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Mr Taylor's absurd claim about wind turbine efficiency (mentioned on the right) also made it as lie of the month for December 2012


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Angus Taylor, a gobsmackingly dishonest minister

A page of the Wind Power Ethics group *

At a time when action to reduce greenhouse emissions was obviously and urgently needed Australia's Angus Taylor would have to be well up in any running for the position of the most dishonest, irresponsible and despicable energy minister in the world. His crowning achievement would probably be when he claimed Australia to be a leader in climate change action at the same time it ranked last in the world in climate change policy.

In the Goulburn Post in August 2012 Mr Taylor made the demonstrably ridiculous statement that wind power is "gobsmackingly inefficient" (it can easily be shown that they are highly efficient) and "it is also clear that there are much cheaper ways to reduce carbon emissions".

 

Say that in parliament Minister Taylor

On 2019/08/14 Minister Taylor blamed renewable energy for pushing up power prices in South Australia. He wouldn't say that in parliament because he would know that for a minister to mislead parliament is a sackable offence.
I went to Mr Taylor's Facebook page and challenged him to justify the second statement. After a bit of to-and-fro, he realised he was losing the argument and deleted the conversation. Fortunately I had recorded it and have published it below.

By mid 2019 the Liberal/National Coalition had been in power for nearly six years and Mr Taylor had been Energy Minister for nine months. Australia's emissions had risen for most of this period and in June 2019 it was announced by Minister Taylor's own department that emissions were continuing to rise. If Minister Taylor knew of these "much cheaper ways of reducing carbon emissions" one would have to wonder why they and he weren't instituting them.

South Australia went from near zero renewable energy in 2003 to over 50% in 2018; most of this being wind power. Contrary to the lies of people like Mr Taylor South Australia's adoption of renewable energy has been a huge success, there have been no power failures due to the variable nature of renewable energy in SA.

The fact that more than 70% of electricity generation installation world-wide in 2017 was renewable, and 29% of that was wind power, shows that renewables in general and wind power in particular are viable and very competitive to the fossil fuelled power that Mr Taylor likes and supports. In fact, by 2019 renewable power, both wind and solar, were cheaper than new-build coal and even becoming competitive with keeping existing coal-fired power stations open.


Written 2012/12/07, last edited 2020/06/10 – ©
Contact: David Clarke
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On 2018/08/26 Mr Taylor became Australia's Energy Minister. Has there ever been, anywhere, a Minister for Energy so dishonestly biased against renewable energy? While Mr Taylor is Energy Minister how can any Australian have any pride in their nation?


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I am proud to have known Blair Donaldson, who by his actions to promote the adoption of renewable energy could rightly be called a 'friend of future generations'. By his dishonest opposition to reducing emissions Angus Taylor could truly be called an enemy of future generations.


Waterloo Wind Farm
Wind farm
One of the wind farms that Mr Taylor loves to hate.


Mr Taylor is out of touch with the Australian people, out of touch with reality, shamelessly
dishonest and doing his best to stop Australia from grasping a huge economic opportunity.

 
Wind generation overtakes nuclear in China
Nuclear and wind in China
Wind is overtaking nuclear, next one to go will be coal.
Graph credit Earth Policy Institute
 
Warren Buffett's $1B wind purchase
Bloomberg Businessweek reported, 2013/12/17, that Warren Buffett's utility company MidAmerican Energy Holdings had ordered 1050 megawatts of Siemens AG (SIE) wind turbines for projects in Iowa; apparently the largest order to date for land based wind power.

Perhaps Mr Taylor should tell Mr Buffett that he's making a big mistake because of the "gobsmacking inefficiency" of wind turbines?

What do the Australian people want?

A Lowy Institute poll carried out on 1,200 Australian adults on 2018/06/20 showed that 84% of Australians wanted the government to "focus on renewables, even if this means we may need to invest more in infrastructure to make the system more reliable".

A poll of the people in Mr Taylor's electorate showed that almost twice as many wanted to see Australia decrease its emissions faster, rather than slower.

A poll carried out by a local newspaper concerning a proposed energy park (wind, solar, storage) near my house indicated 83% support for the project.

Blind Freddy could see that there is no future in the coal industry and that Australia's energy future is in renewables but Mr Taylor is trying to deny this great opportunity to Australia.

Plainly the Australian people want renewable energy, not more coal power.
Plainly the Australian people want action on climate change.
Plainly Mr Taylor is out of touch with what the people in his electorate want.
Plainly the world's and Australia's future is with renewable energy not fossil fuels.

Has there ever been a federal minister more out of touch with what the Australian people want, what is best for Australia and what the world needs?

I've written about how I see Australia's energy future and who wants renewable energy elsewhere on this site.

The potential for economic growth in the energy sector is with renewables, not fossil fuels

The world outside of the Australian government recognises that renewable energy is the future, fossil fuels are the past.

A consortium has proposed the Asia Renewable Energy Hub in Western Australia's Pilbara to install 11 GW of wind and solar power and export electricity to Indonesia and possibly Singapore via undersea cables. They have secured funding from the Macquarie Group. The total value of the development is likely to be around Aus$20 billion.

As Parkinson wrote, "The scale of the project is enormous – equivalent to more than the entire capacity of large scale wind and solar projects being built for the national renewable energy target."

If Mr Taylor has anything to do with it he would probably stop the development because of his hatred for wind power.

By November 2019 billionaires Mike Canon-Brookes and Twiggy Forrest had invested millions of dollars in a renewable energy project of breathtaking proportions in the Tenant Creek area, that would cost a total of $20 billion. The 10 GW solar farm will be 45 times the size of Bungala (at the time the biggest in Australia?) and the 22 GWh battery will be 170 times the size of the Hornsdale battery, (at the time the biggest in Australia).

You might think that the Australian Federal Energy Minister would be praising both these projects, but I haven't heard him mention them.

I have written more on Australia's likelihood of missing economic opportunities because of Mr Taylor's prejudices elsewhere on this page.




Mr Taylor misrepresented the reasons for the recent reductions in electricity prices

In a piece in The Guardian, 2018/09/30, journalist Katherine Murphy states:
"... while there is evidence from market analysts and analysis from the government's energy bodies that renewables has led the price drop because of a big increase in supply contracted into the market courtesy of the renewable energy target, Taylor attributed the recent reductions to the government's intervention in the gas market, and regulatory reforms, including forcing retailers to be more transparent about their pricing."

And Origin Energy

In a piece titled Origin says solar cheaper than coal, moving on from base-load in RenewEconomy, 2018/10/02, Giles Parkinson reported Greg Jarvis, the company's head of energy trading and operations as saying:
"I have been in this game for so long … the one thing I have seen is just the cost of renewables really change the game. It is amazing what we have been seeing."

"Renewables are cheaper than the marginal cost of black coal at the moment. They are very cheap."

And

"... with China now mulling a dramatic lift in its 2030 renewable energy target to 35 per cent from 20 per cent, the chances are that the costs of both wind and solar will fall dramatically again."
Giles Parkinson also wrote:
"Jarvis also made it clear that Origin Energy has moved on from thinking about new generation in terms of “base-load”, which stands in sharp contrast to current government thinking and the conservative commentariat."

And British Billionaire Sanjeev Gupta

Sanjeev Gupta, the man who saved Whyalla's steel works and is investing a billion dollars in renewable energy developments in Australia was reported by Sophie Vorrath on RenewEconomy, 2018/07/23, as saying "Renewables are cheaper than coal."; "It's obvious".

Mr Gupta is investing in renewables because he can see that is where the future of energy lies. If Mr Taylor was as canny as Mr Gupta and we using his own money rather than the taxpayers' money he would also be going with renewables rather than fossil fuels.






Mr Taylor's statement about wind power being "gobsmackingly inefficient" is obviously absurd

The Chinese installed 13 000MW (about 5000 wind turbines) in year 2012, the year in which Mr Taylor made his statement. For the ten years to 2012 the Chinese economy has grown by about 9 per cent per year. This suggests that the Chinese know what they are doing, but perhaps if the Chinese had our Angus Taylor to tell them how "gobsmackingly inefficient" wind turbines were they would manage a growth rate of 15 per cent per year? Angus, do China Australia a favour; move to China.

Unlike Mr Taylor, the people in charge of the Chinese economy believe that wind power is very efficient. (I've written about the efficiency of wind turbines elsewhere on these pages.)

Wind energy is recognised world-wide as being a highly viable form of renewable energy and it is growing exponentially. Mr Taylor is right in one thing; we should be looking at all the possible ways in which we might reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but perhaps Mr Taylor does not realise that most of the strategies he recommends are already being pursued. In his opposition to wind power he is out of touch with almost all those who want to reduce emissions.

PJM, the independent grid operator for all or parts of 13 US states produced a report that confirmed that wind energy is decreasing both the price of electricity and emissions of harmful pollutants. (See Into The Wind.) This totally contradicts Mr Taylor's stance on the 'inefficiency' and 'high cost' of wind power.

Mr Taylor's association with Alan Jones and the ignorant anti-wind power blog Stop These Things would be enough to make the more perceptive of the public sceptical of his utterances, but this is probably not the audience he is aiming at.

 
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This section added 2020/01/04

A lie of gobsmacking proportions

 

Climate Change Performance Index

Published annually since 2005, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries’ climate protection performance. It aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.
In December 2019 Angus Taylor claimed that Australia has 'strong targets, clear plans and an enviable track record’ on reducing emissions. The blatant dishonesty of this lie was demonstrated when, at about the same time, Australia was ranked last of 58 nations in climate policy by an internationally well known climate change awareness organisation.

The Climate Change Performance Index for 2020 ranked Australia last of all 58 countries rated for climate policy. It was the only nation to receive a score of zero out of 100, the second lowest scoring nation, the USA, received a score of 2.8.

For more information I recommend Graham Readfearn's article for the Guardian, 2019/12/31, 'Fact checking Angus Taylor: does Australia have a climate change record to be proud of?'.

 
This section added 2019/09/25

Is Taylor foolish, rash, desperate, dishonest or all four?

 

What was Angus thinking? Or wasn't he thinking at all?

Labor's Mark Butler put if very well...

“What I find utterly baffling is that no-one appears to have asked the question: how could 10 councillors spend $14 million on domestic travel in a year? Do some basic maths. If you're a Rhodes scholar you could do the maths [Angus was a Rhodes scholar]. There are 10 councillors; it's pretty easy to divide figures by 10. This equals $28,000 per councillor every single week on domestic travel, which I work out as being 20 return trips to Melbourne and six or seven business class return trips to Perth every single week for every single councillor across the entire year. Every councillor would be spending 80 to 90 hours in the air every week for every week of the year.”

In October 2019 Mr Taylor accused the Sydney City Council under Lord Mayor Clover Moore of hypocrisy by pushing for reduced carbon emissions at the same time as spending $14.2 million on domestic travel and $1.7 million on overseas travel. In fact, as shown in an article published in The Guardian the actual figures were $4,206 and $1,728 respectively; about a thousandth of the figures in Mr Taylor's wild accusation.

As of the time of writing the question of who had produced the falsified figures, whether it was someone connected to Minister Taylor or not, had not been settled. Whether or not some criminality occurred in the minister's office the fact remains that Minister Taylor was naïve in the extreme to make the accusation with the lack of supporting evidence.

This weird accusation from Mr Taylor seems to be showing how desperate he is to attack those who are responsibly trying to reduce emissions while he is irresponsibly and criminally doing all he can to slow or stop emissions reductions and prop up the fossil fuel industry in general and the dying and deadly coal industry in particular.
 
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This section added 2019/09/22

Shown to be wrong (again)

In a 2019/09/19 article in the Canberra Times headlined "ACT upstages the federal government with low-cost carbon policy", Simon Holmes à Court wrote:
New data out this week shows the wind farms powering the ACT's ambitious climate policy are reducing carbon pollution at one-third the cost of the government's Carbon Solutions Fund.

The five wind farms contributing to the territory's 100 per cent Renewable Energy Target generated 1.3 TWh of energy last year, more power than is used by all the households in the territory combined, at a cost equivalent to $4.36 per tonne of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, the federal government's signature carbon scheme is writing contracts for $14.17 per tonne.

Mr Holmes à Court went on to write:

Back in April 2014, Angus Taylor, well into his anti-renewables crusade, held a media stunt on the top of Red Hill and disparaged the ACT's newly announced renewable energy target. "The simple numbers tell us that what is being proposed by the ACT government is three times more expensive than alternatives for generating electricity, and 10 times more expensive than alternatives for reducing carbon emissions," he said.
Holmes à Court again:
We now know that wind energy has delivered carbon abatement for a fraction of the cost of alternatives, and local electricity costs remain among the cheapest in the country. True to form, Taylor's claims about renewables were very wrong. But maybe we should cut him some slack; it was April Fools' Day after all.

If the Federal Minister for Emissions Reduction really intends to reduce emissions, he need look no further than the nation's capital for a stunningly successful example.
Minister Taylor could hardly have got it more wrong! But then, I suppose he's quite used to that. The ACT looks like achieving its target of 100% net renewable energy by 2020 and, together with South Australia, shown the federal government, Australia and the rest of the world, what can be done if there is a will.

I've only quoted a small part of Simone Holmes à Court's article, it's worth reading in its entirety.
 
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This section added 2019/10/21

South Australia shows that Angus Taylor is wrong (yet again)

In about September 2019 Mr Taylor said that there was enough renewable energy in Australia. How absurd a statement this was considering the colossal size of the climate emergency as illustrated recently by the school strike for climate action and the phenomenal support that Greta Thunberg has been getting.

Not only must we reduce emissions by changing to renewable energy, the experience of the power supply changes over the last 15 years in South Australia shows that Australia can easily adopt a far greater proportion of renewables.

 
JurisdictionProportion of power generated from wind and solar
NEM14.8%
SA53.1%
The world desperately needs reduced emissions. That means burning less fossil fuels and that means replacing fossil fuel generation with renewable generation. South Australia gets along fine with more than half of its power from wind and solar; Australia as a whole could easily increase its wind and solar generation up to at least the level in SA, 53%.
In the year to the time of writing the National Energy Market (NEM, the grid supply for all states other than WA) had 14.8% of solar and wind power, with a further 6.9% of hydro power, making a total of 21.7% renewable energy generation. In the same year South Australia had 53.1% of its generation sourced from wind (40.2%) and solar (12.9%) with no problems. Plainly Australia as a whole could do far better than 14.8% wind and solar, especially considering that hydro power is available on demand to fill the gaps when wind and solar are not generating. SA does not have the advantage of hydro power. (See Open NEM for more information.)

South Australia's record of importing and exporting power from Victoria is also telling. The state imported a lot of power from Victoria back in 2005 and 2006, and exported very little, in the period before it had much solar or wind power. There was another peak in the amount of imported power in the year following the closure of the state's last coal fired power stations. But over the year to the present SA has exported far more power, (10.5%) mainly generated by wind and solar, than it has imported (4.9%); and this trend has greatly strengthened during the year, in the month from 21st September 2019 the state exported 18.2% of its electricity and only imported 0.7%.

I would advise readers to ignore liars like Angus Taylor who claim that South Australia's level of renewable energy has led to problems, it can easily be shown that SA's change to renewable energy has been a huge success.
 
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Gross exaggerations

 

A crime against humanity

I have argued on another page that to knowingly and dishonestly oppose action on minimising climate change is a crime against humanity.

Mr Taylor is standing in the way of the fight against climate change and is therefore condemning future generations to a much inferior planet. Surely that is a crime against humanity, and not just against humanity, but against all life on earth.

Solar power hazards much less common than claimed by Taylor

There have been a great many electricians and businesses involved in the installation of solar power in Australia; not surprisingly, a few of these have made mistakes, a few have been downright careless.

In late December 2018 Energy Minister Taylor implied that something like a quarter of the installs could pose an electrocution threat. Clean Energy Council chief Kane Thompson said that:

"the percentage of unsafe systems has declined this decade from 4.2 per cent to 2.7 per cent. This is better than the electrical industry as a whole."

Electricity prices and renewable energy

In a letter to the Editor of the Goulburn Times (published 2013/08/10) Mr Taylor wrote "The exorbitant costs of the RECs flows through to the cost of electricity, making it much higher for every electricity consumer in the nation."

A recent report from the Clean Energy Council gave a very different picture. The following was extracted from the CEC report:

  • The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal put the cost of the RET at "around 5 per cent of the average annual bill in NSW".
  • The Queensland Competition Authority put the cost of the RET at "approximately 3.5 per cent of the total bill".
  • The Australian Energy Market Commission "estimates that the RET is around 3 per cent of the current unit cost of electricity and that this will drop to 2.5 per cent in the coming years.
I have written more on renewables and electricity costs elsewhere on these pages
 
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Mr Taylor picks some cherries

 
Median prices for Cape Bridgewater/Cape Nelson – commissioned 2008/09
Median prices
 
Median prices for Challicum Hills – commissioned 2003
Median prices
 
Median prices for Codrington – commissioned 2001
Median prices
 
Median prices for Toora – commissioned 2002
Median prices
 
Median prices for Waubra – commissioned 2009
Median prices
 
Median prices for Wonthaggi – commissioned 2005
Median prices
 
Median prices for Yambuk – commissioned 2007
Median prices
This example of Mr Taylor's activities in trying to discredit wind power shows how he is willing to quote any 'evidence' at all, no matter how dubious its value, if he believes it might be useful to him.

Cherry picking is the selection of evidence that suits ones' prejudices, while ignoring all the evidence that is contrary. Wind power opponents often use cherry picking.

The overwhelming bulk of the evidence on land prices and wind farms tells us that the presence of a nearby wind farm has very little effect on land values. For example, the US Berkeley Laboratory analysed more than 50 000 home sales near 67 wind facilities in 27 counties across nine US states, yet was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values. See Into The Wind, 2013/08/26.

The graphs on the right were created using data from propertyvalue.com.au by Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber (see here). Each is in an area where a wind farm has been built. The graphs clearly show that there are no long-term declines in land values associated with wind farms. I have produced similar graphs from South Australian property values (using realestate.com.au), but as they all show the same trend as Greg's graphs it seems superflous to display them here.

Peter Reardon's 'study' of land values

Mr Taylor chose to ignore this and many other major professional studies coming to similar conclusions and grasped a study by a lone real estate valuer that claimed to show big falls in land prices near wind farms. The study that Mr Taylor liked, because of its conclusions, concerned three properties; those that Mr Taylor did not like concerned tens of thousands of properties.

The Financial Review on 2013/10/14 published a piece on registered land valuer Peter Reardon who produced a report stating that land values can fall by 30% or even 60% due to nearby wind farms. Not surprisingly this report has been spread around by those who oppose wind power, including Mr Taylor. A critique of the study can be read on Renew Economy.

How were the properties chosen? We were not told.

What other factors might have been involved in the perceived values of the properties? Mr Reardon tells us that one of them, 'Cullerin' (lots 21, 22, 24 and 25, Hume Highway and Lerida Road), has the Hume Highway passing through it. This is probably the busiest interstate highway in Australia, with trucks going through at all hours of the day and the night. Certainly any sound from the wind farm would not be a problem, no-one would hear the turbines because of the traffic noise. Mr Reardon writes about the properties in the area being attractive to 'tree changers' and people looking for a country 'retreat'. Who would want a hobby farm within a few hundred metres of the noisiest highway in the nation?

Since the original writing of this piece further information has come to me via a third party and apparently from the new owner of the 'Cullerin'. It seems that it is bisected by not only one (as Reardon stated) but two high voltage power lines; not only is the highway passing through, but there are also two truck parking bays (so there would be trucks starting and stopping, with all the noise associated, at any time of the day and night) and 30% of the block has water-logging and drainage problems. Is it at all surprising that this block had a low market price?

Mr Taylor used Reardon's study in an article published in the Goulburn Post on 2013/10/21 as sufficient evidence to claim that:

 
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"The study shows potentially dramatic negative impacts on the value of property located near wind farms. In some cases, land has been identified as dropping up to a staggering 60 per cent in value."
Well, not actually in 'some cases' Mr Taylor, Mr Reardon's study claims a 60% lower value in one case (Taylers Creek Road). One of the three cases showed no change in value.

More news 2013/10/28; It seems that Mr Reardon reported an incorrect selling price

The property at 243 Taylers Creek Road, Tarago, that Mr Reardon reported was sold for $250 000 is listed in Tarago Real Estate as having been sold for $295 000.

Another update; 2013/11/06

This came to me indirectly and I was told it was from the agent that sold one of the example properties, 243 Taylors Creek Road:
"I was the selling agent for the Taylors creek road property and can confirm the sale price of $295,000. I have seen Peters report before and upon reading it I phoned him to point out the mistake. He said that he would correct it, but I guess some original publications are being used?

The property in my opinion was overstocked and generally in a bad state of repair including fencing/weeds and, mains power connection would be expensive, due to distance. I had the property on the market for 4 months and of the 3 genuine inquiries, none were concerned about the close proximately of the turbines to the western boundary. All were concerned about the cost to improve the pasture, fencing and rubbish removal."

And what did Mr Taylor say about all the studies that show negligible negative impact on land prices? Nothing.

The graphs on the right were created using data from propertyvalue.com.au by Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber (see here). Each is in an area where a wind farm has been built. The graphs clearly show that there are no long-term declines in land values associated with wind farms.

 
House prices at Edithburgh
House prices at Edithburgh
Edithburgh is the closest South Australian town to a wind farm, Wattle Point, which was completed in 2005.
The graphs above were all from Victoria. This graph of house prices in a South Australian town uses values from realestate.com.au and shows that prices there were not adversely affected either. No other sizeable town in SA is within 3km of a wind farm.



Subsidies? Cheaper ways of reducing carbon emissions?

In the same Financial Review article Mr Taylor
"vowed to continue his campaign against 'the bad economics' of heavily subsidising wind energy developments, when there were 'far cheaper ways to reduce carbon emissions'"
Mr Taylor has made these statements before; they do not stand up to scrutiny.

Mr Taylor has listed 'changes in building practices', 'home solar water' and 'household energy efficiency' as some measures that are much cheaper options for reducing emissions than wind energy. It is quite true that these things should be pursued and they are being pursued, but they are not enough, and it is not easy for governments to make people or businesses save energy.

Mr Taylor is unable to specify any cheaper ways of reducing emissions that are both practical and are not already being pursued.


Are wind farms really subsidised? What about fossil fuels?

Utility scale wind power is not generally subsidised but the operators do receive a bonus on the electricity that they produce. This adds about 1¢ to the price that consumers pay for each kilowatt-hour of electricity (typically around 25¢).

On the other hand, the highly polluting fossil fuel industry is heavily subsidised and is a major cause of climate change, ocean acidification and air pollution that kills millions of people each year, but this does not seem to concern Mr Taylor.
 
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This section added 2019/06/06

Minister Taylor and Australia's emissions

On 2019/06/06 Penny Timms and Michael Slezak reported for the ABC in an article headlined: "Australia's greenhouse gas emissions rise again, according to delayed Federal Government data". Quoting from the article:
"Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have reached record highs in many sectors, continuing an upward trend that began in 2013, according to official Government figures released today.

The Federal Government's Quarterly Update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the three months to December 2018 shows emissions increased by 0.8 per cent seasonally adjusted, compared to the previous quarter."

Minister Taylor tried to find an excuse

Minister Taylor tried to deflect attention from the increasing emissions by claiming that our liquified natural gas exports helped to reduce emissions overseas. In this claim he notably ignored the fact that "the biggest consumer of Australia’s LNG – Japan – is using it in place of emissions-free nuclear power." (The Guardian, 2019/07/09).

Let's look at Australia's fossil fuel exports and their effect on global emissions.
 

What could we be doing?

Instead of trying to prop up the dying fossil fuel industries, which will ultimately be impossible, Australia could become a clean energy super power.

We could be doing far more research and development in building up a clean hydrogen export industry. Hydrogen is looking like being the portable energy of the future.

We could be exporting clean electricity by undersea cable, as proposed in the Asia Energy Hub project in Western Australia's Pilbara.

Blind Freddy could see what Minister Taylor can't see, that Australia's energy future is in renewables, not fossil fuels.

Coal exports

According to Wikipedia Australia exported 389 million tonnes of coal in 2016 (at the time of writing the most recent year in the Wikipedia article). Australia was at the time the biggest exporter of coal in the world. The carbon content of coal varies widely but when burned this 389 million tonnes of coal would result in well above 500 million tonnes, possibly as high as a billion tonnes, of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere each year.

By comparison Australia's direct carbon dioxide emissions are about 450 million tonnes per year.

Gas exports

In November 2018 Australia overtook Qatar as the world's biggest liquified natural gas (LNG) exporter, sending off 6.5 million tonnes against Qatar's 6.2 million tonnes.

I've calculated elsewhere that burning 1 kg of natural gas results in 2.8 kg of CO2 going into the atmosphere. So when the 6.5 million tonnes of natural gas that Australia exports each year is burned it results in the release of 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

So looking at Australia's emissions Minister Taylor's way

Annual average per capita carbon emissions for each person in the world is 4 tonnes. Annual average per capita carbon emissions within Australia is 18 tonnes (Wikipedia). Taking into consideration the amount of carbon Australia exports, as Minister Taylor wanted to do (if done honestly), Australia's per capita emissions become 39 tonnes each year, about ten times the global average.

Putting the figures in a table
GroupPer-capita emissions,
tonnes per year
Each world citizen4
Australian citizen (direct emissions)18
Australian citizen (direct emissions plus emissions from exports)39
 
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Mr Taylor loses an argument, cuts and runs

This section records an exchange between Mr Taylor and me that was held on his Facebook page in late 2012. When it became clear that Mr Taylor was losing the argument he deleted the Facebook record.

 

Other contributors

There were three other contributors to the discussion. I did not record what these people wrote at the time. I retrieved two contributions later, but at least one was lost and I was not sure where and in what order the two I had fitted in. For the sake of simplicity and brevity I have included only the statements from Mr Taylor and myself here. Apologies to the other contributors.

Cost of reducing emissions

Mr Taylor's figure of $60-100/tonne as the cost of reducing carbon emissions via wind turbines seems excessive. While it is difficult to be sure, it seems that the cost of wind-generated electricity is around $80/MWh; Wikipedia puts it at around $100/MWh. I believe that the cost of coal-fired electricity from an existing power station is around $40 (Wikipedia puts coal-fired electricity for a new power station at around $100/MWh). It seems from these figures that coal is only cheaper than wind if the old power stations are kept going, not if you have to build new ones.

Fugative emissions from coal-seam gas

Mr Taylor referred to 'non-conventional' gas; this is a 'weasel word' for coal-seam gas (CSG), which is methane. Methane is weight-for-weight over a hundred year period 20 times more efficient at trapping radiation than carbon dioxide. There is increasing concern that fugitive emissions from CSG operations could be a major problem.

McKinsey reports

Two of the other contributors (Richard Mackie and David Perry) pointed out that Mr Taylor referred to a report by McKinsey (see on the left, at the end of Mr Taylor's statement) that was five years old and that there was available a 2012 update aimed specifically at Australia. Far from supporting Mr Taylor's claim that "there are much cheaper ways to reduce carbon emissions" than wind power, this McKinsey report stated:
"Onshore wind is currently the most cost-effective of the renewable-energy technologies after hydroelectric power. Unlike hydroelectricity, which we assume cannot feasibly be expanded, onshore wind capacity in Australia has room to grow. Barring major technological breakthroughs in other areas, it is expected to remain relatively cost-competitive through to 2030, by which point we assume it has the potential to capture over 15 percent of energy production."

Clarke:
Mr Taylor, you said in the Goulburn Post some time ago "It is also clear that there are much cheaper ways [than wind turbines] to reduce carbon emissions". Could you please tell the world what those much cheaper ways are? We desperately need to know.

Taylor:
David, wind power is a very expensive way to reduce carbon emissions. Reducing carbon emissions via wind turbines costs around $60-100/ tonne. [Questionable, see the box on the right] The current Australian carbon tax is $23, and carbon credits in Europe are less than $10. The reason these prices are so much lower than the cost of abatement via wind, is there are many other cheaper options than wind (which is why wind needs a big subsidy over an above the carbon tax). These alternatives include changes in building practices, home solar water (in the right places), household energy efficiency measures, [*] and replacement of coal with CONVENTIONAL gas to reduce emissions (and even non-conventional from the right locations). Other promising technologies include geothermal and photovoltaic cells, but these are still quite expensive. If you are interested, you will find much more detail on the cheaper options to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in this very good piece of research: http://www.epa.gov/oar/caaac/coaltech/2007_05_mckinsey.pdf". [This is an old report, see the note in the box on the right.]

Taylor:
David, By the way, this is widely accepted amongst energy experts. It is not particularly controversial, but it is amazing how the facts don't matter when a debate gets emotive. Thanks for your interest! Angus

Clarke:
 
I was wrong here, China installed 18GW of wind power in 2011, and another 20GW in the first three quarters of 2012. China's total installed wind power at the end of 2011 was about 50GW, at the end of the third quarter of 2012 it was about 70GW; they were expected to add another 8GW in the last quarter of 2012. (See cleantechnica)
I see that the Chinese are on track to install 18GW of wind power this year, that's seven times all the wind power we have in Australia. They must think that wind is cost-effective. You would say that they are wrong? You are right that we should explore other options, but wind power has the greatest potential to replace fossil fuels, as shown by South Australia going from 0% to 26% wind power from 2003 to 2011 and its percentage of coal-power going from 42% down to 25% over the same period. You are right about the potential of solar PV (and solar thermal has a lot of untapped potential), but you should know that geothermal has been tried in Oz over the last ten years or so and has not been successful.

Taylor:
 
Mr Taylor liked statements such as "let's focus on the facts" and "no amount of spin will change that". Perhaps it was a part of his training as an aspiring politician.
Thank for your interest, but let's focus on the facts. Wind power is almost irrelevant in the Chinese grid - it is too expensive to play a real role. China CURRENTLY has around 1,000 GW of generation capacity growing at around 6-10% per year (60-80 GW per year) - 18 GW of wind turbines running at 30% utilisation (which is typical wind utilization) is irrelevant. China is using wind as a means of building an equipment supply business to the developed world - it is an insignificant as part of China's energy policy. The truth is that nearly all of the hew capacity is Coal, with some gas and nuclear. No amount of 'spin' will change these facts.

Clarke:
Angus; Irrelevant? Insignificant? Accepting your figure of 60-80GW additional electricity generating capacity in China each year, and 18GW of that being wind power, [it is easy to calculate that] from 22-30% of the power infrastructure they are installing is wind. No amount of spin will change this fact. Yes they are installing a lot of coal; it is cheap and dirty.

Taylor:
 
Actually, coal runs at around 85% availability, wind more than 95% availability, but about 34% capacity factor (in SE Australia), which is probably what Mr Taylor is referring to.

From greentechmedia: "According to the GTM Research-Azure International report, China's wind industry is on track for a cumulative 80 gigawatts by the end of 2012 and 150 gigawatts of installed capacity by the end of 2015." This is a targeted growth rate 23GW per year. Where did Mr Taylor get his figure of 8-9GW per year? (On the left) Let's focus on the facts Angus!

David, let's focus on facts, not rhetoric. Even if the Chinese managed to get all of those turbines up, remember that coal runs at near 100% utilisation, wind at around 30% (in a good spot!). So divide your numbers by more than three. Then recognise that to get that outcome, they have put in place large subsidies. Moreover, remember that China is targeting growth of about 8-9 GW per year between 2011 and 2015 - not 18 GW per year. I know the Chinese energy market well - wind is not playing any relevant role solving their major problems, because it is too expensive. BUT let's get back to the core issue - Stern, Guarnaut the IPCC and other leading climate change 'thought leaders, recognise that wind is an expensive way to reduce carbon emissions. Please read the article up above - it is clear, widely accepted and well researched.

Clarke:
As you said, let's focus on facts, not rhetoric.

Fact; You claim that wind power is "gobsmackingly inefficient" and "it is also clear that there are much cheaper ways to reduce carbon emissions". Yet China is building many, many wind turbines; apparently more wind power than any other form of renewable energy except, perhaps, hydro (if you can call Chinese hydo renewable, considering the environmental damage and displaced population). Are you implying that the Chinese are stupid?

Fact; coal fired power stations run at about 85% availability, not 100%; the remainder of the time they are shut down for routine maintenance or for breakdowns. (Wind in SE Australia, by the way, has an average capacity factor of 34%, not 30%.)

Fact; burning coal causes a huge health burden. A paper published in the prestigious health journal, The Lancet; "Electricity generation and health", by Anil Markandya and Paul Wilkinson (Sep 15-Sep 21, 2007; 370, 9591; Research Library pg. 979), regarding coal-fired power in Europe, stated that air pollution from coal fired power stations result in 24 deaths and 225 serious illnesses per Terawatt-hour of electricity generated. 1GW of coal-fired power station running at 85% capacity factor would generate about 7.4TWh of electricity in a year, from which, if it was in Europe, you could expect about 180 death and 1700 serious illnesses each year. You can probably imagine how much worse it would be with the laxer pollution standards in China. Yes, wind power is more expensive, but it doesn't kill people.

 
Burning fossil fuels also is causing ocean acidification.
Fact; Coal-fired power is one of the major causes of climate change and gas-fired power produces about half as much greenhouse CO2 as does coal.

Fact; Coal-seam-gas causes leakage of the highly active greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere and still produces CO2 when it is eventually burned.

Taylor:
David, I have an updated abatement curve with the same results in hard copy. I'm sure you'll find the soft copy if interested - it was central to the Copenhagen and subsequent debates. I'm sure you are well enough informed to know the core results have not changed for what is required to reach targets in the next few years. You will also find that Stern, Garnaut and others don't see abatement from $60-80 options in the short to medium term. Let's move on people, Angus"
At this point Angus Taylor deleted the conversation from his Facebook page!
 
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Minister Taylor stops progress on Australia's first offshore wind farm

 

Minister Taylor finally OK's the investigation

In late March 2019 Minister Taylor finally gave the go-ahead for investigative work to test the feasibility of the wind farm. By that time, less than two months before a federal elections was due, it seemed that some in the Morrison Government were realising that standing in the way of renewable energy was on the nose with the Australian people; see Who wants renewable energy.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor has a long history of opposing renewable wind power. Now it seems he is stopping even a feasibility study of Australia's first offshore wind farm from going ahead.

Mua Comms wrote a piece for the Maritime Union of Australia on 2019/02/21 titled "Australia's first offshore wind farm The Star of the South being stalled by Morrison Government"

Quoting from the article:

"Development of Australia's first offshore wind farm, which would power up to 1.2 million homes, has been stalled by Energy Minister Angus Taylor's failure to sign off on an exploration license allowing a detailed assessment of the wind resource to commence."

"The Star of the South project seeks to construct 250 wind turbines in Commonwealth waters off the coast of Victoria's Gippsland region, generating up to 20 per cent of Victoria's electricity needs and feeding the power into the National Electricity Market via an underground cable to the Latrobe Valley."

The project "appeared to be falling victim to the Morrison Government's ideological hatred of renewable energy."
It can be calculated that if the Star of the South was to be built it would result in about a five million tonnes per year reduction of greenhouse emissions.

ABC reporting on Senate Estimates

Beth Gibson wrote a piece for ABC Gippsland titled "Offshore wind farm continues to be delayed due to lack of federal policy, Senate Estimates hears".

Jo Evans, deputy secretary of Australia's Climate Change and Energy Innovation division, when asked by Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm: "whether the department had given the Energy Minister a recommendation on the proposal, indicated that the department had been briefed and that briefing contained a recommendation." Ms Evans also said that the department had received a number of public submissions about the proposal.

"These have not been made public yet because the decision is still pending consideration by the Minister," she said.





Mr Taylor is a fan of Stop These Things (STT)

The fact that Mr Taylor is a contributor to, and apparently an admirer of, the anonymously authored anti wind power site Stop These Things which specialises in name-calling, abuse, ad hominem (personal) attacks and has a blatant disregard for the truth, tells us quite a lot about Mr Taylor.

I have written about and linked to several independent assessments of Stop These Things elsewhere on this site.

If the author of STT was to make his (the behaviour is difficult to attribute to a woman) identity public he would be sued for a number of libellous statements that he has made.

It is often said, with considerable justification, that we are judged by the company we keep.
 
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Rallies

 
The failed anti-wind rally
Alan Jones rally
The anonymous writer of Stop These Things got together with climate science denying shock jock Alan Jones and Angus Taylor to hold an anti-wind power rally in Canberra on 2013/06/18.

With much less time to prepare, a group of pro-renewable people organised a much more successful pro-wind, pro-renewables rally for the same time and the other side of Lake Burley-Griffin.

The Taylor-Jones-STT rally 'crowd' is shown in the photo at the right. As can be seen, a large proportion of those who attended were from the media. A part of the crowd at the pro-renewables rally, estimated at from 500 to 1000, is in the photo below.

On the day, there were far more people at the pro-renewable rally than at the anti-wind rally.

Photos credit Renew Economy, also see Weekly Times Now.

 
The highly successful and well attended pro-renewables rally
Pro-renewables rally

 
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Angus Taylor shares Fantasy Land with Alan Jones

Angus Taylor and Alan Jones have liked to feed each other's taste for fantasy since at least the failed anti-wind power rally, mentioned above.

An article by Giles Parkinson in Renew Economy, dated 2018/09/05, shows that the relationship is still strong.

No doubt they are talking to people who are content to be fed anti-renewable power guff and are not concerned about fact.

Anyone involved in a business that used a significant amount of energy would probably not remain long in that business if they took seriously the rubbish talked by Jones and Taylor in these sessions.
 
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Climate skeptic? Or not?

Wikipedia, 2018/09/29, gives two apparently contradictory quotes from Mr Taylor (reminiscent of ex PM Abbott):
  1. "I am not a climate skeptic." Said at the failed Wind Power Fraud Rally, 2013/06/18, where Mr Taylor was one of the main speakers.
  2. "religious belief is based on faith not facts. The new climate religion, recruiting disciples every day, has little basis on fact and everything to do with blind faith." Speaking about the Renewable Energy Target in June 2014
 
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Minister Taylor

Angus Taylor became Minister for Energy in the Liberal/National coalition Morrison Australian federal government. Like the earlier coalition Abbott and Turnbull governments Taylor and the Morrison Government are badly out of touch with what the Australian people want. While Taylor is opposed to renewable energy the Australian people are strongly in favour of much more renewables. Minister Taylor plainly is opposed to action on climate change while the majority of Australians recognise that "global warming is a serious and pressing problem" and want action even at significant costs, only 10% believe that global warming is in doubt.

Some of Minister Taylor's lies

 
Conventional LCOE estimates for selected technologies
Cost of energy graph
CSIRO report "Electricity generation technology projections 2017-2050" by Jenny A Hayward and Paul W Graham, December 2017. The report shows plainly that renewable energy is much cheaper than new-built fossil fuel power generation with carbon capture and storage; without CCS fossil fuelled power generation is cheaper, but still more expensive than wind and solar PV, and enormously polluting.
The following points were extracted from a piece in Renew Economy, 2018/09/17, written by Giles Parkinson.

Taylor claimed that more renewable energy would "drive up the price of electricity";
The fact is that renewable energy is placing downward pressure on the price of electricity.

Taylor said that more renewables would "make the whole system less reliable";
The fact is that renewables are more reliable than Australia's ageing coal-fired power stations.

Taylor blamed renewables for South Australia's high power prices;
The fact is that SA's high power prices are due to a high percentage of gas-fired generation.

Taylor claimed that more renewable energy would lead to "de-industrialisation ... and the loss of jobs";
The fact is that there are at least as many jobs in renewable energy as there are in fossil fuel energy.
The Renew Economy piece referenced above provided evidence for the fallacy of these claims by Taylor, further evidence can be found on these pages.

Minister Taylor continues to criticise South Australia's adoption of a high percentage of renewable energy in contradiction of the fact that it can be shown to be a great success.
 
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Under Minister Taylor Australia will miss great economic opportunities

Most of the world's nations and most of the world's people recognise that the future of energy is with renewables. The world-wide market for renewable energy is growing rapidly; Australia can take part in the growth or stand aside and let other nations grasp the opportunities.

If Taylor has his way Australia will miss out on developments that will follow on from the adoption of large amounts of renewable energy. I've discussed these opportunities in a section of a page about Australia's energy future. They include:

  • The electric vehicle revolution;
  • The fast-developing clean hydrogen industry;
  • The huge potential for exporting clean electricity to South Asia by undersea cables;
  • The huge potential for exporting clean energy in the forms of hydrogen and/or ammonia.
Add to this the fact that pressure is continually mounting to take climate change seriously, anyone supporting the coal industry will find that they are backing a dying horse.

I have written about the potential for economic growth in the energy sector being in renewables rather than in fossil fuels elsewhere on this page. Fossil fuels, particularly coal, are on the way out.

Minister Taylor wants to have his cake and eat it too.

In late 2018 under the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison coalition governments Australia is looking very likely to miss the emission reduction targets that it committed to in the Paris Accord.

In late November, when asked about this, Minister Taylor tried to say that in fact Australia was doing very well in reducing emissions, siting the great increase in the amount of renewable energy over the last decade or so. This was the grossest hypocrisy. Mr Taylor has been an outspoken opponent of wind power, and in late 2018 the great majority of Australia's renewable energy is being generated by wind turbines. The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison coalition governments have done all they can to criticise and slow the development of renewables at the same time as trying to force more coal power on the Australian people.

Minister Taylor, you can't at the same time, work your hardest for the adoption of more coal power and at the same time take credit for the development of renewable energy that happened in spite of your best efforts to stop it happening.

Minister Taylor refuses Freedom of Information request

 
This section added 2020/04/30
Michael Mazengarb wrote 2020/04/29 in Renew Economy that:
"Federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor and a key government department [Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources] have both refused to release the findings of an ‘expert panel’ into emissions reductions policy that will likely shape the Morrison government’s climate and energy policies."
It would seem that Minister Taylor wanted to keep the findings of the expert panel away from the public because they didn't suit his hopes.
 
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This section added 2020/02/28

Energy Minister Taylor backs coal-to-hydrogen when
clean-energy-to-hydrogen is where the future lies

In late February 2020 Minister Taylor announced that the government would not support solar or wind power but would financially support the production of hydrogen using coal. For more information see the Renew Economy article by Michael Mazengarb.

At the time it was very clear that the market for hydrogen would be for sustainably produced hydrogen, such as that generated electrolytically powered by renewable energy, green-hydrogen, not 'brown-hydrogen' produced by burning more coal. The world is moving away from fossil fuels, it has to. Most governments and businesses want to shift to sustainability, their customers demand it. There will be no market for hydrogen produced by burning ever more fossil fuels.

If the Morrison government wanted to look after the workers in the dying coal industry they would do better to try to help them retrain for the plentiful jobs that will be in the renewable energy industries.

This is yet another move from the Morrison government that will be condemned by the progressive world.
 
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Mr Taylor should be charged and convicted of a crime against humanity

There should also be a new law or laws, detailing crimes against the biosphere.
Mr Taylor could also be convicted under those.

I have argued elsewhere that a person in a position of power knowingly lying in an effort to slow action on climate change is committing a crime against humanity. The burning of fossil fuels is not only one of the main causes of climate change and ocean acidification, the air pollution it creates kills millions of people each year.

Climate change and ocean acidification will cause thousands or even millions of species to become extinct and no doubt the air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is also having a huge impact on many non-human species. A person in a position of power intentionally lying to perpetuate these damages is guilty of a crime against the biosphere.

For a person in the position of minister for energy in a nation with one of the highest per-capita rates of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and one of the highest potentials for effective action is particularly bad.

How can any decent person knowingly take actions that will cause damage to our beautiful planet?
Tumut


 
Belong Valley
The beautiful Bylong Valley in NSW is under threat of coal mining that the world doesn't need and most Australians don't want.

 
Coal loading area
We don't need to see any more scenes like the one above turned into scars like this.

 
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Mr Taylor's background

The Weekly Times Now, 2012/09/05, published the following: "Taylor is a director at Port Jackson Partners, a consulting firm that has worked for big agricultural companies and the Minerals Council of Australia on issues such as coal-seam gas, carbon and foreign investment."

It has been reported that the following was on the Crookwell Conversation Facebook page, although I have been unable to confirm it:

"Mr Taylor has a personal interest in wind power as the wind industry were once circling the Taylor family property at Nimmitabel. The family refused an invitation to host wind turbines."
There are few people as opposed to wind turbines as those who see their neighbours doing very well financially by hosting wind turbines, while themselves missing out. It is envy.

Mr Taylor should be careful to declare his interests when discussing things like fossil fuels versus renewable energy.

 
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Related pages

External pages

Minister Taylor was awarded the 2019 ABC Fact Check Golden Zombie Award for a "debunked claim which refuses to die". 2019/12/19.

 

Blinded by coal dust in his eyes?

The 'Big 3' energy companies recognise the future is with renewables, leaders of industry like Sanjeev Gupta see it, the great majority of Australians want more renewable energy; is it only Liberals like Angus Taylor and the fossil fuel industry who are supporting the old system?

AGL: Renewables; Committed to helping shape a sustainable energy future for Australia. "We're proud to be the largest ASX-listed investor in renewable energy generation in the country."

Energy Australia: Supporting "Right now, EnergyAustralia has the rights to more than 490 megawatts of electricity generated by wind farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia."

Origin Energy: 6 Ways Origin is Tackling Climate Change.

A beginners guide to Angus Taylor, Crikey, Charlie Lewis, 2019/10/25.

ARENA: the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Australia Institute

Australian Wind Alliance

Canberra Times, Nicholas Stuart's take on Angus Taylor, 2019/07/17. Mr Stuart wrote that Taylor "needs to find a way to resolve this conflict between ideas he seemingly believes in and the politically sensible option." I would suggest that he needs to find a way to resolve the conflict between ideas he seeming believes in and the ethically imperitive option.

CEFC: Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

"Coal is no longer cheaper – and we'll prove it": Sanjeev Gupta, the British billionaire who saved the Whyalla steel industry knows that the future lies with renewables.

Renew Economy: Can Angus Taylor stop the renewables and storage revolution?

Angus Taylor signals further taxpayer investment in existing coal and gas; The Guardian, 2018/09/30.

On this site

Political...

Liberal's war on renewables

Morrison government


Individual politicians...

Senator Ron Boswell

Senator Chris Back

Senator Sean Edwards

Senator John Madigan

Rowan Ramsey

Australia's energy future

Coal gasification, in-situ

End of coal: why the coal industry has a very limited future.

Ethics: a subject that Mr Taylor would do well to learn about.

Greatest crime in the history of humanity

A green or a black future

Greenhouse/climate change: the greatest threat currently facing mankind

Ignorance, the problem and prevalence of

Killer coal: how the burning of coal kills millions of people world-wide each year

Selfishness or altruism?: self or all?

South Australia's success in changing toward renewable energy

Stop These Things; a very dishonest anti-wind power Web site admired by, and contributed to by, Mr Taylor

Who wants renewable energy?

Why support wind power

Wind power lies; Mr Taylor features strongly

Wind power opposition: almost universally dishonest.

 
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