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Seasonís greetings Tuvalu, and thank you Mr Kelly

By Jennifer Marohasy - posted Friday, 28 December 2018

Mr Kelly repeated this concern the next day in the party room, while eyeballing the Prime Minister.

That week parliament finished-up on Thursday. The next day, on Friday 17th August, soon after 6pm – soon after the journalists would have filed their stories for the weekend papers – Prime Minister Turnbull made a major announcement regarding the NEG. The emissions reduction target that was being proposed at 26 percent by 2030 would be set by regulation – not parliament.

Craig Kelly was now angry, because this meant that there could be future increases in the renewable energy target at the discretion of whoever was the Minister at the time. Labour wanted the target set at 45 percent and could achieve as much if they won the next election without so much as consulting the people or the parliament. What Mr Kelly saw as a major lever of the economy – the price and reliability of electricity – could be changed at the stroke of a Minister's pen, if Prime Minister Turnbull had his way.


Mr Kelly went into overdrive – against the NEG and the Prime Minister, and for democracy.

It was reported that Mr Kelly appeared to be on a "kamikaze mission". Further, the mainstream media reported he was going to lose preselection because he was so out of touch and being so unreasonable.

In fact, within the week it would be Prime Minister Turnbull, not Craig Kelly, who was out of his job.

Mr Kelly spent the weekend phoning colleagues. Monday it was announced that the legislation would be withdrawn. Tuesday morning at the party room meeting Mr Turnbull stood aside, declaring a spill.

Mr Kelly didn't have a plan for Peter Dutton or Scott Morrison to become Prime Minister, but he had had enough of Turnbull's NEG and his concerns were resonating.

To be clear, if Craig Kelly thought that by Australians paying more for their electricity, we could save the planet, he would have supported the NEG and a high renewable energy target. But in Mr Kelly's view arguing about a NEG of 26 or 45 percent is like arguing about how many fairies fit on a pin head – it is about chimerical wish-fantasies. Even a NEG of 100 percent would have no effect on global temperatures, but it would have a real and deleterious effect on Australian industries reliant on affordable and reliable energy and it would also negatively impact his constituents already struggling to pay their electricity bill.


And Mr Kelly's concerns go further than this, he is of the opinion that the planet does even need saving – at least not from CAGW. Typical of many so-called sceptics, Mr Kelly is not sceptical of climate change. Rather by reading in some detail about the Earth's history he realises that the climate has always changed.

Further, as John Abbot and I explain in our recent article in GeoResJ*, there is nothing unusual about the speed or magnitude of climate change over the last 100 or so years. For the last 1,000 to 2,000 years, temperatures have fluctuated within a channel of plus or minus 1 degree Celsius. It is only studies using remodelled data, suspect algorithms and cherrypicked datasets – that generate hockey-sticks. Considering the majority of published studies, in the best journals, global temperatures, including in Sweden, are about as hot now as they were 1,000 years ago.

I mention Sweden, because children in Australia that want the federal government to stop climate change have apparently been following the lead of a Swedish school girl: fifteen-year old Greta Thunberg who has been demonstrating outside the Swedish parliament to stop climate change. That was until she set off with her father in an electric car for the United Nations climate talks in Poland. There she explained that the climate crisis is "the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced".

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About the Author

Jennifer Marohasy is a senior fellow with the Institute for Public Affairs.

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