You know we are in trouble when a Swedish teenager starts making more sense than our self-proclaimed leaders on energy policy.
This week Greta Thunberg, famous for organising student protests on climate change, reversed course and said that it would be a "mistake" for Germany to close nuclear power plants "in order to focus on coal".
Meanwhile, at a major energy conference in Australia there was little support for the Coalition Shadow Energy Minister, Ted O'Brien, who suggested we should end our ban on nuclear energy. The CEO of the Climate Council, Amanda McKenzie, claimed that we should not do nuclear because "We’ve got to remember you still have to dig stuff out of the ground, you have to transport it and do a range of other things. So it’s not as carbon neutral as people imagine."
I am sure Ms McKenzie would have visited many solar and wind farms. But she clearly has no knowledge of the vast amount of lithium, polysilicon or rare earth mining needed to build "renewable" energy.
At the same conference, the head of the misnamed Energy Security Board, Anna Collyer, claimed that the rapid development of smartphones means that we will rapidly shift away from fossil fuels. This is an overworn, lazy and easily debunked metaphor. As the scientist Vaclav Smil points out energy transitions take a long time because of sunk costs and the extensive use of energy in how we make so many things.
Over the past decade the use of smartphones has risen to over 90 per cent of the population from almost nothing. After trillions of dollars of investment solar and wind still only provide less than 5 per cent of the world's energy needs today.
In some countries though the share of wind and solar is much higher. Denmark gets more than half its power from solar and wind. It now has the highest power prices in Europe, a difficult accolade to achieve. In fact, there is not a single country that has lowered prices by adopting renewable energy.
Here in Australia over the past few years we have built solar and wind at a rate four times higher in per person terms than the rest of the world. We are now left with a broken electricity market and power price increases that are crushing family budgets.
The ACCC revealed at the energy conference that the average Australian household power bill will increase by $300 this year. An energy CEO forecast that energy bills would increase by another 35 per cent next year, meaning that the average bill is set to rise by another $600.
So after record investments in solar and wind energy, Australians are facing a $1000 increase in their power bills and that is just the start. Solar and wind energy are just simply not ready to replace reliable coal fired power stations.
The new Labor Government promised a $275 drop in your power bills, a promise they have quickly dumped after tricking you into voting for them. Labor wants to get 80 per cent of our power from renewables in just 8 years, taking us well beyond Denmark and into the land of European power price pain.
The reason you are paying more for your energy bills is because we are being led by people who have little idea how the world works.
This week some climate change protestors superglued themselves to a Picasso painting in a Melbourne gallery. Perhaps they were conducting an education lesson for us all on the benefits of fossil fuels, given that the glues they used are made from petrochemicals.
It is a crazy world when radical green climate activists are making more sense than our leaders but, unfortunately, it will be all of us that pay for this madness.