IPA Today

Energy Security Is National Security

Written by
26 March 2022
A compressor station of the Jagal natural gas pipeline stands near Mallnow, Germany, on March 21, 2022. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Originally appeared in The Epoch Times

Featured Image: A compressor station of the Jagal natural gas pipeline stands near Mallnow, Germany, on March 21, 2022. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

As Ukraine burns and a worldwide inflationary crisis threatens to crush the living standards of working people everywhere, out-of-touch political elites continue to bring the global conversation back to climate change.

Even as climate evangelists like Boris Johnson and Elon Musk call for a temporary pause on the rollout of “renewable” energy as fuel prices soar, others are, unbelievably, not getting the message.

Take, for example, U.S. “Climate Envoy” and failed presidential candidate John Kerry. As the Ukraine war broke out in late February, Kerry conceded that it was a “problem” but said he hoped that the conflict wouldn’t distract from the more important business of “tackling climate change.”

Later, as thousands of Ukrainians fled westwards across the Polish border, Kerry embarrassed himself again by suggesting that it was nothing compared to the impending wave of “climate refugees.”

This week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made some tone-deaf comments. As working people around the world struggled to heat their homes in the face of skyrocketing energy costs, Guterres has warned that it would be “madness” for Western countries to ramp up the production of oil and gas.

“As current events make all too clear, our continued reliance on fossil fuel puts the global economy and energy security at the mercy of geopolitical shocks and crises,” Guterres said.

What Guterres neglected to mention, of course, is that the real danger is the West’s over-reliance on oil and gas imported from a handful of countries, including Russia. This, in turn, is a result of the fact that Western nations have sacrificed their own energy independence, opting instead for “alternative” sources like wind and solar, which have proven unreliable and tragically insufficient to meet demand.

And with petrol costs here at home well above $2 a litre (US$5.68 a gallon), Guterres singled out Australia as a “holdout” that has failed to announce a “meaningful reduction” to its carbon emissions.

Fuel prices are listed on a fuel price board at a petrol station in Melbourne, Australia, on March 14, 2022. (AAP Image/Diego Fedele)
Fuel prices are listed on a fuel price board at a petrol station in Melbourne, Australia, on March 14, 2022. (AAP Image/Diego Fedele)

This is despite the fact that under the terms of the Paris climate agreement, Australia is required to make the harshest emissions cuts per capita out of any country in the world. Additionally, let’s not forget that Australia has for decades thrown billions of taxpayer dollars at wind and solar energy, despite having hundreds of years worth of cheap, reliable baseload power buried in the ground.

However, Guterres and the United Nations are backing up their anti-Australian rhetoric with action. A troupe of U.N. “inspectors” arrived in Australia last week to decide whether the Great Barrier Reef will be “downgraded,” in terms of its world heritage status, as a result of “damage caused by global warming.”

It is reasonable to predict that the U.N. “inspectors” will not spend much of their time in Australia actually inspecting the Great Barrier Reef. Instead, they’ll be sitting in airconditioned meeting rooms with the usual rent-seekers who receive vast amounts of public money to “save” the reef when there is ample evidence that it may not need saving at all.

The push to “downgrade” the status of the Great Barrier Reef is not new. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have been agitating for it for some time, using their clout within the United Nations to insist that Australia engage in “more ambitious climate action.”

This is despite the fact that there are 92 coal-fired power plants currently under construction in China—which I might add are being constructed at the same time as Australia’s handful of plants are being slated for closure.

Also, as research from the Institute of Public Affairs has previously found, it takes China just 16 days to emit what Australia does in an entire year.

A coal-fired power plant in Shanghai, China, Oct. 14, 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)
A coal-fired power plant in Shanghai, China, Oct. 14, 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Nevertheless, the fifth columnists in Australia’s climate industrial complex will continue to side with the CCP, and its thinly-veiled attempts to force us to jack up energy costs, shut down our industry and generally impoverish ourselves.

This is not just an economic issue. It is a national security issue. No country can defend itself without reliable baseload power, and the CCP knows it.

The great tragedy is that Australia has the natural resources to produce reliable and affordable energy—not just for Australia, but for many other countries that desperately need it.

But our utterly foolish commitment to “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050, made last year by the Morrison government, will kill any prospect of Australian energy independence for good.

The Morrison government must decide whose side they are on. Does they stand with mainstream Australians who want affordable electricity, national security, and ample jobs? Or will the Coalition take the side of elites in Davos and Geneva who would have us deindustrialise ourselves for no good reason?

With an election campaign due any minute, it is in the Morrison government’s self-interest to side with mainstream Australians. The question is whether the climate crusaders talk him out of it.

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Gideon Rozner

Gideon Rozner is the Director of Policy at the Institute of Public Affairs

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