The Cost of Green Schemes

Another day, another half-baked green scheme busted as $150 million is blown on a clean coal scheme. Common sense tells us that burning a bulk substance, only to recapture it and return it back to where it came from will be very expensive. And, OMG, that’s what they found.

Its a good example of moral hazard, as the scientists, policy makers and advisers bear none of the costs that all fall on the long-suffering taxpayer. The list of green debacles in the state of Queensland (with a GDP about the same as Tennessee) is long:

  • ZeroGen Clean-coal $150 million
  • Mothballed Tugun desalination plant $1.2 billion
  • Traveston Dam $265 million
  • Bundamba water treatment plant $380 million
  • Gibson Island Water Treatment Plant $313 million
  • Cloncurry solar thermal power station $7 million

This from a state that is selling off assets in a desperate attempt to reduce its debt.

I see more articles starting to pin blame on CSIRO advice. Michael Asten, a professorial fellow in the school of geosciences, Monash University writes in the Australian about exaggerated government models of sea level rise:

Did scientists from the no-longer independent CSIRO (or other competent body in Australia) brief minister Combet and his team at Cancun on this discrepancy and its implications? Are they permitted to make such comment publicly? And how will such observations affect the targeting of our funds on offer for regional adaptation programs?

The same questions could be asked of the studies reporting increases in drought that motivated the building of desalination plants around the country. Did scientists from CSIRO brief the ministers on the discrepancy between the decreasing rainfall shown by the models, and the observations of increasing rainfall over the last century? And how will such observations affect the targeting of our funds on offer for regional flood adaptation programs?

Financial advisers would bear some moral (if not financial) liability for losses resulting from the forecasts of models known to be worthless. The same goes for climate models exaggerated at best and proven to be worthless at regional scales.


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