1 year ago




52 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 in operation and 395 are already planned or under construction. What do the Greens have to say to that? 'We want to shut down Australia's few coal-fired plants that deliver industry affordable power, that deliver power for Australians at a reasonable price, and that ensure that we do not have the blackouts such as we have had in South Australia in recent days.' I am delighted that the Greens have again brought this debate before the chamber to highlight their absolute inability to understand what is right for Australia and what impact high-quality, accessible, affordable coal reserves have on Australia, on the Australian economy and on our ability to get cheaper power. With the latest generation or next generation of high-efficiency low-emissions technology and advanced ultra-supercritical generation, emissions from Australia can be reduced by up to 34 per cent. Isn't that a goal we should be aiming for at the same time as providing jobs for Queenslanders and cheap power for Queenslanders and Australians? I urge Adani to continue with its coal proposition in Central Queensland. I am very much looking forward to the jobs that would create—which the Greens have no interest in. The Greens have not one bit of interest in the unemployed or in the small businesses that will benefit out of this. And I certainly look forward to it, and I encourage Adani at every stage to proceed with this wonderful project for Australia. (Time expired) Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (16:53): As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia I am relishing the debate on this matter of public importance on renewable energy. We have been in the Senate for just three months and already we have changed the tone of this debate. I must acknowledge the contribution by Senator Macdonald at the end of last year, when he said that we have never had a debate on climate in this parliament and that thanks to me we have started that debate. He has shown integrity and honesty in doing so, and now we will continue the debate. Let me break this down as scientifically and as clearly as I can. Let's have some education for these people. Carbon dioxide is a gas—a colourless, odourless, tasteless trace gas that is essential to all life on this planet. Carbon is a solid. It is a usually black solid, but it is also the solid in a diamond ring. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is colourless, odourless, tasteless. Yet the greens are obsessed with carbon. Hydrogen and carbon atoms make up hydrocarbons. We burn them and the hydrogen combines with the oxygen to form H20—water, which is essential, for life on this planet. The carbon in hydrocarbons combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, essential to all life on this planet. Coal is clean, and we cannot affect the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, because that is determined by the oceans, which contain 50 to 70 times more carbon dioxide than in the entire atmosphere. Secondly, coal has saved the whales and the forests on this planet, because, as a result of coal and oil, we have been able to industrialise and prosper, and with that comes protection of the environment. But wait: we have reversed 160 years of prosperity and industrial evolution and we are now going backwards with renewable energy and storage. We have wind farms that are bird killers, human hurters—they hurt the hearing—and energy killers. And do you know that the carbon dioxide produced in the construction of a wind farm is greater than the carbon dioxide it saves in its entire life? It is a net producer of carbon dioxide. Solar power is wonderful for powering during the day—but hang on: there is the night-time, so we need double the capacity for storage. Oh, and then there are inefficiencies, so we need triple—and that is why the cost of that is not productive. But the Liberals and the Nationals—I had a visit to Barnaby Joyce's electorate office in St George when he was a senator, and he told me, looked me in the eye, just two meters from me—the overwhelming majority of the coalition partners are skeptics. And he was sure that all of the Nationals were skeptics—strong skeptics. But noone says anything. The Liberal-Nationals are like sycophantic leeches who like to tuck their knees under the tables on every failed energy policy until this one, and they have at last seen the light—that renewable energy has hurt us. The energy market has been destroyed by all parties in this Senate due to subsidies, regulations, vested interests and political interference that make it unmanageable—it is completely unmanageable. And Queensland, a state with the best coal in the world, is now facing, as of yesterday, $13,000 per megawatt hour. Yet we have the cheapest, cleanest coal in the world. Senator Hanson-Young disgraced herself last Friday in a committee by trying to pin the blame on the Australian Energy Market Operator. Senator Xenophon is guilty for destroying his own state. Senator Bernardi has helped destroy his own state by being silent. Hopefully he will start to speak up. Only Senators Leyonhjelm, Lambie and Hinch and Pauline Hanson's One Nation senators are not guilty of destroying jobs and industry, because energy is fundamental to our society and to the future of this planet. The ultimate misrepresenter is Senator McAllister, because, without having any empirical evidence, she misrepresents the fact that I have presented the empirical evidence. But then the Prime Minister—he has had 10 years of a narrative demonising carbon dioxide, and what have we got? Ten years of policy demonising carbon dioxide and the need to cut its products, and then he switches, overnight, with no change in the narrative, to be CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 53 like a shag on a rock, a cold, grey bird sitting on a cold, miserable day. Is he about to change the climate policy? That is what we are after next, and we are coming to get you. Everything green on this planet is green because of the carbon dioxide. (Time expired) Senator MARSHALL (Victoria) (16:58): I do not know whether to laugh or cry after hearing Senator Roberts's contribution to the debate on this matter of public importance. I should laugh because I have never heard so much stupidity in my life. It sounds like it is coming from the Illuminati that seem to support you—or maybe the lizard people, those humanoid lizard creatures that you also believe in. Or should I cry because this is the level of debate that is actually now in this chamber and there are people who actually believe these sorts of things and are peddling this absolute nonsense, as if there is no evidence out there that the climate is being affected and is being changed? Apart from yourself and everyone in Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party, you have managed to attack everybody else in the chamber. Apparently the three of you have this superior knowledge that seems to come from some being somewhere, despite all the settled evidence that has been around for decades—absolute decades. We may disagree in this chamber on the way to try to remove the pollution from our society that is creating climate change, and that is a fair debate to have. But you come in here and say—Senator Macdonald has acknowledged this—until this year, there has never been a debate about climate in the parliament. Who told you that, Senator? Who whispered in your ear in the dark of night? The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Ketter): Order! Senator Marshall, please address your comments to the chair. Senator MARSHALL: Thank you, and I should. I am glad Senator Roberts is going, because I might be able to move on and say something about the science in a moment. There must be some voices whispering in Senator Roberts's ears, saying, 'There hasn't been a debate in the federal parliament about climate change,' even though, for the last two decades, there has. It has probably been one of the most debated issues in this parliament over the last 20 years. But anyway, the voices, the voices, Senator Roberts, the voices—they are out there somewhere. Ignore them! Ignore them, if you can. I do not want to give Senator Bernardi a plug, but to say that he has been silenced on this issue is another quite extraordinary claim. Let us leave your contribution to one side, Senator Roberts, because, seriously, you should go back and reread it. That was appalling. I want to go back to Senator McKim's contribution, because, quite frankly, I found that a little bit offensive too—he said that everyone else in this chamber makes him sick about where we have gone with this. Senator McKim: I was talking about the left hand side. Senator MARSHALL: All right. I want to remind Senator McKim—I know he was not in the chamber at the time—that in 2009 the Greens stood shoulder to shoulder with the climate change sceptics over there and voted down the emissions trading scheme that we put before the Senate. Let me tell you, the voting down of that scheme at that time pushed back the momentum on the introduction of renewable energies. It pushed back the investment in renewable energies in this country, and many job opportunities at that time were lost, because you stood shoulder to shoulder with the sceptics over there and voted that scheme down. Senator Back, who I have enormous respect for, made the point that coal is going to be part of the energy mix, not only in Australia but in the rest of the world, for a while yet. That is absolutely true; we cannot simply say we are going to close all our coal-fired power stations tomorrow. We cannot do that, because this government does not have any energy plan for what would come after that. Senator Back is also right: coal will remain in our energy mix. But it will not be forever; eventually coal will be gone from the energy mix. In the interim, on the journey to not using coal at all, if we can use more high-intensity, less-polluting coal, that would be a good thing, and we should do that. In that respect, Senator Back is absolutely right. Let us look at where we are now. The emissions trading schemes that most countries have put in place and that we had in place in two forms for a while were letting the market determine the energy mix for us—given the goals that we had to set to reduce our emissions. In the first instance, with new technologies, if you are going to intervene in that marketplace you intervene to give someone who is at a disadvantage more of an advantage so that they can compete. Naturally, in renewable energies there were subsidies, and I think that was quite right. Those subsidies have driven changes in technology and improvements that we could not dream about only a decade ago. A decade ago, we could not dream about the advances in solar technology and battery storage power. It has been one of the most extraordinary technological advances that we have seen, and that has come as a result of worldwide targets, subsidies and investments made on the back of those subsidies to generate the development of those technologies. Those technologies are increasing exponentially, and they are already now at the stage where investors will not invest in coal-fired power, because renewable energies are cheaper. Renewable energy power is now cheaper than CHAMBER

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