The ongoing woke undermining of Australia’s economy

The march of the woke inspired destruction of the free-market economy continues apace. The additional baggage it is being required to carry is evident from articles and views from the past couple of day’s media.

The Business Council of Australia continues to call for additional costs to be imposed on the firms it is supposed to represent. Its CEO Jennifer Westacott wants to make domestic violence leave a right.  The sixty something says her mother was abused so why should not employers be required compensate women for being assaulted by their husbands/lovers?!

Australia’s two biggest fish farmers, Huon and Tassal, have paid ransoms for endorsement of WWF and RSPCA to declare their production processes to be ecologically friendly.  But WWF must be dissatisfied with the Danegeld and now spuriously claims that the firms’ fish farming is poisoning the waters. Moral: never trust the integrity of green activist agencies!

But decarbonisation pressures in the lead-up to the November Glasgow meeting remain the strongest threats, notwithstanding the latest IPCC report failing to show a climate crisis.  

To deflect a unilateral EU carbon tax on shipping, the New Daily reports that the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and Intercargo have jointly proposed a levy based on mandatory contributions for each tonne of CO2 emitted.

New impetus to the assault on hydrocarbons is provided by the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal, The Lancet and over 200 other medical journals.  They claim that current efforts aren’t enough to address health problems resulting from rising global temperatures caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. They call for “fundamental changes in how our societies and economies are organized and how we live” to limit future global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The AFR, as part of its unceasing campaign to impose decarbonisation costs on Australia (sometimes its refrain is that the outcome will be cost reducing) has an article by ESG hucksters, Cameron Hume, that wants us to be positive about the forced change. It notes that “the oil majors are those most exposed to the risks posed by climate change. Some may prosper by transitioning away from oil and gas to become broader energy companies.” That sort of simplistic thinking once caused Exxon to invest in nuclear power.  It did not go well.

Warming to the theme, the AFR has a piece about all the best firms (54 per cent of the S&P/ASX 100) adopting Net Zero emissions policies, “as research points to a quickening pace in global warming”. It opines that nothing will be lost as, “A survey of Australian companies in April found 40 per cent of businesses anticipated modest or significant value creation from sustainability programs.” Jennifer Hewitt rounds off the day’s campaign by concluding that pressure to adopt stronger ESG approaches, especially on hydrocarbons is only going one way.

And in what has been depicted as a re-positioning, The Australian editorial today says, “It is now clear that demands for climate action are being actively policed by major financial funds and institutions. And it is likely that trade sanctions soon may be applied to nations that do not take action considered sufficient by the EU and possibly the US. Australia must think clearly about how it intends to respond.” I addressed some of these points in an article published by The Spectator

At least Environment Minister Sussan Ley, not previously noted for taking strong positions, rejects Judge Bromberg’s absurd, economy crippling woke threats that she and business firms will breach “duty of care” to future generations if coal developments are approved.

That’s just one lonely straw in a wind of despair! But remember, only 12 months ago the Paris Climate treaty was dying with the rapidly deindustrialising EU its only serious champion.

12 thoughts on “The ongoing woke undermining of Australia’s economy”

  1. ESG hucksters

    ESG or, Triple Bottom Line accounting is just a pretense for do what the mob demands

    the “G” in ESG, is for governance … meaning that you’ll do as your’e told

    All.Your.Business.Now.Belong.Us


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  2. Well done Alan, on both articles.
    The other day I came upon this article: https://reneweconomy.com.au/renewable-energy-certificate-prices-plunge-as-regulator-says-its-ok-to-stall-24715/ , from 2019.

    The record level of large scale wind and solar installations is finally bringing down the long-inflated price of renewable energy certificates, which are now at less than half the price they were a year ago.

    The price of LGCs – the key currency and mechanism that has supported the renewable energy target – has slumped from near $86/MWh this time last year, and $80/MWh as recently as last June, to a low of $34.50 in January and $40/MWh now.

    Analysts say the fall is driven by the record levels of wind and solar farms already completed, and the huge pipeline of projects planned and under construction. This is likely to significantly exceed the 33,000GWh targeted by the RET.

    They also point to recent intervention by the Clean Energy Regulator, the body charged with managing the RET and other policies. For much of the past year, analysts say, the CER has been predicting a fall in prices – some say they have effectively been “jaw-boning” the market down.

    Others also point to an about face by the CER on the treatment of shortfalls. The legislation allows for retailers to avoid buying up to 10 per cent for their obligation and “carry it forward”, and to pay a penalty price if the shortfall is greater than 10 per cent.

    That shortfall penalty is $65/MWh, which effectively means the equivalent of $93/MWh as the expense is not tax deductible. However, it can be reversed if the shortfall is made up within three years
    Some retailers have chosen this as part of their management strategy, reasoning that paying the penalty when the price is high (as it had been for a few years), and then buying cheaper LGCs at a future date, was a smarter and cheaper way of managing their obligation.

    When ERM did this in 2017, it was named and shamed by the CER for not acting in the spirit of the act, although it made a lot of money doing so – a net profit of $35 million to $45 million to be realised over the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years, according to CEO John Stretch.

    When Alinta did this a year ago, barely a murmur was raised. And last October, the CER issued a statement that actually encouraged retailers and other obligated parties to adopt this strategy.

    “Given that the Renewable Energy Target will be clearly exceeded, the Clean Energy Regulator has no objections to the use of shortfall in the expectation that clients would true up these positions with LGCs in a subsequent year, as allowed for under the law,” it said in a statement.
    Certainly, the bet that future prices for LGC will be significantly lower are looking good. The price for calendar 2019 LGCs is $40/MWh, but the price for calendar 2020 LGCs is less than $24/MWh.

    This has several important impacts on the market, and the renewables industry in general. A large number of wind and solar projects have already been developed with a zero value of LGCs attributed to their projects, the certificates are just “bundled” in with power purchase agreements that still deliver a cost of electricity below the current market.

    Some projects choose to “go merchant”, and sell electricity and LGCs on the spot market, but anyone lending finance to such projects will be crediting little or no value to the LGCs over the long term. That may not be needed in any case, given the falling cost of wind and solar power, and the stubbornly high prices in the wholesale market.

    It also makes a nonsense of the scare campaigns led by conservatives, the Intitute of Public Affairs, the Murdoch media, and the Far Right in the Coalition, about the costs of the renewable energy target.

    They have produced ridiculous costings of the RET, based on the assumption that the price of all LGCs would be $80/MWh or more all the way out to 2030. Those assumptions ignored the fact that most LGCs were contracted, and not sold at the spot price, and many are contracted at prices of little or no value.

    The fact that the spot price is now half the price assumed by the naysers, some 10 years before the expiry of the scheme, and the futures price less than one third, should put paid to that nonsense. But don’t bet on it, because facts don’t count for much in a scare campaign.

    Consumers, however – and particularly those who buy “green energy” from their retailers, will be entitled to wonder why and for long long will they be paying inflated prices for doing what they consider to be the right thing. Just another area where some retailers are making off like bandits.

    Excuse the word-wall, I couldn’t decide which bits to cut out.
    In short, they don’t like it when the subsidies are fiddled with..


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  3. But remember, only 12 months ago the Paris Climate treaty was dying with the rapidly deindustrialising EU its only serious champion.

    The great re-set continues apace.


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  4. Our children are either going to live in a much poorer world, or lose their lives in the subsequent wars.
    Disgusting people have taken over all our institutions and are carrying out Khrushchev’s threat “We will bury you”.


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  5. Back in Black, and heavens I’m pleased to find you…

    As for the BCA, and the AFR, and all the other foolish bodies spruiking ESG, I’m actively positioned to avoid the remotest portfolio concentration like the plague. Why? Two reasons, one – buy when they’re walking and sell when they’re running, and two – the extent of greenwashing shenanigans is so vast the firms that get caught by bogus schemes face ASX oblivion.

    Then there’s “if in doubt – stay out” which should go without saying…
    moderated

  6. Fifty years ago the left was working on stifling enterprise and innovation, demanding that no changes could be made since it would mean jobs (and therefore people) would be redundant. They also pushed for wages to be raise so high above productivity that the best that businesses could hope for was to survive – if they had money to spend on growth then they had money to spend of higher wages.

    And often enough these businesses could not make it – and so the champions of Da Wukkaz lost them their jobs, but that was just uncontrolled greed rather than a plan. They wanted industry. They wanted jobs. It was just that they wanted to control it all.

    They wanted to create a big, clunky, out of date industrial base of the sort the USSR had.

    Fast forward to now. Having ossified Australian industry with their industrial action, regulations, and thoroughly mangled wage system this generation of lefties sets demands that might have been achievable to an extent if businesses had not been so hampered. Processes and technologies that might have come into existence have been denied us.

    The current crop of lefties and the older one would hate each other.


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