Say no to the NEG

Dear Libs, it’s time to re­ject the PM’s fu­tile, point­less and ex­pen­sive con

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Opinion - AN­DREW BOLT

At­ten­tion, Lib­eral MPs. To­mor­row is when you start fight­ing or slouch to de­feat. It’s when you stand against id­iocy or be for­ever damned as sheep. To­mor­row is when Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull calls a party room meet­ing to tell you what you will do about the Na­tional En­ergy Guar­an­tee. But it must be the day when you turn the ta­bles and say: enough.

Say no to this fu­tile, point­less and ex­pen­sive con — a global warm­ing scheme to cut emis­sions that this gov­ern­ment pre­tends is a scheme to cut elec­tric­ity prices in­stead.

Dear Lib­er­als, no one buys that spin. We know your scheme has tar­gets for cut­ting emis­sions but none for cut­ting prices.

And no mat­ter how bril­liantly the Prime Min­is­ter thinks his gov­ern­ment is play­ing the pol­i­tics of your NEG — an acro­nym and plan not one in a 1000 vot­ers un­der­stands — you and I know the truth.

Vot­ers are telling ev­ery poll­ster they are fu­ri­ous about soar­ing elec­tric­ity prices. Ex­pect­ing them to ad­mire your NEG is like ex­pect­ing an AFL grand fi­nal crowd to clap you for stag­ing a game of ten­nis in­stead. What on earth are you think­ing? Even if this scheme made sense, it would not cut prices this side of next year’s elec­tion. You’d just be telling vot­ers to trust you to cut prices when they have no rea­son to.

At best, you’d sim­ply cre­ate a global warm­ing scheme that the new La­bor gov­ern­ment will thank you for — and hang around your neck as one you wanted, too. How does that make po­lit­i­cal sense?

But let’s now talk about the na­tional in­ter­est. Ask your­selves: why are you push­ing a scheme to cut emis­sions when even Chief Sci­en­tist Alan Finkel, him­self a warmist, ad­mits we are so small the dif­fer­ence any cuts would make to the cli­mate is “vir­tu­ally noth­ing”? Why are you so de­ter­mined to cut emis­sions when there has been next to no warm­ing this cen­tury? Why are you so de­ter­helped mined to cut our tiny emis­sions un­der the Paris Agree­ment when the world’s three gi­ants — China, the United States and In­dia — have ei­ther pulled out or been al­lowed to ramp up their own emis­sions?

How do you ex­plain your blind com­mit­ment to a Paris Agree­ment that un­der the best es­ti­mate — by Pro­fes­sor Bjorn Lom­borg — would cut the world’s tem­per­a­ture by just 0.053C by 2100, and only if ev­ery na­tion met its prom­ises, which most won’t?

How do you ex­plain to vot­ers why you push global warm­ing schemes which have to close nine coal-fired power sta­tions in six years, mak­ing power prices jump?

How do you ex­plain to pensioners who can­not now af­ford to heat their homes that their sac­ri­fice is worth it even though it makes no dif­fer­ence to the cli­mate?

Why are you in­flict­ing all this pain for zero gain? None of it makes sense.

Min­is­ters ar­gue that they need this com­pro­mise with La­bor to fi­nally give in­vestors the “cer­tainty” they need to in­vest again in more power sta­tions, and in­vest with such added con­fi­dence that they take less in prof­its and pass on the sav­ings to vot­ers.

Dear me. Such naivety. Where is the “cer­tainty” in a NEG that will ac­tu­ally make it eas­ier for the next La­bor gov­ern­ment to de­mand even big­ger cuts in our emis­sions — 50 per cent, if you please, with its Greens al­lies de­mand­ing 100 per cent?

Dear Lib­eral MPs, all this is mad­ness and I bet al­most ev­ery one of you knows it. So why go along with it?

Some of you tell me you must be­cause re­ject­ing this NEG would un­der­mine your prime min­is­ter, Mal­colm Turn­bull, a global warm­ing fa­natic.

But how can you un­der­mine a dead man? I write this with­out know­ing the re­sults of to­day’s Newspoll, but you all know the weight of ev­i­dence sug­gests you have lost the elec­tion al­ready. You must change course. If Turn­bull can’t sell the kind of new pol­icy you need — cut­ting elec­tric­ity prices, not emis­sions — then find your­self a new leader who can. And if you lose the elec­tion any­way, at least you’ll be in bet­ter shape to fight the next. You can say “I told you so” as La­bor makes power prices even worse.

But in the end the choice is ba­sic: did you re­ally get into pol­i­tics to make Australians suf­fer for noth­ing?

Please, this is the time for se­ri­ous Lib­eral men and women to say no to stu­pid­ity. Just be­cause ev­ery­one around you has lost their head is no rea­son for you to lose your own.

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