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How to move energy policy models beyond bias and vested interests

Shirin Malekpour and Enayat Moallemi write in The Conversation (21.8.18) that, with the Turnbull government’s planned National Energy Guarantee seemingly in limbo, we need to move past biased, opaque models for energy policies.

‘The Turnbull government’s flagship energy plan, the National Energy Guarantee, was intended to end a decade-long stalemate on energy and climate policy in Australia.

‘Ironically, since its unveiling in October 2017, the debate has heightened considerably, with the result that the government has now walked away from the emissions-reduction component of the policy.

‘Plenty of attention has gone to the high political drama – and fundamental conflicts over the importance of emissions reductions. But another key issue is the lack of trust in government models predicting the results of their policies.

‘For instance, the government claimed this month that the NEG will reduce household bills by A$150 per year. Independent analysts, as well as Labor and Greens politicians, have questioned this figure. They point out that other models suggest different results – especially one announced by federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg in October 2017, which predicted a A$100 reduction. All these groups have called for the full release of the government’s modelling work.

‘But if modelling is a form of scientific analysis, why do different models give such different results?’

Australia has no climate policy: a quick response to a drawn-out farce

Graham Redfearn writes in The Guardian (21.8.18) that climate change denial is at the root of the “half-baked policies and outright wrecking” that have blighted the past decade of energy policy debate in Australia.

‘I needed to write this column really quickly, otherwise we might have had a new prime minister before I’d finished, and the climate policy we don’t have might have changed several times.

‘I gave myself 30 minutes because that reflects the fickle care and short-termism that has been afforded climate change in Australia in recent years.

‘When I say we don’t have a climate policy, that is the literal truth.

‘… Can the Australian voting public and any fair-minded politician seriously allow the country’s energy and climate “policy” to be dictated by a core led by Tony Abbott – who rejects the science that’s backed by every major scientific institution in the world?

‘No matter how many winks and screams you get from the conservative commentators, right-wing shock jocks and the alt-right, this is where we are at. Hostage to a groupthink that’s divorced from reality. Some people need to grow a backbone.’

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