On 1 November, IPA Executive Director Scott Hargreaves joined Rita Panahi on Sky News’ Credlin from the ARC Conference in London to discuss energy security and its importance to national security.
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Below is a transcript of the interview.
Welcome back. Now, I want to go to the ARC Conference in London where over 1500 centre-right thinkers from all over the world have come together to discuss the path forward for western civilization. So many of our best and brightest are there, from John Howard to John Anderson to Dr. Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray, and other international thinkers. Joining me from the conference tonight is Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs, Scott Hargreaves. Scott, welcome. Now, before I ask for an update on the ARC Conference, I want to discuss your new report released today titled, Energy Security is National Security. It’s been written by energy expert and University of Queensland Professor, Steven Wilson. What does the report recommend?
Thank you, Rita. We commissioned this report because we all understand that we need to take affordability seriously for ordinary people and for businesses. On the other side of the equation, there are those who are obsessed with net-zero. The missing dimension in thinking about energy is energy security. We need a reliable system. And the other part of that is not just domestic reliability in our system, which can’t be delivered by the kind of solar panels and wind farms that you’re seeing on your screen, but it has to have the international dimension. It is vital to national security that we get this right. We can’t be reliant upon long supply chains for renewable energies. We need to be mindful of our obligations to our friends and allies who rely on our exports of coal, gas, and uranium.
Australia has taken 25 years to basically stuff the energy system. And what this paper is doing is saying, here’s a better framework where we put energy security front and centre. It’s the power to be free and to do work. And until we get a focus on that, we’re not going to get better outcomes in our energy system.
What hope do you have that this report will be read by someone like Chris Bowen. The man’s an ideologue, he’s a Green ideologue, and he seems unmoved by logic and evidence.
Well, indeed, and we certainly present some of that logic and evidence ourselves. We take up the cudgels in our research on particular issues that are affecting it right now. But as I say, we’ve got to take a long view. It’s taken a long time where Australia has gone down so many rabbit holes chasing this renewable energy Nirvana, 82% renewables by 2030 is just completely unrealistic. We need better plans, better ways of thinking. So we have to take the long view and say, here’s a better framework that can guide us over not just the next six months, but the next 5, 10, 20 years.
And that’s what we’re trying to do with our ambition to establish a centre for energy security, to really get a much better long-term focus, one which grounds us in an understanding of Australia’s role in the world where we can be an energy superpower. Not a renewable energy superpower, an actual energy superpower supplying much needed energy to the rest of the world. Because whatever we’re doing in Australia, the rest of the world is going to grow their energy demand as people move into the middle-class, all over the Asia Pacific region, through Africa. It’s not what we’re doing in Australia that’s going to affect the emissions profile. It’s how it’s going to work in the international context.
Now Scott, you are currently in London for the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship Conference. So many Australian leaders there, as well as notable international figures. Is there still hope for the West? That’s something that author Konstantin Kisin gave a powerful speech about. Let’s just have a quick listen.
But as I stand here today after watching crowds openly celebrate mass murder on the streets of our cities, after watching the police spend more time debating Islamic theology on Twitter than enforcing the law, I’m starting to lose faith. I don’t know how long our civilization will survive. For years now, many of us have been warning that the barbarians are at the gates. We were wrong. They’re inside.
The barbarians are inside the gates. Do you agree, Scott?
Well, I think certainly what we’ve seen is a very strong effort at civilizational suicide in the West as we’ve built an education system that’s dedicated towards teaching generations of students that the West is uniquely sinful and responsible for all the ills in the world. But that was part of an electrifying speech by Kisin, who’s just wonderful. But I would say the overall arc, if you’ll forgive me, of the conference is that no matter how dark things get, we’re here because we need to have faith.
And Jordan Peterson, as you know, Rita, has that sort of air of a revival preacher, and he makes the point that no matter how dark things are, you have to choose the path of faith, hope, and courage. And whatever the situation we’re in, we need to pre-arm ourselves, say that there is something unique in the West that’s delivered unprecedented freedom and prosperity. And indeed, people have flocked to it from all over the world. We have to have faith that we can choose a better path. And that’s why so many Australians have come here to be part of restoring ourselves and developing that positive message. And people like Kisin are also going to take it to a new generation. And that’s certainly one of the things that gives me hope that we can find our way out of this morass.
Scott Hargreaves, thanks for your time this evening.
This transcript with Scott Hargreaves talking on Credlin from 1 November 2023 has been edited for clarity.