The Herald Sun’s resident resources and energy expert, Andrew Bolt, today posed this question about the Federal Government’s Climate Change Authority board:

These people are in charge of our power prices?

What a collection of extremists, Leftists and fellow travellers. Only one scientist among them, and about as alarmist as you could find.

The most alarming inclusion is Clive Hamilton.

This man is advising on how much cheap electricity we can have? You have got to be joking.

It’s OK Andrew, you have nothing to fear, you appear to have misunderstood and misstated what these people will do, and who sets the prices for electricity. So let me put your mind at ease.

What the Climate Change Authority will be doing, according to The Australian, is:

recommend intermediate targets to ensure Australia meets its pledge to cut emissions by five per cent by 2020 from 2000 levels. The long-term target is an 80 per cent reduction by 2050.

So, that’s not setting electricity prices.

But the authority won’t have the final say on pollution caps, which remain the responsibility of the government and the parliament.

That’s not setting electricity prices.

The authority will recommend caps for the first five years of the flexible-price period by early 2014.

It will also advise the federal government on the reporting system, carbon farming initiative and renewable energy target, or RET.

Still not setting electricity prices.

While the Climate Change Authority will be advising on what will be acceptable levels of carbon emissions, which will effect power generators, they aren’t actually “in charge of our power prices” in any way, shape or form. Bear in mind, there is nothing preventing power generators from switching to less carbon intensive sources of power and reducing their exposure to the decisions of this Authority, that’s simply a commercial decision that they will each have to make.

Andrew, if you are worried about rising power prices, perhaps you should be focussing on the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales or the Essential Services Commission in Victoria? These are the two agencies who’ve overseen large price rises in electricity over the past decade, and surprisingly enough those price rises have had nothing to do with pricing carbon or the just announced Climate Change Authority.

So rest easy Andrew, your fears of a cabal of pernicious leftists deciding how high your electricity bill is all a misunderstanding. I’m glad I could answer your question, and I’m sure your readers will be relieved when you share this information with them.

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