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Monday, April 9, 2018

The rampant idiocy of the Right

The "Monash Forum", a ginger group of rabid-right politicians within Oz's ruling "Liberal"/National (L/NP) government is arguing that we need coal for cheap energy, and if the market won't provide new coal power stations then the government must.  Quite how this squares with the traditional values of the Right -- no subsidies, private sector ownership of the means of production, "let the market decide", small government etc.,  is hard to determine.  In response, the broader L/NP government is pressuring AGL (one of the big 3 electricity and gas utilities) to keep open the aging and worn Liddell coal power station in NSW.  This would be very costly for AGL and electricity consumers.  AGL has already come up with plans for a replacement for Liddell--a mixture of renewables, gas, storage and an upgrade to the nearby Bayswater coal power station--which will be much cheaper than refurbishing Liddell.


It will also be much cheaper than building a new coal power stations, which is what the "Monash Forum" wants.   Wind contracts are being signed at A$55/MWh or below, large scale solar at A$70/MWh and BNEF estimates new coal power stations would cost A$130/MWh.  (Incidentally these renewables are now as cheap as or cheaper than "baseload" power sold by the big three into the grid.)  Per MWh delivered, Tesla's " big battery" in South Australia costs A$137 (assuming a 10 year life), which works out at about A$6/MWh per hour of storage.  So 12 hours of storage would add A$68/MWh to the cost of wind, taking it to A$123/MWh, which is below the cost of new coal.  And (a) we won't need 12 hours of storage until renewables form 80% or more of generation (two hours would be more than enough now) and (b), in 5 years time, 12 hours of storage will cost under A$20/MWh.

I've been deeply depressed about the rampant idiocy on the Right. What rational, informed person still thinks climate change isn't happening? What informed person still believes that renewables are more expensive than coal when they are in fact half the cost?

The evidence that there are catastrophic consequences of global warming right now (and not in some distant future) is becoming stronger and stronger. Yet still these idiots want to support burning coal. When did irrationality become the defining characteristic of the Right? WTF?

It's not just with energy and climate change that the Right is quite demented.  Neo-liberal economic and fiscal policies in the English-speaking world have made the bottom 10 or 20 percent of the population even poorer, and in desperation, these ppl have voted for populists and populist policies: Trump, Brexit, One Neuron.  To our cost.

Over the last 5 years, Oz real GDP has risen 10% plus. But real wages have been flat. This is echoed by the US (over the last 30 years) and the UK (over the last 10, where real GDP has risen but real wages have actually fallen), all places where neo-liberalism holds sway. The public has stopped believing in the neo-liberal/neo-con trickle-down theory. But the Libbies still embrace that outmoded religion. For example, the L/NP and the Republicans purport to believe that company tax cuts will somehow, miraculously, raise living standards.

Meanwhile, the Right remain utterly impervious to the failure of their signature policies. Because, otherwise they would lose elections, they boost their vote by picking on minorities and demonising the defenceless, the unemployed, the poor, immigrants.

It's as if it's a religion: facts are irrelevant, honesty is unnecessary, intellectual integrity is superfluous.

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