Apply the Kevin test
American climate change warriors want to knock down buildings and ban cars, but they would be wise to look at what happened in Australia under Kevin Rudd’s rule
’Always patch test first on an inconspicuous area,” warns the label on most containers of fabric stain remover. This is good advice, and not just for those who don’t want to ruin their clothes.
It is also a wise move for politicians who may wish to avoid destroying their entire country.
Democrat child senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts museum-piece Ed Markey last week presented their resolution for a Green New Deal, which is possibly the least sane assembly of proposals ever to emerge from the US capital.
Among other things, the Green New Deal calls for upgrading or replacing every building in the US — from New York’s Empire State to Eugene’s Hot Chicken in Birmingham, Alabama — for “state of the art energy efficiency”.
The New York Times described this and other Green New Deal measures as “ambitious”, a novel usage opening bright new employment opportunities for that particular term.
“The accused was found not guilty by reason of ambition,” for example.
“He will be confined until such time as his condition improves to a treatment facility for the mentally ambitious.”
Every Democrat presidential frontrunner quickly endorsed the Green New Deal, evidently before reading further details of the plan in a now-deleted post at Ocasio-Cortez’s website.
These included decommissioning all US nuclear plants, adding high-speed rail lines “at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”, replacing “every combustion-engine vehicle”, and, of course, the nationwide destruction or retrofitting of more than 120 million buildings.
Perhaps it would be prudent to first patch-test these ideas on an inconspicuous area.
Like, say, the block where Ocasio-Cortez lives.
Or, even easier, perhaps US Democrats could look to Australia.
Ten years ago a federal Labor government attempted to put in place a miniature version of the Green New Deal. So we’ve been down that road before. Or, rather, we’ve been in that roof. Then-prime minister Kevin Rudd and his treasurer Wayne Swan announced the Energy Efficient Homes Package in 2009.
“To support jobs and set Australia up for a low-carbon future, the Rudd government will install free ceiling insulation in around 2.7 million Australian homes,” a press release from Swan’s office declared.
“For a time-limited period of two and a half years, from 1 July 2009, owner-occupiers without ceiling insulation will be eligible for free product and installation (capped at $1600) simply by making a phone call.”
In many cases those calls weren’t necessary. At The Daily Telegraph, we first discovered something was amiss with the Energy Efficient Homes Package when our chief of staff ordered a home-delivered pizza.
To her surprise, the delivery boy also offered to provide an insulation quote.
There were only 250 registered insulation installation businesses in Australia when the package was announced. That number quickly blew out to 7000, because the government was handing out free money to installers. Pizza boys could pick up more in one insulation job than from a year’s worth of tips.
They received their rebates directly from the government rather than from home owners, who therefore had no incentive at all to check if the work had been done well or even done at all. Some ceilings ended up with a mere handful of insulation batts thrown around. Others featured only shredded paper.
Naturally, just about every insulation job went right up to the $1600 cap, regardless of size or ceiling area. The government’s pizza boy insulation army worked at frantic speed, eager to cash in while they could.
When the difference between five jobs done reasonably well and eight jobs done in careless haste is $4800, a short amount of time represents one hell of a lot of money. And that’s when the deaths began. Four young men were killed while installing insulation under the government’s program, three due to electrocution and one from hypothermia during the Australian summer.
Dozens more workers, few of them with experience, suffered injuries and heat stroke. Nearly 100 houses were set on fire. A program intended to combat global warming was instead causing intense and highly localised heating. Environment Minister Peter Garrett, whose hits as Midnight Oil’s lead singer included 1987’s Beds Are Burning, subsequently announced the planned deregistration or suspension of 5000 installers.
Those suspensions were never required. In February 2010, one year after the Energy Efficient Homes Package was introduced, it was completely abandoned.
Speaking of utopian visions devised by incompetent idiots, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez staffer Saikat Chakrabati last week explained how his boss’s hilarious summary of the Green New Deal appeared at her site before being hastily taken down.
The summary was “an early draft … that was clearly unfinished” and it “got published to the website by mistake”.
So these people wish to reshape a nation of 325 million people but can’t get it together to run the right thing online.
Patch-test first on an inconspicuous area, kids. Works for clothes. Works for ruinous climate change policies, too.
He will be confined until such time as his condition improves to a secure treatment facility for the mentally ambitious