Pol­icy driven by mad­ness

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

Have you heard about the lat­est insanity driven by our emis­sions ob­ses­sion? It seems that Aus­tralians are go­ing to have to stop buy­ing just about all of the mo­tor cars we cur­rently choose to drive, or bal­ance the sales of our cur­rently pop­u­lar cars with equal pur­chases of elec­tric cars, in or­der to meet an aver­age car­bon diox­ide emis­sions tar­get of 105 grams per kilo­me­tre by 2025.

Of the top 20 cars sold here in Aus­tralia, not one con­sis­tently meets this tar­get.

Un­der plans be­ing pre­pared for the Min­is­te­rial Fo­rum on Ve­hi­cle Emis­sions — led by Ci­ties Min­is­ter Paul Fletcher and En­ergy Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg — car­mak­ers would have to meet this tar­get as an aver­age for all the ve­hi­cles they might sell in Aus­tralia. So, for every Toy­ota HiLux or Ford Ranger sold (both with dou­ble the al­lowed aver­age emis­sions), there’d have to be an elec­tric car sold too — or the car­maker would face fines for breach­ing the limit (which would be just passed on to con­sumers by way of higher car prices).

Here’s the Or­wellian dou­ble­s­peak from Paul Fletcher, one of the min­is­ters try­ing to jus­tify what is in fact a car­bon tax on cars.

He says while the gov­ern­ment is yet to fi­nalise its pol­icy, “un­der a fuel ef­fi­ciency stan­dard, the aver­age mo­torist could save up to $500 a year in fuel costs”. Does he think we’re stupid? That was the line with the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency stan­dards, wind and so­lar farms, sup­pos­edly cut­ting our elec­tric­ity bills. In­stead they’ve dou­bled in a decade.

Well here’s some­thing the gov­ern­ment won’t tell you. In­sist­ing on a much lower car­bon emis­sions stan­dard is de­signed to force us to buy elec­tric cars and the crazy thing is that in Aus­tralia, where elec­tric­ity is still mostly gen­er­ated from coal and will be for a long time, emis­sions from elec­tric cars of­ten ex­ceed the emis­sions from fu­el­ef­fi­cient petrol or diesel ve­hi­cles.

In Europe, the ex­am­ple favoured by gov­ern­ment, their elec­tric­ity has a heavy com­po­nent of nu­clear power, and guess what? That’s re­li­able, baseload and has zero emis­sions. And for things like charging, their travel dis­tances are much smaller too; noth­ing like Aus­tralia’s re­mote ge­og­ra­phy. De­spite all of this, Josh Fry­den­berg reck­ons there’ll be a mil­lion elec­tric ve­hi­cles on our roads in just 12 years’ time — up from just 4000 now. He’s even put $100 mil­lion of your money on the ta­ble to get buy­ers into elec­tric cars. But with a sticker price around $200,000, it’s un­likely aver­age earn­ers will be tak­ing up th­ese sub­sidised car loans.

Ironic isn’t it? We stopped sub­si­dis­ing low-priced, lo­cally made cars be­cause it was bad eco­nomics, only to start sub­si­dis­ing ex­pen­sive for­eign-made cars be­cause it’s sup­posed to save the planet.

Now, I’m all in favour of cleaner cars. Par­tic­u­late emis­sions, which used to cause the chok­ing smog in ci­ties, have been all-but-elim­i­nated. But car­bon diox­ide is not pol­lu­tion. It’s a nat­u­ral trace gas that’s es­sen­tial for life — and while we shouldn’t wan­tonly in­crease car­bon diox­ide emis­sions — hit­ting Aus­tralian con­sumers with even more costs when Aus­tralia is re­spon­si­ble for just 1 per cent of all man-made emis­sions is just crazy.

Emis­sions re­duc­tion policies have al­ready dou­bled your power bill, killed jobs and driven in­dus­tries off­shore. It was bad enough to have the green re­li­gion dam­age the power sec­tor but now it’s com­ing for Aus­tralia’s trans­port sec­tor too. Make no mis­take. Un­less some­one has the gump­tion to de­mand an end to this mad­ness, in around six years’ time this same green re­li­gion is go­ing to put the price of cars in this coun­try through the roof.

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