Fossil fuel lobby on thin ice in RET argument

Thin ice sign and a power station

Ever wondered how to lie with statistics? Ask a fossil fuel lobbyist.

As the renewable energy target review commission prepares to bring down its findings, a battle royale rages over how to interpret the economic modelling. Stacked with climate change deniers and fossil fuel-connected industry types, the review committee has been well and truly nobbled. It’s decision is pretty much sealed. For as Basic Governance 101 tells us: you never appoint a review unless you know the outcome.

However the battle to win hearts and minds continues and the desperation of the FossilFuelCentral folks to grasp at something…anything…to bolster their case to abolish the RET is clearly evident. How disappointing then for the FFC spin doctors that the latest of their commissioned reports showed that the cost of a renewable energy target for Australian households is negligible. This before the benefits to jobs, investment, climate change is counted.

As this article from RenewEconomy shows, the cost of a renewable energy target to Australians is a mere $1.00 a week. That’s right….$1.00 a week. Even this modelling has been dismissed by clean energy groups as being based on data that is out of date.

According to the Clean Energy Council’s Russell Marsh: “Deloitte has used a range of different assumptions that have been used by some other modelling that’s come out recently,” he said. “One of the particular things is that they’re using, what we would consider, out of date figures for the cost of renewable energy.

“They’re effectively inflating the cost of the RET.”

But key business groups must at least be happy that they have finally found an economic modelling agency that backs their claims that the RET will actually increase household electricity prices. Previous modelling by the pro-government ACIL Allen agency found electricity prices would be cheaper for the consumer in the long run if the RET was maintained. This was backed by findings from Roam Consulting — who were commissioned by the Clean Energy Council — that showed household bills would be $50 a year lower by 2020.

However the weight of evidence hasn’t stopped key mining and business industry lobby groups from swinging into action to call for the RET’s dismissal or watering down. The pressure is being brought to bear with a constant drumbeat of misinformation that is aimed at consumers through spurious editorials, megaphone shock jocks and shrill opinion pieces. None of which is based on fact.

With the renewable energy target review commission soon to produce its expected anti-RET findings, the focus will shift to the Senate where the government, backed by its findings, will look to influence Palmer United Party senators who are currently wavering. Indeed Big Clive (showman that he is) is playing the populist card for all its worth and saying he will block any moves to remove the RET. The government for its part will attempt to sway the PUP senators by presenting its case. If Clive and the PUPs are genuine, they’ll look at the full evidence on the effectiveness of the RET, not just the government/mining lobby case.

We live in interesting times. Stay tuned.


  1. Just read a puff piece in the online press headlining / heralding our PM as ‘leading the world’. Doublespeak has never been more evident, before or after 1984. Don’t hold your breath hoping for a coal miner to support clean energy reforms, either. The best thing voters can give these liars is enough rope… .

    • Better yet:- No votes! Why do all you people persist in voting for bloody politicians.
      Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is a good definition of insanity.

  2. Yes Minister says

    I can’t help thinking that if our judiciary wasn’t every bit as corrupt as the politicians, it wouldn’t be impossible to use overseas knowledge, experience & trends to force a re-think of renewable energy policies in Australia. As it is, the bewigged penguins invariably support mainstream political thinking regardless of how moronic they might be. One only needs to consider the myriad of mindless schemes with which Australians have been saddled in the past despite them being proven failures everywhere else on planet earth. Hopefully it will pan out as suggested by ‘sv’ …. we’ve certainly given Wacky Wabbott & Noddy Newman more than sufficient rope with which to do themselves a mischief. Its not that the previous turkeys were anything to write home about however despite their utter ineptitude in many areas, they were probably a tad better than what we have now. For the peanut gallery, my ancestors since the Crusades were all rusted-on conservatives however I can’t imagine those clowns (the LNP flavour anyway) getting any support in the forseeable future.

    • Rich Bowden says

      Are you calling in a complete sign of ineptitude from our pollies Yes Minister? Or would naked ideology play a part? Either way your comments are, as always, thoughtful and welcome.

  3. David Maddern says

    The LNP flavour idiots you refer the are the first Tea Party Government in the world. Moderates like Turnbull are on the outer. The Billie Tea Brigade won’t last another election.
    On September 21 we have a National Day of Climate Action. Get out in your city and show them.
    CORENA is hoping we can raise enough from the crowds to help build Solar Thermal at Pt Augusta ( ) CORENA is a non profit , volunteer run Incorporated Association.
    If you happen to know anyone who is drafting their will and wondering, our Quick Win Fund is dedicated to put more solar on public use buildings and awards interest free loans to target organisations and gets paid back from savings. No fees are extracted, so every dollar keeps going on this cycle for the foreseeable future, putting up more and more solar, benefitting the society a person has moved on from.

  4. Yes Minister says

    Ineptitude is an obvious issue with both LNP / ALP and their Family First / Greens spinoffs, however its probably TOO obvious and as such I believe it masks the real issues. Idealogy is certainly a bit closer to the root of the problem but one also needs to question the true allegiance of ostensibly ‘honorable’ members. This needs to be very closely scrutinized because the vast majority of their electors definitely don’t figure in the equation. Then there is the question of why a geriatric media mogul with questionable motives and who who had no compulsions about divesting himself of Australian citizenship be allowed **ANY** input whatever into local politics. What really worries me is the unquestioning loyalty of remaining rusted-on party faithful (of whatever colour) despite any amount of evidence that the major political parties are light-years past their use-by date.

  5. Richard Cole says

    Clive Palmer & his “pups”. Billions at his disposal, One might get the opinion that he’s a closet Liberal, sort of like the DLP & later the Nats to shaw up the vote count. The previous turkeys are just that, of all things granting PELS to anyone that wanted them, I don’t think that they’re to be trusted in government not without a signed document to state they will cancel all PELS in NSW. In other words a change of government will not guarantee what the community wants…………….

  6. Rich Bowden says

    Interesting points raised. Have we moved beyond party affiliation in support for renewables (as in the new NSW governent? Or are we stuck with old, outdated ideologies? Perhaps that is the question…

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