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

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News -

’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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.