I haven’t been to a fancy restaurant in a while but before we had five kids I would try to impress my wife by lashing out.
I hated the places where they would bring you the menu and it had no prices on it. I would get a sinking feeling that I probably can’t afford this.
As a general rule, you should never buy something when the seller won’t tell you the price.
There are lots of people right now wanting to sell Australia on the idea of net zero emissions. Almost none of them though tell us what the cost would be. How many jobs would be lost? Will we still export coal? Can I still drive my V8? You can’t get a straight answer on any of these questions.
Fortunately for us we are not the first down the net zero garden path.
The UK has passed legislation to deliver net zero emissions, and it is not going well.
Until recently the UK was self sufficient in oil and gas thanks to the North Sea oilfields. But consistent with their net zero goal they are no longer developing that resource, and they have banned shale gas.
They also put their coal fired power stations out of service and built a lot of wind turbines in their place.
This week a headline on a major news website reported “Breaking Point: UK in crisis as fuel and food shortages lead to violence”.
The UK is running short of energy thanks to a wind drought and reduced supplies of gas from Russia. Because of their net zero policies the UK has become dependent on Vladimir Putin for gas and there are some suggestions that the Russian Government may have artificially created gas shortages.
This has led to skyrocketing electricity prices in the UK.
Andrew Large, the chairman of the British Energy Intensive Users Group, said: “It is potentially catastrophic. We’re already seeing plant closures at a time of year when the weather is still warm and domestic heating is low. Fast-forward two months and this could be an acute crisis.”
The high energy prices have caused CF Fertilizers, which supply around half the British market, to shut down.
This is now causing food supply chains to freeze up and led to panic buying in British shops.
The British Small Business Minister, Paul Scully, tried to stop people stripping the supermarket shelves saying, “Look, this is isn’t a 1970s thing at all... There is no need for people to go out and panic buy.”
It all sounds a bit like the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. We do not know whether Covid was man made but net zero emissions would create a man-made shortage of basic things and push up the price up of everything.
Every cow emits about 2.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases a year.
The CSIRO estimated last year that to reach net zero emissions by 2050 we would need a carbon price more than $200 a tonne. This means that a grazier with 1000 head would be up for a $400,000 per year carbon bill.
Who will pay for this? It will be paid by you, at the self-serve checkout, in your local Woolies. You will have to use your PIN every time because it is unlikely any of your shops will be under $100. Perhaps the supermarkets will have to follow the fancy restaurants and not publish their prices.