The image spin doctors have decided to run with the line that Scott Morrison is an authentic daggy dad from the suburbs.
Authentic is not an adjective I would ascribe to this populist opportunist.
And nothing shows that better than his abandonment of any action on emissions reduction and climate change.
“We’ll get there in a canter” is the phrase du jour despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.
The dinosaurs in the Coalition tell us we exceeded our first Kyoto commitment like that was some badge of honour. What they don’t mention is that first commitment was to actually, unlike the rest of the industrialised world, increase our emissions.
Compared to the base year of 1990, Europe promised to reduce its emissions by 8% in the five-year “commitment period”, 2008-12. The United States agreed to cut emissions by 7%, and Japan and Canada by 6%. Australia dug its heels in and got its way; its Kyoto target would be 8% above 1990 levels.
We then insisted, in what became known as “the Australia clause”, that we be allowed to claim carbon emissions reductions from a supposed reduction in land clearing, using 1990 as a base because it was an extraordinarily high year for land clearing, mainly in Queensland.
With the inclusion of the Australia clause, the nation’s emissions from burning fossil fuels could rise by 25-30% while overall emissions would still come in at under 8% by claiming reductions in land clearing.
This is precisely what happened. From 1990 to 2012 Australia’s emissions from all sources except land-use change and forestry grew by 28%.
Moving on to our second Kyoto target – a 5% reduction on 2000 emissions level by 2020 – we are playing the same sort of games.
According to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Australia’s annual emissions for the year to December 2017 were 2.4 per cent below emissions in 2000 with emissions increasing 1.5 per cent from the previous year, continuing a three-year trend of increases ever since the repeal of carbon pricing.
Then we move to our 2030 target – 26 to 28% below 2005 levels. Why change base years? Because 2005 was, once again, a particularly high year for emissions. To highlight the difference it makes, where last year’s emissions were 2.4 per cent below emissions in 2000, they were 11.7 per cent below emissions in 2005. Just by changing the base year, we make it sound like we are doing more than we are.
And will we “get there in a canter”, as our PM without a policy tells us?
According to the Department’s emissions projections 2017, “Total emissions in 2030 are projected to be 5 per cent below 2005 levels.”
“Emissions in 2030 are projected to grow by 3.5 per cent above 2020 levels. Most of the projected growth in emissions is in the transport sector, led by increased heavy vehicles activity for freight, and the agriculture sector, driven by increased stocking numbers.”
So spare me your slogans Scott. (Have you noticed he has started counting them off on his fingers just as Abbott used to do?)
Psychology Today gives the following description of inauthentic people:
Are self-deceptive and unrealistic in their perceptions of reality.
Look to others for approval and to feel valued.
Are judgemental of other people.
Do not think things through clearly.
Have a hostile sense of humor.
Are unable to express their emotions freely and clearly.
Are not open to learning from their mistakes.
Do not understand their motivations.
If behind what a person says and does is a defensive and self-deceptive approach to life, then no matter how passionate and committed they are to a cause, ultimately they are not being true to themselves.
Authenticity is ultimately about those qualities that show healthy non-defensive functioning and psychological maturity. Those are the qualities we need to look for.
I would suggest our search for an authentic leader is far from over.