One can understand that Labor is hesitant about climate change after the subject has been a dead runner for them in the past two elections. As things are shaping up, the Prime Minister will front other world leaders as a climate denier, prepared to lie to convince them that Australia is meeting its climate obligations.
And to watch Scott Morrison and other ministers doing their media rounds, they certainly sound convincing. Words fly from frequently moistened lips with the sting of dishonesty and an absence of explanation.
The blatancy of Morrison’s lying confuses this writer because Proverbs 6:12-13 says; “let me describe a worthless and wicked man; first, he is a constant liar.” Undoubtedly some of you, most of you, or all of you when you hear the words; “we are meeting and beating”, you may be as confused as I am. Given his Pentecostal brand of Christianity, which believes in a literal interpretation of scripture, does the word of God presuppose that he is both a liar and a hypocrite?
When Morrison uses the phrase “we are meeting all our obligations”, it is camouflaged with the uncertainty of lies but not backed with the truth of evidence, then he lies.
At this stage of these Clayton’s negotiations between a corrupt party and a smaller but equally defective one, the Coalition has left us with a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. However, we are assured that Australia will not attempt to reduce emissions between now and 2030. We will be seen as laggards by an international community, increasing its targets and suffering international isolation. Our target should be more like 50%, not 30%.
Fools rush in where wise men never go.
Ask yourself this question: “Are they serious?” Do Scott Morrison and energy minister Angus Taylor want to have a much more ambitious emissions reduction policy? No, not on your nelly. They are not driven by the innate goodness of saving the planet but by the politics of power. It’s more about one party appeasing the other and working out a political plan between them. A balancing act between the Liberals, the Nationals and their ability to win the next election. Advance Australia fair. They can give no certainty on the as yet unproven technology they intend to use.
I want to get this absolutely right. So correct that there can be no ambiguity. Morrison and his cabinet members tell us “We are meeting all our obligations” at every opportunity, but they tell the most dreadful lies.
What they don’t say is important. They talk about a target set for emissions reductions at the Paris climate talks in 2015.
It’s not apples with apples, and what we are actually beating is the commitment we made to cut 26 to 28 per cent of our emissions compared to 2005. Similar countries to Australia committed to cuts of more than 50 per cent.
The meeting in Scotland will in the main focus on 2030 targets because they are more critical than 2050.
The Coalition insist that we have cut our emissions since 1990, when the fact is that they have risen.
“The truth is that electricity emissions have increased by around a third, and transport emissions have grown by more than half.” (The Climate Council, New Report: Australia ranks dead last on climate, 21/10/2021).
So, it’s only when you add in all the land clearing that impacts emissions that the figure starts to look genuine or at least healthy.
Call it what you like, dirty tricks, political skulduggery or creative accountancy, but that’s what we used at the Kyoto talks in 1997.
They talk about a “gas-led recovery”, the “technology roadmap“, but no policy work or legislation is involved, and it is only unproven science.
Here are some facts from Climate Action Tracker (CAT):
“The CAT rates Australia’s climate targets, policies and climate finance as “Highly insufficient”. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Australia’s climate policies and commitments are not Paris Agreement Compatible. Australia’s 2030 domestic emissions reduction target is consistent with warming of 4°C if all other countries followed a similar level of ambition. Under Australia’s current policies, emissions will continue to rise and are consistent with more than 3°C warming. Australia needs to set a more ambitious target for emissions reductions, establish associated policies, and provide finance to support others to get a better rating.”
Last week Laura Tingle (7.30’s chief political correspondent) wrote:
“And, whatever the Government does do in terms of setting, goals, ambitions, or whatever terms of sophistry are employed to not appear to have adopted a target of net zero emissions by 2050, it is not expected to be legislated, lest it produce a humiliation on the floor of the Parliament as Nat’s cross the floor against it.
Can you think of a more abject failure of political leadership in living memory?”
The Australian Government has a dislike of accountability and transparency unequalled by any other. It has reduced the budget of the Auditor General’s office. After all, you don’t want people looking over your shoulder when you are doing naughty things with public money.
Instead of governing with an open mind as to the integrity of climate change, Tony Abbott sought to use it as a political tool to gain Government. Peta Credlin, his chief of staff, later admitted the climate change policy under Julia Gillard’s Labor government was never a ‘carbon tax’. Still, Tony Abbott used that label to stir up trouble continuously. If he did not, Australia would be a leader instead of a nation lagging behind almost every other.
In 2013 and 2014, when Labor’s ‘carbon tax’ was still operating, Australia was significantly ahead of the target for those years.
In 2019, Angus Taylor gave an interview on ABC’s Insiders. He said that when the Coalition came to power, it inherited a 755 million tonne emissions “deficit” needed to reach Australia’s second Kyoto target because Labor “hadn’t done the hard work”.
“We have turned that around by 1.1 billion tonnes,” Mr Taylor said.
“They [Labor] hadn’t got to the point where we were going to meet Kyoto. We will reach Kyoto in a canter.”
So, the question begging to be answered was through its own “hard work”? Has the Coalition turned around an emissions deficit inherited from Labor? And is it correct to suggest emissions are heading down, or have they gone up?
He also claimed that emissions are “coming down right now”. They say they are protecting jobs, but the only threat to coal jobs comes from countries that will eventually stop buying it from us.
Mr Taylor’s claim is misleading, said the ABCs Fact Check:
“When the Coalition came to power in September 2013, the most up-to-date projections available were from a Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency report almost a year earlier. The figures Mr Taylor cites are consistent with forecasts contained in that report and another released in December last year.
However, Mr Taylor’s characterisation is problematic.
First, the 2012 emissions data used by Mr Taylor was superseded by a new report three months after the Coalition came to power. It found that actual emissions under Labor in 2013 were significantly lower than had been anticipated a year earlier.
Its forecasts also factored in estimates of abatement to be achieved by Labor’s carbon tax.
For this reason, Fact Check considers the 2013 report provides a more accurate and less pessimistic snapshot of the situation that the Coalition “inherited” from Labor.
In addition, the 2013 report accounted for a significant “carry-over” of emissions credits from Australia’s over-achievement of the first Kyoto period, which ended in June 2012. The inclusion of the carry-over, which was not factored into the 2012 estimate cited by Mr Taylor, reflects an accounting assumption rather than any “hard work” on the part of the Coalition in reducing emissions.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has further reduced emissions by shutting down whole industries. But in reality, where has this decade long lust for power over principle left us?
Our Prime Minister will go to Scotland for the COP26 with an agreement to cut our emissions to net-zero by 2050. The deal is only valid if the terms reached don’t vary from those agreed to between Joyce and Morrison.
The substance of which has not been revealed, or the cost, nor are they likely to be. Or it might be on a need to know basis. No plans are available outlining how we will reach net zero by 2050, but even more importantly, the conference will want to hear about what we are doing to improve our 2030 targets.
Morrison will have to tell the truth, which is always a delicate proposition, and he will have to say we will do our best, but because our coalition partners don’t want a target, there is “nothing” much we can do. It’s just the way we govern in Australia.
Fools rush in where wise men never go.
My thought day
In terms of the environment, I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today.
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