2GB Breakfast Editorial Discussing IPA Renewable Land Use Research – 12 December 2023

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12 December 2023
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This audio clip contextualises and disseminates the findings of the IPA’s research into land use implications of renewable energy targets on prime agricultural land, conducted as part of the IPA’s Net Zero research program.

All media posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

Mark Levy:

Well, if Matt Kean was intent on making a fool of himself on the world stage, the New South Wales Liberal MP did a pretty good job of it at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. I nearly fell off my seat last night when someone told me what he’d said. Mr. Kean had the hide to suggest former Prime Minister Tony Abbott had given Conservatives a bad name on tackling climate change. Excuse me? Is this bloke, has he got the Christmas crackers out? I’ll back Tony Abbott standing amongst Conservative voters over Matt Kean any day of the week.

We’re talking about a former New South Wales Treasurer who continued to push his Green ideology in the lead up to the last election. He obviously held onto his seat, but there was a 5.8% swing against him. Doesn’t that tell you you’re backing the wrong horse? The electorate wants reliable baseload power, and Matt Kean is standing there as if he’s auditioning for the Greens. It’s embarrassing.

Now, if your blood isn’t already boiling, have a listen to this. Matt Kean told the Global Climate Conference that the history of Conservative governments “standing up for the environment” has been lost in Australian politics. Lost in Australian politics. He went on to say, “Mr. Abbott and former US President Donald Trump are outliers among centre-right governments in response to one of the greatest challenges of our time.” I mean, for goodness sake, blah, blah, blah.

Now, if we’re to believe what Mr. Kean is saying, maybe he can explain the recent analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs. Its revealed Australia could lose one third of its productive agricultural land to solar panels and wind farms. That’s if the government pushes ahead with its plan for net-zero by relying on renewable energy. So if you crunch the numbers, Australia produced around 5,000 terawatt hours of energy from oil, gas, and coal in 2023. That would need to increase by 15,000 terawatt hours by 2050. So how do they plan on meeting that demand with renewable energy? They’d obviously need a 50/50 mix of wind and solar.

Now, if they want to get anywhere near the 20,000 terawatt hours required, the federal government would need 119 million hectares of land to build wind farms and instal solar panels. 119 million hectares. To put that in perspective, we’re talking about the size of Tasmania times five. If that’s the information coming out of the Institute of Public Affairs, how can Matt Kean possibly suggest he’s standing up for the environment? Think of the damage to productive agricultural land.

I keep talking about the need to at least have a conversation about nuclear energy. It requires far less land to generate an equivalent amount of electricity. If we’re to follow the lead of Matt Kean, who’s thankfully no longer in a position of power in New South Wales, the member for Hornsby wants us to copy the centre-right governments in the UK and Germany, who he claims have been leading the way when it comes to tackling climate change.

Mr. Kean told COP28, “Look at Boris Johnson, Theresa May. Look at the Merkel government in Germany. Look at Emmanuel Macron. Again, centrist and centre-right governments are leading the way when it comes to climate change.” Well, Matt, you’ve rattled off three politicians who are no longer in power. Can you believe this bloke, folks? Fancy Matt Kean lecturing the United Nations Climate Change Conference on what needs to happen around the world. He was ostracised in government and the same is happening in opposition. Although I note he’s jumped on the junket with nonprofit organisation, Environmental Leadership Australia. They’ve paid for his trip to Dubai. They’re also pushing their renewables agenda, which is not sustainable.

I find it funny that these people jump on planes and fly around the world to talk about climate change. If they’re that concerned about the environment, why didn’t he Zoom in from Australia? You can’t pick and choose when you want to be an environmental warrior, Matt. I reckon if Matt Kean told me it was sunny outside, I’d still have to check.

This transcript from Breakfast 2GB with Mark Levy from 12 December 2023 has been edited for clarity.

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