Wednesday, 30 November 2016
Statements by Senators
Coal-Fired Power Stations
As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I rise to speak in response to the tabling of the report of the Environment and Communications References Committee and its ludicrous recommendations to abolish coal-fired power stations. Realistically, these are less a serious set of recommendations than an economic train wreck in slow motion. Before continuing, I want to acknowledge and thank Senator Macdonald for his comments earlier this week in which he acknowledged that there has never been a debate on climate in this parliament and that I have started that debate—and I will continue it.
Let us be crystal clear: coal is Australia's best source of cheap and reliable power. Nothing else comes even close. If we want to enjoy the benefits of modern society—the heat, the lighting, the jobs, the prosperity, the wonderful medical care and scientific advancements, the beautiful modern buildings of steel and glass, our cars—and if we want our children to enjoy these things and much, much more, for now our only viable option is coal-fired power stations. That a Labor Party should be responsible for this jobs-destroying, industry-crippling proposal beggars belief. Surely Ben Chifley and John Curtin are turning in their graves. What happened to the Labor Party championing the jobs of mining and energy industry workers, fighting to protect these jobs from cafe-latte-sipping leftists who infect the Greens? Only neo-Marxist, tree-hugging nitwits like the Greens could imagine that a vastly more expensive and totally unreliable power source is an alternative to energy. Senator Waters, the Greens chair of this waste-of-space committee, needs to trade in her koala suit for a straightjacket.
But for the Labor Party to fall into line with Greens anticivilisation activists is surely the ultimate betrayal and the ultimate expression of its ideological corruption and industrial degeneracy. Now, of course, the Greens and their antiworker Labor allies will try to claim that alleged global warming—caused by humans, supposedly—is going to flood the moon and boil our brains. They will say that we need to cripple our industries, slash our jobs, reduce our living standards and go back to using tallow candles for lighting, because the alternative is some mythical Tim Flannery environmental catastrophe. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Claimed global warming by humans is about as real as fairies at the bottom of the garden. Where is the empirical evidence that Australian coal-fired power stations have any significant impact on the environment, Mr Acting Deputy President, much less that there is any global warming to which we might be contributing—not the bogus models and shrill appeals to irrelevant authority which usually characterise the so-called evidence given by the apologists of climate change, but actual, irrefutable, empirical evidence. It is my hope today that Senator McAllister starts to listen and to take note, because all she has tendered so far—claiming it to be empirical evidence—is a list of papers, none of which contain empirical evidence. Empirical evidence is not a list of papers or an appeal to authority; it is hard measurements and physical observations, wrapped in a structure of logic that proves causation.
Let me explain it to you, Mr Acting Deputy President Whish-Wilson. We need to justify the claim. To do that, we need to show that temperatures are rising unusually and are continuing to rise. We need to prove that they are driven by carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. We need to prove that we control those levels, and we need to prove that that is dangerous.
Let us look at the first of these criteria: temperature. The longest temperature trend in the last 160 years was 40 years of cooling, at a time when the global human production of carbon dioxide increased. The last 20 years reveal a flat temperature—no temperature rise whatsoever; no ongoing temperature rise. The warmest period in the last 140 years was in the 1880s to 1890s in Australia—and that is why the Bureau of Meteorology, taxpayer-funded, only presents us with temperatures from 1910 onwards. In the last 350 years—as shown by numerous long-term temperature records, such as the Central England Temperature record—we have seen nothing more than global warming, cooling, warming, cooling, warming, cooling, warming, stasis: nothing unusual. That is the end of it. But let us look at the second criterion anyway, even though we know there is nothing happening with temperatures. Rather than carbon dioxide changing in the atmosphere—driving temperature changes—in fact, we see the reverse. Temperature changes precede changes in the levels of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide levels are a consequence of temperature. Occasionally, carbon dioxide and temperature are synchronous, but carbon dioxide never leads and never drives temperature. Temperature drives carbon dioxide levels. We see that in the seasonal records, we see that in the long-term records, we see that in the ice-core analysis for the last 800 years—it is a fact. So that addresses the second criterion. Temperature is not caused by carbon dioxide levels, it is the reverse.
Let us have a look at the third criterion, which says that human production of carbon dioxide determines the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That is completely bogus. The empirical evidence and the physical observations and facts show that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is controlled by temperature and by the oceans, and has nothing to do with human activity. We can see that in the actual data that is shown to us by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and by the CSIRO. And we can see it when we look at the use of hydrocarbons—and in fact, after the global financial crisis in 2009, the use of hydrocarbons dipped yet the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continued increasing, because nature drives that, thanks to temperature and the oceans. So we have the complete opposite of all three basic criteria in the logical structure necessary to prove the claim that we are affecting global temperatures.
The fourth criterion is that we need to do something about it because it is, supposedly, dangerous. The fact is that all of Earth's far warmer periods have actually been known and labelled scientifically as 'climate optimums'. Why? Because warmer temperatures are highly beneficial for humans, for plants, for animals; for the biosphere. Warm is good. If we controlled the Earth's thermostat, we would raise the temperature. Unfortunately, we cannot. If we could control the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we would raise it. But we cannot, because nature controls it—so the whole thing is a complete sham. And that is the basis on which we are now going to destroy our states and our Commonwealth.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. How can it be when it is a completely natural product that is odourless, colourless, tasteless and essential for all life on this planet? Secondly, coal is not some nasty dirty pollutant; it is a miracle resource which, over the last couple of centuries, has lifted billions of people out of poverty in the West, and freed them from dependence on the capricious whim of the natural world. Coal has kept us warm, lighted our homes, powered our factories, built our machines, driven our scientific and medical triumphs, erected our wondrous cities—and it will do the same for the poor in emerging countries such as India today, if only the anti-civilisation, anti-human, green activists will stop trying to prevent it. I draw attention to 1836, when Sydney celebrated the start of the first streetlight network in this country. It was powered by whale oil. The most beneficial factor that has protected the whales in the last 100 years has been the advent of the use of coal. Thirdly, the poor are highly vulnerable to rises in energy prices; for them, it is a highly regressive tax.
Let us be clear, Mr President: the end of coal-fired power in Australia is not a step towards a renewable and sustainable future; it is simply a mindless, job-destroying lurch towards an energy apocalypse. We need to restore governance, restore science, start doing cost-benefit analysis and, above all, tell the truth. Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party is about accountability, speaking out and serving the people. We care about people. We are friendly towards people. We are fiercely pro-human. That is why we have the courage to debate to ensure security for the people of Queensland and Australia.