I DON'T believe that wind and solar will save us from so-called climate change. Any action Australia takes to reduce our emissions will only cost us jobs. The world's climate will continue on its merry way, as it has always done.
It is fantasy to suggest that we can control the climate. China's 130 new power stations under construction will more than exceed Australia's total annual emissions.
We need innovative action to adapt. So when Barnaby Joyce suggested that to reduce the effects of drought we should build the Bradfield scheme, I looked at a few historic iconic Australian projects that have changed land use.
The Bradfield scheme would redirect floodwater to arid parts of the country. We know that floods cost billions. Drought costs billions in lost production.
The ABC's Fact Checker verdict was simply "Pie in the sky."
Could it work? Well, many experts believed the Snowy scheme wouldn't work, yet it harnessed Snowy floods for water and energy. Without the Snowy we'd be in real trouble.
And 123 years ago, the knockers believed that the Kalgoorlie pipeline wouldn't work either. Today, the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme delivers water from Perth to Kalgoorlie and many communities in between, generating jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.
The Kalgoorlie project was commissioned in 1896 and completed in 1903. Engineer in chief Charles Yelverton O'Connor faced widespread criticism and derision from the WA Parliament, as well as the local press.
We didn't have the ABC Fact Checker back then, but you'll note that even a century ago there was no shortage of no-hopers waiting to stand in the way of progress. They wailed, the engineering task is too great. Never before has water been pumped so far or lifted so high. It will never work.
"It was the height of madness to mortgage our future by imposing the debt of 2.5 million pounds upon our small community for the one particular work," GT Simpson MLA said in 1898.
You'll note that even a century ago there was no shortage of no-hopers waiting to stand in the way of progress.
Caution was justified because the cost of constructing the pipeline would be equal to the South Australian colony's entire annual budget.
But Australia in 1896 was a land of opportunity. Colonial Australians believed we had the capacity to do anything. Just think of the dams and railway projects being built or planned at that time.
Innovation overcame problems. Mephan Ferguson invented a radical new locking-bar system for joining pipes which improved water flow. There were no rivet holes and rivets. Instead the pipes were joined by a ring of steel fitted around the ends of the pipes. The gap was filled with rope and molten lead poured into the joint.
"The Golden Pipeline" is still the longest fresh-water pipeline in the world. Today, rural and town services are connected by nearly 9000km of pipeline, servicing 100,000 people. Only 40 per cent of the water is used in Kalgoorlie.
The agricultural areas in-between use 40 per cent and the rest is pumped to the Perth Hills area.
Today, the Western Australian wheatfields are the most productive in Australia, with 42 per cent of the nation's wheat crop coming mainly from the areas serviced by the goldfields pipeline and its extensions. Six million sheep rely on the pipeline.
To build that Kalgoorlie pipeline now, it is estimated the cost would be $1.5 billion. Pie in the sky? Expansion of Perth's urban rail network is budgeted at $5.2billion. City railways OK, water "pie in the sky"?
Travel through northern South Australia and you'll see pipelines carrying Murray water hundreds of kilometres to service communities as far as Port Augusta and Whyalla. Were those projects "pie in the sky"?
In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers named the Kalgoorlie pipeline an international historic civil engineering landmark.
Unfortunately, chief engineer CY O'Connor had allowed criticism to overcome him and took his own life 12 months before the pipeline was completed.
Water is our most valuable resource. We have plenty, but it comes in floods, and needs dams and pipelines.
We must support big, well planned projects that can insulate Australia from changing weather patterns.
More than ever, Australia needs the bold enterprise and innovation of our ancestors.