China isn’t just buying up the farm here in Australia – literally – but is rubbing our face in our suicidal stupidity.
The fuss this week about the purchase of 43 farms in the Liverpool Plains by Chinese miner Shenhua Watermark actually ignores the biggest warning.
Politicians are suddenly panicking that foreigners could own much of our best farmland, with our crops no longer our own in an increasingly hungry world.
Yes, it’s a worry, especially when the new owners are not shareholders, open to the best price, but an aggressive state. But we’re still talking about only 43 farms, bought for $213 million.
So, no, by far the biggest worry is that these farms, 500km northwest of Sydney, actually lie over a big coal deposit.
That’s the message. China has decided it doesn’t just want to buy our coal exports, but the mines themselves, to make as sure as it can that it will have coal for decades to come.
Has the penny dropped with you yet?
That’s right: China has shown that the Gillard Government deceived you in selling its carbon dioxide tax.
It actually plans to burn a lot more coal, not less, because only an idiot would “de-carbon” the economy, and switch to ruinously more expensive sources of power.
An idiot like a Labor politician.
Now step back. Remember in March, when Prime Minister Julia Gillard tried to pretend China was trying as hard as we were to cut the emissions she claims are heating the world dangerously?
“The rest of the world is moving,” she lied. “China, closing down a dirty coal-fired power generation facility at the rate of one every one to two weeks, putting up a wind turbine at the rate of one every hour … “
Remember one of Gillard’s Climate Commissioners, Professor Willi Steffen, trying to give the same impression?
“Australia’s not acting alone. China’s already acting … They’re phasing out inefficient coal-fired power stations.”
Remember the Government’s global warming guru, Professor Ross Garnaut, also praising China, already the world’s biggest emitter, as a warming activist?
“First, they are reducing the number of coal-fired power stations. They’re getting rid of a lot of small, inefficient, environmentally very unfriendly power stations, replacing them with super hyper-critical plants that, for coal, have very low emissions.”
Now for the truth. Those dirty coal-fired power station China has closed have been replaced with much cheaper and bigger ones, emitting more greenhouses gases, not less.
This is why the Productivity Commission this month conceded China’s emissions will soar for years to come. Indeed, its extra emissions will dwarf in a month any sacrifice we make over the next decade.
Just follow the money. China is buying access to our coal deposits because it plans to use more coal, not less.
Now consider our stupidity. While China plans to use more Australian coal, Labor and its Greens allies want to force us to ultimately use none, by hitting us with a carbon dioxide tax that China has zero intention of imposing itself.
The aim is to close mines that produce coal – especially coal for Australians.
Hear it from Greens leader Bob Brown, just last weekend: “That (mine closure) has to be the outcome. You know the coal industry has to be replaced by renewables.”
So, while China uses a cheap form of power, we’ll force ourselves on to more expensive ones. We’ll deliberately make ourselves poorer, and less able to compete with China and other competitors.
And what will a richer China be able to do to a poorer Australia? Buy up even more of the farm, and our factories, too.
To sum up: if it all works out to plan, China will use the cheap Australian coal that Australia will forbid itself.
All this, when the world still hasn’t warmed in a decade, and the Government plans a tax that wouldn’t stop it anyway. We’ve gone mad, you know.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.