleged 34,000 jobs really new jobs or simply replacements of jobs that were lost of jobs because of the Green ‘revolution.’ In any case 34,000 new jobs is nothing to crow about when one takes into consideration the 19 years between 2011 and 2030.

Take a look. Divide 34,000÷19 means that 1789 jobs would be created annually. And if one treats the States and Territories as equals, another equally simple calculation 1789 ÷ 8, means that every State and Territory will get 225 jobs. As I said 34,000 jobs over 19 years is not something to crow about when one thinks that by 2030 Australia’s population will have grown by millions.

Strangely, or so it seems to me, some unions support the Institute’s views despite the majority of people and most businesses in regional Australia diasgreeing with the report’s proposals because the extra expenses they will have to bear will cause the loss of business and jobs.

 These extra expenses, dearer fuel, dearer electricity, will make running a business and ordinary living more expensive. And though they will affect productivity, reduce employment and cut people’s disposable income, how these problems are to be overcome has scarcely been addressed.

This confirms both Lomborg’s and Gulen’s views that to make a sustainable shift to fossil fuels will require low carbon energy to be cheaper and more efficient. But other than solar panels and wind farms is there a reliable method of producing clean energy? There is, but unfortunately despite Green calls for clean, cheap energy, they seem afraid to use the word nuclear in case they get struck down by a stray radiation source.

And while comparisons may be odious, in promoting their environmental agenda, the Greens and their supporters have become the Luddites of the late 20th and now 21st century. And just as the original Luddites fought against the introduction of new technology, the Greens and their disciples will do their utmost to prevent nuclear technology being employed to produce the clean energy that would curb the global warming they say is destroying planet earth.    

In my view, the efforts of organisations such as the Institute of Climate Change and Green movements would be better directed at trying to persuade Governments to invest in the rapid development of clean fusion energy rather than assist in the development of technological dinosaurs whose effect on global warming will, at best, be minimal or nil.

Come the next elections, if voters adopt the Irish solution by electing fewer Greens, they will have shown that they think their energy policies are of little value.

The Chronicle for Canberra’s best community news. Published every Tuesday


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